Acts 21:15
Notice -

I. THE DECIDED ADVANCE IN THE MINDS OF THE LEADING DISCIPLES AMONG THE JEWS.

1. They gladly welcomed Paul, and heard his narrative of missionary work, which included labor among the Gentiles. They glorified God for it.

2. They made no demand upon Paul as to renouncing his advanced position, but acquiesced in it.

3. They must have resisted the extreme Judaistic party in order to do so.

II. THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE TIMID POLICY OF THE JAMES PARTY AND PAUL HIMSELF. They feared for him. He feared nothing for himself. Their advice was dictated by prudence, but it wrought more evil than good in result.

III. THE NOBLE EXAMPLE OF SELF-ABNEGATION AND CONCILIATION. Paul yielded to their advice, to show that the reports about him were false, and that his free position allowed him both to observe the Law and not to observe it, as expediency might dictate, because he regarded it as no longer necessary to salvation. He became a Jew to the Jews, to save the Jews. The true firmness is not obstinacy, prejudice, self-assertion, bigotry, but distinguishes between the essential and non-essential. Perhaps it was the wiser way to let the weaker brethren be convinced by the facts how hopeless it was to save Judaism.

IV. GREAT PURPOSES OF GOD ARE FULFILLLED THROUGH THE ERRORS AND INFIRMITIES OF HIS PEOPLE. Paul would meet Jewish accusations all the more firmly though his appearance in the temple put the torch to the pile. - R.







And after those days we took up our carriages and went to Jerusalem.
(Children's Sermon): — This would read like a scene at a railway station only for the fact that carriages are not taken up, but take up. But in the Bible, the word "carriage" means the act of carrying, and carriages what is carried (Judges 18:21; 1 Samuel 17:22; Isaiah 10:28); just as luggage means what has to be lugged about.

I. WE HAVE ALL GOT BUNDLES TO CARRY. You know how it is in travelling. A good many things can be packed away in trunks, but some must be carried in the hand. How many things we have to carry in life — as children our toys, when bigger our school books, when men things for family comforts, etc., and he is a poor creature who is ashamed to be seen carrying a bundle home to his Jerusalem. Then think how much ships have to carry, and armies. The word "impediment" comes from impedimenta, the baggage belonging to a Roman army. And what a lot of things have to be carried when we move from one house to another. But besides all these we have duties and responsibilities — big and little — which must be carried; and it seems as though some people had more than their share, while others dodge their duties, as "leaders" in a stage coach seem to do, leaving all the hard work to the "wheelers." But never shirk a duty when once it has been made plain.

II. EVERY MAN MUST CARRY HIS OWN BUNDLE. St. Paul says, "Bear ye one another's burdens,...for every man shall bear his own burden" — i.e., we ought to help others because when we have done our utmost in this way we shall have enough to do to answer for ourselves. When we are out on a large party each has his own umbrella, handbag, etc.; but there are packages containing things belonging to all. Now it would not be right to simply carry our own things and refuse a helping hand to the rest. Yet sometimes you see selfish people leaving everything, even their own bundles, to others; now Paul was not like this. He was too self-reliant, too generous, too courteous. When seemingly utterly overburdened with his own duties and troubles, he said, "Look not every man on his own things, but also on the things of others," and himself set the example.

III. WE MUST CARRY OUR BUNDLES IN SPITE OF TEMPTATIONS TO LAY THEM DOWN. It is very easy to discourage and to be discouraged. When you have been on an errand and were carrying things home, have you never met with companions who said, "Wait a bit and have a game"? Or when you have had a hard lesson have you not heard a voice saying, "You will never learn it in time; why then trouble?" Bunyan tells us how much Christian was discouraged by the report of Timorous and Mistrust about lions in the path. So it was with Paul. On this journey to Jerusalem he was constantly meeting with people who said, "Don't go." And how many people there are who would have replied, "Perhaps you are right," and have laid down their bundles. Never do that, but persist in carrying your bundle to your journey's end, in doing your duty until it is completely done.

(Wilberforce Newton.)

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