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Acts 20:17-35

Serving with Love:

The Challenge to Serve Faithfully

Life B-P Church 66th Anniversary Worship Service, 16th October 2016

Text: Acts 20:17-35

 

·         Faithfulness is the most important quality needed in serving the Lord.

·         Paul highlights this to the Ephesian elders by his example and his exhortation.

·         There are two things we can learn from it about faithfulness in service:

 

1. What Should We Be Faithful in?

 

a.   Faithfulness to the Lord

“Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations...” (v.19)

 

·      Paul was willing to deny self in serving the Lord (v.24a).

·      He was heading for Jerusalem in obedience to the Lord’s direction despite knowing the trials he would have to face there (v.22,23).

·      He did not covet this world’s riches (vv.33,34 cf. Philippians 3:8).

·       Application: Are you more faithful to the Lord or to yourself?

b.  Faithfulness to Fulfill Our God-given Roles

“…so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (v.24b)

 

·         Paul had been doing this to the Ephesians for three years (vv.18,31):

o   Public teaching (v.20)

o   Testifying to Jews and Greeks (v.21)

o   Preaching the kingdom of God (v.25)

o   Warning everyone (v.31)

·         The Ephesian elders are now told to fulfill their God-given role of:

o   Feeding the church of God (v.28)

o   Keep watch against false teachings (vv.29-31; cf. Revelation 2:2)

·         Application: Are you fulfilling your God-given role in His kingdom?

 

c.   Faithfulness to the Whole Counsel of God

 

“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (vv.26,27, cf. v.20a)

 

·         Paul did not withhold any teaching of God’s Word from them.

·         All Scripture is profitable (2 Timothy 3:16).

·         The ‘unpleasant teachings’ must not be left out, e.g. the wrath of God, hell, repentance, and the Lordship of Christ (v.21).

·         Application: Are you faithful in learning and obeying all the counsel of God?

 

2. How Can We Remain Faithful?

 

a.   Guard Ourselves

 

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves…” (v.28; cf. Proverbs 4:23)

 

·      Cf. 1 Timothy 1:19 – “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.” (cf. 4:16)

·      Cf. Revelation 2:4 – “…thou hast left thy first love.”

·      Application: Has your love for the Lord grown cold?

 

b. Build Ourselves Up

 

“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” (v.32)

 

·      Paul had to leave the Ephesians, but they would always have God’s Word to build them up.

·      Application: Are you giving sufficient time to the study of God’s Word?

 

c. Look to God for Help

 

·      God was Paul’s confidence that they would remain faithful (v.32a).

·      God had purchased them with His own blood (v.28b).

·      God made them fit for their role as overseers (v.28a).

·      God enabled them to grow into a thriving church within three years.

·      God is faithful! (1 Thessalonians 5:23,24)

 

Questions for Reflection:

 

1.   What practical steps can you take to keep yourself faithful…
(a) …to the Lord?    (b) …to your God-given role?    (c) …to the Word of God?

2.   What do you think is the greatest hindrance to a Christian’s faithfulness today?

 

3.   What can you do to help a Christian whose love for God has grown cold?

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25