Emotional Send-Off

In Your Bible: Acts 20:16-38

After completing three years of ministry in Ephesus and three months in Macedonia, Paul asked the elders of the Church of Ephesus to meet him in Miletus. Here he would bestow guidance, encouragement, and a warning. During this heartfelt time, God’s grace reigned as Paul blessed the elders of the church.

Protect the Flock

Paul insisted the elders heed this warning . . . “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders.” (Acts 20:28 NLT). He then commended the elders into God’s care.

Departing in Love

Then Paul . . . Knelt down and prayed with them all. And they began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him, grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see his face again (Acts 20:36-38a). During this heartfelt time, God’s grace reigned as Paul blessed the elders of the church.

Prayer: Father, thank you for the diligence Paul showed with these elders. Help me learn to encourage others to discover your will and your purpose in their lives.

Question: In Acts 20:28-32 Paul encourages and warns the elders of the church in Ephesus. How do both statements apply today?

Holy Spirit at Work in Ephesus

In Your Bible: Acts 19:1-6 (NLT)

After Paul visited the churches in the interior region of Asia Minor he returned to Ephesus for two years, continuing to preach the Word. There the Holy Spirit gave new disciples power and authority to work.

Paul’s Third Missionary Journey

Paul, with Timothy, Luke and others visited the churches in modern Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, and ended in Jerusalem. Again, he experienced persecution and suffering. While in Ephesus, Paul wrote several letters to other churches.

New Disciples Receive the Holy Spirit

On his way to Ephesus Paul encountered some (12) new disciples. He knew they were followers of Jesus by talking with them, but he also knew they lacked something—power!

Then Paul challenged them with a question, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? No, they replied, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit” (Acts 19:2 NLT).

Then Paul said, “If you’ve been baptized in John’s baptism, you’re ready now for the real thing, for Jesus.” As soon as they heard of it, they were baptized in the name of the Master Jesus. Paul put his hands on their heads and the Holy Spirit entered them. From that moment on, they were praising God in tongues and talking about God’s actions” (Acts 19:4-6 Message).

Some commentators * believe this encounter was designed to qualify these twelve men as elders committed the care of the church in Ephesus. There the Holy Spirit gave new disciples power and authority to work.

Prayer: Father, thank you for your gift the Holy Spirit to empower me and guide me into what you would have me do.

Questions: Why do you think repentance is necessary prior to baptism? How is this account in acts differ from the Great Commission Jesus gave in Mathew 19? Do you there think there is a difference, if you consider the word Master used in the Message in Acts 19:7?

* Matthew Henry’s Complete Bible Commentary Acts 19:1-7, online at christianity.com