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Proper Character of Christian Leaders-- Apostle Paul’s Testimony of 3 Years in Ephesus

Acts 20 (from the Lockman Foundation’s Amplified Bible formatted by Bill Stevenson)
16 For Paul had determined to sail on past Ephesus,
lest he might have to spend time [unnecessarily] in [the province of] Asia;
for he was hastening on so that he might reach Jerusalem, if at all possible,
by the day of Pentecost.
17 However, from Miletus he sent to Ephesus
and summoned the elders of the church [to come to him there].
18 When they arrived he said to them:
“You yourselves are well acquainted with my manner of living among you
from the first day that I set foot in [the province of] Asia,
and how I continued afterward,
19 serving the Lord with all humility
in tears and
in the midst of adversity (affliction and trials) which befell me,
due to the plots of the Jews [against me];
20 how I did not shrink from
telling you anything that was for your benefit and
teaching you in public meetings and from house to house,
21 But constantly {and} earnestly I bore testimony
both to Jews and Greeks,
urging them
to turn in repentance to God and
to have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 And now, you see, I am going to Jerusalem,
bound by the [Holy] Spirit {and}
obligated {and} compelled by the [convictions of my own] spirit,
not knowing what will befall me there--
23 except that the Holy Spirit clearly {and} emphatically affirms to me
in city after city that imprisonment and suffering await me.
24 But {none of these things move me;}
neither do I esteem my life dear to myself,
if only I may finish my course {with joy} and the ministry
which I have obtained from the Lord Jesus,
faithfully to attest to the good news (Gospel)
of God's grace (His unmerited favor).
25 And now, observe, I perceive that all of you,
among whom I have gone in and out proclaiming the Kingdom,
will see my face no more.
26 Therefore I testify {and} protest to you on this [our parting] day
that I am clean {and} innocent,
not responsible for the blood of any of you.
27 For I never shrank {or} kept back {or} fell short
from declaring to you
the whole purpose {and} plan {and} counsel of God.”

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28 “Take care {and} be on guard for yourselves
and the whole flock
over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you bishops and guardians,
to shepherd (tend and feed and guide) the church of the Lord,
which He obtained for Himself
[buying it and saving it for Himself] with His own blood.
29 I know that after I am gone,
ferocious wolves will get in among you, not sparing the flock;
30 even from among your own selves
men will come to the front who,
by saying perverse (distorted and corrupt) things,
will endeavor to draw away the disciples
after them [to their own party].
31 Therefore be always alert {and} on your guard,
being mindful that for three years
I never stopped night or day seriously to admonish
{and} advise {and} exhort you one by one with tears.
32 And now [brethren], I commit you to God.
[I deposit you in His charge, entrusting you to His protection and care.]
And I commend you to the Word of His grace
[to the commands and counsels and promises of His unmerited favor].
It is able
to build you up and
to give you [your rightful] inheritance
among all God's set-apart ones
(those consecrated, purified, and transformed of soul).
33 I coveted no man's silver or gold or [costly] garments.
34 You yourselves know personally that these hands
ministered to my own needs and those [of the persons] who were with me.
35 In everything I have pointed out to you [by example] that,
by working diligently in this manner,
we ought to assist the weak,
being mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said,
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
36 Having spoken thus, he knelt down with them all and prayed.
37 And they all wept freely
and threw their arms around Paul's neck
and kissed him fervently {and} repeatedly,
38 being especially distressed {and} sorrowful
because he had stated that they were about to see his face no more.
And they accompanied him to the ship.
Philippians 4
8 “For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence
{and} is honorable {and} seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely {and} lovable, whatever is kind {and} winsome {and} gracious,
if there is any virtue {and} excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,
think on {and} weigh {and} take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
9 Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me,
{and} model your way of living on it,
and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.”
Conclusion: No Christian leader should be against the Apostle Paul’s example of a God-pleasing
teacher and church elder. He humbly did what the other Apostles could not do. Beware
of the arrogant and argumentative individuals who are against this man.
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Hi Pastor Peter,

I meditated about Acts 23 and what you shared last night. The following thoughts came to me:
1. Apostle Paul had been transformed from a courageous selfish ambitious Pharisee to a courageous
humble compassionate unselfish teacher about the Gospel and Jesus Christ. He gave up a life of
possible riches and nice places to live in for a life of a tentmaker
2. He obeyed the Holy Spirit instead of heeding to his friends who told him not to go to Jerusalem
because it would be dangerous for him.
3. After about 20 years teaching in being a very successful missionary to the Gentiles and church
planter, he was not respected by the Christian leaders in Jerusalem. He was accused of teaching
wrongly and he was not protected from the Jews. No one tried to get him released from the Roman
soldier protection. I can’t think of one Christian leader in recent times being so badly treated,
especially by other Christian leaders. Can you imagine how shocking this was for Paul?
4. But this chapter reports of unexpected help from Roman army officers who respected Roman law and
a young man who overheard a meeting of Jews planning to kill Paul. Many times since, true
Christians in trouble or have been betrayed have received unexpected help from others.
5. Jesus Christ knew how much Paul could take, and appeared to him as was prophesied to him at his
conversion from being Saul: Acts 22:12-15 “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the Law,
having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, came unto me, and stood, and said unto me,
‘Brother Saul, receive thy sight.’ And the same hour I looked up upon him. And he said, ‘The God
of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou should know His will, and see that Just One, and should
hear the voice of His mouth. For you shall be His witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and
heard.’” Acts 23:10-11 “And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul
should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by
force from among them, and to bring him into the castle. And the night following the Lord stood by
Him, and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul: for as you have testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou
bear witness also at Rome.” So Paul was given more time to share the Gospel and would not die in
Jerusalem as his friends thought would happen.”
6. You were right to say that God doesn’t forsake believers even those who have died for their faith, but
you didn’t give examples about how. The most extreme examples that came to my mind was when
He gave the Christian martyrs who had to walk into the arenas where hungry lions were ready to eat
them did so singing hymns the Christian martyrs in Europe who sang hymns or quoted Scripture as
they burned at stakes. But history is full of God helping persecuted Christians at least by giving them
divine peace and divine joy. It might be good to give some examples of this to clarify that all
Christians don’t end up being martyred. Some might have wrongly concluded the just mentioned by
the examples you gave.
7. The following anagram applies to this chapter about courage:
C -- commitment to God's truth
O -- obedience to the Holy Spirit
U -- understanding God's desires
R -- revival spiritually
A -- attentiveness for opportunities to minister
G -- gratefulness to God, especially for His protection
E -- enduring in faith of our Lord Jesus Christ

Conclusion: Acts 23 means a lot more to me than ever before and encourages me to want more courage
from God to do all of the Great Commission. I really need more of such in order to
evangelize when I am outside of my home and outside of church.