1. Hello, listening friends.
2. What a joy it is to know that you have tuned in to this broadcast.
3. As we travel on this road of the life of the Apostle Paul, we are being encouraged and motivated.
4. In the past decade, knowledge has been steadily on the increase.
5. In fact, total human knowledge is doubled every 22 months;
6. but, with all the increase in knowledge, the Gospel of Jesus Christ remains unchanging.
7. With all of the increase in knowledge, the truth of the Gospel can never be modified or added to;
8. and that is why yesterday’s warnings from the Scripture are every bit as relevant today as the day they were uttered.
9. Please turn with me to the Book of Acts, Chapter 20.
10. There, we find the Apostle Paul gives us some very solemn warnings, which are relevant to every believer today;
11. but, before I get to the details of Paul’s warnings, let me give you some background information.
12. In Acts, Chapter 19, there was a huge riot in the city of Ephesus.
13. This riot was instigated by a businessman by the name of Demetrius.
14. In the beginning of Chapter 20, Paul leaves Ephesus and goes to Macedonia and Corinth;
15. then, to Greece, back to Macedonia, and finally, to Troas;
16. and, when he gets to Troas, he meets with the believers to celebrate the Lord’s Supper;
17. and, when night came, he began to preach.
18. He preached for five hours
19. and, during Paul’s five-hour sermon, a young boy named Eutychus dozed off to sleep.
20. He was sitting on the windowsill and fell and died.
21. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul raised him from the dead.
22. Back then, people were trained to listen for hours on end;
23. but the five-hour sermon that Paul preached was not a monologue as much as it was a dialogue.
24. There was a time for questions and answers as he spoke.
25. The Bible tells us that the fumes from the lamps and the stuffiness of the room caused Eutychus to fall asleep and fall down;
26. so Paul raises the boy from the dead and, then, continues to speak until dawn.
27. People in Troas were soaking up the truth as it was coming out of the mouth of the Apostle Paul.
28. The next day, Paul leaves Troas and goes into Miletus;
29. and, in Miletus, he realized that, if he goes back to Ephesus, it will take a great deal of time;
30. so he sent a messenger to Ephesus and asked him to bring the leaders of the church from Ephesus to Miletus.
31. Miletus was 20 miles away, but it would take about three days for the messenger to return with the leaders;
32. and, there, the Apostle Paul gives the warning that I want to talk about today.
33. There are three things in Paul’s exhortation that are relevant to every person listening to me right now.
34. First, he talked about his own life as a role model
35. in verses 18 to 21.
36. Secondly, his obedience to the Lord was unconditional,
37. in verses 22 to 27;
38. and, thirdly, you see his warning was for vigilance,
39. verses 28 to 35.
40. Let’s look at the first thing that Paul talks about.
41. He was warning the church leaders that his life is a role model.
42. Again, look at verses 18 to 21 of Acts 20;
43. and here’s something very important, my listening friend.
44. There is no more powerful an impact that you can make than a personal example.
45. Parents can instruct their children all day long.
46. Teachers can teach brilliantly;
47. but the life of example creates far more impact.
48. As I read the Scriptures, I am continually awestruck by how the Lord Jesus’ life matched His instructions.
49. There are no discrepancies.
50. We can tell our children what is good and what is bad,
51. but our life will impact our children far more than the words we speak.
52. We can proclaim the truth publicly or privately.
53. We can witness on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ;
54. but what will impact people’s life in a greater way is our conduct.
55. People are looking to see if you are living your lessons.
56. People are watching to see if you are the same person in public as you are in private;
57. and Paul said in Acts, Chapter 20, verse 18,
58. “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia.”
59. What is Paul saying?
60. He is saying, “You have heard my words, but you also examined my life.”
61. He is saying, “You listened to my teaching, but you also watched my decisions and my actions;
62. and you can testify to the fact that there is no discrepancy between what I say and the way I live.”
63. Paul was a role model, not just in his words, but in his life.
64. Secondly, Paul’s obedience to the Lord was unconditional.
65. Look at verses 22 to 27 of Acts 20.
66. Obviously, the Apostle Paul was able to look up through his prophetic eyes
67. and see that he would face more opposition and persecution in Jerusalem.
68. In Jerusalem, there would be more beatings and more unrests.
69. In fact, it happened exactly as he predicted.
70. In Jerusalem, he would face more false accusations and discouragement;
71. but none of that really mattered to the Apostle Paul.
72. Once he knew that God was calling him to go, he went.
73. What a far cry from what people say today.
74. They say, “I am willing to follow Jesus if I can be sure that I will not face any difficulty.
75. I am willing to get involved, but only if it is convenient.”
76. My beloved friends, listen to what Paul said in verse 24.
77. He said, “I consider my life worth nothing to me.
78. If only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus Christ has given me,
79. the task of testifying to the Gospel of God’s grace.”
80. Here’s what Paul is saying.
81. “Compared to the task of making Jesus known, my wants mean nothing.
82. My comfort is not my priority.
83. My personal goals are not the issue,”
84. he says, “because my life is not my own.
85. My life belongs to Christ...”
86. and I wonder how many of us can truly say this today,
87. because it is true, whether you acknowledge it or not.
88. If you belong to Christ, your life is not your own;
89. but how often do we really think about this?
90. How often do we practice that and walk by that?
91. Paul’s life was a role model.
92. His obedience to the Lord was unconditional.
93. Thirdly, his warning was for vigilance.
94. Please look at verse 28 of Chapter 20 of the Book of Acts.
95. Vigilance is such a rare commodity these days.
96. Paul confirms this warning about vigilance by saying people give up too easily.
97. On the one hand, you guard against the attack in your life.
98. On the other hand, you warn others against the attack of the enemy.
99. On the one hand, you do not neglect your personal prayer life and your study of the Word of God.
100. On the other hand, you warn others of the danger of neglecting their prayer life and study of the Word.
101. The bottom line is this: you do not commit the sin that you do not want others to commit.
102. Here’s what Paul’s saying:
103. first, keep watch on yourself;
104. and, then, and only then, can you truly minister to others,
105. for you cannot adequately care for others if you neglect the cultivation of your own soul.
106. That’s what Paul is saying to these leaders.
107. You cannot truly help others until you have taken care of your own walk with the Lord.
108. God has called those in leadership to manage it for Him.
109. Why is Paul warning the church leaders to watch out and to be vigilant for both themselves and others?
110. Because there are wolves everywhere, ready to come and devour the sheep.
111. Where were the wolves that Paul was talking about?
112. They were in the church, hiding and waiting.
113. They were ready to mislead God’s people.
114. My beloved friend, listen carefully.
115. There are wolves all around us;
116. and you are to be vigilant for yourself first and, then, for others.
117. In the ancient Near East, wolves were the chief enemies of the sheep.
118. In fact, sheep were defenseless against wolves;
119. and that is why shepherds could not afford to take their eyes off the sheep.
120. Some people say, “Don’t expose false teaching. Just preach the truth...”
121. but Paul did both.
122. He preached to them the whole counsel of God.
123. He did it publicly and he did it from house to house;
124. but, here, he is warning them about the wolves that are ready to come and undermine the truth;
125. but I want you to realize that vigilance is costly.
126. Vigilance is troublesome.
127. Vigilance is exhausting.
128. Vigilance will bring false accusation.
129. Vigilance will cause misunderstandings;
130. and, so, my listening friend, as I conclude this message,
131. I want to tell you that, although knowledge may double every 22 months,
132. information may increase with overwhelming volume,
133. but the Gospel of Jesus Christ never changes;
134. and that is why the Bible speaks again and again about the importance of holding on,
135. the importance of being vigilant,
136. and the importance of being on the alert.
137. You will receive a crown in Heaven when you are vigilant.
138. It is promised to you in the Word of God.
139. My listening friend,
140. you may be ready to give up.
141. You may be tired of being vigilant.
142. You may be tempted to go with the flow.
143. I want you to stop and remember this:
144. God is on your side.
145. God wants to help you to keep on being vigilant.
146. God wants you to know that you are not alone.
147. Keep on standing up and being vigilant.
148. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.