Summary: Paul models Christ. Who you are is more important than what you can do. Our life ought to be walking sermon that people remembers.
I learn this from Paul – don’t just do ministry, live your ministry.
• Let your life be a walking sermon. People see you and they see a glimpse of Christ.
• They can see hope, love, joy, and purpose in our lives, because Christ dwells in us.
• WHO you are has a greater and longer lasting impact in people’s lives, than just WHAT you do.
• We want our life to be a ‘walking’ sermon that people never forget.
We know more about Paul from his farewell speech with the Ephesians elders [20:17-38].
This is probably one of the most moving scenes in Acts.
• Paul was heading back to Jerusalem in time for Pentecost. He would not be returning this way and said this was to be his last meeting with them.
• He called for the elders to meet him at Miletus, some 30km South of Ephesus. Paul had spent 3 years in Ephesus, so they know him and he knows them well.
• He spoke his heart with them for the last time.
Parting words are always the most significant. No idle words, not casual talk.
• We share our deepest concern and what is most important.
• This farewell talk reveals a lot about Paul – his person, his motivations, and his calling.
• I just want you to quickly go through some of these verses and fill up the blanks. Doing it this way will give us a deeper impression and understanding of this man. [Give out handouts]
v.19 – great humility v.33 – honest, not greedy
v.24 – selfless, committed v.34 – work for his own & companions’ needs
v.31 – caring, compassionate v.35 – hardworking
v.19 – serve the Lord v.24 – finish the task of sharing the Gospel
v.20 – preach anything that is helpful v.35 – proclaim the whole will of God
v.31 – getting Jews and Greeks saved
v.18 – You know how I lived… v.32 – prays for them
v.20 – taught publicly and house to house v.35 – In everything I did, I showed you….
v.31 – giving counsel night and day
No wonder they were so sad to part with Paul. I would be.
• He has become such a blessing in their lives. Paul models Christ.
Paul did not just preach Christ – which he has been doing amazingly well, wherever he went he proclaim the Gospel relentlessly.
• But he also lived Christ. He walks his talk. For 3 years, the Ephesians’ believers saw that with their own eyes.
• You can’t fake something like these. You cannot bluff those who have been with you for 3 years.
• Paul lived the message he preached. The people knows he cares about them, the people know he loves them.
WHO you are is more important than WHAT you do.
• If you take a moment to think about the people who have impacted you the most, you’ll most likely discover that it was their character that made the biggest impression on you.
• It’s not their talents, gifts or abilities, but their humility, their kind heart, their compassion.
Who you are as a person will have a greater influence than the specific thing you do, whether it is preaching, singing, or whatever.
• If I preach with eloquence but arrogance, you know it and it turns you off. If you sing to glorify yourself, people sees it and they will leave not with an impression of your song but your pride.
Because Paul walks the talk, he was able to tell the believers to imitate him.
• 1 Cor 4:16-17 “Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.”
• 1 Cor 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
Actually, the walk is more important than the talk. A bad walk nullifies the good talk.
• So let us strive to be an example others love to follow. Let us learn to display the character and attitudes of Christ, in every situation.
• God has called us to live lives worth imitating. In order words, if you are doing something today that you do not want people to imitate, then you need to stop it.
Doug Nichols served with Operation Mobilisation in India 1966-1968.
In 1967, Doug Nochols was serving as a missionary in India. While he was just starting to study the language he contracted tuberculosis and was eventually sent to a sanatorium to recuperate.
It was not a very good place to be. It was not very clean and conditions were difficult because there were so many sick people there. But Doug decided to do the best he could in that situation. So he took tracts and some Gospel of John booklets and tried to pass them on but they were not interested in an American and his God. No one wanted the tracts and books. He tried to witness, but he was handicapped because of his inability to communicate in their language. Discouragement set in and Doug began to wonder why God had allowed him to be there anyway.