Acts 21: 1-3Written by kathleen on Dec 27, 2015 in - No Comments
Acts 21: 1-3
Courage of Conviction
As we continue in the journey of the Apostle Paul as he concludes his third missionary journey and zeroes in on the city of Jerusalem, the evidence of his convictions and courage to share the gospel of Christ are going to become more intense as the chapter goes on.
His courage to follow his conviction is as big as the story of a young boy who had a handful of rocks and a slingshot, and said, “It’s only a giant, and God is going to give the Philistines into our hands.” And with that slingshot and a stone won a war and freed Israel. He had conviction and the courage to stake his life on it.
Just like the three young men in Daniel chapter 3, by the name of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who were willing to stake their life on the spiritual principle that they were to worship God and not idols, and they walked up to a fiery furnace. They were willing to die for what they believed because they would not bow to a false god.
There was another man who had the same conviction; Daniel chapter 6 He was told If you don’t quit praying, we’ll put you in the lion’s den! They put him in the lion’s den because of his Courage of conviction.
In the Bible God’s greatest people have always believed and had the conviction their faith was worth dying for. Just as in the book of Acts; we have seen many people that had convictions that they’re willing to die for and Paul was one of those people as he was moving towards Jerusalem; every town he came to the Holy Spirit kept testifying to him that bonds and afflictions awaited him. But that didn’t stop him for he had a supernatural courage for his convictions.
As much as he realized the danger waiting at Jerusalem, and as much as his heart burned to reach the city of Rome even as much as he knew the believers loved him and appreciated him, he still didn’t stop; because he had a conviction, and he had the courage to see it through.
Part of his conviction was for several years he had been collecting money from all the Gentile churches to give to the poor believers in the Jerusalem church.
This collection was a two-fold project: one: to show the Gentile churches loved the Jewish church and to unite the church two: to meet the practical money needs of the poor. And he believed God had given him this goal or objective, and he pursued it.
He knew this wasn’t a safe or easy thing to do, because all over the world the hierarchy of Judaism had hated Paul. They chased him, ran him out of town, beat him and tried to kill him leaving him for dead.
And now he’s going to go from the frying pan into the fire. He’s going to walk right into the main headquarters of the whole operation — Jerusalem itself and into the Temple.
All along the way, everywhere he goes, people keep saying, “You know what’s going to happen when you get to Jerusalem” The Holy Spirit kept telling him in every city that bonds and afflictions awaited him. He knew that! BUT he had a conviction, and he had the courage to see it through not worrying a bout the consequence. That’s the real courage of conviction.
In chapter 21 we will see four aspects of the courage of conviction demonstrated: Conviction 1: knows its purpose or objective, 2: can’t be diverted, 3: pays any price, 4: affects others
Let’s look at this first point: knows its purpose. You can’t have courage if you don’t have the conviction. That’s a basic factor in expressing courage is you’ve got to believe in something.
There’s got to be an objective, there’s got to be a goal, there’s got to be a purpose that you’re going after in which you can express your courage. This is the conviction itself.
For David, the conviction was, “God wants Israel preserved from the Philistines.” For the three Hebrews, “God wants to be worshipped, and does not allow us to worship any other gods,” For Daniel, same thing.
Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me,” What? “Death.” His conviction was he wanted liberty. The courage is expressed in the fact that if he couldn’t get it he’d die for it.
Paul was a man who lived by conviction so much so that before he ever got to Jerusalem, before he ever got to Rome, while he was in Corinth he wrote the book of Romans and he says to them, “I’m going to Jerusalem, and as soon as I get there I’ll come to you in Rome,
He had conviction and an objective and a real courage to go for it!
Somebody said, “If you don’t have any goals, you’ll be sure and hit them every time.” In this particular case Paul had a very clear objective. He said, “There’s a need in Jerusalem for two things: an understanding of the unity of the church, and some financial needs.”
Along with his passion to preach the gospel Paul has his purpose; he’s on his way to Jerusalem. He’s got the money, and the men from each of the Gentile churches, as well as Luke who’s writing as he goes; and at that point we pick up verse one—Luke writing—–
1 Now it came to pass, that when we had departed from them and set sail, running a straight course we came to Cos, the following day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 2 And finding a ship sailing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. 3 When we had sighted Cyprus, we passed it on the left, sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload her cargo.
Apparently the wind was with them. They went on a straight course, not having to tack back and forth and making stops along the way; 45 miles to Cos, 70 miles to Rhodes, 70 miles to Patara a city on the Xanthos River in Asia Minor.
There they would have gotten off their little boat and they would have went on to a larger one and it would go straight across the Mediterranean
So Paul is a man on a mission. He is taking the shortest way towards Jerusalem and perhaps that is why he stayed seven days in Tyre.
By doing the math concerning travel time this was his best option. Making that type of choice becomes the basis of his courage as he trusts the leading of the Holy Spirit.
As Christians when we look at Paul’s courage in trusting God; we can feel like we could never have the kind of courage.
Part of the reason is that we do not realize the gift we have been given through God’s grace of salvation; AND when we begin to realize the value of Salvation; AND begin to focus on what God has for us AND then start to practice it in our own lives. That’s when our conviction concerning Jesus Christ and our life will begin to be real.
At that point God by His Holy Spirit will begin to develop courage within you to peruse the convictions He places upon your heart.
Then like Paul you’ll begin to live the kind of object-oriented conviction and commitment that Paul lived.
If I were to ask you to write down the three objectives of your life today Concerning Jesus; could you do it?
If you have to think about them very long; it could be you don’t have any. —— As a Christian should be considered!
Looking at the Apostle Paul he never lived a day of his life, from the time of his religious pursuits to his conversion in Christ to the time that they cut his head off, he never lived a day, that I can find in Scripture, when he wasn’t going somewhere to do something that was so consuming that he would die for it.
It was about conviction, which preceded his acts of courage.
You can’t just say to a Christian “Be courageous” because that doesn’t mean they can run around saying, “I’m going to be courageous.” and then they will be! They must have something to be Courageous about!
If you don’t have an objective you’ll never get into a situation where you have to be courageous.
Nobody ever got courageous sitting on the bench of a football team. You don’t get courageous there; you only get courageous when you get in the game.
There are a lot of Christians sitting on the bench wonder why they don’t have any courage! (Concerning the things of the Lord)
It’s because they don’t have any reason to be courageous because they’re not doing anything. (Start with using you’re gifting around the church) Rom 12:6-8 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully)
There needs to be a goal or an object to focus on like; you’re going somewhere, you’re accomplishing something; especially for the cause of Christ and Kingdom business.
Paul speaking in Philippians 3:10 about being “ALL IN” for Jesus says; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
If you were to ask me what’s your objective and conviction? I would not say “My objective is to know the Bible.” That is not my main objective.
My main objective is to know Him but if I’m ever going to know Him, I going to have to know the Bible.
The Bible is not the objective; the Bible is the means to the accomplishing of the objective.
Just to know the Bible, in itself, doesn’t mean anything unless the God of the Bible becomes all that He wants to be through His revelation in my life! So my goal is not to know the Bible, my goal is to know Him, but in order to know Him I have to know His Word!
So my objective, though it is located in the spiritual arena, becomes very real, practical and a specific conviction as I live it out!
As a Christian what are your goals? Do you have a specific objective? Someone might say, “Yeah, my objective is to win my unsaved spouse or friend to Jesus Christ” & that’s a good objective.
The question is; are you willing to pay any price to do that? Do you have the courage to follow that conviction and sacrifice your own self-will, your own pleasure, time, money, or anything else for that objective?
“My objective,” somebody might say, “is to be in the ministry and to serve God.” If that’s the case ask yourself; Am I willing to make any and every sacrifice to accomplish that?
When I’m told that statement; I always think of the Bible teacher CH Spurgeon; One day a young man came to him and said, “I’d give the world to be able to teach like that,” and Spurgeon replied, “Good, that’s what it’ll cost you!”
You see a real conviction will not allow itself to be diverted from the goal. Therefore you can tell how deep a person’s conviction is by how fast you can get them off the track.
A genuine conviction knows its purpose; there’s an objective in place; with that there becomes a supernatural courage that can’t be diverted
If you have never had an objective or goal to know Jesus; you’re not going anywhere!
You’ll never have the occasion to know what it is to have a conviction for spiritual things or express God given courage, to be able to set your will aside no matter what it cost to accomplish what it is that God’s laid on your heart.
A convicting courage concerning spiritual things can only come to a person who knows Jesus Christ as Savior. And only by knowing him and Gods awesome grace it will