Paul’s Full Speech
When they arrived
from the day I set foot in the province of Asia
I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears.
I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews.
I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear,
or in your homes.
I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike —
the necessity of repenting from sin
and turning to God,
and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.
“And now I am bound by the Spirit
to go to Jerusalem.
I don’t know what awaits me,
except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city
that jail and suffering lie ahead.
But my life is worth nothing to me
unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus
the work of telling others the Good News
about the wonderful grace of God.
“And now I know that
none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom
will ever see me again.
that I have been faithful.
If anyone suffers eternal death,
it’s not my fault,
for I didn’t shrink
from declaring all that God wants you to know.
“So guard yourselves and God’s people.
Feed and shepherd God’s flock—
purchased with his own blood
over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders.
I know that false teachers,
like vicious wolves,
will come in among you after I leave,
not sparing the flock.
Even some men from your own group will rise up
and distort the truth
in order to draw a following.
Remember the three years I was with you—
my constant watch
and care over you night and day,
and my many tears for you.
“And now I entrust you to God and
the message of his grace
that is able to build you up and
give you an inheritance
with all those he has set apart for himself.
“I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes.
You know that these hands of mine have worked
to supply my own needs and
even the needs of those who were with me.
And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard.
You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus:
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
When he had finished speaking,
he knelt and
prayed with them.
Notice the number of times Paul said:
- You know
- I don’t know
- I know
- I declare
- I know
- I entrust
- You know
Paul starts with very emphatic Greek with you yourselves know . . .
- I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears
- I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews.
- I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes.
All of that was from the day Paul set foot in the province of Asia until this meeting in Miletus. All of the time Paul had been in Ephesus, at least 2 years and 3 months but most likely extending to three years, he had been observed by the Ephesian elders. “Doing the work” is literally serving the Lord with humility and with tears. In terms of the tears it expresses his love and concern for those who responded to his message. Do you notice that by laying out the statements Paul made according to their relationship with one another it is clear to see that all three statements Paul made were set in the context from the day Paul set foot in Asia (read Ephesus) until this moment with the Ephesian elders.
Likewise the reference to what you yourselves as leaders know relates to all three statements:
- The fact Paul served the Lord with humility and tears.
- The fact that he patiently endured the opposition from the Jews.
- The fact that he never shrank back from proclaiming what they needed to hear, publicly or privately.
Oh that we would all be like that. They are three strong life principles.
1. When you serve not people or organisations but have the Lord in focus as the One you are really doing it for you can endure much. Not only that but when you carry a burden for the people you served to the point of tears, it makes a difference in terms of how you do the task and serve and how it is perceived by those you are serving. People can tell when your whole heart is in it FOR THEM.
2. When you serve God you can endure the opposition. The opposition is because you are serving Him. To some we are the stench of death, to others we are fragrance of life. It has been my experience that it is what in the person themselves that causes the vitriolic or negative reaction to proclaiming the good news. Some people’s reactions are strong, not because of who I am but because of their attitude toward God.
3. Telling it like it is. Despite opposition or potential personal reactions you always say what they need to hear. If your concern is for them you need to tell the truth, IN LOVE. To not tell someone the truth about their actions, reactions or situation in the light of eternity is to do them a disservice, not serving them.
What is interesting is the Paul’s statement about telling them what they needed to hear publicly or in their homes infers that he spoke the truth in public first. Thus all the Jews and those in opposition to him heard the truth as well. Hence their reaction, but nonetheless it was the truth. Paul was not put off from telling the truth despite who could hear nor the nature of the message. He delivered God’s message faithfully.
Wherever he was he had one message for Jews and Greeks (read Gentiles) – the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus. There is no other message, because – There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Both Paul and Peter, the prime preachers of the book of Acts tell the same consistent message. So should we.
We have now covered the introduction. Next Gems we will turn our attention to the rest of what Paul had to say.
Now it is your turn to look at the following three sections. (look back at the sections in Gem 1790)
- Suffering Ahead
- Watch Out
- Passing the Baton
Three more chances to under the power of laying words out in propositions in the way they connect to each other.
Be someone who makes other people better.Ian
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.Martin Luther King
Jesus was opposed to sin yet ok for sinners to be near him. People with need knew that He was safe. Are you?Anon
In humility let the word implanted in your heart grow up to save your soul.Anon
The highest purpose of our suffering as believers in Jesus is to share in His suffering and thus to know Him more intimately.Lynda Wake