Paul gives some wise advice to the church in Ephesus from his experiences in ministry as he is saying his last goodbye before heading to Jerusalem that all believers can profit from. Read the Scripture below and see how you are imitating Paul’s example in ministry to the Ephesians.
Paul Speaks to the Ephesian Elders
Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. And when they came to him, he said to them:
“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor 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 with his own blood. 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. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities
and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
(Acts 20:17-35 ESV)
Do Not Shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God.
As believers, we must be willing to share and discuss everything according to God’s word. In our culture it is not always the popular thing to proclaim what the word of God has to say on a certain topic. But Christians must be willing to proclaim God’s desires and be willing to act in a fashion that would bring those to reality.
How can you be better at giving the full counsel of God?
Pay Careful Attention to Yourself and to the Flock God has entrusted you with.
Believers must pay careful attention to their spiritual walk and the spiritual walk of those around them. Every believer is both a sheep and a shepherd. They are first a sheep under the authority of the true shepherd which is Christ and we are to seek His will and conform to it. The second they are a shepherd to those around them, prodding and pushing others to grow closer to Jesus. This may be through witnessing to friends who do not know the Lord or encouraging other believers to leave their sin and get serious about their spiritual walk with God.
What can you do to guard yourself spiritually? Who do you need to help get closer to God?
Value the Church because God has obtained it with His own blood.
Believers must also value what the Lord values and that is His church which He set up and purchased through His work on the cross. Therefore believers must respect and honor the church as the future bride of Christ. This would include honoring other believers within the church even when you have disagreements and defending the church when others are speaking against it.
How do you value the church that God loves?
Be Alert. Wolves will come in among you
Christians will always be under persecution whether at this current moment or in the near future. Therefore, when it comes do not be surprised. “Be Alert” as Paul says and be ready for it mentally and spiritually. Determine for yourself now what you will do.
Will you stay in the fight and not give up or will you collapse under the pressure?
Pray for and Admonish the Church even through tears
All believers should be in constant prayer. Not only for ourselves but also for those around them. This would include praying for those who are going through a hard time and those about to go through a hard time. Believers should even be in the midst of prayer for others when they are going through a hard time themselves.
Who can you pray for and admonish today?
Do Not Covet the Worldly things of life.
One of the most covertly destructive things a believer can do is start to covet worldly things. This is a big one in our consumer culture because we can even tie these worldly things to our spiritual walk. Such as a new iPad for Bible study or the new super expensive study Bible or whatever it may be. The point it is, is that when we start to place our trust more in the new, hip, & trendy thing, we lose sight of the true savior, Jesus.
What do you need to let go of in order to place Jesus at the top of your mind and heart?