Last week we discussed how Paul was trying to get to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 20:16). Let’s read:
Acts 20:17 But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him. 18 When they arrived he declared, "You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now 19 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. 20 I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. 21 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.
Paul called for the leaders at the church in Ephesus to come meet him and began to testify of his labor of love for Father God’s Kingdom. I love the focus of his message regardless of who he was ministering to (verse 21); Repentance and Faith. Friends, it’s time we quit majoring on the minors and major on getting people to repent and then live by faith in what Jesus did for us.
Repentance, receiving forgiveness for our sins and turning from our old lifestyle. Father God changes us but we also must be wise and change some things ourselves like who we hang out with, where we hang out, etc…. We are not saved by works but when we truly get saved our works will change.
Living by Faith in Jesus was the second message Paul focused on sharing. For the Jews it was a hard message to accept because under the law there is a lot of works (sacrificing animals, etc) but under grace the one sacrifice Jesus made was sufficient and we receive it by faith not works. Our works follow our faith.
Living by faith, knowing Jesus not only took our sins and the shame of our sins but He also took the curse of sin. Now we are free and are entitled to the blessings of Father God.
22 "And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don't know what awaits me, 23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. 24 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.
What a powerful testimony! I know I’m destined to go to Jerusalem where imprisonment and suffering awaits me but I’m willing to go because that is the will of the Lord for my life and I know I will have opportunity to tell others about the Good News and about the Grace of Father God. The temporality pain and hardship is nothing to be compared with the eternal joys which await me. In fact my life is not worth living unless I finish the work assigned to me, finish the purpose for which I was born so I press forward.
Paul had the mentality of Jesus when He prayed in the garden I don’t want to die the death I was destined to die but NEVERTHELESS not my will but thy will be done. Paul pinned these words, to be absent from this body is to be present with Christ so he knew death was not an enemy but rather his transport into paradise.
25 "And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. 26 I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it's not my fault, 27 for I didn't shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.
These were sad words because of the bond between Paul and the church at Ephesus when Paul said we will never see each other again. Then he said words that we all need to strive after, if anyone suffers eternity in hell it’s not my fault because I told you the truth in love caring for your eternal souls. Whatever Father God wanted me to tell you I told you so your blood is not on my hands.
It’s sobering to think about someone else’s blood being on our hands because we refused to share the truth with them. It’s more than sobering to think about someone spending eternity in hell because we were not obedient in sharing the full gospel with those the Holy Spirit put in front of us. I want to be able to say like Paul, if you spend eternity in hell, it was not my fault because I was obedient to the calling Father God had on my life. In this pleasure sin driven world it’s not a time to water down the gospel but we must preach it, live it, tell it without compromise.
Prayer Thoughts: Father in Jesus Name, continue to give me the boldness to tell the truth in love to everyone you have ordained me to witness to. I don’t want to stand before you with their blood on my hands. Help me to see everyone through your eyes with your love.