Today’s scripture verse Acts 19:21 says, “Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in the spirit to go to Jerusalem….” It says that Paul purposed in the Holy Spirit. It clearly states that he purposed in the Holy Spirit in the Greek language. There is an old saying, “A good beginning is half the battle” or “Well begun is half done”; it means that a good start assures success. The moment of the beginning and beginning words are the most important in any human action. Hence, we must begin with the Holy Spirit. It is God’s command for us to receive the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18). Now, we need to purpose (conduct) in the Spirit. The word “purpose” has the following meanings according to the Korean dictionary: “To continue operating (administering) a business or company,” “System or content of management.”
The believers who have received the promise to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven need to purpose in the Spirit. All is vain if he/she does not purpose/conduct in the Holy Spirit from the moment he/she starts believing in Jesus until he goes to heaven. Without the Holy Spirit, there is only human zeal. God does not acknowledge that (Matt. 7:21ff.). The writer of today’s scripture verse Apostle Paul is a person who purposed in the Holy Spirit. Let us learn to purpose in the Holy Spirit through the example of his life.
1. Apostle Paul purposed to receive even greater affliction in the Holy Spirit for Christ.
Though Apostle Paul succeeded through the Gospel because God acknowledged him, he was not arrogant. He did not complacently sleep by saying, ‘I’m going to rest since I finished my work.’ Apostle Paul was always hastening in his heart as he was full of the Holy Spirit. Having received spirit of Jesus who said, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working,” Apostle Paul was busy. Further, Apostle Paul could not eat as he was working for the Gospel. He did not have enough clothes, was cold and hungry, poor and starved. Five times he received thirty-nine lashes; three times he was beaten with rods; he was threatened by his people; and went through the dangers in the wilderness and on the sea; and he was even shipwrecked on the sea for a week. How he suffered because of the Gospel! However, he did not once complain, gripe , or grumble. I pray in the name of the Lord that you may truly purpose in Christ throughout this year.
2. Apostle Paul purposed in the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem
At the time Apostle Paul purposed to go to Jerusalem, there were severe diseases, famine, persecution and sufferings awaiting him. James had also died here. Nevertheless, Apostle Paul desired to go to Jerusalem. It was in order that he may comfort the believers who were being afflicted (Acts 21:10-12). Tribulation, persecution, and death were waiting for Apostle Paul. Furthermore, there were forty Jews who formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath to kill Paul (Acts 23:12-13). These, however, did not stop Apostle Paul from going to Jerusalem. He walked into Jerusalem saying, “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.
Beloved believers, don’t let any kind of wind of suffering in the church shake you. Believe that it is the way to support the will of God. I believe that you will find consolation in great hope if the Holy Spirit purposes with you. We know that there will be lots of hardships and difficulties in our lives and our families throughout this year. However, what can we not do and what would we not believe when we pray in the Holy Spirit, purpose in the Holy Spirit, try to fathom the will of God, and remember Him who has forgiven our sins by leaving the throne of God and becoming a man, coming down to this world, starving and suffering, being persecuted with all kinds of abuse, breaking His holy body, and pouring out the precious blood on the Hill of Calvary? I pray and urge you that you may go and help others in trouble this year, praying with the sick and comforting their families. We need to live for the peace and harmony of the church.
3. Apostle Paul purposed in the Holy Spirit to go to Rome
In Rom. 1:10 he said, “Always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you.” Rome was the center of the world during that time. The governing powers were concentrated there and soldiers gathered in Rome to seek a successful career. Merchants flocked to Rome to gain wealth. There were many slaves in Rome also because there was a way for them to be liberated from slavery.
To Apostle Paul, however, Rome was not a center of power, wealth, and honor, but ‘The last ground for the globalization of the Gospel’. It was the ground/territory he needed to secure as in a battle; Paul gave his life to attain Rome. Thus, Apostle Paul’s motto and prayer was “There will be a great work and history of globalizing the Gospel when I conquer Rome with the Gospel!” Apostle Paul’s prayer of vision came true. Rome became the center of the world’s development and the Gospel started spreading to the entire world through that path. In that aspect, Rome was the “remotest part of the earth” to Apostle Paul. Rome was the remotest part of the earth for Apostle Paul! That’s why he died for Rome. Beloved believers, for which purpose are you giving your life? The Lord commanded us, “You shall be My witnesses…even to the remotest part of the earth!” If there is work that we need to purpose with our life, it is to proceed toward the remotest part of the earth. I pray in the name of the Lord that there may be a wonderful work of the Gospel of the cross blossoming and spreading the scent of the Lord to the ends of the earth.
I pray that you may begin with the Word that God gave us today. With what should we begin? We need to begin with “purpose in the Holy Spirit.” Purposing in the Holy Spirit is what pleases and satisfies God. Please believe that it is what God likes the most.