Lord, teach me how to be part of the solution, not the problem.
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.
Give thanks that you are part of God’s family, the church, and for those fellow-believers who support you in your daily walk with God.
In this second half of Paul’s speech to the Ephesian elders, Paul further reviews his ministry (25–27), declaring that he has proclaimed the “whole will of God” (27), which is not simply the fact that Jesus is the crucified, risen and exalted Lord but also that this salvation message is for Jews and Gentiles alike (cf. Eph. 3:6). But Paul knows that he will never see these elders again, and their reaction to this statement (37,38) demonstrates the depth of the relationship between them.
Paul’s concern, however, is not simply to defend his actions but also to charge the Ephesian elders and to warn them about the dangers they will face after his departure (28–31). They are to guard their spiritual lives and those of their congregation (28), functioning as shepherds. Dangers threaten from outside and inside the church. From outside the church, “savage wolves” will endanger the spiritual lives of the congregation and, even from within the church, power-hungry people will split the church. The elders are to recognize these hazards and be vigilant.
A call to ministry or leadership in the church is not carried out easily. The challenge and charge to the Ephesian elders falls upon all leaders within the church. Leaders still need to guard their spiritual lives and to be constantly vigilant about spiritual threats to their congregation. Being a “shepherd” of the “flock” has its rigors, but our example is our “Good Shepherd” (cf. John 10:11) who laid down his life for his sheep. As Tom Wright says, the speech “is about the Christ-shaped generous love that the minister must not only speak about but also model at every level” (Tom Wright, Acts for Everyone Part 2: Chapters 13–28, 132). A challenge and a charge indeed!
Pray for your church leaders, that they might model that “Christ-shaped generous love.
Lord, I do pray for those in leadership within my church. Keep them straight, committed and finely tuned.
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