Read Acts 20:17-36
Paul’s Farewell To The Ephesian Elders
In Paul’s farewell address to the elders of the church in Ephesus, he reminded them how he himself had behaved during their time together. He worked and lived “in all humility” (Acts 20:19), evidenced by his willingness to support himself financially.
As a teacher, he employed different methods to reach potential converts to Christ, teaching both “publicly and from house to house” (Acts 20:20), and reaching both “Jews, and also to Greeks” (Acts 20:21). No one should be excluded from the saving message of the gospel.
He also taught the necessity of “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). A person who proclaims faith in Jesus but does not change his sinful behaviors is a walking contradiction. If you truly believe that Jesus will punish the sinful, you will repent!
Paul reminded the elders of their great responsibility to the church. He said, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock” (Acts 20:28). They needed to watch out for each other and for every Christian under their care. Christians need to remember they have a responsibility toward their elders as well. “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).
Dangerous times lay ahead; Paul warned that “savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29) and that “from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things” (Acts 20:30). False doctrine is dangerous, and the elders were warned to be vigilant against it.
Paul also taught the value of the church. Many people today do not place any value on the church, but God “purchased (the church) with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). When is the last time you bought something so valuable that it cost you your blood?