Summary: To establish that Paul’s farewell was one of kindness and deep concern for the leaders of the church at Ephesus; and all ministers and elders should aspire to foster this same spirit in their work of Christ everywhere.
1. Paul’s Commitment To Ephesus
2. Paul’s Commission to Ephesus
3. Paul’s Character in Ephesus
1. This lesson outlines Paul’s farewell address to the elders of the Ephesian’s church who came in haste to see him before his journey to Jerusalem. These elders had traveled from Ephesus to Miletus some twenty miles away; just to see him and hear his words of encouragement before he began his last missionary journey. This journey would take him from Jerusalem unto Caesarea, and then ultimately unto Rome, to appear before the seat of Caesar.
2. First, Paul speaks of his commitment to the church in Ephesus while he was among them some 3 and ½ years. He reminds them of his work of preaching Christ and the grace of God among the Jews and Gentiles; and how God has granted them “repentance unto life, those that believed in Jesus.” He tells them also how he had “kept back nothing that was profitable to them; but taught them publically and from house to house.” He did not shirk his apostolic duties in declaring unto them “the whole counsel of God.” I would like to think the same has been true of our work among you here in Baton Rouge.
3. Secondly, he commissions them to be unwavering in faith and in their devotion to the church. He explains that the Holy Spirit “had made them overseers” or to see over the flock; and “to feed the church of God, which He had purchased with his own blood.” He warns them of pending invasion of “grievous wolves who would enter in among them not sparing the flock; and how even some of their own leaders would rise up speaking perverse things in order to draw away disciples after them.” I would like to think these are the things I reminded you of while I laboured here with you in Baton Rouge.
4. Lastly, he reminds them of his character (manner of life) while he was among them in Ephesus. “How he had coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.” He pointed out that there were times while there he had to “work with his own hands to provide for his necessities; as well as for those that laboured with him.” Working he says: “to support the weak and remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give then to receive.’” This farewell address ended with him and the elders on their knees and in solemn pray and in tears at the sea side. “Sorrying most of all at the words which he spake, that they would see his face no more.” It is my sincere prayer that God will grant Carolyn and I many opportunities to revisit you after our departure – that we may reflect in great joy of our time among you here in Baton Rouge. We shall surely miss you all just as these elders were going to miss the beloved Apostle Paul. With this, let’s notice what he says regarding his “commitment to the church at Ephesus.”
BODY OF LESSON