CHARACTER STUDY: PAUL 74

KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 20:28. “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.”

   Apostle Paul now gives specific instructions to the leaders of the Ephesian Church. He tells them to take care or heed to themselves and to the flock of God, which he purchased with his own blood. 

We would first consider his instruction to them about taking heed to themselves. The meaning of the word taking heed is “to hold the mind toward or pay attention to or further still to be cautious about.

Every leader must first be cautious or give careful attention to how stable or strong that he stands in the Lord. A weak man cannot lift other weaker people. Neither can the blind lead the blind. Taking heed to yourself first means you must maintain your fellowship or devotion unto the Lord. Jesus said to His disciples that, I am the Vine and you are the branches, you can do nothing unless you abide in me. You must maintain your roots deep in him and receive nourishment from him. The word of God is our spiritual food. Matt. 4:4. “man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceed from the mouth of God”. The word of God is the thoughts of God expressed in vocabulary, To the degree that God’s word has filled you and you are submitted to it, to that same degree that has God has filled you. The word is God The leader must take heed to the word. He does not study to preach but he studies to build himself up. The word will build you up.

   The leader also takes heed to himself through prayer. Prayer builds up the believer’s faith and receives strength from the spirit of God. Jude 1:20. A prayerless leader is a powerless leader. He must pay attention to everything that keeps him strong as a child of God. He must keep himself from sin. Like any kind of sickness, one must not allow it into his life. Such are sins. As a leader of God’s flock, you must keep yourself from sin. Sin is a reproach unto any people, but righteousness exalts a nation. Prov. 14:34. Take heed to yourself by practicing the word. This would put strength into you. You also take heed to yourself by feeding fat on messages of enlightened or anointed men of God. There are messages from men who have proven themselves over the years as faithful men of God. They have their books, audio and video recorded materials. You can also find their messages on YouTube.  Get them and feed on them.

CONFESSION

I take heed to myself as a child of God. God’s word is my delight and I do whatever the word says. Sin has no place in me .My impact in this life keeps soaring high to God’s glory.

FURTHER STUDIES:

Acts 20:32. ” And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Romans 12:11 ” Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;”

CHARACTER STUDY: PAUL 73

KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 20:26 “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men”.

   Apostle Paul continues his farewell message to the brethren at Ephesus. This time he says he is pure from the blood of all men. This is a very serious statement to make. He claims he has spoken to everyone there.

It takes very diligent people to speak this way. I believe he was referring to the brethren in the Ephesian church. He says further that he has given or shared with them the whole counsel of God. He meant he had taken the pain to share everything about the kingdom with them.  There are some pastors who don’t teach their congregation the whole counsel of God. Some major only in a few areas. A lot talk about blessing and miracles and that is all. This is good yet not complete They are not taught about the doctrine of God, salvation and atonement and many more.  It is surprising that some of the people in these churches cannot share the message of salvation to an enquirer.

I have met some people who are Muslims but were formerly Christians. A lot of them believed that Christians and Muslims are serving the same God. To such people leaving Christianity for Islam is no problem because we are all serving the same God that is their claim.  Such problems emanate because they have not been taught the counsel of God.  If they had been exposed to the truth, they would never think this way.  Christians and Muslims are not worshiping the same God. We worship God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our heavenly Father gave birth to us through the word and His Spirit (John 3:3–6). The Muslim God does not give birth to sons and daughters. Islam claims Jesus was never crucified (Surah 4:157), yet the whole foundation of Christianity is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus our Lord, by which we are saved. There are many more differences but this would be for another time.  If these brethren had been exposed to the whole truth about God’s word, they would never have accepted to go into Islam in the first place.

   There are some congregations who have never heard of the teachings of hell fire. The Lord Jesus spoke so much on this topic, yet some Christians are deprived of this teaching.

A lot of congregations are made up of converts or Christians who have not been established in the fundamental teachings of the faith.  The challenge or the problem is caused by their leaders. Dear child of God, Christianity is not about blessings or miracles only, there are teachings concerning suffering for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Philippians 1:29 reads “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for His sake.” Christians must be taught the whole counsel of God. (The challenge is how can such brethren get to know the whole truth? Please share such messages and postings  to many contacts as much as possible).

 PRAYER

Dear heavenly, Father may I play my role of communicating your truth to as many that I relate and even, go out of my way to share with others who have not been exposed to the truth in Jesus name.

FURTHER STUDY:

 Hebrews 6:1-2 ” Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”

2 Timothy 2:15 ” Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

CHARACTER STUDY: PAUL 72

KEY SCRIPTURE:  Acts 20:24 ” 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.”

 Apostle Paul acknowledges that the Holy Spirit testifies to him that afflictions and persecutions await him in Jerusalem. In verse 24, he declares that he is not moved about the situation that lay before him.

  What made Apostle Paul to be so fearless and not to be worried for his life? Paul was a spiritual man. He was spiritually minded. If he had been carnal, he would have considered the threat to his life. There are many men of God who have been engrossed with getting wealth and living by the comfort of this world. They lives as if there is no heaven. A man of such persuasion cannot talk like Paul did. Carnality is the cause of lack of commitment to the cause of Christ

    Apostle Paul says it is his goal to finish his course with joy, and the ministry which he has received from the Lord Jesus Christ. What is the ministry that the Lord Jesus Christ has given to us?  Our

 ministry as people of God is to testify to the gospel of the grace of God and to keep at it till, we meet our Lord. Our ministry is not to make wealth. The wealth is a means to fulfill the real mission. It is not to make a name for ourselves. There is a deceptive spirit which has taken over many servants of God.  That is the idea of the word BREAKTHROUGH. This idea of breakthrough to many means having a big ministry that brings a lot of money and life becomes very comfortable for the man of God. In Apostle Paul’s testimony, he says his mission and focus is to testify of the grace of God. Winning the world for Christ is our breakthrough. Breakthrough in the concept of Paul is reaching many with the gospel of God’s grace. The outcome, like that of wealth should be very secondary. Matthew 6:33 says it all. ” Seek ye first the kingdom of God and it’s righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

 Dear fellow Christian and specifically servants of God, we have been enlisted by our master into his harvest field. We are his labourers. The earthly temporary rewards should never get our attention. What He has called us to do should be our goal. Finishing it must be our Joy. This earth is a temporal place yet our role and actions determine our ultimate eternal state.  But our success is to be fulfilling the master’s tasks, not how many members we have and the affluence that goes with it. Europe is being populated by Muslim immigrants, there are some places that gives no liberties to the preaching of the gospel. Our breakthrough is to conquer all these places with the gospel of the grace of God.  Arise O giants of the Spirit of God wash off every scale from your eyes and win for our master.

   PRAYER

Dear heavenly father I refuse to be carnal but to commit my life to pleasing you and to finish the race and mission with Joy. Make my forehead as hard as a flint so nothing would hinder me from overcoming it.

 FURTHER STUDY:

 Philippians 3:12-14 ” Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

CHARACTER STUDY: PAUL 71

KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 20:20. And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,

From our key scripture, Paul says he taught them publicly and from house to house. This involves mass meetings as well as one on one meetings as well.

  Our Lord Jesus in his days on the earth, employed the same principle. He taught the people en-mass and one on one.  Nicodemus the Jewish lawyer came to him by night. The Lord had the patience to explain a whole lot of things to him. Paul’s teachings in the public places and in their houses was not by special invitation. He purposefully went around in search of people to share the Gospel with. Do not feel too big going around knocking on doors to share the Gospel with people. Would the master himself have done this if he was around? I believe he would. Mass meetings does a lot of good, yet personal efforts are easily assessed and could be monitored well.

     In verse 21, he talked about some of the things he taught.

“Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. ” Paul preached repentance form all wrong notions about God . The Jews could not see God as their father neither could they think of him as one that they could relate with. The Greeks also thought of God as an idol made by human hands. They also needed to change their minds concerning God. One of Satan’s attack against humanity is to paint God differently from who he is. Many people because of challenges and difficulties see God as one who is not blessing them and not making things easy for them. Man needs to repent from a whole lot of things about our father God This is the reason every child of God must know the truth and boldly talk about Him.

 They were also to exercise their faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, every divine provision is settled.  It is faith in Him that gives is access to the grace of God.

  He adds in the verse 22 that he goes “bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall him.” He said this in the light that there have been countless prophecies that in Jerusalem, the Jews would take a hold of him bind him and send him to Rome. He knew afflictions and tribulations awaited him in Jerusalem, yet he was ready to go. Why did Paul not stay away from all these problems? This is for us to answer.

  PRAYER

Father in Heaven, I pray that as I study your word and fellowship with your spirit, help me to effectively share your word to the many that Satan has held in deception.

FURTHER STUDY:

Acts 20:24 ” 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.”

Acts 20:29 ” For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.”

CHARACTER STUDY: PAUL 70

KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 20:19 ” 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:”

 Apostle Paul told the leaders of the church in Ephesus that he served with much tears. He says in Philippians 2:12 that we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. He says these things with the understanding that, we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that everyone may receive the things done in the body, whether it be good or bad. He added, knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. God is not a respecter of men.

  It is rather unfortunate that these days, some people hide behind the teachings of the grace God to do all kinds of things. Dear child of God, grace under no condition gives anyone license to sin. Grace rather empowers us or endues us with the ability to live an excellent life. It is in this light that Apostle Paul reminds the brethren in Rome, that is in Romans 6:14, that sin shall not have dominion over them, because they are not under the law, but under grace. Every leader must therefore take heed to himself or herself first before the Church of God. (Acts 20:28) If you fail to do so, you may be like the sand paper.  Sand paper is used to polish wooden surfaces, smoothen it and makes it look very polished and clean. After using it, it is thrown away.  That would not be your portion in Jesus name.

    Paul also endured trials from the Jews, yet never gave up or acted in any way unseemingly. In all these things his ministry was not blamed. 2nd Corinthians 6:3 “Giving no offence in anything that the ministry be not blamed.” He stood in all these difficult times. May you receive grace and ability to overcome any challenge that Satan would throw at you.

Paul said ” But in all things, approving ourselves as ministers of God in much patience, in afflictions, necessities, in distresses.” (2nd Corinthians 6:3)

  In verse 20 of Act 20, Paul said that he kept back nothing that was profitable unto the brethren. He did this by actions and teaching.  In actions, he meant by example. The greatest teaching that any leader can give his followers is a good example. It always takes discipline to be a good example.  You must bring yourself under the rules. He is saying by this, he poured his life unto them. May your life be an example unto others.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that by your grace I may endure every attack of the enemy, that my service unto you, would not be blamed. May my life be an example unto many in Jesus name.

FURTHER STUDY:

Acts 20:33” I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.”

Acts 20:26 ” Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. “

CHARACTER STUDY: PAUL 69

KEY SCRIPTURE: ACTS 20:19 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:

Read Acts 20:17-33

Apostle Paul speaks to the leaders of the church in Ephesus before going to Jerusalem. He knew he would not see them again. He then gave them his last words.

Apostle Paul began by telling them the attitude and manner with which he served God in their midst. He did not refer to himself as leading them but serving them. He said he served the Lord in humility of mind This is an exhortation that every leader, pastor in the house of God must learn. Paul meant he worked or served with the mentality that, God will one day reward his work, and so he had to put up every meek attitude. Every leader must always carry a humble attitude, for if you lose sight of the fact that you are serving under God, pride would easily set in, and you would begin to do things as if you are of yourself. Many leaders in the house of God have fallen into all kinds of deceptive sins because they began to fill they are the ultimate or above everybody. It is a big error, to think that you are above everybody in the house of God.

 Do not think of your function or role as a position but just a duty and a divine responsibility. It is what you do that has offered you the privilege to be where you are. Our father God has appointed each of us in his vineyard. Now listen dear leader, YOU ARE NOT SUPERIOR TO ANYBODY IN THE HOUSE OF GOD. We are all equal in the sight of God, playing various roles. Your function demands special honour from others so that the work would be effectively done. 1st Timothy 5:17” Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially those who labor in the word and in teaching.” God has designed that leaders who labor in teaching in the house of GOD must be given double honour, they must be appreciated as well. As they give honour to you, you must likewise humble yourself towards them by showing true love for them. In this way, you will not fall into Satan’s deception of pride and arrogance. He said he also served with tears. this serving with tears had to do with his prayer for them as well as enduring certain temptations. (Acts 20:31). He meant he served with a strong awareness with the presence of God that was with him and his purpose that must be done.

 PRAYER

My heavenly father, I pray that we will all serve in your vineyard with meekness and reverence for you,

FURTHER STUDIES

1st Peter 5:2. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

1st Peter 5:4. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

CHARACTER STUDY: PAUL 68

KEY SCRIPTURE: ACTS 20:11. Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper, and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left.

In our key scripture apostle Paul shared with the brethren and continued till dawn. This event has a number of issues to teach us. The first lesson to consider is the diligence of Apostle Paul who stood on his feet to share the gospel for almost eighteen hours and over?  I believe he was sustained by the Holy Spirit powers. I also believe he was a man who did not over indulge himself so he had a lot of energy within him. From the previous stories we read about apostle, we saw he was a very active man who had a lot movement during the many journeys   he made. I believe all these things impacted on him to be strong.

Secondly the brethren were also ready to stay up even till the next morning. They were simply amazing.

These people really wanted more from the Lord. The bible did not say any left the meeting or some of them demanded the early closure to the meeting. There are some people who easily get agitated when  the meeting travels a few hours or a few moments after the scheduled time. Someone would say these people had nothing important to do and so they stayed. Dear brother, what is as important as receiving  the word of God.

In Luke 10:38,41, the Lord visited Martha and Mary but Martha. was involved with cooking and other household chores. She got desperate and complained to Jesus as follows, ´     Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she helps me. The Lord also answered her as follows” Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things, only one thing is necessary, and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her”. The Lord said one thing is needful and Mary has chosen that good part. What was it? Mary had chosen to attend to the word of God. The Lord calls it the good part and no one shall take it from her. Please may we learn some wisdom from the master. Giving attention to the word of God is the only good thing and it shall never be taken away from you. Every other achievement we obtain as humans outside the word of God would be left here in this physical world. Those who receive God’s word into their spirit shall have it with them into the next world.

CONFESSION

 I do not get myself occupied with other things, I seek first the kingdom of God and it’s righteous and so all other things are added unto me.

FURTHER STUDIES.

Matthew 6:33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

2nd Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

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