Paul to the Ephesian Church Leaders
Apostle Paul had a final meeting with a group of church leaders. In this final meeting, he reminded them of two fundamental doctrines of Jesus Christ.
He also emphasized to these Ephesian pastors that he has been consistent in his living and teaching and that they knew this.
Then he refreshed the memories of these church leaders of their role and responsibility in the Church.
“And from Miletus [Paul] sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church” (Acts 20:17).
He stressed that despite the odds he was up against as a result of unbelieving Jews who wanted to kill him, he kept serving the Lord and teaching them everything that he knew.
“And when they were come to him, he said unto them, [You] know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,” (Acts 20:18).
So, he continues to remind them of his lifestyle including what he had done for them and how he had achieved it.
“Serving the LORD with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews” (Acts 20:19).
Paul Reminds Church Leaders to Teach These Two Fundamental Doctrines of Christ
“And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you [publicly], and from house to house,” (Acts 20:20).
Then, he emphasized that his teachings to all have been consistent for he taught both the Jews and the Gentiles the identical doctrines.
“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).
Repentance towards God and faith towards Jesus Christ are two cornerstone doctrines of Christ and Christianity.
He preached it. Paul taught it and all the other apostles expounded on it! We all must repent of our sins and we all must have faith towards God to enter into His kingdom.
There are no exceptions. Everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike, must have this experience. Thus, Paul continues to recount his history with them.
But, now he’s at the present and as a result, he declares:
Are You Ready to Die?
“And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there” (Acts 20:22).
So, physically as another human being, Paul didn’t know exactly, what awaits him in Jerusalem but he was ready for anything.
In the natural realm, none of us knows the future. And in this context, Apostle Paul is not different from us.
Consequently, his meeting changed form, because now, it has morphed into a goodbye speech.
However, spiritually, he wasn’t totally ignorant of his future, for he knew that in Jerusalem the Jews would arrest him and that he would suffer.
Therefore, he reveals “Save that the Holy Ghost [witnesses] in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me” (Acts 20:23).
So, in the quotation above, observe how Paul knew what was awaiting him in Jerusalem?
Yet, today many Christians jump to a conclusion about a topic from the Bible with just one reference to the same!
Sure Sign of Salvation
“In every city” not in one or two cities but in all of those that he traveled through the Holy Ghost was informing him of his destiny.
We need multiple biblical references about any subject in order to reach any biblical conclusion concerning it. One bible-verse is never enough.
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
One certain sign that a Believer has salvation in Jesus Christ would be the character of his or her boldness in the face of death.
However, this lack of the fear of death should only occur when such a one knows for certain that such a one has accomplished God’s assignment for his or her life.
Don’t be eager to die when it not your time to die. Abraham, Moses, Joseph, and David, to name four, all knew when their time came.
Know your time and refuse to yield to death before it. Go only when your appointed time comes and when it comes, if you are walking with Christ Jesus, you will be aware of it.
Church Leaders – Your Assignment
Additionally, you should never be quick to die if your life-assignment remains unaccomplished. Accomplish your ministry then go with joy!
However, we could learn much from Apostle Paul on this subject. Therefore, be attentive to his motivation for being fearless of death.
He doesn’t leave us in doubt about his impetus for he confidently expounds, “that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus”.
Be aware that this is not a new doctrine that I’m teaching. The Holy Bible expounds this very topic.
Accordingly, Paul was very aware that his time had come and he was willing and ready to depart.
Therefore, he explains, “And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more” (Acts 20:25).
Brethren, observe also what Paul preached to one and all? He preached and taught the things concerning “the kingdom of God”. And this is all that we need to teach and preach, the kingdom of heaven.
Church Leaders Roles and Responsibilities
“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men” (Acts 20:26).
Paul explained how he has lived and worked and taught amongst everyone, then he declared his innocence “from the blood of all men”.
This means that he was not instrumental, since his conversion to Christianity, in sending anybody to prison nor had he killed anyone.
“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
Subsequently, he proclaims that he had not failed, avoided, or turned aside from preaching to these brethren all that the Lord God told and gave him for them.
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
Friends be cognizant of this one thing, the ministry of Apostle Paul and yours and mine are all the same. We are feeding the body of Christ with nutrients from heaven. And this is nothing but the true Word of God.
Paul Encourages Church Leaders to Do These Two Things!
“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29).
The Holy Bible first likens the nation of Israel to the flock, but now, in the New Testament, it compares the Church of God to the flock also.
“Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:30).
Additionally, it describes false teachers as “grievous wolves” who shall “arise” out of the congregation “speaking perverse things” to acquire a following and to become renown.
Then, Apostle Paul becomes somewhat nostalgic as he encourages them to “watch” and to “remember”.
He wants them to watch for the advent of these things and to remember the good Word of God that he had taught them.
“Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Acts 20:31).
Paul Gave Them Back to God
At this stage, Paul handed over the brethren and their church leaders that God had given him back to God.
“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).
He indeed has arrived at his end for he gave them back to the Word of God. There is no demarcation between God and his Word.
And he couldn’t end this his last sermon to the Ephesians without telling them of the advantage of this.
So, he implored them that it will make them grow and supply an inheritance for the, if they are sanctified!
Are you sanctified by the Word of regeneration and by the Holy Ghost?
Finally, with a clear and free conscience Paul proclaims:
“I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel” (Acts 20:33).
“Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me”(Acts 20:34).
“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
“And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all” (Acts 20:36).
“And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him” (Acts 20:37).
“Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship” (Acts 20:38).