Summary: This is a farelwell sermon to the faithful and loving people of Perche. A challenge to ministry and encouragement of love. Using the Apostles farewell to the Ephesian church.
Intro: What can be said that is adequate in a farewell sermon? There are not enough words of thanks or enough words of love that I could share. However I will try my best to leave you with these last words of challenge, encouragement and love.
We find as we study the New testament that the gospels were written to unbelievers, whether Jews or Gentiles, the Gospels were written with the purpose of sharing the story of the Savior. The Letters of the New Testament are very different. Almost all the letters or epistles of the New Testament were written to believers. There were many different reasons, encouragement, admonishment, correction, teaching and others. The book of Acts is the history book of the New Testament. It tells the historical narrative of the Birth, growth and movement of the early church. It tells us the story of Peter leading the church. It transitions into Paul taking the church to the then known world. Where we come today is Paul saying His farewell to Ephesus.
I. Challenged to ministry (Acts 20.17-22)
This address was originally given to the elders at Ephesus. Elders were the leaders of the congregation. But that does not give you a pass at the challenge to ministry. Ministry is a translation of a word that simply means servant.
A) Living (I was with you the whole time) (Acts 20.18)
Paul challenged them with His life. What Paul tried to teach them by word and example is what I have tried so hard to teach you. Being a Christian is not what we do, not what church we attend it is who we are! John 3.3 clearly says there is a new birth required. Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus and was born again. He met Jesus and repented of His old life and began anew in Jesus. We are no longer what we once were. We are a child of God, we are adopted into the heavenly family and kingdom. You are challenged to ministry by the life of Christ.
B) Serving (Acts 20.19)
The Jews fought Paul tooth and nail. They desired to nail him. They wanted to snuff out his life and silence his message. Paul preached grace through faith in Jesus and the Judaziers were saying no you have to live according to the law. In tears and trials he served. What compassion for the lost. Oh that we as the people of God would be overcome by the lost condition of others around us. That we would break down in tears for the lost of this area. What was so powerful about the preaching and practice of the early church? Their compassion for those without Christ! They spoke with a holy compulsion and served with a holy compassion!
C) Teaching (I testified of the things of God) (one message) (Acts 20.20-21)
1 Corinthians 2.2 Paul preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Paul also says I taught all truth that I thought would build them up and be useful to the Ephesians. Where and whatever Paul spoke or wrote he did it for life change.
1) Radical life-change
Repentance toward God! Repentance comes from two Greek words one mean change and the other meaning mind. It is agreeing with God that we are sinners and turning from sin to the savior. It calls for radical change in thinking that results in a radical change of living.
2) Radical trust
Repentance is a supernatural response to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, calls us to the Savior and seals us forever. When we respond to the Holy Spirits conviction and surrender to Jesus Christ in faith our radical trust begins.
(Story about truck from 900 to 300!!)
Paul always taught and spoke for radical trust and life change. Soul saving, sin erasing, soul sealing trust results in radical life change.
D) Leaving (I can feel for Paul, I too am compelled by the Spirit.) (Acts 20.22)
Paul was guided by the Spirit to Jerusalem. He didn’t know what was to be the final outcome. However, He did know that he must go where the Spirit called. I am compelled by the spirit to go as well. There are already trials that we will face, there are already tears we will shed. However I am compelled. I must radically trust in God’s guidance and protection and provision. Perche God is calling you to a radical trust. He has placed a great foundation here and is challenging you to press on!
II. Warned of danger
When a leader, or pastor leaves, either by a call to heaven or a call to another place there are always dangers to be faced. The Ephesians faced a group of Jews that wanted to enforce the old tradition of Judaism on those that were now free in Christ. You may not face the same danger but there are dangers ahead none the less.