Highlights In Today's Reading:
One message (20:20-21). One destination (20:22). We all have a part in this job (20:28). Lift up the poor and weak; remember what Jesus said (20:35). Jerusalem and the brethren (21:15-25). People riot — Paul arrested (21:26-36). Paul's defense (21:39; 22:1-29).
After Paul spent two years in Ephesus (19:10), where mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed (19:20), the Holy Spirit impressed him to go to Jerusalem (19:21). Before going to Jerusalem, Paul called for the Ephesian elders at Miletus, saying: I go bound in the Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost (Spirit) witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide (await) me. But . . . neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God (20:22-24). Paul could say this because of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit to whom he was fully submitted.
Paul reminded them and us: After my departing shall grievous (savage) wolves enter in among you . . . speaking perverse things (distorting the truth) . . . Therefore watch . . . And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His Grace, which is able to build you up (20:29-32). Although deceivers, grievous wolves, distort the truth, we can recognize them if we study the Word of His Grace.
The indwelling Holy Spirit enables us to withstand our trials and temptations. Jesus promised: I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you (John 14:16). What a joy to know that we are strengthened with might by His Spirit (Eph. 3:16) to live a victorious Christian life. The indwelling Holy Spirit also enables us to accomplish His will regardless of everchanging, adverse circumstances (Phil. 4:13). Thus we can respond in love to those who offend us. No opposition on earth can rob us of the peace God gives if we permit Christ to control our emotions. Christ also loved the Church (Eph. 5:25) and gave Himself for it. Christians should live to strengthen it. The Word of God is our unique source of strength, as well as our source of spiritual growth.
Spiritual growth takes place when we witness to others. That always involves giving of ourselves of what people really need — love, forgiveness, and understanding. True satisfaction in life comes as we realize, like Paul: It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
Thought for Today:
The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost (Spirit) which is given unto us (Rom. 5:5)
20:12 not a little =greatly; 21:15 took up our carriages =packed our baggage; 21:24 be at charges with them =pay their expenses.
Pray for Staff: Barbara Jean Loyd (retired) • Government Official: Gov. John deJongh, Jr (Virgin Islands) • Country: Liechtenstein (32,000) in western Europe • Major languages: German and Alemannic dialect • Religious freedom • 87% Roman Catholic; 12% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Do not be fearful or live in dread of what might happen; trust the Lord to take care of you (Ps. 112:7).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 16:26