Sermon in a nutshell: “Do not go into Jerusalem” (Acts 21:1-14)
Our life is a journey. In our faith journey, we have faced many challenges. We have kept our journey though because we have had this conviction that this journey has been worth taking. Our goal has not been the winners of the race but faithful servants of the Kingdom of God.
When the apostle Paul had his mission trip, he knew that he would not get any reward in this world. The only things that he could expect on earth were persecution and death. Everywhere he went he was warned by the friends and colleagues that he would expect attacks. However, Paul did not stop what he was called to do just because he would have hardship. He continued his journey from Rhodes to Patara, from Cyprus to Syria. Then finally he decided to travel from Tyre to Jerusalem.
When he was about to leave for Jerusalem, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. He took Paul’s belt, bound his own feet and hands with it, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is the way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” When people heard this, the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
I believe this is the attitude that all of our church members have demonstrated for years and years. None of us come to church to be winners of faith race. We have given our time and talent for the ministries of our church. We have faithfully made pledges and given offerings to make the mission and ministry possible here in our community. Sometimes we have given substantially to the point where we are hurt financially. However we could not ignore the need of the ministry and we could not turn down the request of the outside agencies. We have been caught by the Spirit and compelled by the amazing grace of God.
Paul knew that he was going to die in Jerusalem. Why didn’t he stop? Because he had faith in resurrection after he met the risen Jesus death was not something that he feared. He knew exactly what was waiting for him after death. His real concern was for what and in what way he would die.
Do we not have the same faith and attitude like Paul? We all know that we are going to die sooner or later. However, death is not a threat to us because we all know that what is going to happen after death. Our true concern is how to die and for what to die. We all are looking for meaning in life and cause for death. We do not want to waste a day. The time that we waste today is the time that the person who died yesterday wanted so desperately to have. We keep asking ourselves where we should use that precious time that God has given to us. We keep reminding us of the fact that we want to give our money to the most important cause, saving lives, eternal lives!
After the people realized that Paul had firm resolution, they said to him, “The Lord’s will be done.” That was the final prayer that our Lord Jesus also had at the garden of Gethsemane. We can find the model prayer here. Our Lord Jesus and followers of Jesus all said at the last moment the same thing: Not my will but the LORD’s will be done!
We pray the same prayer when we make our next year plan. We do not know how much time we still have. We do not know what is going to happen next month. We know, however, that whatever happens we trust God. We know that our time and our money is in the hands of God whom we trust. So, we pledge our offering for next year and our time to serve in ministries we share the same confession: Not my will but the LORD’s will be done.
- What would be your pledge for the next year for the ministry of God?
- What would be your legacy that you leave for the next generation?