Sunday, December 23, 2012

From Acts to Revelation Part 57 – Paul's Final Instruction

From Acts to Revelation
Part 57 – Paul's Final Instruction
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


Last week we saw in scripture Paul traveled for a long distance, called for his next mission by the Holy Spirit. The first leg of the trip he spent alone, so he could hear from the Holy Spirit, which he did.

He knew his journey was going to bring him prison and hardship, so he wanted to speak with the Ephesian Edlers, to leave them with final instructions, and to say goodbye.

He told them that he had taught them everything they needed to know, and that if they failed, their blood would not be on his head, for he had given them everything he had.

This week, we will see Paul instruct the Elders to watch over themselves and their flocks, and they will learn that Paul has committed them to God, and with a final goodbye, he will leave them, never to see them again.

Acts 20:28-38
28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.

a.      Guard yourselves
i.       This message is not only for the Pastors (Ephesian Elder's), but to ALL Pastor's who have been called by the Holy Spirit.

b.     Guard the flock
i.       that the Holy Spirit made you overseers of

ii.    Elder's, Bishops, Overseers, Shepherds, Presbyters all mean the same thing as Pastor.

c.      Be shepherds of the church (Body of Christ – the PEOPLE)
i.       Savage Wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock
a.      a perfect description of those who merchandise the Body of Christ in whatever way.

ii.    Even from among your own number (Elders)

iii. Men will rise (not appointed by the Holy Spirit)

d.     They will distort the Truth
i.       To draw men unto them as disciples
a.      Instead of drawing men to Christ, they draw them to themselves.

ii.    False teaching will lead them astray
a.      New beliefs
b.     New religions
c.      New denominations
d.     Cults under the guise of Truth

e.      SO BE ON GUARD
i.       Spiritually diligent!
a.      Ephesians 6

ii.    For three years I (Paul) have not stopped warning you.
a.      Paul not only preached the Truth of the Word, but warned of, and pointed out false doctrine and false apostles as well.
a.      Commit one to God
i.       Paul is saying that he has planted enough of the Gospel in them, that they will not turn from the Lord.

ii.    Fully taught and accepted!

b.     And the Word of His Grace (which IS the cross!)
i.       It can build you up (strengthen through time & trial)

ii.    And give you an inheritance (to all who are Sanctified)

c.      The believer is Sanctified only by making the Cross the object of his faith, which gives the Holy Spirit latitude to carry out this work within our hearts and lives; the believer cannot Sanctify himself.

d.     I have not coveted any mans silver, gold or clothing
i.       He ministered for Christ's sake, not for money, like the Savage Wolves of verse 29.

e.      You knew these hands have supplied all my needs, and the needs of my companions.
i.       We're told of one of Paul's jobs in Acts 18:3 as a "tent repair specialist".

ii.    Remember, Paul worked so as not to be a burden to the newly founded church that did not have a lot of money to take care of him and his companions he was training.

iii. So they worked and covered their own living and traveling expenses as much as they could.

f.       “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
i.       This means that Paul's life was to serve as an example of unselfish behavior.

ii.    Rather than “living off others”, he took care of himself and those around him.
a.      It IS the responsibility of the church to care 100% for a Pastor and ALL his and his family's needs...however, newly founded churches cannot do so right away, and this is to be considered by the Pastor.

iii. Helping the weak means that all we do should serve as a spiritual example to others, so that they may grow as well.

a.      Paul then knelt and prayed with them.
i.       One of the reasons we kneel when we pray is because of this example.

ii.    Although kneeling is not necessary to speak with God, it shows reverence to Him, and submission from you as you speak to the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords.

b.     They wept, embraced Paul and kissed him.

c.      However, what grieved them most of all, the fact that they would never see him again.

The Elder's accompanied Paul to the ship where they would say their final goodbye, and Paul would set off for Jerusalem.

1.      Some lessons we learned from today's scriptures.
2.      The Holy Spirit is the one who calls a person to be an Elder.
3.      Bishop, Elder, Overseer, Shepherd, Presbyter, are all the same as Pastor.
4.      We must guard ourselves and flocks (if called to serve as an Elder) from False teachers and doctrines.
5.      And if we are called, we should work hard, so as not to be a burden to a newly established church.

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