Paul's Address To The Ephesian Elders

    1. SCRIPTURE READING: Acts 20:13-38.
    2. BACKGROUND:
      1. Paul was returning from his third missionary journey and had stopped at Miletus.
        1. A city on the seacoast of Ionia.
        2. The city was some thirty miles south of Ephesus.
      2. While at Miletus he summoned the elders of Ephesian church to come to him. 
        [Acts 20:17] = "And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the 
        elders of the church.
        "
      3. When they arrived, Paul delivered to them his farewell address. 
        [Acts 20:18] = "…When they were come to him, he said unto them, …"
    3. THE ADDRESS IS DIVIDED INTO FOUR BASIC POINTS:
      1. Retrospective = A look back on the past.
      2. Prospective = A look to the future.
      3. Exhortation = Advise and warning.
      4. Valedictory = Words of farewell.

  1. DISCUSSION:

    1. RETROSPECTIVE:
    2. Acts 20:18-21 = "And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye 
      know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been
      with you at all seasons. Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with
      many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
      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.
      "

      Note: We have in these verses a brief history of Paul's ministry.

      1. His actions were not of a hidden nature, but known to the Ephesian elders from 
        the very beginning. [Acts 20:18] = "And when they were come to him, he 
        said unto them, ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after
        what manner I have been with you at all seasons.
        "
      2. His work among them was noted with a combination of humility, sympathy, and
        temptations. [Acts 20:19] = "Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, 
        and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in 
        wait of the Jews.
        "
      3. He had given them instructions, both in privately and publicly. 
        [Acts 20:20]
        = "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.
        "
      4. He had taught them the fundamental essential facts of Christianity: 
        [Acts 20:21]
        = "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks,
        repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
        "
        1. "Repentance toward God."
        2. "Faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
    3. PROSPECTIVE:
    4. Acts 20:22-27 = "And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, 
      not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost
      witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none 
      of these things move, 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. And now, behold, I know that 
      ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my 
      face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the
      blood of all men. For I have not shunned the declare unto you all the counsel 
      of God.
      "

      1. Awaiting Paul were the afflictions, which he face with calm courage. 
        [Acts 20:22-23]
        = "And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto
        Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that 
        the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions
        abide me.
        "
      2. The words of bonds and afflictions did not deter him in his serving the Lord with
        joy. [Acts 20:24] = "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.
        "
      3. Paul knew the things which he faced would keep these beloved Ephesians from
        seeing is face any more. [Acts 20:25] = "And now, behold, I know that ye all,
        among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my 
        face no more."
      4. In view of this, Paul wanted in noted that he had fulfilled his work and stood 
        before them pure having declared them "the counsel of God". 
        [Acts 20:26-27]
        = "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.
        "
    5. EXHORTATION:
    6. Acts 20:28-31 = "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over
      the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God,
      which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my
      departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 
      Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw 
      away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space 
      of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
      "

      Note: Paul now earnestly both admonishes and exhort the Ephesian elders to be 
      watchful in three basic areas:

      1. To watch their personal lives they live as examples before the flock. 
        [Acts 20:28]
        = "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, …"
      2. To watch the flock entrusted into their care. [Acts 20:28] = "… and to all the
        flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed 
        the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
        "
      3. To watch over the flock and protect it, as he had done, from wolves that would enter in among them if not careful. [Acts 20:29-31] = "For I know this, that
        after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not 
        sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking
        perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, 
        and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn 
        every one night and day with tears.
        "
    7. VALEDICTORY:
      1. Acts 20:32-35 = "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the
        word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an
        inheritance among all them which are sanctified. 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.
        "
      2. Paul commended them to God, and the word of His grace. 
        [Acts 20:32]
        = "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the 
        word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an
        inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
        "
      3. Paul encouraged them to live a life of unselfishness recalling the example that he 
        had set before them. [Acts 20:33-34] = "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.
        "
      4. Paul exhorted them to remember the poor. [Acts 20:35] = "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.
        "

  2. CONCLUSION: A VERY PATHETIC SCENE:
  3. Acts 20:36-38 = "And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with
    them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, Sorrowing
    most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And
    they accompanied him unto the ship.
    "

    1. PAUL REACTION. [Acts 20:36] = "And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled
      down, and prayed with them all.
      "
      1. He kneeled down with them in prayer.
      2. They prayed together - "prayed with them".
    2. THE ELDERS REACTION. [Acts 20:37-38] = "And they all wept sore, and fell 
      on Paul's neck, and kissed him, Sorrowing most of all for the words which he
      spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto 
      the ship.
      "
      1. They showed their love for Paul - Fell on his neck and kissed him".
      2. They showed their sorrow in that they would see him no more.
      3. They accompanied him to the ship.
    3. WHAT REACTION WOULD WE HAVE HAD, HAD WE BEEN THE ONES 
      TO WHOM PAUL SPOKE THESE WORDS.
      1. As elders?
      2. As members of the flock (church).

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