Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
MISSION AS GOD’S SCHEDULE INSTEAD OF OURS
Acts 20:18 - 27
Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian elders warns about the dangers the church is facing and the need to be more alert in days to come. I in this passage we could trace the ingredients of an effective leader.
Clear conviction and consistent action: Paul through this letter calls us to be clear in our conviction and consistent in our action. He spoke to his audience both Jews and Greeks and claims that he spoke courageously and preached and focused on repentance – to turn to God and have faith in Jesus Christ. The false teachers who claim of other gospel disturbed him. What’s our stand when supplement gospel is preached in our churches? When pulpit becomes secondary and message of salvation is seasonal.
Committed and compassionate: Paul affirms that we need to be faithful in our calling and proudly states that he is bound by Holy Spirit that encourages him to endure everything the future might hold. To testify the grace of God throughout eastern empire and to hand over the money send by the gentile believers in Galatia Macedonia, Achaia and Asia to the believers in Jerusalem, Paul went there personally to be a symbol of faith and unity through Jesus Christ. We are called to be torch bearers for Christ in order to accomplish the given task of testifying to the Gospel of God’s grace (Acts 9:15) and Paul calls this finishing race and completing the task. Are we the symbols of unity and grace within our churches, work places and among our neighbors? If not, we have not transcended boundaries within us.
Courageous and captivated: Paul never hesitated to do right thing and relates his future prospects for preaching and teaching the word of God. He was a man of single mindedness and never hesitated to proclaim the whole will of God. Paul affirms that he held back nothing but stood by it and his good conscience in sharing the word of God. Paul solicits Church leaders (overseers) to take up new role of spiritual watchfulness over the flock and to provide them with spiritual nourishment. Their function is to be careful, pastoral and corrective (20:28, 31) and to remember that church belongs to God which he bought with the blood of his own Son Jesus Christ. Can our conscience proudly say that we have stood for the Gospel?
We are called to understand the looming dangers the Body of Christ is exposed and to counter this warfare to keep the faith intact church need to act prompt. As John Stott says, it will help us "rehabilitate the noble word `pastors,' who are shepherds of Christ's sheep, called to tend, feed, and protect them"
Prayer O God, give us spirit to stand for the word of God and to be disturbed when our conscience fails, commitment is questioned and when our courage forsake us. Amen
Rev George Jacob, Youth Chaplain, Dallas