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Today’s Reading – Acts 20 – 22
“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)
In Acts chapter 20 we have the account of the Apostle Paul on his way back to Jerusalem from his third recorded missionary journey. He wants to make it to Jerusalem for Pentecost so he doesn’t have time to visit Ephesus personally. However, he knows that there is great potential for problems in Jerusalem, and that he will most likely not be able to get back to Ephesus, so he wants to say good-bye to them. So this is a farewell visit with people who he loved dearly, and had ministered to for almost three years.
While reading this passage I was intrigued by four reflections that Paul had regarding his ministry to the Ephesians. The interesting part about these remembrances is that they refer to what Paul did not do rather than what he did.
1 He didn’t withhold from them anything that was profitable.
Paul was a giver. He gave all that he had in order to meet their need. There was no part of his time, talent, or treasure that was hoarded for himself.
“And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:20 & 21)
4 He didn’t walk away from the will of God when the pressure was on.
He didn’t move. Too many men of God jump ship whenever the going gets tough. I know how it feels as I have been close to throwing in the towel myself. We must learn to endure hardship as a good soldier. We must learn to be steadfast and unmoveable, always abounding in the work; in season and out of season.
“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)
3 He didn’t wait to declare all the counsel of God.
Previously, we mentioned Paul’s time, talent, and treasure. Here we see that Paul held nothing back as far as doctrine was concerned. He showed them from the Scriptures how to be saved; but he also declared unto them all the counsel of God, so that they could completely fulfill God’s will for their lives. Paul wasn’t lazy.
“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20:26 &27)
4 He didn’t want any of their money or stuff.
Paul was a giver, not a taker. He didn’t demand that others meet his needs, he worked so that, not only his need, but also the needs of others were met.
“I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. 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 20:33 – 35)
These four reflections would be good “don’ts” for all of us who are in the battle trying to serve the Lord.
Posted in Devotions, Thoughts from Acts by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.