Before Paul moved on, he called all the leaders to meet with him, and by sharing his life experiences, encouraged them to have determination of heart in sharing the gospel message of faith and repentance not matter the cost.
v. 17 Paul sent/called for the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him
- Elders- Titus 1:6-9, elder qualifications, notice that most of the qualifications involve character, not knowledge of skill. It is important to have leaders that can preach God’s Word, but more importantly, to have those who can live out God’s Word and be examples for others to follow.
- Leaders- 1 Thess. 5:12-13
- NIV- Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.
- NKJ- And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.
- NLT- Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work.
NOTE: May we be a people who are full of love and grace to give to our leaders as they seek to please the Lord in their work, on our behalf, because they love and care for us.
v. 18 you know in what manner I lived among you
v. 19 serving the Lord with:
v. 20 I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear publicly or in your homes
- Paul never gave up, he never quit
- Paul preached in different ways to fit different audiences
- But the message never changed
NOTE: The gospel message will always remain the same but the methodology will change over time
v. 21 I have had one message…the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and having faith in our Lord Jesus.
- This is what Paul taught
v. 22 bound by the Spirit…not knowing what awaits me
- “bound”- constrained, tied
- Ruth 1:16- Ruth was “determined” no matter the outcome, she was committed, devoted
- v. 23 the Holy Spirit tells me…that jail and suffering lie ahead
- ESV- imprisonment and afflictions
- NKJ- chains and tribulations await me
v. 24 Paul considered life nothing unless he used it for God’s work
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (ESV)
“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (NKJV)
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58
- Do you recognize the hard work of your leaders? How do you honor, in love the leaders among you?
- What are you bound to, and does it take priority over your relationship with God?
- Would you say yes to God if you knew that suffering and jail were ahead of you?
- In today’s culture, we see a lack of devotion and commitment. Why do you think that is?
- Where are you called to remain faithful?
- What do you hope your steadfast mindset will produce in you?
Father in heaven, we thank you for the example set for us through Paul’s life. May we do your work humbly. May we be faithful through the tears and trials.
May we have a heart for our leadership and may we be a people who care for them deeply with our love.
May we be determined to see people embrace salvation by recognizing their need for Jesus. Help us to live among one another in love and grace, seeking to reflect your heart.
Lord help us to be committed, determined people. May we lay aside all selfishness and seek out faithfulness for the purpose of producing spiritual fruit and maturity. Help us to love well. Help us to be bound to your Spirit in heart and mind. Let no trial or suffering move us from serving God.