Saturday, May 06, 2023

2023.06.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 20:22–25

Read Acts 20:22–25

Questions from the Scripture text: Where does Paul now go (Acts 20:22)? How bound? What doesn’t he know? Who testifies where (Acts 20:23)? What does He say awaits Paul? What don’t any of these things do (Acts 20:24)? What doesn’t the apostle count dear? What does he wish to finish? How? What has He called a race? From Whom did he receive this ministry? To do what? Of what does he testify? And what does he know about them (Acts 20:25)? What has he done among them?

How does God enable ministers to do minister the Word faithfully? Acts 20:22–25 looks forward to the morning sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God enables ministers to minister the Word faithfully by compelling them by His Spirit to serve the Lord with our life, because our race for the gospel of grace ends soon. 

The apostle had opened by reminding the Ephesian elders of his ministry among them as a model. He will return to this in Acts 20:26, but first he sets them an example of the minister’s proper commitment to the ministry.

The minister (like all Christians) is bound by the SpiritActs 20:22. Paul is going to end up in physical chains, but that doesn’t faze him at all, because as far as he is concerned, he’s already in chains. He is bound by the Spirit. He doesn’t have any say in whether or not to go to Jerusalem. Similarly, the believer is a bondslave of Christ. Obedience to God’s commands is not optional. Fulfilling our calling in our role in the church or in the family is not optional. 

The Lord doesn’t tell us everything that we’d like to know. The apostle did not know what would happen in Jerusalem (Acts 20:24b), and we do not know what will be the outcome of our service or obedience. But He does tell us what we must do. The Scriptures are sufficient for all of faith and practice.

The minister (and all Christians) must be prepared to sufferActs 20:23-24a At that time, each congregation had those with revelatory gifts, just for the ordering and content of public worship (Acts 20:23a, cf. 1 Corinthians 14:26–40). At every stop, those who spoke by the Spirit announced to Paul that chains and afflictions awaited him (Acts 20:24b). 

But this didn’t move him (Acts 20:24a). Why? Because he had received his ministry from Jesus. Jesus would preserve him for that ministry until his job is done. And, if he dies, his job is done. There is a race to finish, and rather than stress over the suffering, he is going to willingly and gladly do the work the Lord Jesus has given him to do.

The minister (and all Christians) must be prepared to dieActs 20:25. What Paul tells these Ephesian elders would one day be true of each of them with their congregation. It may be true of any of us every time we see our congregation or our family. We should always minister or interact as we will wish we had if we should never see one another’s faces again in this world.

What are your duties in the church? What are your duties in the home? What suffering have you endured for them? What suffering might you have to endure? Why would it be worth it? In what manner should you be serving until the Lord takes you from this world? What might you do differently if You knew that You were about to stand before Christ and answer for how you are interacting with your family and your congregation of His church?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for taking us to be Your bondslaves. We look forward with joy to being with You forever in glory. And we ask that by Your Spirit, we would be able to serve You with joy until we have finished our race in this world. Grant unto us always to live as we will wish we had done that moment when we come to answer for it in glory, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH231 “Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right”

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