Tag: fully preached

Watchful and thorough!

Scripture reading for May 3rd: Acts 20

Key Scriptures: Acts 20:24-28 “But I do not account my life of any value no as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which He obtained by His own blood.”

Paul was on a mission to Jerusalem and he had been warned prophetically of coming dangers awaiting there. As he traveled by ship in order to arrive there, he avoided a stop at Ephesus where he had spent three years. He called those in leadership at Ephesus to meet him a short distance away at Miletus where he shared words of encouragement and warning. His main focus was to finish the course and ministry laid out for him by Jesus Christ. This involved testifying to the Gospel of God’s grace. Paul had fully declared this message to the Ephesians and the responsibility to believe and act in faith in Jesus Christ rested on them. The leaders must be watchful over their own lives as examples and the church there belonging to Jesus. Ferocious wolves (false teachers) would try to tear the church apart!

Acts 20:29-30 “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.”

Faith confession and prayer: Jesus, thank You for the Gospel message of salvation by faith through grace. Help me to fully preach the whole counsel of God. Give me watchful eyes over my life and those under my care.

Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

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Paul’s last words at Ephesus!

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)

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