A Friend in Pain

A Friend in Pain

Passage: Acts 21
Service Type:

“…we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven…”

Acts 21

10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”

12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” 15 After this, we started on our way up to Jerusalem.

From last week: Single-mindedness is a mark of Paul’s Priorities.

1. Stand for nothing, fall for anything.

essential in leadership, Don’t be gullible in this way.

Many times, people (good people) will try to divert people from the call of God in the name of safety.

Example: “We have plenty of needy people right here in Chicago.”

the most common prayer requests.

Take God’s call and fashion it to be safe and unoffensive.

Is it always God’s will for his people to be safe?

Jesus, “not mine but your will be done.”

T-shirt, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”

Fasting - voluntary weakness. (choosing to be uncomfortable)

“Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?”

Paul was miffed at their “off perspective”.

2. Pain is the touchstone of growth.

But that’s not all. Better still, what kind of life do you want?

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 5:3-4

”Pain makes me grow. Growing is what I want. 

Therefore, for me pain is pleasure.” 

– Arnold Schwarzenegger

”Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” – African proverb

“The University of Jesus” ~ Christians are all enrolled. 

Pass the class on the first run or you take it again.

”Pain nourishes courage. You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” – Mary Tyler Moore

Don’t listen to the naysayers!

True or False? Salvation is free.

3. The gospel is expensive.


Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Mark 10:21

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

Matthew 13:44

They arrived in Jerusalem to James and the other believers there.

(Paul stayed on course despite the warnings of the others)

21 They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs.

These disciples were worried. 

24 Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. 

Paul did what they asked and went into the temple to verify things according to the rules of Levitical Law.

He submitted to what the elders thought was best.

4. Work toward mutual edification.


Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Romans 14:19

Example: Not drinking because it causes someone else to stumble.

27 When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him…

The purification thing didn’t work. They nailed him anyway.

30 The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut. 31 While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.

Paul got what he expected and what he wanted. 

He was arrested by the commander and lead up the stairs where his wish to address the crowd was granted.

Figuratively speaking, he was given the chance to speak because of this conflict. He didn’t get the one without the other. 

5. Conflict is a chance to speak.

A difference with a person is an opportunity to influence them.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

1 Corinthians 9:22

How do you respond in the face of persecution or conflict?

Do you change course or stick with it?

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Acts 20:24

Paul wanted an audience. Eventually, he would go all the way to the top.

For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.”

Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!”

Acts 25:11-12

Conflict is a chance to speak. 

When you run into conflict, what are you saying?

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