OF BATTLES TO COME
Spend a few moments thanking God for his love for you. Ask that he would fill you with his love for others.
Read Acts 20:25–38
25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “love”?
What an example of how Christians should love each other! This was a sorrowful day for the Ephesian Christians—the last day they would see Paul’s face. But Paul doesn’t hold back from “solemnly testifying” (26) about a worrying future. These elders needed to be on guard for themselves and their church because in Paul’s absence, false teachers, even from within the church, would arise and lead some astray. The elders must be on the alert, caring deeply about each and every believer, emulating Paul’s care for them. Notice how intensely and passionately Paul taught them (31)—with tears! Where does such love among Christians come from? From knowing that they are the Father’s very own possession, purchased by the blood of Jesus, called for a purpose by the Holy Spirit (28), living in God’s presence and by his grace (32). In short, it comes from God.
Do you care about other believers’ spiritual well-being? Have you spoken with such concern for another’s spiritual welfare that you were moved to tears? Paul was like this night and day. May we ask God for such love for others.
Who do you know that needs an extra dose of God’s love? What practical way can you show God’s love today?
Ask God to give you his heart for that person; use the words of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians to pray for them (Eph. 3:14–21).