Yesterday, we read the first part of Paul’s parting remarks to the leaders of the church in Ephesus (located in Asia Minor – that is, modern-day Turkey). Today, we continue where we left off, reading the next portion of what Paul had to say to these leaders.
“And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
– Acts 20:25-32 (emphasis added)
Paul is leaving. Who will take his place? Who will continue to speak the message that Paul has been speaking? Paul commends them to “the word of God’s grace.” In those days, there were other traveling apostles who kept alive the message. For us today, it is the completed Bible – the New Testament combined with the Old Testament. It is the authoritative source for “the word of God’s grace.”
Human institutions – no matter how well founded – eventually fail. Notice that Paul even says to the Ephesians leaders themselves that their institution will fail. For when Paul says that wolves will come in from without, and that perverse men will arise from within, is he not speaking to the corruption that creeps into every human institution?
It is from this word of God’s grace that I have been building you up and giving you an inheritance. Live by it!
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, the greatest inheritance I could ever have is to know You. Help me know You better this day…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)