PAUL TOOK HIS LEAVE
Acts 18:18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. 19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; 21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. 22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch. 23 And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.
That phrase, “took his leave” in verse eighteen is from the same Greek word translated, “bade them farewell” in verse twenty one. And these phrases point us to our consideration for this article. For we must know somewhat of the spirit and mindset of the apostle to be able to look into this unique passage. For we read from this apostle’s own hand, for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. (2 Cor. 12:11b,12). And this passage cannot be of an edifying benefit unless we are given opportunity by the Holy Spirit to see somewhat, into this special gift.
Let us go first to this apostle and ask him to define his ministry for us. Here is a portion of that reply: Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. (1 Corinthians 3:5-8).
The Apostle Paul saw himself as a ‘planter.’ He was used of the Holy Spirit to imbed the seed of the gospel into communities, synagogues, and individual hearts, expecting God to give the increase. And he sought to do this planting in the “regions beyond” other men’s evangelistic work!
2 Corinthians 10:13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. 14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: 15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, 16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand. 17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
This gives us an entirely different focus upon what has always been referred to as, “The Great Commission.” – Of course no one EVER quotes verse eighteen in exacting it upon poor church members, seeking solely to force them to come out to Thursday Night Visitation! It was always just “Matthew 28:19 and 20” that was exclusively referred to! But let us see verses eighteen through twenty from the apostle’s viewpoint, which was how it was originally given.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Verse eighteen clearly reveals that the Lord Christ was now taking control of all things again, which the first Adam had lost to Satan in his transgression. THIS is the reason for evangelism! The key is found in this apostle’s message in Athens. Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Notice that it states, “God now commandeth!” This is no bare ‘suggestion!’ This is no option! For salvation is had in the bowing to the “Lord!” Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Salvation is directly related to the exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ into his glory! 1 Peter 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
The Harlot church has greatly limited this command of Christ to be but a tool to render guilt on its membership in order to force them into, what they refer to as “soul winning!” What they really want is more members, unregenerate, or not, to help them pay the building note and the electric bill!
There is no doubt that this ‘commission’ can honestly be preached to the true churches to get out the gospel in their assigned places, and at their assigned times in the world’s history. For the Lord of the harvest, who has sowed the good seed of the children of the kingdom (Matt. 13:38), shall also raise up gospel laborers and husbandmen, at these specific times and places, to bring in the harvest of these souls. For their assigned times and places are so given that they might seek the Lord! Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
But! It was first given to “eleven disciples,” in order to define their spiritual gift to be different from that of the local pastor or the teacher who must stay with those sheep whom the Lord has given him. Listen to Matthew 28:16: Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. For these eleven men were told that they could, rather, that they should, go throughout the world, as the Spirit opened doors of opportunity! And this honest and clear-sighted view of this often misunderstood passage now gives us an insight as to how the Apostle Paul could just “take his leave,” even when things seemed to be needful of his continued ministering there!
Now consider this passage from this apostle’s own hand: 2 Corinthians 2:12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, 13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia. What!! He had an effectual door of gospel opportunity, opened by the Lord and he just up and walked away?!? Yep! That’s what he said! But you see, our aggravation and judgment against this apostolic gift that we have, is rendered in us by the misinterpretation of the spirit of the scriptures derived from the influence of the Whore Church! – And it greatly stems from their limited view and wrongful proclamation of “the Great Commission,” as previously stated!
We must first notice the Apostle Paul’s words in verse thirteen of those verses just quoted. Listen to them again: I had no rest in my spirit. This is the key to his “taking his leave” at this time! The Holy Spirit disturbed his inner spirit, even though there was an opened door. But, to our natural minds and reasonings, that doesn’t make sense! But neither does Jesus putting mud in a man’s eyes who was already blind! Maybe it would be good to read the immediately following verses which the apostle penned, in order to reveal just how he viewed this situation.
For here, there is not so much as a hint of wrong doing! But instead, there is that acknowledgement of Christ’s sovereign power as seen in that verse eighteen always left out as the Harlot Church quotes the “Great Commission!” 2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
Dear Reader, the salvation of every elect soul will most assuredly be carried out by the Holy Spirit. The redemption of all those chosen in Christ from the foundation of the world, without the loss of one single soul, shall be accomplished! John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
And less you still fault this apostle for leaving this ‘golden opportunity’ to win these souls, consider this account of our Lord doing the very same thing! Mark 1:32 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. 33 And all the city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. 35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. 36 And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. 37 And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. 38 And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. 39 And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.
And just what was the response of the true church to the Apostle Paul’s action in that day? Acts 21:13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. 14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done. They did what we must do – leave what we do not understand, and have no control over, in the sovereign and most capable hands of our Lord!
Remember his instruction to the Apostle Peter upon his inquiry concerning the Apostle John’s future work. John 21:20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? 21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
And here are the Apostle Paul’s words regarding this in his letter to the church at Rome: Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:4).
Another thing that we need to keep in mind is that it is God alone who granted us life. Yes, He most assuredly uses the church, it’s members and their gifts in loosing us from the grave clothes of our previous death. But he exclusively supplied the power of our resurrection that brought us into spiritual and eternal life. And he is a “jealous God!” Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. Therefore he prohibits an unhealthy mutual admiration society within the church. Our worship and desire for comfort belong solely to the Lord!
Remember the working of the Spirit in the salvation of the eunuch? Acts 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
Once Philip’s task was completed, he was immediately whisk away by the Spirit! And the eunuch didn’t go on his way whining and throwing a pity party concerning his lost preacher friend. For he had found a more glorious friend! He had found a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24).
We must learn to grow up spiritually into the proper relating to Christ, our Head! Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Amazing isn’t it? There is not one single apostle on the earth today! There hasn’t been one for centuries! But no one seems to be in a panic that the church shall diminish from the earth! Every one of the true church seems to think that we have the proper and remaining gifts of the Spirit to get all the Lord’s sheep into his fold. Kinda seem like the Lord Jesus was telling the truth when he said; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:20). Pastor Gene Breed, June 15, 2013