FaithPoint, I hope that you are doing well this week and I hope that you are filled with anticipation and expectation for Sunday. For your personal devotion and study time, I have included the notes from last week’s sermon.
The title of this sermon is: If God Wills.
We all make plans. Plans for continuing education, plans for the weekend, plans for vacation, plans to go to this or that conference, plans to go shopping, plans to visit family, plans to get married or go on mission trips.
We already know that God is sovereign. God in his providence has already determined the course of history. So, the Bible says that God is in control of every person, every thing, every outcome of every situation that has ever been or ever will be.
The Bible is not against making plans but is very clear that our plans need to be open handed. In other words, make plans that honor God yet be willing to change them if God should call you to something else. Plan in pencil.
18. many days longer – This in addition to the year and a half that Paul has already been there. We do not know why God wanted Paul to stay. From Paul’s previous stops to share the gospel and plant churches, it is safe to say that he most likely continued to share the gospel and discipled and encouraged the church.
Priscilla and Aquila went with him when God allowed him to leave Corinth. They desired to accompany Paul on his journey. About 6.5 miles east of Corinth is Cenchrea. This is Corinth’s main port to the Aegean Sea. While in Cenchrea, Paul cuts his hair signifying that the time of his vow was over. The kind of vow Paul was under was probably the Nazarite vow. You can read about it in Numbers 6:1-21.
19. In Ephesus, Paul leaves Aquila and Priscilla most likely because they are disciples and they could be of service to the church by making disciples in Ephesus.
Paul preaches to the Jews in their own synagogue. The Jews in Corinth, opposed and reviled Paul. When a messenger of the gospel is opposed or reviled, it is not the messenger people oppose but the gospel itself. The messenger just happens to be the person that they take their anger and frustrations out on.
20-21. As always, Paul made the first offer of the gospel to the Jews in Ephesus. They were so responsive to Paul and the gospel that they asked him to stay with them longer. They did not want to persecute him. They wanted him to teach them. They wanted to be instructed on how to apply Scripture. They wanted to be discipled. They wanted to learn about the gospel. These Jews remind us of the Berean church. When people desire to learn and grow in the things of Christ, it is an encouragement to the preacher.
However, Paul declined their invitation. Paul had to go. Paul jumped on to a boat and sailed out of Ephesus.
22-23. Paul reaches Caesarea and heads up to Jerusalem. There was a feast going on in Jerusalem around this time. It is not known really why Paul goes to Jerusalem but to share stories and hang out with the apostles would be easily assumed. Paul leaves Jerusalem and goes to Antioch. This is the church that Paul holds dear to his heart.
Paul leaves Antioch and then travels all over Galatia and Phyrgia strengthening the disciples. Paul is preaching, teaching, discipling, and encouraging the disciples in these cities.
Let’s focus on verse 21:
Paul says, “If God wills.”
The Bible is fine with making plans. However, the Bible says that fools do not heed advice, they do not make plans, they think their way is right and they will go that way to their own destruction.
James shows that God’s sovereignty trumps humans ignorance, presumptions, and arrogance.
Our times are in God’s hands. All of our plans should be made in submission to the will of God.
Plan with Prayer
Plan. Plan well. Plan in accordance to Scripture. Realize that your plans are not carved in stone and are always subject to change. If God’s providence should allow your plans to be kept, then good, but if God should direct the course of your life in a different direction and your plans do not come to pass, then you are fine with that because it is not about you. It is all about Jesus. You are a disciple of Jesus and therefore live your life in submission to Him.
Prayer helps you to be certain in your plans. You do not plan based on emotions and you do not plan haphazardly.
Seek Biblical counsel in your plans.