Summary: Paul had lived his life for maximum impact (with no regrets), and this text shows us how he did it. How can you live your life for maximum spiritual impact?
Living Your Life for Maximum Impact (Part 4)
1. How many of you have a DVR on your television? People are acting, or players are running around in a game, and you can simply hit ìpauseî and everything stops. You can also push ìrewind,î go back, and play it over again.
2. Have you noticed that real life isnít this way? There is no ìpauseî or ìrewind.î Life just keeps moving forward, hour by hour, and day by day. Unfortunately, we donít get any ìdo-oversî or replays, do we? Once a day is gone, there is no way to get it back.
3. Because of this truth, we must live our lives in a way that will result in having a maximum spiritual impact on those around us. We only get one life to live on earth.
4. The apostle Paul had spent almost three years of his life in the city of Ephesus. There, he established a local church and won many people to Christ. These people were dear to his heart.
5. So, on his way to Jerusalem, Paul stopped at Miletus and sent a message for the Ephesian elders (pastors) to meet him there. vs. 17
6. Paul knew that this probably would be the last time he would ever see these men (vs. 25, 37-38). What would be Paulís last words? What would they consist of? This text is an absolute gem because it reveals Paulís final words of instruction to a group of people he loved dearly.
7. Paul had lived among these people for three years. His life was an open book
(vs. 18). He was able to look back and review the godly pattern that he had set. Paul had lived his life for maximum impact (with no regrets), and this text shows us how he did it.
8. How can you live your life for maximum spiritual impact?
First, serve the Lord with humility. vs. 19
Second, show what you know about the Lord. vs. 20-21
Third, live a life of sacrifice. vs. 22-24
Fourth, rise above people problems. vs. 25-31
1. Does anybody in here know what I mean by the term ìpeople problems?î Do you know what kind of problems these are? Problems with people!
2. We have people problems everywhere we go in life. Paul had people problems, Peter had people problems, and Jesus Christ himself had people problems.
3. If you want your life to have maximum impact, you must learn how to navigate successfully through people problems, especially as they pertain to your church and spiritual life. Why do I say this?
ï I say this because we readily recognize that we have people problems everywhere we go, but somehow we naively think that church should be the one place where we donít encounter these types of issues. After all, weíre all Christians!
ï Of course, this is not realistic thinking, so when people problems do arise, they can many times take the unsuspecting believer and blow him out of the water.
ï There are many believers that have been sidelined in the Christian race because they were hurt, or embittered, or deceived by another person in church! Their life lost impact for Christ because they were not able to rise above people problems.
4. Here in our text, Paul takes a group of leaders from the church at Ephesus and he shares with them final words of instruction, warning, and guidance (vs. 25). Paul dearly loved these people, as he had probably led many of them to Christ. vs. 36-38
5. Paul had invested time and energy into discipling these people (vs. 26-27) and he wanted them to use their lives for maximum impact. Because of this, Paul took some time to talk to them about this issue of people problems in the church.
ï Notice, Paul does not infer that there could be potential problems in the church. He very explicitly declares that there would be problems. ìFor I know thisÖî
ï Let this be a lesson: Any church that is genuinely attempting to teach the Bible and preach Jesus Christ will experience problems. It is inevitable. And the problems will involve people. Paul said, ìFor I know thisÖî
6. Paul warned these believers to expect people problems from two sources:
Wolves from the outside ñ vs. 29
ï The word ìgrievousî means ìcruel and destructive,î and the word ìwolvesî indicates that he is referring to lost, unsaved people who are of sordid character.
ï Do you remember when Jesus warned His disciples of wolves in sheepís clothing?
ï This is exactly what happened in the churches of Galatia. Paul called them who came into the church to bring people into bondage ìfalse brethren.î Galatians 2:4
ï Notice how Peter warned the little flock of believing Israel of the same thing. ìÖthere shall be false teachers among youÖî 2 Peter 2:1