Goodbyes are necessary for maturity and growth. Though they be hard, it is good. Paul is preparing the elders in the church of Ephesus for him to no longer be present, leading them day in and day out. Now, he is commissioning them to take the reigns and go as he has taught them, but he encourages them to not be detoured by the false teachers that will come and try to distort the truth they share. Paul entrusts them to God who will grow them in grace and build them up.
v. 26- “I have been faithful”
- Faithful- steady, immovable, enduring, persevering
- To be faithful means to just show up, to be present
v. 27 “ I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know”
- Paul was faithful to speak the full counsel of God
- “full counsel”- sound doctrine, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, not avoiding the difficult parts of scripture
- NOTE: Sound Doctrine-
- 2 Timothy 4:3-4, it’s not popular, it’s boring, it’s irrelevant is what culture will tell you today.
- It doesn’t always make you happy but if received, it will make you holy
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17- All scripture is inspired by God
v. 28 “Feed and shepherd God’s flock- his church…over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as a leaders”
- Elders, husbands, fathers and community leaders- be devoted to upholding character and integrity in your living.
- Feed and shepherd- Reference- Ezekiel 34:11-16, what does a shepherd look like and do?
- Holy Spirit appointed- called by God, equipped for the task
v. 29-30 False teachers
- Their goal is to distort the gospel message and divide the fellowship of believers
- Matthew 7:15-20
- 2 Peter 2:1
- Ezekiel 13:9
- Jeremiah 23:16
- 1 John 4:1-6
v. 31 “Watch out!!”
- My constant watch and care over you- Paul’s care was daily, with much suffering and tears.
- Proverbs 27:23 (GDC’s vision and philosophy of ministry)
v. 32 “Now”- depicts a commissioning of sorts as Paul will no longer be present with them
- Paul entrusts the elders to be built up by the Holy Spirit and by grace
- Paul has given the elders a strong foundation in truth, his goodbye is the space God will use to grow them in grace
- Reference- Revelation 2:2-5, Concerning the church in Ephesus, they needed grace as they had become dull and lost their first love.
- Are you a believer that is devoted to sound doctrine or do you seem to wander from the truth to feel happy, entertained possibly forsaking truth at times to tickle your ears?
- Challenge- Read the Bible for one month without any other outside influence and see what God will reveal to you.
- What does a shepherd look like based off of Ezekiel 34:11-16? What does that look like for your life, in your marriage, household or workplace?
- From the reference scripture above, list the characteristics of a false teacher.
- What is Great Divide Calvary’s vision based off of Proverbs 27:23? Who is your flock or sphere of influence to put your heart into caring for (NLT)? What will that look like for you on a day to day basis?
- Have you become dull in your walk with the Lord? Do you need to turn back to your first love and repent? Pray for renewal and closeness with God again.
Lord, you are in the business of doing new things. You give and take away. You allow goodbyes in our lives intentionally for growth. May we be a people who receive goodbye as an opportunity for your Spirit to build us up and equip us for every good work. Give us a heart to care for our flock. May we be students of the full counsel of God so we are able to speak sound doctrine to others. May we be a people who desire truth even when we are not entertained or happy. Give us discernment over the messages taught to us. May your Spirit help to guard us from false doctrine. Lord, if we have grown dull in our walks with you, return us to our first loves. Keep us close to your heart.