SermonOur Holy Spirit Guidance
An all-creatures Bible Message

Our Holy Spirit Guidance
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
7 January 2018
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Acts 19:8-41

Our Holy Spirit guidance is something that only happens when we allow the Lord to lead and guide us in everything we do; this requires us to surrender our will to the heavenly will of God.
Such submission brings us to the point where we can feel the pain and suffering of the whole of creation, and do everything we can to help end all human caused pain, suffering, bloodshed and death for millions of humans and billions of animals every year.
Our Holy Spirit guidance also lets us see that by living in the heavenly will of God we also help free creation from its present corruption; for example, by ending the exploitation of animals, particularly in animal agriculture, we end a lot of our global warming problems, because animal agriculture, according to the UN, is the greatest contributor of greenhouse gasses which cause global warming.
In Acts 19:8-41, we follow some of the acts of Paul, and how much of what he did is an example to all of us of how our Holy Spirit guidance should function in this world.

8. And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.

The Lord has given each and every one of us a ministry to help lead others to God and His heavenly will, which is what we are told Paul is doing in his specific ministry.
These ministries can take on many and diverse avenues, but in some ways they lead people to live in the heavenly will of God and help free His creation from its present corruption.
As an example of our Holy Spirit guidance, we are led to tell others about how God’s creation has been corrupted, and how by ending the pain, suffering and death that humans inflict upon animals, and becoming vegan, we are actually helping to free creation from its present corruption, and at the same time we are leading people to Christ and His heavenly will.

9. But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.

If our words are not being received, it may be best to leave and go where our message is received, as Paul did.

10. And this took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

And this includes all the people who reject our message, because they still heard it, even if they reject it, and hopefully some day they will have something happen in their lives that brings what we said to mind, and that can also lead them to repent, accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and change.
Our Holy Spirit guidance is never in vain, and it always leads us in the direction of doing the most good.
Think about it: are not the words of Jesus and Paul still heard to this very day, and the same is true about our words.

11. And God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul,
12. so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.

We may not have the same kind of miracles performed in our lives as Paul did, but can’t we also help heal the chronic diseases that most people have by helping them to become vegans and eat only the whole plant foods that God created for us to eat?
Of course we can, and this is just as much of a miracle of God as the healings that Paul was able to do.

13. But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, "I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches."
14. And seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
15. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, "I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?"
16. And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

We are told this because we cannot pretend we are children of God who are following His heavenly will and the teachings of Jesus, because we may not have the power to do what we want to do, for whatever reason.
If we truly want to have an effective ministry, we must first leave our worldly ways and become true children of God, for this alone gives us our Holy Spirit guidance.

17. And this became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified.

Fear fell upon them because they lived by worldly standards and were not filled with the Holy Spirit, but fear can also lead some people to repentance.

18. Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices.
19. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of all; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
20. So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.

This only happens when there is true repentance with a true and committed desire to live in the heavenly will of God.
Unfortunately, without this full commitment, even these repentant people can fall away, being enticed by the worldly ways around them and peer pressure from their family and friends.
However, with our Holy Spirit guidance, we are not affected by these worldly pressures, but move on to spread the heavenly will of God here on earth as it is in heaven, where there is no pain or suffering or death for all humans and other animals.

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."
22. And having sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.

And, even though Paul did not speak out against the exploitation and killing of animals, this account is an example of how we expand the heavenly will of God here on earth as it is in heaven.

23. And about that time there arose no small disturbance concerning the Way.

The Way is the name given to this Jewish-Christian movement that followed the teachings of Jesus and believed that He was the Messiah.

24. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen;
25. these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, "Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business.

The human love of money elevates their desire for wealth to a higher place than they consider the Lord and the heavenly will of God.
They simply don’t appear to care if they are working against God’s purposes as long as they are making money in what they are doing.
This is exactly the same attitude that drives the animal exploitation industries, and pollutes our environment; it is the way of this corrupt and evil world.
And such people are relatively easy to detect, particularly with our Holy Spirit guidance.

26. "And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all.

This kind of opposition to the truth is very similar to the opposition that vegan and animal rights activists face every day.

27. "And not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship should even be dethroned from her magnificence."

This kind of exaggeration is what we so often hear coming from people of the corrupt ways of this world,

28. And when they heard this and were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"

This is no different than people saying that eating animals and their by-products is good for us, when we know perfectly well that eating animal products is the major cause of most of our chronic diseases.

29. And the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia.

It is easy to see how easily worldly people can be “whipped up” into becoming violent.
The Lord teaches us that we are to be peacemaking children of God, and if we are, we find ways to love people into the kingdom of God and His heavenly will.
Paul and Gaius and Aristarchus were trying to do this, but the people just wouldn’t listen; and the lesson here is that even if others become violent, we are not to, even if our lives are threatened.

30. And when Paul wanted to go into the assembly, the disciples would not let him.

Paul wanted to try to reason with the worldly people in peace, but others knew that they wouldn’t listen, and that would also be putting his life in danger.

31. And also some of the Asiarchs who were friends of his sent to him and repeatedly urged him not to venture into the theater.
32. So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and the majority did not know for what cause they had come together.

This is a perfect example of how easily ungodly people can be led astray, but with our Holy Spirit guidance, we can spot the evil intent and avoid it.

33. And some of the crowd concluded it was Alexander, since the Jews had put him forward; and having motioned with his hand, Alexander was intending to make a defense to the assembly.
34. But when they recognized that he was a Jew, a single outcry arose from them all as they shouted for about two hours, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"

The worldly people believe that the more loudly they shout untruths, the more their lies will be believed, but only by other ungodly people.
True peacemaking children of God recognize the lie and peacefully counter it, if they can, and if not, they avoid such a crowd.

35. And after quieting the multitude, the town clerk said, "Men of Ephesus, what man is there after all who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis, and of the image which fell down from heaven?
36. "Since then these are undeniable facts, you ought to keep calm and to do nothing rash.

This man knew that violence only produces more violence and he was trying to peacefully end it, and since he was in a position of worldly authority that the people respected, they listened.

37. "For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess.

This is one of the ways that God sometimes uses to protect His children.

38. "So then, if Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a complaint against any man, the courts are in session and proconsuls are available; let them bring charges against one another.
39. "But if you want anything beyond this, it shall be settled in the lawful assembly.
40. "For indeed we are in danger of being accused of a riot in connection with today's affair, since there is no real cause for it; and in this connection we shall be unable to account for this disorderly gathering."
41. And after saying this he dismissed the assembly.

We can only suspect that God used this man to restore peace in the city, even if they weren’t living in the heavenly will of God.
And since God always seems to send His workers into worldly areas, we need to always be alert to listen to our Holy Spirit guidance to show us the ways that can be most successful.
In addition, if we are always peaceful and loving in our approach, even if people reject what we are saying at that moment, many of them will ponder what we said at a later date, and if they hear others tell them the same things, they very likely will repent of their worldly ways and also seek to become peacemaking children of God.
Then they too, will also have our Holy Spirit guidance and join us in helping to free creation from its present corruption.

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