September 20, 2020
“Bound By the Spirit” Acts 20:22-24
On September 20th, 2020, Pastor Eric spoke on “Bound By the Spirit”.
Watch video here:
If you are a believer here today, chances are you are seeking God’s complete and perfect will for your life.
And people who do seek His will, they realize that they are not an accident, you are not an accident.
You were placed on this earth by an intentional God who has a plan for your life no matter how old you are.
How many of you believe this?
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.
This verse is showing us that we have a destiny. That God has planned for us long ago.
Jeremiah 29:11 a verse that you may know by heart;
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord…
Let that verse sink in to you.
Because if He knows the plans He has for you, that means He’s put some time into this.
It involved some reflexion, some work, some thought.
God didn’t just do you on fly even though if He did it would still be perfect,
he didn’t just wing it.
He planned this.
One more verse about this.
God speaks to Jeremiah before he becomes a great Old Testament Prophet and says to him:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
Before you took your first breath, before you said your first words, before you said dada, mama, papa, before you took your first steps and your first fall, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. I picked you, I set you apart, I reserved you for a task.
I want to remind you this morning that you were created on purpose for a purpose.
That you are not some random person who just exists and survives.
God knew you. God knows you, and God has a plan for you.
However, that being said, I’m also very aware that there are some people who start-off seeking God’s will for their lives, then align themselves in the centre of God’s will once they know what it is,
they start moving in the will of God but they don’t necessarily end in the will of God.
Are you following?
They start well but don’t necessarily end well.
And it could be for a multitude of reasons why they start off well but don’t end well.
Maybe they started well but met some hardship along the way that made them quit.
Maybe it’s fear, and in a time where our world has a lot of unknowns; are we really in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic? Are we going in another lock down? Are we going to shut our economy again?
In a time of uncertainties, fears, anger – I’ve never in my life time seen so many people angry at the same time for different reason.
Now, I’m not suggesting that it’s wrong to be angry for some of the things I’m going to mention here I’m just making an observation.
But some are angry about a certain decision, angry about politics, angry at a certain country, angry about wearing a masks, angry about people not wearing masks, angry about restrictions,angry about lack of restrictions, angry about justice, angry about a lack of justice, angry about everything.
Some people don’t know why they are angry they just are.
In the times we live in, I want to call the church to three things:
To have a greater FOCUS
There are so many battles out there that are not our battle – church!
They only serve as a distraction to make us fight the wrong fight.
There are some churches at this very moment that are divided because they starting engaging in the wrong fight with each other.
Turn to your neighbour and say fight the good fight of faith!
I’m calling us to be focused.
To stay FAITHFUL to our call
And thirdly, to:
Run the race right to the end.
It’s not about finishing first and how fast you can finish. It’s about finishing well.
And FINISH well.
Now, to do this, I’d like to propose that for us to finish well, we need to be “Bound By The Spirit” other translations say compelled by the Spirit.
You’ve heard of being bound by addictions, bound by drugs, bound by sin, bound by chains ect…
And so the idea that we have those two words “bound” and “Spirit” together is kind of strange.
We know from Scripture and personal testimonies that where the Spirit is, there is freedom.
There is deliverance from bondage, there is liberty. We are set free.
So what do we mean here when we say “bound by the Spirit”?
Turn with me to : Acts chapter 20.
I believe that if we learn to be “bound by the Spirit”, “compelled by the Spirit”, not only are we going to end in the will of God, but during the difficult and challenging times we live in we are going to finish well.
The Apostle Paul was concluding his third missionary journey. He was about to give his farewell to the Ephesian elders and he said:
22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
We learn a few things here from Paul’s experience about finishing well.
Not every where you are meant to go will be easy
And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem,
Maybe you don’t know this but Jerusalem was a tuff spot.
It’s where Jesus died.
It’s where lots of prophets before him died.
And even listen to what Jesus said about Jerusalem in Luke 13:34 NIV
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
This is one of the descriptions Jesus gave of Jerusalem.
You who kills the prophets.You who stone those sent to you…
Now, to make things worse or more challenging, every city Paul went, he received a prophecy.
And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
8 On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we 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 were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem.
So Jerusalem, that is where Paul is heading.
That is where Paul is compelled by the Spirit to go.
And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.
Paul reminds us that not everywhere we are meant to go will be easy and comfortable.
And this is important for us to know.
Because some quit when the going gets tuff.
They leave ministry.
They leave their God given call.
They abort their God given destiny when they are met with hardship.
They leave their marriage.
They quit their jobs. They leave their responsibilities.
They quit praying.
They quit Church. You know, one of the most quoted scriptures in the Bible is found in Hebrews 10:25
not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
This verse was given during a time of hardship, a time of great persecution. People stopped assembling together by fear of persecution.
And I’m not saying that there’s not a season for everything. Sometimes God will ask you to leave a place, a city, a job for something else just like Paul was about to leave them.
But please don’t quit because it’s hard.
Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit.
I want to call you to be resilient in those difficult times.
The second thing we learn from Paul’s personal experience in order to finish well is:
When God calls you to go forward, it may require you to leave something behind
Acts chapter 20 is a pretty interesting chapter to read.
It’s start with Paul teaching until midnight to the point that a guy named Eutychus fell asleep during Paul’s preaching.
Some say it was because of the kind of lamps they were using.
But they stayed up until midnight to hear Paul speak.
And the guy who fell asleep fell to the ground from the third story of a building.
He was picked dead.
So Paul goes to him, he throws himself on him and the guy comes back to life and he goes back upstairs.
Then, he goes back and teach until day light.
He then left that group and moved on to another group to see the Ephesian Elders.
He gave them a few exhortations.
A few warnings.
He tells them that he is leaving to go to Jerusalem.
And Paul is leaving them in a good season.
They love Paul and Paul loves them.
But he had to leave them in order to go to Jerusalem.
He left them because he was compelled by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem.
This was a good time in Paul’s ministry.
And I wonder, how many of us have not advanced in our God-given destiny because we have prioritized comfort over calling.
You feel the Spirit leading you, compelling you to do something, to make a change, to give, but then you evaluate if it’s going to be comfortable or risky and you choose comfort over call, over being compelled by the Spirit.
Therefore, you are not moving forward.
God wants to take us further but there are things anchoring us down in the same spot.
And now I can’t go to Jerusalem, because I’m busy here.
I’m stuck here.
I’m anchored down here.
I feel the Spirit is compelling me to go to Jerusalem, but when I start considering how good I have it here…
I got so many friends.
People like me here.
I’m comfortable here.
And to leave it all for a more challenging a difficult season, I don’t know if I can leave it.
I wonder if some of us have stopped moving forward in our race, in our God given journey because we are anchored down with other things.
When God calls you to go forward, it may require you to leave something behind.
It’s going to be different for every one here.
Some it maybe a relationship that’s anchoring you down.
Others, it could be a habit, a career, maybe it’s how you spend your time maybe you’re going to have to rearrange it so you have time for God.
I agree with
Elizabeth Elliot that said:
If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.
See Paul was so committed to Jesus that even his own life took the back seat in order to be available to serve Christ.
He put Christ first.
And so it was easy to not let anything anchor him down.
Be determined to finish well.
And pray that nothing will anchor you down from moving forward in your God given destiny, even hardship.
And this is the heart of this message.
The Holy Spirit can help you finish well
22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there…
He probably had a lot of questions, he just knew the Spirit was compelling him to go.
See, it’s much easier to go and finish well when you allow yourself to be bound by the HS
The word for bound in the original language is :
Deó = to tie, bind.
So in other words, Paul allowed the Holy Spirit to tie him up so he could go where he wants him to.
And my prayer today is that there would be men and women, young adults, students, children, singles, married, seniors who would give permission to the Holy Spirit to bind them.
To say this bold prayer to God,
God, do whatever you want to do with my life
Send me wherever you want to send me
Use me however you want to use me
But please don’t allow me to be anchored down
To be unavailable when you call me.
No matter how tuff and how challenging this short moment in regards to eternity we may go through.
If you live being compelled by the Spirit, you will make it to the finish line and hear the words of the master say, “well done, good and faithful servant”.