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July 19, 2021 12:00 am
Karen doesn't mean, well, okay, I just said God, it's hard to get out of his way at all. Think a spiritual map warning up all leads to ringleaders of church leaders. Then in the church leaders of the body large today.
What will why because the enemy of your soul roams about seeking to be made about yourself as a believer, but he will devour your testimony, he will take your integrity will rip them from the fabric of this church.
Perhaps he needed to move on to a new location you relocated your family. Imagine what it must've been like when the apostle Paul left the early Christians for the last time.
Their ministry had been established by Paul's constant prayers, challenges and visits, but it was time for Paul to go like Paul anyone who lives for Christ and serves others will always leave so much behind today on wisdom for the heart. Stephen Davies teaches from acts 20 in a message he's calling the sad farewell.
I invite you back to acts chapter 20 our series thus far has attempted to uncover the depth and meaning of Paul's farewell. The Ephesian elders. Maybe the title of your study notes is significant maybe even wondering how long this farewell would be going to finish it morning.
We have listened in as Paul summarized his past work in verses 17 to 21. He told the others that his ministry been one of humility that is, he knew he was weak and totally dependent upon the strength of the Lord was also ministry tears and trials tears that they perhaps seen tears that perhaps they had not seen trials that he had an endeavor to be strong under, but depended upon the power of God went on to talk at his future in verses 22 to 24, of being one of ongoing change in bonds coupled with uncertainty.
You can underline your Bibles then you get to the present morning as we studied in verse 28.
The warning that the destroyers would come from without the church and deceivers would come from within, and you can underline sort of the outline of his farewell speech by noting the three times that Paul said Elise translated in my text and now verse 22 introduces this thought and now verse 25 he says, and now goes to another thought.
And then finally, in verse 32 and now in this and now introduces his final words to the elders and to us, and now verse 32 I command you to God and to the word of his grace is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. He says I command you to God after all that Paul has said to them, after all that he's gone after the hours of training.
After all, the tears he sounds sort of like a parent at graduation where they watch their daughter or son go down the aisle to receive a diploma knowing that it is the doorway to perhaps a farewell or maybe it's the altar in a church where they hear their son or daughter repeat some valves. Maybe the farewell takes place on that at a terminal at an airport or at the dock of a naval base. You are saying farewell to someone that you prayed with to receive Jesus Christ as personal Savior.
You are saying farewell to someone that you have spent countless hours training and disciple laying in discussing issues of theological importance and personal.
I need together with them. You have done all that you can do in their lives. You have given them spiritual roots and now you are giving them away. I couldn't help but think what more could you say, then I commend you to God, by the way, the only people the only parents the only friends who can tell somebody I commend you to gutter people of commend themselves to God first because it takes a lot of courage and commitment to be able to say that you'll never find the strength of the courage to commit your children or your spouse or your close friends of that work of God. It's happening in our lives want to keep them nearby. When the clutch playing you cannot say to them.
I commend you to God wherever God will take you if you first are not abandoned to his sovereign will think of Paul's abandon for a moment to remember Paul where you going next Jerusalem. What will happen to you. There I don't know.
I only know that the spirit of God is compelling me to go to Jerusalem, that is, abandon his pole reckless in his faith is a foolish in his abandon to God like some parachutist store some bungee jumper who leaps headlong toward the earth and hopefully that thing is been tested or at least measured properly to the believer who is commended to God. There is no reckless leap. Spurgeon said it best as I have often thought of this quote, and I repeat again the year that we are at our spiritual best when we are shipwrecked on the island of God's sovereignty ever been shipwrecked like that. So Paul here with personal experience and total assurance could handle these elders in this flock in Ephesus over to get given them rates in effect and I will give them wing can only commended them to God. Secondly, he committed them to grace. Did you notice in verse 32 I command you to God and to the word of his grace. That expression the word of his grace, get right into the margin. Your Bible a simple word Goss's anonymous phrase or idiom for gospel and Paul's thinking. Verse 24. He talked about the ministry of testifying boldly to the gospel of the grace of God and asked chapter 14 verse three he talked about the gospel of God's grace. The message of God's grace, he didn't tell them now like I've been teaching there for three years, I commit you to all the studied biology to hash over everything you've ever heard.
For those four and five hours a day that I taught you easy gets it that try to remember all of that noise as I want you to simply commit yourselves to the grace of the gospel of God that will keep you on track.
This is a favorite theme of his. We've sung about it this morning we heard about it to pull the word grace was precious to use it more than 100 times in his letters to the Galatians Ephesian Philippians to the Colossians to the Thessalonians to Timothy and Titus. He began his letters to them by saying hi commit you.
That is grace. The two you.
It's interesting to me that Paul combine the idea of grace and use that word to talk about the gospel use the word gospel relate to Gracie consider those synonyms and under aren't they for grace is simply unmerited undeserved, unchanging favor from God. Isn't that the gospel unmerited unchanging undeserved salvation is free and it is in the gospel that we have placed our hope. What are you hoping in today for your eternal security someone clip for me an article a few months ago from the Wall Street Journal about what an entire nation is placing their hope in and it will sound very silly to you but yet it's something they believe in talks about Taiwan and its recent reception course this is a Buddhist country, for the most part the islands gave the heroes welcome the Wall Street Journal article read Thursday to Shirley. The oddest guest ever to be granted a state visit a 2400-year-old twos said to have come from the Buddha himself flown in on a specially chartered plane.
It touched down the cheering thousand and the Taiwan's premier led the way radio stations devoted up-to-the-minute reports of its progress.
The premier event since Lou said, quote let us have peace and harmony now in our society offering a prayer to an airplane hangar that is been converted into a makeshift shrine and under a red and gold banner proclaiming ceremony to welcome the Buddhas to the object of attention rested after its trip in a miniature goldplated pagoda wrapped in closets Taiwan.
The article goes on to say, has high hopes believers say it can end a recent string of mishaps from plane crashes to corruption scandals, but fierce squabbling is already created problems. Opponents say the government should solve problems not fan superstition and some of asked why Taiwan's president a supposedly Christian will preside over a massive prayer to the tooth this weekend.
True believers remains serene says you can song a food company executive who waited at the sweltering airport to catch a glimpse he said, quote once the tooth has arrived. Our troubles will be over. Can you imagine Paul commends these men to the gospel and he says he writes to them later. In fact, in the Ephesian church listen to these words eases the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us by the way, this does nothing more than prove that when you do not believe in Christ you can believe in anything, so they are commended to God and they are committed to the ministry. Grace the third. These men are challenged to give verse 33. I have coveted no one silver or gold or closing you yourselves know that these hands minister to my own needs and that the men who were with me and everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner, you must help the week and remember the words of the Lord Jesus that he himself said it is more blessed to give than to receive. Paul's last recorded words to the present view to Roy were a quote by Jesus Christ, and end it may surprise you to discover that this quote is nowhere found in the Gospels. It's a statement the Jesus Christ. It evidently given to the church but had it had never been written down under inspiration until now.
As of the phrase that we would assume that he said as he walked planet Earth had never been recorded in his biographies but it's given to us here in this phrase by the way sort of summarizes all that Paul has been for them and all that they needed in the future.
Their ministry as elders.
Their ministry is present view to Roy as leaders in the church was to be a ministry of self denial. It would be a ministry given giving. He said I have coveted no one silver. I have not wanted anyone's gold. I have not coveted any man's apparel or closing and the love of money, you remember, has been one of the chief characteristics of the false prophets, Micah, all the way back in the Old Testament denounced the false leaders of Israel by saying the leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe. The priest teach for a price in the prophets design only if the given money. Isaiah talked about the shepherds of the people who like hungry dogs were never satisfied the continued to bribe and cajole and extort the people's money and Paul warned Titus that they should never teach for the sake of sordid gain while he will go on to explain the fact that they can be supported by the ministry.
He said you don't do it. Paul Paul wanted to make dead sure that the gospel was offered without charge as he put it in first Corinthians chapter 9 verse 18, the true shepherd ladies and gentlemen does not police the flock fees flock and Paula been an example for these elders you given himself to God. He given himself of the flock you given himself to the ministry. The word he'd given himself with such intensity that for a period of three nights three years, night and day for hours upon hours he devoted himself to them and he now concludes it is far better for blessed to give than to receive not want you to note here is not talking about giving away money. The first part of the statement can offer the misinterpretation that is talking about money. He isn't Paul is not saying to us. It's better to give your money away, then it is receive it, and there are a lot of people who think that the best thing that you can do is give your money and every Sunday.
On Sunday morning and maybe it even happened here is the offering plate was passed by people thought that they could buy their way out of the great commission by putting in some money. He's not talking now about giving away money is talking about giving away your life. It is better to serve, then to be served.
The most fulfilling lifestyle is not in people lining up to serve you. It is and you lining up for them and specifically to these elders. He is saying. Be ready to give your life away that notice he finishes his speech in verse 36 and when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all and they began to weep aloud and embraced Paul and repeatedly kissed him grieving, especially over the word which he had spoken and they should see his face. The more they were accompanying him to the ship throughout this whole paragraph you have picked up the dominant feeling of affection average between them. A few years earlier he had come to them as a total stranger. In fact, when he came he created a riot and he so incensed the inhabitants of of this city that they filled the arena and they began screaming and they screamed and chanted for two hours. Great is Diana of the Ephesian and they would have killed Paul that they had been in a later hands-on, but he had slipped away. He had created a riot he had created great turmoil. He had turned their lives upside down as a stranger, but now he had brought some of them from darkness in the light he had liberated them by means of the gospel, now three years later he leaves as a friend so these men are not only committed to God, and committed to grace and chose to give. They are consigned to grief. Notice again in verse 38 were told that they were grieving, especially over the word which he had spoken that word grieving is the same word used by Lukey. He uses it several times. One of those occasions is when he records the story of Joseph and Mary and that Jesus is missing.
Remember they couldn't find him. And so they went back to Jerusalem where they had been, and they discover that Jesus was in the process of teaching describes a few things that in no and Mary told Jesus and and I can only imagine that conversation how it went between the mother and the 12-year-old boy, but she used this word and she said your father and I have been anxiously looking for you that's an understatement never lost sight of your child the mall or all right in the neighborhood are at the fair. They turn a corner and you don't know which corner in your sort of at that moment where at the park yesterday would been invited to go the family to listen to. You can believe this, some bluegrass music can you see me out there was great, I'm afraid to say but at any rate, we lopsided charity worst year before your own and in you get that little feeling you know a lot of people around and and somebody spotted her about is about 4 acres away with a little boy. He was leading them astray. But you know that that panic. So to use the word anxiously but is the same word here is the same word. Luke uses to talk about the rich man who is tormented in our 80s and he speaks to Abraham asking for drop of water and he says I tormented in this plan, tormented same word see you combined the panic with the grievance with the anxiety and the fear and you put it all together and you get a little bit of a glimpse at what these men were feeling a little panic. The leader of our church is leaving a little fear were alone. We won't have him with us. Anxiety, emotional torment and all of those as they expressed their sorrow in their grief and in an effort perhaps to calm their terror in the quiet their tears.
Paul says evidently men what you say we pray and so right there on the dock in the open with people bustling about of the ships dock around with supplies and right right there. Paul disorder calls a prayer meeting and they, the Greek says they placed their knee, which is interesting to me because the common posturing at least the synagogue and first century praying was to stand with eyes open lifted upward. It was a symbol of their respect and honor of the person whose presence they were entering and so they did that standing at sort of worked its way even into our culture where we have forgotten that practice for the most part. When you stood when someone entered a room but here they placed their knee kneeling in prayer expressed deep feelings of an utter helplessness and dependency and need Jesus Christ to remember in the garden of Gethsemane knelt when he prayed deeply kneading the resources and strength of the father. Sometimes that would that would include prostrating before the Lord in on her dependency so they kneels there on the dock with the great apostle who now prays for them and he prays with them in their wiping their tears away and it's interrupted by a sob here in a and and a and a sob over there and is there huddled together praying there dependency on God is expressed here, perhaps more than ever in their lives. What a prayer must of been in the Bible tells us they evidently got up and embraced him and repeatedly kissed in the Greek is so descriptive, having fallen around his neck. They kept on kissing him. The language indicates that each one of them did not want to let him go. That is, they would embrace him and hugged him and they just didn't want to let go as they repeatedly kissed even though the call, the board of been repeated perhaps several times if we could summarize Paul's farewell to the Ephesian elders in his comments to us as a church. I believe we would need to buy a couple different ways we I think we could take it this way our relationship with the Lord must be balanced by the fight I just went back to those and malls and now and now three summary statements, our lives must be balanced. First of all by abandonment to the Holy Spirit. That is, that is total submission to the spirit of God. Second of all, alertness to the enemies of our soul being abandoned. The spirit doesn't mean well okay I just said dodging charging and I was way and I'll take a spiritual nap. All Al Qaeda because no not at all. The warning of Paul leads to ring in the years the church leaders then and the church leaders in the body at large today. Remember when what be careful why because the enemy of your soul. Aromas about seeking whom he may devour. You can have your soul as a believer, but he will devour your testimony. People take your integrity will rip that from the fabric of this church if he could, so be alert third must be allegiance to the grace of God: set everything turn their attention to the grace of God the grace of the gospel grace of saving God when they knelt with the one who would introduce them to the grace of the gospel. He did nothing more or less than commend them to this word of grace, which is able to build you up, he said to give you a hope that is rock solid and give you an inheritance among those who are sanctified. It is, he pointed them to the future fact of the kingdom when God of grace rule and reign with that we bring today's Bible message to this is wisdom for the heart.
We've gone back to our vintage wisdom archives to bring you this series from the book of acts.
Stephen first taught this series back in 1998, but the truth, and application of God's timeless word is just as relevant today as it was then. If you've been listening for a while, you already know this, but our primary desire is to provide you with teaching that is true to God's word. Listen to how Rebecca set it. Thank you for staying strong in the faith, and true to the word, every message touches me in some way your ministry means so much to me. Rebecca lives in West Virginia were so glad and honored that God continues to use, and bless the teaching of his word as it goes out. Here's how Beth from Michigan phrased it, she wrote.
I appreciate your clear explanation of God's word and insightful detailed application in our current world you've motivated me to keep reading the Bible and remember God's daily grace that makes me grateful for the alterations he's making in my life as well as giving me the words to speak to others. Thank you will thank you Beth for taking the time to share that with us. It was great to hear from you and if you friend would like to send Stephen a note as well. Here's the three best ways to do it.
You can write to us at wisdom for the hearts. PO Box 37297, Raleigh, NC 27627. I'll give you that again in case you want to jot it down its wisdom for the hearts.
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