Motion of the Spirit

Now after these events, Paul determined in the Spirit that he would travel through [a]Macedonia and Achaia (most of the Greek mainland), and go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome [and preach the good news of salvation].”  And after sending two of his assistants, Timothy and [b]Erastus, to Macedonia [ahead of him], he stayed on in [the west coast province of] Asia [Minor] for a while. – Acts 19:21-22

By the motion of God’s Spirit – we may not say that Paul ran rashly unto death, but as the Spirit of God led him.

Guided by the Holy Spirit, Paul determined his itinerary.

How great it is to so live that the Holy Spirit and your spirit are united and are hard to distinguish. When this happens, we are totally submitted to Christ and the Spirit. There is great harmony between the human and the divine. So when we purpose “in the spirit,” we are under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Paul purposed to take his journey through the instinct and motion of the Spirit; that we may know that all his whole life was framed according to God’s will and pleasure. And therefore hath he the Spirit to be the governor of his actions, because he did both give over himself by him to be ruled, and did also depend upon his government. Neither skilleth that which followeth, that he had not that success in his journey which he did hope for; for God doth oftentimes govern and rule his faithful servants, suffering them to be ignorant of the end. − (381) For he will have them so far forth addicted to him, that they follow that which he hath showed them by his Spirit, even shutting their eyes when matters be doubtful. Moreover, it is certain that he was wholly addicted to profit the churches, omitting and foreslowing [neglecting] his own commodity, in that he had rather deprive himself of Timotheus, a most excellent to him of all, most faithful, most dear, finally, a most fit companion, than not to provide for the Macedonians. – Calvin

Here Paul is showing a capacity for understanding the desire of the Holy Spirit, which many do not have.  Many say Paul ought not to have gone to Jerusalem, or that he should have gone into Asia. Paul’s desire is to yield to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit has shown him he will encounter much trouble on this travel. Paul yields himself to this.  I believe the reason Paul determined to go to Rome is because he is yielding himself to the Holy Spirit.

Paul’s plans, made in dependence on the Spirit, show us that we should seek the Lord for how He wants to use us in His purpose. But the outworking of those plans is subject to His sovereign control.

Sermon and Collation of St. Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Pentecost

The Holy Spirit: Breath of God




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