Acts – Paul the Apostle – Wayne Barber/Part 11
By: Dr. Wayne Barber
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1992|
|Well, we have looked at the integrity of his testimony, the integrity of his burden, and the integrity of his message. I want you to see something that I trust will bless your heart. The integrity of his desires. You know, a missionary is just someone surrendered to Jesus, whether it is across the street or around the world. Don’t ever think that just because a person has gone overseas that qualifies him to be a missionary.|
Paul, the Missionary – Part 10
Turn with me to Acts 20. As a matter of fact, after we finish this study, Paul will be moving on to another place. He is in the seaport city of Miletus. Find Asia on your map and go down to the left. You will find Ephesus. Right below Ephesus is Miletus. So far we have seen him as a man and as a missionary. We have examined his integrity and his burden. We have looked at other things that are in this chapter.
There is one thing we have not done. If you have a pencil you might want to write these things down. There are some dates you need to have. Now we cannot document these dates. However, so much of scripture has been documented historically. Obviously, it is historically true. There are some dates you can pinpoint.
Most scholars believe that Paul was born in AD 2. Most of them believe that. He was born again in AD 35. This will give you an idea of where we are right now as he is there at that seaport city of Miletus. He was born again in AD35. We cannot document that date for sure. However, we do have the account of his being born from above in Acts 9:1-7, Acts 22:3-16 and Acts 24:4-18. All of those give an account of his meeting the Lord Jesus on the Damascus Road.
We studied his first missionary journey in Acts 13:2-14:28. It most likely began in April AD 48 and went through the fall of AD 49, which would have made him about 47 years old when he finished that journey. It was right after he returned to Antioch of Syria. Remember Antioch of Syria was his home base. There is where most people believe he wrote the book of Galatians. That makes a lot of sense, because right after that, he goes to the Jerusalem council and argues that Gentiles do not need to be circumcised and be back up under the Law. They are saved by grace. That takes us through his first missionary journey and up to AD 49. He would have been about 47 years old.
His second missionary journey we find in Acts 15:36-18:22. It probably began in the spring of AD 50. Remember, this is the one where he goes over into Macedonia. It lasted through the fall of AD 52. Now from Corinth, he wrote, in the summer of AD 51, 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Remember, he went to Thessalonica, and then he came back and wrote those two letters to those believers. Well, he was there then. He had been there in the fall of AD 50, and so his second journey started there in the spring of AD 50 and goes through the fall of AD 52.
His third missionary journey that we are currently studying is found in Acts 18:23-21:14. You realize we have got 14 more verses, and then we will be through with his third journey. Then we will see him go into prison. It began probably in AD 53 and lasted until May of AD 57, which would have made him 55 years old at the end of that. He begins in Ephesus where most think he wrote 1 Corinthians, probably in AD 56. Remember he was there for three years, AD 53 to 56. Now, he went to Macedonia later in AD 56, and there he writes, most people believe, 2 Corinthians. First Corinthians was written in Ephesus, and 2 Corinthians was written in Macedonia. Then he went to Greece and then Corinth where he stayed for three months. Most people believe that it was in Corinth that he wrote the book of Romans. Now, from Corinth, he hears about a plot to kill him. He is going to make his way right over to Jerusalem but finds out about a plot to kill him. So he goes north, goes up to Philippi, crosses over to Troas and comes on down to Miletus where we find him in Acts 20. We will be looking in verses 33-38. This probably is in March or April of AD 57. Paul was probably about 55 years old.
Well, we have looked at the integrity of his testimony, the integrity of his burden, and the integrity of his message. I want you to see something that I trust will bless your heart. The integrity of his desires. You know, a missionary is just someone surrendered to Jesus, whether it is across the street or around the world. Don’t ever think that just because a person has gone overseas that qualifies him to be a missionary. No, sir. Every one of us are missionaries when we say yes to Jesus. We are all ministers when we say yes to Jesus. Here is the question: How does a missionary, a surrendered believer, deal with the desires to have the things of this world? I want us to look at that. How do they handle that?
You know, I am so grateful to have furloughed missionaries living in our mission house. It is so much fun to see them just enjoy what God has done to provide that place for them to live in. You have to realize what they don’t have back on the mission field. What a joy to know that we can provide a place for them like we have here. The question would come to all of us: Are they going to be ready to go back to the field? How does a missionary handle it? How do they handle the desires of this world?
I was talking to our Romanian missionaries when they came over. He said he just kind of looked down his nose sometimes at Christians because he saw us have so much over here. He said it wasn’t six months until he was in the same rut that we are in, wanting this and wanting that and having to have this and having to go over here. How do you handle that? How do you deal with something that is very real to all of us? For a person to say they never have a struggle with it is for a person just to be dishonest from the very beginning. All of us have it. We live in a world that has things. How does a missionary handle his desires towards the things of this world? How does a surrendered believer like Paul handle that desire?
There are three things in verses 33-38 that I think will be a blessing to your heart. We are not Paul, and it may work differently in our life, but at least we can look at him and how he handled this very difficult area of his life. First of all, in verse 33, he did not covet what others had. “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes.” That word “covet” there is the word you will be familiar with. It comes from epithumia, which is actually the noun. It’s a verb in verse 33. “I did not covet.’ It is the word translated in many other places as “lust.” It is the word that means to set your affections on something. It is the word that means to set your mind so much on something that it takes a hold of you, and you have to have it.
This kind of covetousness is that like an 800 pound parrot that says, “Polly wants a cracker. NOW!” That is exactly what coveting is. That is the best way I know how to explain it. It is something that drives you; it compels you; and it absolutely obsesses you. How did Paul say that? He said, “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or their clothes.”
Well, you may be surprised to know that Paul had some weaknesses in his flesh. Most of the time when we read about biblical characters, we tend to think that they have arrived, especially the apostle Paul. We think of him as being somebody that none of us could ever reach as far as his lifestyle. I want to remind you that even Peter said that God has given us a like faith. We have exactly the same thing that Paul got, that Peter got, that all of them got in the New Testament. It is helpful sometimes to know that these were men. They had a heart of iron, but they had feet of clay, and they did have weaknesses just like you and I have weaknesses. You say, “Now, wait a minute. Paul is my hero. I didn’t know that he had any weaknesses.” Well, he did, but he allowed the Lord Jesus Christ to be his strength in that weakness.
Look back in Romans 7:7. Now remember, Romans was written in AD 57. That is important. Paul exposes something about his life. He is talking about the Law and how the Law came and how the Law exposed sin in his life. That is what the Law was for. The Law was to expose sin. He said when the Law came to him, something happened. Let’s look at that. “What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would have not come to know sin except through the Law.” This is why it is so important to understand why that old covenant and that temporary covenant of Law was there. The old covenant, being the Abrahamic Covenant, was an everlasting covenant. But the people of Israel continued to rebel against God, and God dealt with them. He covenanted with them, and they said, “Oh, Moses, go up on the mountain and tell the Lord we will do whatever He tells us to do.” That hung them, because once they were bound in that covenant, that covenant then revealed the fact that they were spiritually dead and sinful and unable to ever enter into the kingdom of God apart from His grace.
Well, look what it says, “I would not have come to know the sin except through the Law [now watch], for I would not have known about [What?] coveting.” Now, why would Paul pick out that one area in his life? I suggest to you that that was the weakness that Paul had. Paul was born, you know, over in Tarsus. He was a man who had an affluent lifestyle. He had the greatest of teachers. Watch what he says, “if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’” He said, “I all of a sudden realized I am coveting.” How did he know that? God’s Law came to him. The Word of God came to him, the Law of the Old Testament.
Verse 8 says, “But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law, sin is dead.” Now can you imagine Paul at the time that this came into his life? Can you imagine him thinking like people think today? Can you imagine him thinking, “Well, I tell you what, if the Law says I am not going to covet, then I am not going to covet.”? He wakes up the next morning and covet, covet, covet. “Now hold it. What is wrong with me? I can’t stop coveting.” He comes back, and he asks God to forgive him. He says, “I am not going to covet anymore.” Covet, covet, covet, covet. That’s exactly what happens. You can’t stop sinning in your life like that. Victory is not you overcoming sin. The covenant of grace teaches us victory is Jesus overcoming us. Boy, I am telling you, if you are still up under the Law, you are one miserable dude. You cannot whip it, but you can come to Jesus and admit it and confess it. The Lord Jesus in you will overcome you. Then you can begin to dismiss that urge that your flesh has to do those unlawful things.
Well, look in Romans 13. Something happened to Paul. The Law came to him. “Thou shalt not covet.” He said, “Well, I think I will just quit coveting in my life.” Covet, covet, covet. He couldn’t do it. In Chapter 13, look at what he says. It’s a little bit different. Something is going on in his life. He is beginning to see some victory here. Hey, he can’t stop it himself, but he can just love Jesus, focus on Jesus, and then Jesus in him can overcome it. It says in verse 14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Now, he didn’t have that before grace. He didn’t have that before he came to know the Lord Jesus Christ. He says, “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lust. Now, why didn’t they translate that coveting, because it is the same word we are dealing with? It means to make no regard, to make no place for it.
You know, over in Galatians 5, he says, “If I will just learn to obey the desires of the Spirit, I won’t fulfill the desires of my old flesh.” He didn’t say you won’t have them. Now, isn’t that good news? I think I wanted to stand up and shout when I found out that the temptation to sin was not the sin. Glory! Hallelujah! Man, I thought I hadn’t gotten anywhere. I thought I was backing up instead of going forward. These things would come into my mind. The world is like a magnet over a box of nails. When you put that magnet over those nails those nails go right up to it. That is the way our flesh is when the temptation of the world gets around us. Thanks be unto God, we don’t have to focus on that magnet of temptation. We don’t have to focus on those old lusts that are in our flesh. We just have to focus on Jesus and say, “Jesus, I can’t overcome sin, but I thank you that you can overcome me!”
I am going to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. The more you obey Him, the less you are going to fulfill the desires of your flesh. Well, Paul had seen that there was real victory in this area of his life. The Law came and revealed coveting in his life. Can you imagine the apostle Paul coveting? Folks, he was just like you and me. He was the same way. He got the same thing we have gotten. But now in Romans 13, he says, “put on the Lord Jesus.” I have learned something here.
Now look at Philippians 4:11 which was written in AD 61, even later than what we are studying right now. It is beautiful when you understand where this falls. You know this verse. I want you to notice very carefully what Paul said, because I believe it is important to our text. In verse 11 look at what he said. This is years later. He is in Miletus around AD 57. This is AD 61 at least. He says in verse 11, “Not that I speak from want; for I have learned.” Boy, I love that. I have learned something. God didn’t zap me in a meeting and make me spiritual. I had to learn this thing. I have learned it down through the road. What has he learned? “to be content in whatever circumstance I am in.” That word content means “self-sufficient,” but not in his own self. That is not what he is saying. He is saying, “There is one who lives within me. I don’t have to go outside of him to see my needs met. I have learned to be self-contained. I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am in.” Here is a man who when the Law came had revealed in him the biggest weakness of his life.
You know, somebody has said, and I have not yet found scripture to refute it, first of all, that there are three areas of sin that everybody has. I have never found it to be any different. One is immorality. A lot of people have that. They struggle with it from the time that it seems like they are children to the time they die. They go to the grave with it. All of us struggle with it, in some sense of the word, but some people with much more intensity.
Secondly, there is an area of rebellion or critical spirit, a bitter, bitter, anger. That is totally different from the one who has immorality. Remember when the prodigal son left and rebelled. When he came back out in the fields was his brother. What did his brother do? “Huh, I am not even going into the house. You did those things.”
Well, thirdly, there is the area of covetousness of material things. Now, I don’t know, maybe there are other areas, but it seems like all scripture, every time I see sin of any kind, it is sort of falls in one of those pockets somewhere. Well, here is a man by the name of the apostle Paul. He has his problem in that third area, in the area of covetousness, but he has learned in the covenant of grace, much different from that under Law. The Law came to him as a Pharisee and as a Jew. He couldn’t stop it. Now, being saved by that message of grace, he is learning to let Jesus handle that area in his life. Years later, he says, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am in.”
So Paul shows how this desire for material things. Yes, it is always resident in his flesh, but it has been conquered by the Lord Jesus. To give testimony to these Ephesian elders, he says, “When I was among you, you know and bear witness of the fact that I have coveted no one’s silver and no one’s gold and no one’s clothes.” For somebody else who had a problem with immorality to say that is no big deal, but that was the main area that Paul dealt with, and God had given him victory in that area.
I wonder how many of you have a problem in that area. That is one of the root problems in your life. Oh, you love to find somebody that has been divorced. You love to point your finger at them and say, “Look at those people. Look what they’ve done.” Watch out, buddy, there are three fingers pointing right back at you. You might be the biggest person in the world looking out for these material things. You’ve got to have a certain kind of car, got to live in a certain kind of house, and got to make a certain kind of salary. You think that’s what God is impressed with. Are you kidding me? That might be your problem, like Paul. Now, I can’t point a finger at you nor could you point a finger at me. We’ve all got our difficulties. Hebrews says to “lay aside the sin that does so easily beset you.” What is your sin? What is your area of difficulty? Paul had found victory. He said, “I have coveted no one’s silver or no one’s gold.”
Well, not only did he not covet anything that any man had, secondly, he was careful to make his own way. Paul did not ask for anything from anybody. Verse 34 says, “You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me.” When he talks about these hands, he talks about his own hands. What does he say? He is saying, “Listen, when I was among you, I coveted nothing that you had, and I didn’t ask for a single thing. I didn’t take a dime for anything that I did. These hands supported me and my men while I was there.”
If you will look in Acts 18:1-3, you will see what it was that he did with his hands. This is on his second missionary journey. He has gone down to Athens, and then he goes over to Corinth. Verse 1 says, “After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth.” He is waiting on Timothy and them to come meet him, “and he found a certain Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife, Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them and because [Watch] he was of the same [What?] trade, he stayed with them and they were working; for by trade they were tent-makers.” They were working by trade. They were tent-makers.
Most people believe, and I am one of them that believes this, that Paul wasn’t a tent-maker until he became an apostle of Christ Jesus. He learned tent-making. You see, Paul was a man who knew his weakness. One of the reasons he was a tent-maker was to make his own money. He worked hard for it, because he had conquered that one area in his life. It wasn’t just because he didn’t want to be a burden to the churches. That worked in his favor and for the blessing of his testimony. To me, there is something even beyond that. Paul had learned something. “If I’ll go on and stop looking for them to give to me, I’ll just become a tent-maker myself.” God continued to give him victory in that area. He chose not to ask for money, but to work with his own hands.
Now, before you get ahead of me and say, “Well, that would be a good thing for you to do.” Would you look in 1 Corinthians 9. I don’t want anybody to get any ideas. “Oh, that’s great. Let’s just let the staff do the same thing.” Now, hold on, hold on. This is Paul. That is not me. First Corinthians 9:1-19, he lays it out here. I am going to read it. It will tell its own story. He is talking about liberty, the liberty you have in Christ. He says, “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?,” which was one of the prerequisites of an apostle. “Are you not my work in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.” He says in verse 3, “My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we not have a right to eat and drink? Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?” Peter takes his wife. What about us? Do we not have the right? It doesn’t say he was married, he just asks the question. Don’t we have a right to do that? Verse 6 says, “Or do not only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working? Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock? I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the law also say these things. For it is written in the law of Moses, ‘You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.’ God is not concerned about oxen, is He?” That is not the point of the Law. He says in verse 10, “Or is he speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope.” What hope? Of getting paid, of sharing the crops.
“If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much that we should reap material things from you?” Paul was just documenting the fact there is nothing wrong with that. He says, “If others share the right with you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right.” Now, there you go. Even though we have the right, he says, “Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.” One of those hindrances could have been that weakness of covetousness that was deeply embedded in his own flesh.
“Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share with the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaimed the gospel to get their living from the gospel. But I have used none of these things.” Paul says, “And I am not writing these things that it may be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one.” “See, God has told me to do something. He hasn’t told everybody else to do that.” “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me, if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more.”
In other words, Paul says so beautifully and so clearly that he is not everybody else. There is nothing wrong with a person getting the material things when he gives the spiritual things. But Paul said, “In my case, I am just different. I have chosen not to.” Not only because he could get the gospel to more people without charge, I believe personally, but because he had a weakness of his own in his flesh. God had directed him that way to work for what he did so that he would not be caught in that trap of wanting what everybody else wanted. So first of all, Paul did not covet what others had. Secondly, he was careful to make his own way. But then, thirdly, he chose to give rather than receive.
Now, go back to our text now. We’ll begin there in verse 35. He says, “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Paul had been a great example to these Ephesian elders.
I want to take that verse and look at several phrases. It will draw a picture for you. The Greek word for “I showed you” means “to show forth plainly, to exemplify as by words or actions.” In other words, Paul says, “By my actions and by my testimony, I have been your example of the fact of what I am doing.”
The Greek word for “working hard” is a good word to know. He said, “that by working hard in this manner.” What manner? Working with his hands to support himself. It is the Greek word which means “labor that causes one to be worn out and fatigued.” Paul worked with his hands to support himself and his men. This required a tremendous amount of effort. You can see the wisdom here, the divine wisdom, that supersedes the fact that he can give the gospel without charge. The wisdom is that, when you are working hard for what you get, you are not going to want what everybody else has. You are not going to covet what everybody else wants to give to you.
He says there is verse 35, “in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus.” The word for “help” is the word which means “to take hold of somebody by the hand and assist him in any way you can assist them.” Boy, there is something developing here. Do you see it? Are you asleep? Do you see it? It’s coming.
He uses the word “weak.” What is the word “weak?” The word “weak” is the word that refers to those who are distressed by want. Oh, me. I hope you see what I am seeing. When I was studying this, I just wanted to shout. Man, here it is! Paul found out that instead of me wanting everything from everybody else, I am going to work hard as directed as by the Holy Spirit of God. He made the choice that God told him to make which is making his money. He found out, not only could he help his men, but he could end up helping others who were poor and needy at the same time.
What an ingenious wisdom that God had given to him. A man who has trouble with coveting is a man who needs to take heed to what Paul learned, to be content now in everything that he had. He had gotten his eyes off of what others had. He had gotten his eyes off of what he didn’t have and had gotten his eyes on what the poor and needy needed. He had committed himself, not for himself, he was working; he worked for his men, and he was able to assist those who were weak and who were poor and who did not have anything. What a worthy thing God put in his life. Paul’s example to these Ephesian elders was, “I have worked hard with my hands to support my men as an example to you.”
You see, one of the problems that he had in his ministry was churches that didn’t want to help him. Some churches were rich and didn’t want to help him. One of the blessing he had was the churches over in Macedonia. It doesn’t say he didn’t take it, because sometimes they gave him a gift. That was the reason for the writing of Philippians. He never asked for it. The thing that blessed him more than anything else was that the poor churches always gave to him. The rich churches wouldn’t give him a dime. That is why he wrote what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:1-19. That was one of these rich churches. They didn’t want to give an ounce of anything because it was theirs. They had the same problem Paul had had. Paul was so conscious of what Jesus had said. It says in verse 35, “It is more blessed to give than it is to receive.” Do you know what the word “blessed” is there? It is the word makarios. It means “fully satisfied.”
Paul said, “I used to have trouble coveting. The Law came and just wiped me out. I wanted to do what God wanted me to do before I understood the covenant of grace. I got up one morning and said, ‘Oh, God, I am not going to covet today.’” He walked outside of his little house, and he just coveted, coveted, coveted all day long. “What’s wrong with me?” He began to beat his breast. He came back and said, “Oh God, tomorrow morning I won’t covet.” Covet, covet, covet. Then he was transformed by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and he started learning that when you put on Christ, His heart in you starts beating; His eyes in you start seeing; His hands in you start giving; and all of a sudden, Paul has got his eyes off himself. Paul has got his eyes off the world. Paul started seeing other people around him who were needy.
Paul began to realize, “Hey, if I take money from these churches, it is my right, but why would I do that? It sort of hinders some people who think that I am just out to clean them out. I am just going to make my own way.” He began to make his own way, and he said, “Man, I am a man that is fully satisfied.”
You know, it is funny, but I have had that desire many times. It just scares my wife to death when I have it. Wouldn’t it be just wonderful to step out on faith? Take your salary and say, “Here. You can have it back.” Just walk and trust God. The only problem is I have six other guys. I would probably shoot them in the foot if I did that because I can’t do it for other people. I have had that desire so many times in my life. It is so much better to give than it is to receive.
Listen, if you are having trouble with covetousness and you don’t want to go the route of Paul, at least you can take one thing with you. Why don’t you start praying about who it is that you believe God wants you to give something to? What don’t you get your giving in check? I’ll tell you what. When you start getting your giving in check, you can say like Paul said, “I used to want the Mercedes. I used to want the BMW’s. I used to want the big houses. I used to want all the big salaries, but now I am fully satisfied because I have learned to make my own way. I just want to give it and give it, just as our Lord said. I am more fully satisfied in helping the poor and giving it to others than I am in keeping it for myself. What a way to whip covetousness in America. Just say, “What have I got that I can give away?”
When God speaks, we step out. I tell you what. The people in our church have so blessed me. I guess I am saying this because there are obviously people here in this church that have learned that great truth in their life. “It’s better to give than it is to receive.” I wish I could just start calling names of the people that have been a blessing to my life. Thank you, not only for how you have been a blessing in my life, but how you have shown me how I need now to be a blessing to other people’s lives.
You help out others who have needs. Listen, that doesn’t mean all the time you give to the budget. No, you take care of people that are in need. If you start living that way individually, and we start walking that way corporately, we are going to touch this world for Jesus. We are going to have a message that is impeccable in this age when shame is being brought on everything by what men who call themselves God’s men are doing. We are going to have a message and a testimony that is going to be a light that this whole world can understand.
Paul was a covetous man. Paul got victory over covetousness. In the later part of his life he said, “I have learned to be content with what I have. I’ve learned to be abased.”
I love it when I am abounding, but I don’t like it when I am abased. I love to go somewhere, and somebody says, “Here is your room to stay in this week.” It’s a nice room, and I like it. I do. I do. I love it. I enjoy every second of it because I know the next time it will be roach heaven. It is always one or the other. If He takes you to the nice one, enjoy it. The next time you may wear your shoes all the time.
Paul said, “I have learned to be content.” No wonder they loved this guy. Look what they do in verse 36. They loved Paul. They loved his testimony. It says, “And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.” Verse 37 says, “And they began to weep aloud and they embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him, grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would see his face no more. And they were accompanying him to the ship.”
Now that is a testimony, folks. That is somebody who didn’t just say it. He lived it. Where are you right now? What are you hung up in? What is your area? What is the thing that is bugging you the most? If you are out pursuing things, woe be unto you. If I were you, I would give it away tomorrow. If you are pursuing God and God throws it in, enjoy the thing, man. Let me borrow it! Don’t worry about what you have. It is what has you! That is the whole key.
We are always saying, “Well, I’ve got to be humble. I’ve got to give something.” No, man, just love Jesus and do what He tells you. I guarantee you He will keep you from all that garbage in your life.
Do you have a problem with things? Have you learned to be content with whatever you have? Do you desire to pay your own way and not beg from others? Do you desire to help the poor by giving to them? Then your desire to have earthly things probably is under control with not a problem whatsoever in your life. I love ole Paul. After I see Jesus and bask in His presence for a million years, I am going to sit down with Paul for the next million. I want to pick his brain. Man, there is just something about him that just blesses my socks off. If you have ever had a problem with getting, turn it around. Use the same energy to give.