Tag: Ephesian elders
Scripture reading for June 30th: Acts 20:1-38
The apostle Paul was very long-winded! It is recorded that he literally preached all night and that one of the listeners had fallen asleep and fell from a second story window and actually died. Paul went and prayed for him and he returned to life! (Acts 20:7-12) I guess the moral of this story is that if you put someone to sleep or they die during your message, you are responsible to wake them again from sleep or death!
Paul had a desire in his heart to go to Jerusalem. He visited several of the churches in the area, but had not had opportunity to say ‘farewell’ to the leaders at Ephesus where he had preached for over three years. He sent for these leaders from Miletus and had opportunity to speak to them one last time. His message has been used by preachers leaving congregations for centuries!
Paul’s first point concerned his own ministry to them. “You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publically and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.” (Acts 20:20-21) Paul’s ministry was sound and Gospel based. He went personally to their homes as well as preaching in public on a regular basis. As a result of this he could say, “. . .I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.” (Acts 20:26b-27)
His next point was a warning about the future. They needed to be watchful and shepherd the Church of Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit had given them oversight of. “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!” (Acts 20:29-31a)
Finally, Paul committed this church to the grace of God. He encouraged them to follow his own example of living a simple life of giving that could be imitated by their followers. They must work hard and help the weak, remembering that Jesus told them it was more blessed to give than receive. (Acts 20:35)