Grace Baptist Church Decatur, IL

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Apostle Paul

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Go To Acts: The Church Handbook Series

Inside the Heart of the Apostle Paul

Acts 20:18-38


We find…

1.     Faithfulness

We discussed on Sunday the need for faithfulness…to our families, in our finances, to the fellowship of the church, and to the faith.


Entire sermon on #1 here, complete with PowerPoint Presentation.


2.     Humility

v. 19        In spite of all his greatness, Paul was a humble man.  He is perhaps the greatest Christian in all of the Bible, but didn’t strut around saying, “Yes, I’m Paul, writer of half the New Testament…from Romans and Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and maybe Hebrews! J”  No, here’s what he said…


I Cor. 15:9

    For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.


Eph. 3:8

    Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;


I Tim. 1:15

    This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.


Humility means you are aware that you are unworthyYou understand that apart from Christ you are nothing and can do nothing.


It’s not in talents…but in the touch of God.  It’s so easy when God blesses us to develop an over-inflated opinion of ourselves.  We “glory” in it…but God is the One Who deserves the glory!


Joke—flea on the back of an elephant…they crossed a wooden bridge.  On the other side, the flea whispered in the elephant’s ear, “did you feel her move when we walked across?!”


Humility is tough to cultivate in your life, esp. if God does something great thru you!

Ill.—woodpecker working on a tree, then it got struck by lightning, obliterating it into a smoking, splinterery mess.  He flew away in shock, came back after a few minutes w/ 5 other woodpeckers and said, “there it is boys, right over there!”

        And isn’t that the way we are when God does something great and we’re nearby?  We get to thinkin’ we’ve done something!  No, “He that is mighty hath done great things…glory to His name!”


Without Him, we can do nothing.  Jesus said in John 15, “I am the vine, and ye are the branches.”


II Cor. 3:5-8

    Not that we are sufficient of [adequate by] ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

    Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. [7] But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: [8] How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?


Paul says, it’s the Holy Spirit that does the work.  I understand that we should work hard, and try to use every tool at our disposal, and we should work like it all depends on us…but thru it all we must pray like it all depends on God, for it does!


3.     Compassion

v. 19        “with many tears”


Some men think it’s not manly to cry.  This man Paul was no weak minded man/basket case/crybaby…he was one of the greatest men of all time.  He was a man’s man, brave and bold as a lion, enduring incredible things for the cause of Christ.  Beaten on several occasions and tortured, imprisoned, maligned and stoned.  He never backed up and never backed down.  Never gave up and never gave in…he was a tough cookie!


Yet, in spite of all of his toughness and tenacity, he had a heart of compassion.


v. 31        “with tears”

v. 37-38   3 things made Paul cry, and the same 3 things ought to bring us to tears


·       Paul wept at the very thought of backslidden Christians—living in sin.


II Cor. 2:4

    For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.


This is a reference to I Cor…his 1st letter to them.  Have you read I Cor. Lately?  It’s a scathing rebuke!  He rebukes their schisms and cliques, for taking one another to court, for sexual immorality, for abusing spiritual gifts and not following the rules of tongues…but he did not write it mad, but in love.  And his tears stained every page.

        When is the last time you wept over an erring believer/backslidden Christian, rather than gossiping about them or feeling superior to them?  When is the last time you went to someone away from God and w/ tears begged them to get right w/ God?


·       Paul wept at the very thought of the threat of false teachers


v. 31       

v. 29-30           This is what he was crying about! 


It breaks my heart each time someone leaves this church and ends up somewhere not so founded on the Bible.  Sometimes they’re led astray by false doctrine…some of them don’t look at doctrine, just programs, buildings, etc.  “Blown about by every wind…”


Ill.—recently a preacher went on Christian television and said he’s decided God will not send anyone to hell, for Jesus died for the whole world.  He reasoned that Hitler killed 6 million and said, “acc’d to your theology, God won’t send millions to hell, but billions.  Are you saying God is worse that Hitler.”  That’s blasphemy, that’s heresy. 


He went on to say “who are you to say that millions in China aren’t going to heaven just because they don’t believe in Jesus?”  But it’s not us who said it…Jesus is the One Who said, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”!


So why do we reach out locally and thru missions?


Then he undermines his whole point by saying, call the # on your screen to donate so we can continue to reach our world…just use your VISA or MasterCard!


That’s the kind of heresy that brought Paul to tears, just as did Christians living in sin…


·       Paul wept at the very thought of people going to hell


Romans 9:2-3

    That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. [3] For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:


That’s a powerful statement.  He wanted people to be saved so badly that he would be willing to go to hell.

        Would you ever say that about anyone?  Your child…your spouse…you mom or dad?  That’s eternal…so what do you say?


Listen…we’re not asked to go to hell for them, be baptized for them, etc…but rather to pray for them and weep for them.  How could we not weep at the thought of them burning in a Christless hell for all eternity?!


“Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save!”


Compassion can do what nothing else can do.


Jude 22

    And of some have compassion, making a difference:


Psalm 126:5-6

    They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. [6] He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.


Ill.—the poorest of the poor can be clean, use soap, etc.  And when we look into Paul’s heart and we see faithfulness…and anyone can be faithful.  Then we see humility and compassion…also choices we can make.  No special talents necessary, the only qualification is willingness to let God do spiritual surgery on us and mold our hearts in His image.

Inside the Heart of the Apostle Paul

Acts 20:18


We find…


1.     Faithfulness


2.     H______________  v. 19, I Cor. 15:9, Eph. 3:8, I Tim. 1:15


        You are aware that you are u______________


        You understand that apart from Christ you are n____________


        It’s not in t____________…but in the t________ of God 

        II Cor. 3:5-8


        We should w______ like it all depends on u__…but p______ like it    all depends on G____


3.     C__________________  v. 19, v. 31, v. 37-38     


3 things made Paul cry…


·       Paul wept at the very thought of b____________________ Christians  II Cor. 2:4


·       Paul wept at the very thought of the threat of f________ t______________  v. 31, v. 29-30         


·       Paul wept at the very thought of p__________ g________ t__ h______ Romans 9:2-3, Jude 22, Psalm 126:5-6


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All Sermons and Slideshow Presentations Copyright Jerry Shirley and Grace Notes Ministries unless otherwise credited.