Truths From Ephesus

In Acts chapter 20 we have the account of Paul leaving Ephesus.  He calls for the elders of the church and 05_08_8-cross-at-sunset_webbegins to detail an occasion that ought to touch the heart of any Christian.  Paul had been here for almost 3 years.  In that amount of time you build friendships.  By now Paul knew whom he could count on and whom he could not.  He knew those who genuinely loved the Lord and who didn’t.  He knew who put the cause of Christ first and those who did not.  By now he even knew the names of those who would lay down their lives for him.  This was a sad occasion.  Paul knew that likely he would never see these people again this side of eternity.  The apostle knew that trouble awaited him in Jerusalem.  He was certainly struggling with the facts as they were unfolding before him.  When we struggle we tend to dwell on those things that anchor our souls.  Paul was doing the same thing at his dark hour.
   He begins by reminding them in verse 26 that we are responsible for one another.  He does it in a kind way.  He says, “I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men.”  He goes on to tell them why.  He had declared to them the whole will of God.  This thought was an anchor in Paul’s life.  His life was built around the need to declare God’s will and thus showing responsibility for his fellow man.  A reoccurring theme throughout Scripture is man’s responsibility to his fellow man.
   In Verse 28 Paul shares a second anchor.  He tells them that the church is blood bought.  This changes our thought process concerning the body of Christ.  At times we get so carried away we put all emphasis on the church forgetting about Jesus.  It is important we not loose focus.  At the same time it is essential that we never forget the importance of the church.  Our personal desires and wants can never come before the needs that exist in the body of Christ.  If you notice this anchor, “the importance of the church”, drives the direction of Paul’s life.  It ought to be one of the truths that point our life in the proper direction as well.
   In Verse 29 Paul gives us a third anchor thought.  When we show the importance of the church, not everyone will care.  It took me a few years as a preacher to realize this truth.  In my first years as a minister I thought everyone who was a member of the body of Christ loved God with all his heart, soul, and mind.  Soon enough I begin to realize that for some Christianity was more like a social club.  It was a religion of convenience rather than conviction.  The sooner we pick up on this truth the better off we are.  Don’t be fooled, not everyone cares.  Paul in his distress was making this warning to his friends in Ephesus, “Not everyone cares.”  
   Paul’s final thought is shared in verse 31.  Perhaps this is the anchor that held Paul’s life and mission together.  This is a night and day with tears issue. Paul had not hesitated to warn them night and day with tears.  When things needed to be put in proper prospective Paul could do so.  Paul understood a truth that we need to understand.  When the world breaks loose around us the gospel of Jesus Christ is still a night and day with tears issue.  
   If these four anchors held fast in our lives things would certainly be different.  This would allow us to put first things first and hold them there.  We might not get every issue right but you would certainly know the direction we were headed.

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