Biblical Concept: Paulís Unique Elite Evangelism
1) Late during Paulís third missionary journey, Luke recorded Paulís purposed travel agenda:
Acts 19:21 Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in the spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome."
Observations: 1) Purposed is a verb which uses a middle voice and makes an emphasis that these plans came from Paulís volition. Thus the NASB has rightly placed a small s on spirit. 2) The Book of Acts records that Paul did indeed go to each of these places mentioned in Acts 19:21. See Acts 20:1-5, 21:15-17 and 28:16. 3) Acts 20:22 records the thought that Paul considered himself bound in spirit to complete the Jerusalem portion of his journey. What could have made Paul feel bound in spirit to get to Jerusalem? Answer: During Paulís third missionary journey, he wrote letters to Corinth and Rome which we call First and Second Corinthians and Romans today. 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, 2 Corinthians 8:19-20 and Romans 15:20-33 describe Paulís desire for the Corinthians to participate in sending a monetary gift to Jerusalem. Paul hoped to be, and did become, part of the team that would carry this gift to Jerusalem. Perhaps Paul felt bound in spirit to accomplish this important mission of monetary mercy toward the Jerusalem Church? Note his fearless determination in Acts 20:22-24 and 21:11-14.
2) Paulís desire to go to Jerusalem and Rome would have a great effect on the next 4 + years of his life. He would be used by God to conduct unique elite evangelism to political, religious and military leaders in Israel and Rome that would extend through the Roman empire. In addition he would write letters that became the Biblical Books of Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon and Philippians.
3) How did this unique elite evangelism occur? Paul chose to go to jail. Paul was bound in spirit to get to Jerusalem with a substantial monetary gift for the suffering Church. On his journey to Jerusalem he received ample notice that bondage awaited him. See Acts 20:23, 21:4 and 21:11. Note, however, in these verses, that the Holy Spirit did not command Paul to not go, just that if he went it would cause him bondage and afflictions. To a man on a monetary mission of mercy for a Church he loved, this was no problem. Remember, by this point in his Apostolic career he had been:
23 in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches (2 Corinthians 11:23-28).
Also, Paul could surmise from these prophecies that he would more than likely be handed over alive to the Roman authorities at Jerusalem. If the Jews had killed him, they probably would not hand him over to the Romans, as they had to get permission from the Romans to perform execution. Certainly a calculated risk, but, as we have read in Acts 20:22-24 and 21:11-14, Paul was very determined--even ready to die. At this point, consider Godís encouragement to Paul after he had been jailed at Jerusalem Ė ďBut on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, ĎTake courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome alsoíĒ (Acts 23:11).
4) The following is a listing of the unique elite evangelism purposed by Paulís positive volition in Ephesus near the end of his Third Missionary Journey (Acts 19:21):
Acts 21:30, 21:37-22:22; Paul
evangelized the city of Jerusalem.
Acts 22:30-23:10, Paul evangelized the chief priests and Council in Jerusalem.
Acts 24:1, 10-21; Paul evangelized the court of Governor Felix at Caesarea, Ananias the High Priest, Jewish elders and Tertullus an attorney.
Acts 24:23-27, Paul evangelized and ministered for two years at Caesarea. Including Governor Felix many times.
Acts 25:23-26:32, Paul evangelized Governor Festus, King Agrippa, commanders and prominent men of Caesarea.
Acts 28:1-10, Paul evangelized the island of Malta.
Acts 28:17-29, Paul evangelized the leading Jews of Rome.
Acts 28:16, 30-31; Paul evangelized the Praetorian Guard and had converts right into Caesarís household. See Philippians 1:13 and 4:22. In the two years of confinement in Rome, Paul could have been exposed to 2,920 different members of the 9,000 member Praetorian Guard. (A new guard every 6 hours for 2 years.) These elite Guardsmen retired after 16 years of
service, to every part of the Roman Empire (official policy). Those who became Christians through Paulís unique elite
evangelism would have the highest of credibility as retired Praetorians and unique converts of the Apostle Paul. They
evangelized an Empire.
5) Application: With spiritual vision (purposed Acts 19:21), the Gospel of Jesus Christ conquerors Kingdoms. Paulís vision should inspire us to act as a Praetorian and:
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. 17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.