And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Acts 20:18-22
Paul was now saying farewell to the Church of Ephesus, as Paul’s mission was to be in Jerusalem for Pentecost. As we know from the Epistle of Ephesians and the book of Acts, Paul spent a great deal of time there, and made alot of relationships as the Church. Paul declared he had taught them all the doctrines of God that he knew and didn’t hold anything back
One of the interesting references here is Paul said he taught from “house to house”. Displaying that the early Church worshipped in houses before Church buildings were established. This is another interesting fact about how today’s Church differs from the early Church. With all the pressures of mortgages of large buildings and budgets, could this issue easily be resolved if we used our houses as a place of worship?
Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.But none of these things move me, 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. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. Acts 20:23-26
Paul is declaring to the Ephesians that he fulfilled his purpose by Christ to preach the gospel, and the Holy Spirit is his witness that he did all things with purity and there was no deceit or corruption with his ministry. He also makes the sad announcement that the Church of Ephesus will never see him again, as Paul knows he is probably going to die in Jerusalem.
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. Acts 20:27-31
Paul reveals he was in Ephesus for 3 years, preaching the gospel and building the Church. As Paul declared, Christ purchased the Church with his own blood! As he reminded them to watch over the flock and feed them with the Word of God
Paul also gave a final warning about false prophets and teachers coming in to deceive the Church when he leaves. Remember Jesus warned his Apostles about the same thing, even today false prophets and teachers continue to invade the Church and lead many astray.
Before Paul left the entire Church prayed together and wept, what a beautiful sight of unity and love with the Body of Christ!