Acts 20:1 – 21:36
As the Bible reveals to us that human are living souls. They are spiritual beings. Even though sin has permeated in all areas of their lives, but they still are image bearers of God. The salvation from God to human is set them free from the bondage of sin. If they were freed from the influence of the evil spirits or demons, they will receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They will become alive and bear the fruit of life.
The Book of Acts starts with the command from Jesus to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Since Pentecost the Spirit is empowering presence of God. He enabled the church to spread the gospel among Jews and Gentiles. Many churches were stablished in many cities in the Asia Minor, Asia, Syria, and Palestine. The multiple down pouring of the Holy Spirit in several places according to the Book of Acts were providing land marks of spreading of the gospel according to Acts 1:8.
Now, Acts 20 and 21 were records of Paul at the end of his third missionary journey. He was traveling with a mission team passing through churches that were planted and established by him. The emphasis on this mini-series is on “spiritual connectedness.” These church leaders were clearly demonstrating what Spirit-led ministry and leadership is like. In all these cases the presence of the Holy Spirit was the key element in making church history.
In the following study of the Scripture, we can learn of many spiritual principles that can guard our focus on Spirit-led ministry.
Connected Team Spirit [Acts 20:1-16; 6-12 Love (V)]: While coming to the end of his third missionary journey, Paul was assisted by seven brothers from different background to leave Ephesus after the riot. His final destination was Jerusalem. The first stop was through Macedonia and Greece. Paul rushed through Troas due to time restring. Paul met in one Spirit with believers until last at night, even after the accident of Eutychus.
Spiritual Leadership [Acts 20:17-38; 20:17-24 Faithfulness (V)]: Paul called the elders from Ephesus to meet at Miletus. Paul used his spiritual leadership as an example to the elders. They will serve as spiritual leaders of the appointed church by the Holy Spirit. Paul instructed them the duty of an overseer as they have learnt to develop their giving spirit in the teaching of Jesus (20:35).
Spiritual fellowship [Acts 21:1-16; 21:10-14 Give away your life (P)]: While Paul was traveling through Syria, the certainty of Paul will suffer in Jerusalem were shared by both the daughters of Philip and also Agabus from Jerusalem. Yet Paul insisted that he must go to Jerusalem for he was compelled by the Holy Spirit too. A good lesson to learn about spiritual fellowship is to respect the detail of the prophecy and the personal conviction of the individual who received the message.
A spirit of mutual respect [Acts 21:17-26; 21:24-25 Biblical community (B)]: As Paul has arrived at Jerusalem, he right away paid respect to the local leaders by reporting what he had done on his assignment. He then took the advice from them to do what is right in the eyes of the local. This passage established a very important principle of mutual respect and accountability to the local church leadership, especially the apostleship. (As for Rev. Wong preaching: Acts 20-21)
The spirit of deception [Acts 21:27-36; 21:27-29 Biblical authority (B)]: Even though Paul had the right things respectfully, the authority in Jerusalem had stirred up a riot against him. In this riot we can learn of disconnectedness came from demonic influences. The religious authority and the people of the city were deceived by the half-truth. Their emotions were being aroused. Violent was employed. And yet God used the power of Roman army to rescue Paul out of such danger situation. God is in control of everything.