Meeting At Miletus

Paul had decided not to take the time to go to Ephesus, because he hoped to arrive in Jerusalem by the day of Pentecost (299).  But Paul sent a message, asking the elders of the Ephesian church to come meet with him while his ship was docked at Miletus.

When they met, he said, “You’ve seen my service to God among you.  From the first day I arrived in central Turkey, I worked humbly.  Because of the opposition of the unbelieving Jews, I also worked with many tears.

“You know also that — as I preached & taught, in public & in your homes — I was careful to share with you anything that might help any of you.  I encouraged both Jews & Gentiles to turn from their sins & to believe in Jesus.

“I didn’t work for silver or gold or clothing. Instead, I worked with my own hands for everything that my companions & I needed. I tried to show you that we must all work hard to help the weak.  We must remember what Jesus showed us: ‘There is more happiness in giving, than in receiving.’

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“Now, in obedience to the Holy Spirit, I’m going to Jerusalem.  I don’t know what will happen to me there; I do know that the Holy Spirit has warned me that prison & troubles await me there. But preserving my physical life is meaningless, if I can’t finish the job that Jesus gave me — which is to declare faithfully the good news about the grace of God.

“Quite likely, none of you will ever see me again. So, listen: if any of you should turn away from God, I’m not responsible. I’ve declared to you the entire word & purpose of God!

“Now it’s up to you — to keep watch over yourselves, and to keep watch over the people whom God has placed in your care. Be good shepherds of the church of God;  through the sacrificial death of Jesus, God has adopted its members as his own children.  After I leave, wolves in sheep’s clothing will come among you, and they will try to lead the flock astray! It may be that men from your own fellowship will lie about God & try to lead the believers away after them. So, be careful!

“Finally, I commend you to the care of God & to the message of his grace.  This message  is able to build you up & bless you with all the blessings of God.”

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Then Paul knelt with them & prayed. His friends all wept as they hugged him & told him good-bye; they were especially sad because he’d said they might never see him again.

 

(299) Acts 20:16-38