Summary: Paul was sorely missed when he departed from Ephesus--because of his MANNER of life, his MESSAGE, and his MOTTO. Link included for formatted text, handout, and PowerPoint Template.

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Missing Persons

Acts 20:36-38

Will you be missed when you are gone? We were glad you missed us this past weekend. It makes us feel needed to know it makes a difference when we are absent.

The Apostle Paul spent 3 years w/ these believers in Ephesus, and it was very sad for them to see him go. The feeling of missing someone like that begins even before they are gone.

Ill.—our kids grandparents come to visit, and start acting sad before they even leave…anticipation can be exciting as well as frustrating!

Paul sensed in his spirit that this was the last time he’d see these Christians here on earth. He won them to the Lord and discipled them. So, they got together and walked down memory lane, talking about all the exciting times they had together, how God had blessed, the victories they had won, the souls saved, the all night prayer meetings, the run ins w/ Satan and his forces of evil. Their hearts are melded together.

They must’ve watched as he ascended the ramp to the ship, w/ tears streaming down their faces. He would be sorely missed. Will you be missed when you are gone? Will it affect the church? Will it affect the offering? Will it affect a Sunday School class? Will a ministry suddenly be in need of a new worker to take your place?

And now these Ephesians must carry on for God, the One they are truly following. Don’t follow man, because he’ll let you down…God can move a man to another place, but He’s always the same. He never moves. He never changes.

It meant a lot to me to hear about a good attendance of people in our absence this past weekend. And to hear about such a good showing in the evening service, after you knew we were gone, meant even more!

Ill.—sometimes a member will say, preacher, I missed several weeks and no one called but you. [that’s not really an indictment on the church as much as it is on them…I’d hate to admit that I can miss and not make enough difference to be missed!]

Apparently, some people don’t leave any holes to fill. Just try it at work sometime…miss work several days, and don’t call in, and see if you are missed. If you are doing your job, then you’ll be missed when you stop doing your job!

Paul left a big hole in the hearts of these dear friends, and he was missed. Will you be missed when gone? You are going…and when you do, what difference will it make? Do you not have any area of service in the church?

Joke—man had surgery, went to recovery room, woke up, and the curtains were drawn. “Nurse, open the curtains, it’s dark in here, and I want to see out the window…who closed these curtains anyway?” She said, “settle down, I closed them.” “What for?” “Because there’s a big fire outside and I didn’t want you to wake up and think you died!”

When we leave this world we will leave behind all that we have and we’ll take with us all that we are!

It’s amazing what some people will do to try to feel significant.

Ill.—Guinness Book of World Records: people eating metal, glass, entire bicycles, shopping carts, chandeliers, etc. [Imagine him standing before God—“what did you accomplish, son?” “I ate a junkyard!” ]

So, what really matters in life, how do we measure significance, and will we be missed?

1. Paul was missed because of his manner of life.

v. 17-19 faithful, humble, and compassionate. He was a servant w/ all 3 of these qualities…and you’ll be missed if you are a servant. If all you do at church is sit, soak, and sour, yet never serve, you won’t be missed!

Show me a person who sympathizes and empathizes, caring for others, and I’ll show you a person who will be missed when they are gone! There’s something attractive about an unselfish, caring person.

2. Paul was missed because of the message of his life.

Whether we’re missed or not, we’ll all be remembered for something…things we did or said.

20:20-21 He was known for stating the truth, proclaiming the gospel. Ill.--this church used to have the motto: “Famous for the Gospel!” We must strive to be known for this!

--Adrian Rogers died 2 weeks ago, and at his funeral the preacher asked the congregation what Dr. Rogers was famous for saying, and in unity they all said, “Come to Jesus”!

--an evangelist preached a revival: on Sunday he preached, “You must be born again.” Again on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday…someone asked him why, he said, that’s simple: “You must be born again!”

What matters most? How to leave a legacy? Will you be missed?

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