Paul’s exhortation to the Elders in Ephesus…
24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
1. stay singleminded.
Statement of values: Finish the task the Lord Jesus gave me.
How? Know what you believe and expect opposition.
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
1 Peter 4:12
27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.
2. don’t sugar coat the truth.
the whole will of God. (no prosperity Gospel)
Example: He told them he wouldn’t see them again.
He didn’t go to Ephesus but passed by so he could stay focused on Jerusalem, his goal. (will of God)
How? ENCOURAGE OTHERS IN THEIR TRIALS AND WAITING.
Tell people not to give in to fear no matter what!!!
“Any appeal to the public in the name of Christ that rises no higher than an invitation to tranquillity must be recognized as mere humanism with a few words of Jesus thrown in to make it appear Christian. But only that is truly Christian that accords with the Spirit and teaching of Christ.”
- A.W. Tozer
How? Tell it like it is. Don’t “help the Word along”.
28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
3. Truly shepherd God’s flock.
Keep watch. Don’t fall asleep. (Remember the disciples in the garden)
"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (symbolism)
SATAN HAS GOT MEN FAST ASLEEP in sin, and that is his great device to keep them so. He does not care what we do, if he can do that.
~ Catherine Booth
How? Stay connected to God. Pray, fast, meet with others.
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:2-3
Example: it’s easy to see leaders in government who seem to believe that the people exist for them, not them for the people.
Does a leader serve his people or do they serve him?
How? Who has God entrusted you with? How do you see/treat them?
33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing.
1st: Paul considers everything rubbish by way of comparison…
2nd, Coveting is a sin and can’t be allowed into a person’s life.
Example: The love of money is a common vehicle the enemy makes Christians spiritually dead and ineffective through.
4. do not be seduced by the love of money.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
(Mark 4, the “deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for other things” - 2 of 3)
35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
How to overcome greed? Work with the aim of being generous.
36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed.
God first. Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart.
6. invite God into every transaction.
How? I always admire my Uncle Berv for praying at every dinner, meeting, and birthday.
He always took the time to include and celebrate the Lord no matter who was with us.