19:23-20:16 – Read verse 28: ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians’. Remember Exodus 20:3 – ‘You shall have no other gods before Me’. Remove all pretenders from God’s throne. Rededicate yourself to the Lord – ‘King of my life, I crown Thee now, Thine shall the glory be’ (Redemption Hymnal, 165). People could not get enough of God’s Word. Be hungry and thirsty for God, for His righteousness, for His Word, for His blessing (7; Matthew 5:6). Paul wanted to be ‘at Jerusalem… on the day of Pentecost’ (16). This had been a place and time of blessing (2:1-4,41). Paul was eager for the blessing of God in his own life. He was eager to bring God’s blessing to others. How much does the blessing of God mean to you? Do you want His blessing? Do you want to be a blessing? ‘Lord bless me and make me a blessing’.
20:17-21:14 – From Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian elders, there are some lessons for all of us. (a) ‘Repentance to God’ and ‘faith in our Lord Jesus Christ’ (21) – This is not only a call for conversion. It is for every believer – all the time. (b) ‘Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock of God… Care for the Church of God’ (28). Taking our own spiritual growth seriously will always involve caring for others. (c) ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (35). Jesus Others Yourself – This is JOY. Let it be Thanksgiving (‘I want to’) rather than Duty Giving (‘I ought to’) or Grudge Giving (‘I have to’). For Jesus and Paul, Jerusalem meant suffering. For both, the important thing was doing ‘the Lord’s will’ (10-14; Matthew 16:21-23). ‘Let us go forth to Him… and bear the abuse He endured’ (Hebrews 13:13).
21:15-22:16 – Here, we focus on two brief phrases – ‘the things that God had done’ (19) and you will be a witness for Him’ (22:15). In the work of God we must learn to hold these two things together – divine power and human witness. Without the power of God, no one will come to faith in Christ: ‘It is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness”, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’. How does God work? – He works through human witnesses: ‘we preach… Jesus Christ as Lord’. How are divine power and human witness related to each other? – ‘We have this treasure in earthen vessels to show that the transcendent, superior, all-surpassing power belongs to God and not to us’ (Corinthians 4:5-7). Let God speak – through you!