Physician, Heal Thyself

Physician, Heal Thyself

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Wisdom; Take Counsel / Acts 21:1–14

Sometimes we focus so hard trying to impart wisdom and character to others, we neglect to take our own advice. Tonight’s lesson is about not only the wisdom to give good counsel, but wisdom to listen to the counsel of others.

It is important for the servant of God not only to teach and lead, but also to learn and follow from time to time. Through out several cities Paul had been warned of impending doom in Jerusalem. He was bracing himself for the worse. Tonight we will see that he was told clearly that he should not go to Jerusalem at all. We will see that his burden for Jewish people caused him to disobey God’s direct leading.

Paul was warned directly and specifically not to go to Jerusalem.

Acts 21:1–6 KJV

And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara: 

And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth. 

Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden. 

And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. 

And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed. 

And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again.

Paul knew of the coming bonds in Jerusalem.

Acts 20:23 KJV

Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

The Holy Spirit specifically forbid Paul to go to Jerusalem. (verse 4)

Acts 21:4 KJV

And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.

Acts 16:6–7 KJV

Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 

After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

Revelation 3:7 KJV

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

Paul encouraged the saints on his way to Jerusalem.

Acts 21:7–9 KJV

And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day. 

And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. 

And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

 A. In Ptolemais

 B. In Caesarea at Philip’s house

  1. His daughters prophesied

  2. His daughters did not teach Paul directly, even though God had many messages to give Paul regarding Jerusalem.

1 Timothy 2:11–12 KJV

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

Paul was warned by the prophet, Agabus

Acts 21:10–14 KJV

And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 

And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. 

And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. 

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. 

And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

Agabus had been used back before Paul had become a missionary.

Acts 11:28 KJV

And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

Agabus illustrated Paul’s coming bondage.

All the saints tried to persuade Paul to change his mind.

Hebrews 10:24 KJV

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

Proverbs 11:14 KJV

Where no counsel is, the people fall: But in the multitude of counsellers there is safety.

Proverbs 15:22 KJV

Without counsel purposes are disappointed: But in the multitude of counsellers they are established.

Proverbs 24:6 KJV

For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: And in multitude of counsellers there is safety.


Sometimes we can find ourselves thinking and behaving like the Apostle Paul did in our passage tonight. We can have a good burden, and a passionate zeal for something. God may try to re-direct our efforts, but we could be so focused upon our own burden and idea that we do not follow the direct leading of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit leads through personal direction, through pastoral counsel, and through the counsel of wise peers. When all of those sources of wisdom seem to be saying the same thing, one should take a second look at what he plans to do, and allow himself to be taught by God’s leading. These are the lessons we can learn so we do not hear the rebuke, physician heal thyself.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:09 AM November 23, 2021.

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