January 17th, 2007
In speaking to the leaders of the new church at Ephesus, Paul predicted that, after he left, “Vicious wolves will get in amongst you to devour the flock. People will arise from amongst your own selves, distorting the truth, to entice away disciples after them.” Paul’s prediction was that outsiders would come in to cause damage, and that people from inside the church would do likewise. Paul’s prediction still holds true today. Every now and then the visitors to a church will include wolves who want to devour some of the flock. And every now and then someone who has been brought up within the community to a position of leadership will start leading people astray.
The Acts of the Apostles — Chapter 20
20:1 When the riot was over, Paul sent for the disciples, said goodbye, and left for Macedonia. 20:2 After travelling through the area, and speaking many words of encouragement to the believers, he arrived in Greece 20:3 where he stayed for three months. A plot was made against him by some Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, so he decided to return through Macedonia. 20:4 Accompanying him as far as Asia were Sopater from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia. 20:5 They went ahead, and were waiting for us at Troas. 20:6 We sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and met up with them in Troas five days later, and we stayed there seven days.
20:7 On the first day of the week, when the disciples were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to leave the next day. He kept talking until midnight. 20:8 There were numerous lights in the upper room where we were gathered together. 20:9 A young man named Eutychus was sitting on the window sill, becoming drowsy. As Paul spoke on and on, he drifted off to sleep, and fell down from the third storey, and died. 20:10 Paul went down, and went over and held him in his arms, saying, “Don’t worry; he’s alive.” 20:11 He went back upstairs, broke bread, ate, and talked with them a long while, until daybreak, and then he left. 20:12 They brought the boy in alive, and were greatly relieved.
20:13 We had gone ahead to the ship and sailed towards Assos, because Paul had arranged that he would travel by land and join the ship there. 20:14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard, and went to Mitylene. 20:15 Sailing from there, the following day we passed Kios. The day after we crossed over to Samos, and the following day we arrived in Miletus. 20:16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in Asia. He was in a hurry to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, if possible.
20:17 From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders of the church to come. 20:18 When they arrived, he said to them, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you all the time, 20:19 serving the Lord with humility and tears, while suffering difficulties on account of the plots of the Jews. 20:20 I didn’t fail to tell you anything that was helpful. I taught you publicly and from house to house, 20:21 urging both Jews and Greeks to have repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus. 20:22 Now I am going to Jerusalem as a prisoner of the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 20:23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in every city that imprisonment and suffering wait for me. 20:24 But I don’t consider my life valuable to myself, if only I can finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of the grace of God.
20:25 “I know that you, among whom I went about preaching the Kingdom of God, will no longer see my face. 20:26 So let me declare to you today that I am not guilty of anyone’s death, 20:27 because I didn’t fail to tell you all of God’s requirements. 20:28 So be careful for yourselves and for all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has made you leaders, to shepherd the church of the Lord and God which he purchased with his own blood. 20:29 I know that after I leave vicious wolves will get in amongst you to devour the flock. 20:30 People will arise from amongst your own selves, distorting the truth, to entice away disciples after them. 20:31 So watch, remembering that for a period of three years I didn’t stop warning everyone day and night with tears. 20:32 Now, brothers, I entrust you to God, and to the message of his grace, which can build you up, and give you an inheritance with all those who are holy. 20:33 I was jealous of no one’s silver or gold or clothing. 20:34 You yourselves know that my own hands worked to supply my needs and the needs of my companions. 20:35 In everything I showed you by example that you should work to help the weak. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
20:36 When he had said this, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 20:37 They wept a lot, and embraced Paul’s and kissed him, 20:38 grieving most of all because he had said that they would see his face no longer. They accompanied him to the ship.
Entry Filed under: Perseverance