Costly Discipleship – Part One
– Having said a tearful goodbye to the Elders at Ephesus, Paul heads for Jerusalem knowing that suffering and imprisonment await him.
– Paul’s journey to Jerusalem shows us what it means to count the cost of following Jesus Christ. Paul models costly discipleship in two ways: 1) His Inflexibility (vv. 1-16); 2) His Flexibility (vv. 17-26)
I. Paul’s Inflexibility (vv. 1-16)
1) The Compassion of the Church (vv. 4, 10-12)
- The believers love Paul and desire that he would be spared from any suffering
- Paul’s suffering in Jerusalem is continually predicted through the Prophetic Gift
- The well intentioned warnings from these believers are reminiscent of Peter’s words to Jesus (cf. Matt 16:21-23)
2) The Courage of the Apostle (v. 13, cf. 20:22-25)
- Paul is travelling to Jerusalem under the compulsion of the Spirit (cf. 20:22)
- Paul’s final journey to Jerusalem parallels Jesus final journey to Jerusalem (cf. Luke 9:51)
- Paul understood that suffering was an integral part of his gospel ministry (cf. 9:15-16; Colossians 1:24)
Application: Do we have a Biblical perspective or a worldly perspective on suffering?
3) A Perspective on Prophecy
- Prophecy is a gift of the Spirit that will remain active until the return of Jesus Christ (Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 12:27-31, 13:8-10)
- The New Testament gift of prophecy is best understood as “telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology)
- Prophetic utterances are NOT of equal authority with Inspired Scripture (Acts 21:4)
- They must be sifted and tested against the Scriptures (1 Cor 14:29-38; 1 Thess 5:19-21)
- Our interpretation of what the Spirit is saying to us is fallible (open to error)
- The Spirit accurately revealed that Paul would be imprisoned, but the Church’s interpretation of that message was clearly inaccurate
- Some of the fine details of Agabus’ prophecy are inaccurate
Application: Do not despise the gift of prophecy (1 Thess 5:19-21), but do not abuse it either! The Word and the Spirit must always be held together.