SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
21:1 After we tore ourselves away from them, we put out to sea, and sailing a straight course, we came to Cos, on the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 2 We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went aboard, and put out to sea. 3 After we sighted Cyprus and left it behind on our port side, we sailed on to Syria and put in at Tyre because the ship was to unload its cargo there. 4 After we located the disciples, we stayed there seven days. They repeatedly told Paul through the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem. 5 When our time was over, we left and went on our way. All of them, with their wives and children, accompanied us outside of the city. After kneeling down on the beach and praying, 6 we said farewell to one another. Then we went aboard the ship, and they returned to their own homes. 7 We continued the voyage from Tyre and arrived at Ptolemais, and when we had greeted the brothers, we stayed with them for one day. 8 On the next day we left and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 (He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.)
10 While we remained there for a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 He came to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it, and said, “The Holy Spirit says this: ‘This is the way the Jews in Jerusalem will tie up the man whose belt this is and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” 12 When we heard this, both we and the local people begged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul replied, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be tied up, but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 Because he could not be persuaded, we said no more except, “The Lord’s will be done.”
15 After these days we got ready and started up to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea came along with us too, and brought us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, a disciple from the earliest times, with whom we were to stay. 17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us gladly. 18 The next day Paul went in with us to see James, and all the elders were there. 19 When Paul had greeted them, he began to explain in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all ardent observers of the law. 21 They have been informed about you—that you teach all the Jews now living among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22 What then should we do? They will no doubt hear that you have come. 23 So do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow; 24 take them and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself live in conformity with the law. 25 But regarding the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter, having decided that they should avoid meat that has been sacrificed to idols and blood and what has been strangled and sexual immorality.” 26 Then Paul took the men the next day, and after he had purified himself along with them, he went to the temple and gave notice of the completion of the days of purification, when the sacrifice would be offered for each of them.