Today’s lesson looks at a simple question. What would a preacher preach if it was the last lesson he could? What would he spend the time of his last lesson speaking about? In a way, today was my last sermon; the last sermon of the year. So I went looking and found ‘last messages’ and choose to speak on Paul’s address to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20.
There are many things you could say about this passage but the main points that I spent the time of my ‘last lesson’ were these:
Paul wanted the elders to Take Heed. Beware, be on guard, stay alert. He then tells them what that should take heed to, why they should, and how they can do what he asks them to do.
Take heed to yourselves. First, we need to tend to ourselves. Do we have problems in our own lives that need to be corrected?
Take heed to the flock (others). The elders needed to be on the alert for those of the flock who were weak or wandering away and then also be alert so that no wolves, dressed in sheep clothing infiltrated the flock.
Take heed to shepherd the flock (that is, to your job). Similar to the previous point, this point focused on doing the job that you have been assigned to.
Even though Acts 20:28 applies directly to the elders of a congregation, taking heed to oneself, to the brothers in the church, and to the gifts that God has given us, which are to be used in the church, are things everyone can do and for the same reasons.
The Why of taking Heed is because we are not fighting a physical but spiritual battle. Satan is at war with us, so we should be on the alert. Even from among the Elders themselves, some of them would try to draw away followers after themselves.
Next Paul tells them the HOW they can take heed:
Get into the word. (v. 32) Committing them to the word of His grace would be the Gospel which shares with each God’s favor toward mankind. The scriptures make us wise unto Salvation. Knowing the word, helps us stay on the alert.
Don’t be covetous. (v. 33) Do not get caught up in the deceitfulness of riches, the desires of the world. The world offers its distractions but if you get caught up in the riches, you will have difficulty doing the next two items.
Remember the poor (v. 34) This is something that all followers of God do. They remember the poor. First, those who are saints and then, if possible, even those outside of the church.
Focus on the true reward. (v.35) It is more blessed to give than receive. Only those who trust in the Heavenly can let go of what appears to be real in your hands. Being able to help the poor, accept that God is taking care of you and keeping your eyes focused on Jesus will help you in your efforts to take heed.
The sermon is posted here