Summary: You can have a life free from regret as you faithfully serve Jesus from this day forward.
Living with No Regrets
Acts 20:13 – 27
Intro: Most of us have some things in our lives that we would change if we could. If we could just snap our fingers and change some things about ourselves, most of us would start snapping. I know there are some things in my past that I am not very proud of. If only we would have listened to the Lord instead of the people we were hanging out with! If only we would not have taken that first drink or puff or whatever! If only we had listened to our parents! If only… If only…. We come to regret many of our decisions.
-But as we all know, we cannot change the past. The past is gone and we can no longer touch it. However, we can change the present and consequently, the future. Now, when things from the past haunt us, we do need to deal with them and find complete forgiveness and healing. God is more than willing and able to forgive us and to take our shame away.
-Today, we’re going to look at the life of Paul from Acts 20, and see what it means to live a life with no regrets. Now don’t get the wrong idea that Paul was a perfect saint and had never done anything bad enough to regret. There was a time when Paul was so spiritually blind that he thought he was doing the right thing by killing innocent Christians. As a result of Paul’s sin, he describes himself as the biggest sinner around. In fact, he even says that he doesn’t deserve to be called an apostle because of how he used to treat God’s church. How did he ever reconcile himself with being responsible for the deaths of so many of Christ’s followers? It was only by the grace of God that he found forgiveness and healing and went on to live a life with no regrets. Here is the main thought of the message today:
Prop: You can have a life with no regrets as you faithfully serve Jesus from this day forward.
Interrogative: How do we live a regret-free life?
TS: Let’s look at Paul’s words to the church leaders from Ephesus to identify a few basics that will allow us to live with no regrets. First, let’s look at a few background verses.
Background: Paul had missed his goal of arriving in Jerusalem to worship during Passover, but he still wanted to get there before Pentecost so he could worship at the temple and encourage the church there. So in vv.13-16 Luke tells us what happened during most of the 50 day period between Passover and Pentecost.
13 We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot. 14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15 The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Kios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.
-Now I’d like us to jump into our first major point about living with no regrets.
I. Right Living Leads to a Life with No Regrets (Acts 20:17-21)
17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: "You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
-This phrase, “right living” may sound like I’m overstating the obvious, but I think there really is something here for us to consider. We make choices every day. Some of these choices affect how close we will stay to the Lord and some of our decisions impact the spiritual lives of others. Whenever we face these choices, we need to remember that what we are doing now establishes a pattern for future behavior. If I go ahead and indulge in what I want to do, then it will be easier to choose 2nd best next time, and ignore what God wants me to do. So, what do we mean by right living. Our text gives us some clues.