Address to Young People: Part 3

Acts 20:16-38
Acts 20:16-3816For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost. 17And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. 18And 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, 19Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: 20And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, 21Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24But 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. 25And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. 26Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 28Take 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. 29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. 32And 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. 33I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. 34Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. 35I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. 36And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. 37And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, 38Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship. (Acts 20:16‑38)
Part 3ACT 20:16-3816For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost. 17And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. 18And 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, 19Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: 20And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, 21Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24But 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. 25And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. 26Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 28Take 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. 29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. 32And 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. 33I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. 34Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. 35I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. 36And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. 37And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, 38Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship. (Acts 20:16‑38)
The Apostle Paul says, "I know nothing against myself." There was a man that could say before the eyes of God, "I know nothing against myself." What did that mean? It meant that he wasn't allowing anything in his life that wouldn't stand the test of the judgment seat of Christ. He wanted to finish his course with joy, and beloved saints of God, he did! He did finish with joy. There never was a more triumphant finish to a course than the Apostle Paul's. We would all like to finish that way, wouldn't we? We can, for there is a way to see to it, that we can finish our course that way.
There is a recipe for that kind of a finish. What is it? He had Christ before him always! Morning, noon and night it was Christ before him always. More and more of Christ before his soul, until that final moment when he was absent from the body and present with his Lord.
Dear fellow Christian, the Spirit of God longs this afternoon that you and I might finish our course with joy, too. We can't afford to take chances; there is no time to waste. Let us see to it that we are on the right course, and that Christ is the object of our life.
“Nothing but Christ, as on we tread.”
“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”
“I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." Paul says he is free from the blood of all men. Could we say the same? Paul started this address by reminding them "After what manner I have been with you." He pointed to his life among them. Preaching (declaring the counsel of God) was half, and living was the other half, and at the end he could say, "I am pure from the blood of all men.”
Are we pure from the blood of all men? Our lives speak loudly day after day, and everyone has his influence on the rest of us. There are no exceptions. That is absolutely, universally true. Every one of us influences in some way the rest of us. And what you allow in your life, what your brethren can see in your life- "After what manner I have been with you at all seasons"—that has its positive influence upon your brethren. Are we free from the blood of all men, if we are allowing in our lives a wrong attitude, a wrong spirit, wrong associations, indulging in wrong things that grieve and dishonor our blessed Lord? If we are, we can't say that we are free from the blood of all men.
Perhaps the deep sorrow that came into that Christian's life, was because he copied my example, and he wasn't able to stop where I did, so he came to that awful breakdown and sorrow. We are here in this world, and mingling with our fellowmen, saved and lost, all those that we meet day after day,- are our lives telling for Christ? Do they see Christ in us?
“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 the blood of His own." (N. T.).
In the few minutes that remain to us, we want to speak of the Church of God. We want to speak of the body of Christ. We want to speak of the House of God. Not that these are synonomous terms. But when the Word of God speaks of the Church of God, what does it mean? It means that God has down here on earth a company of people that He calls His Church. They are comprised of all the saved of all the world. Everyone that belongs to Christ forms a part of that Church-the people of God. He has only one Church. There is only one that interests Him. Men have made many churches, but God had only one. And He speaks only of one, and is interested only in one. Beloved, you and I have no right to recognize any other than one. The moment we do, we are making allowances for what God disallows. He has only one Church, and it is very precious to Him. How do we know it is precious? Because of the price He paid for it. What does this verse say?
“The Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood." The blood of His own Son. It is as precious to God as He is precious to Him. It should be precious to us.
When you meet another Christian and have opportunity to speak to him, do you have to examine him and find out what his "tag" is before your heart can go out to him? What denomination he is in? If so, you are not in communion with the mind of the Spirit of God. For God isn't any respecter of persons. He loves every child of God, and he loves them because they are children of God. He is just as interested in that man, just as much as any other saint. Every saint of God should be of interest to us. Every one that calls upon that blessed Name out of a sincere heart, we should seek to minister to them because they belong to Christ. That was the commission that Paul gave to these men here in verse 28, "Feed the Church of God.”
What Christ desires is that the people of God shall be fed. Now this isn't preaching the gospel. That isn't the way the Lord feeds His people. Don't misunderstand me, one is not disparaging or belittling the preaching of the gospel, but feeding the people of God is a very different thing. It is nourishing and cherishing them. It is pasturing the sheep of Christ, and every sheep of Christ can stand a bit of pasture. When we meet a child of God, can't we speak to him about Christ, and minister to him of what we ourselves have received from Him?
In Mark's gospel, He speaks of giving just a cup of cold water, and the reason we do it, is because the recipient belongs to Christ. When you meet another member of the body of Christ, do you value him or discount him? "O," you say, "he doesn't walk with us" and perhaps you discount him. Do you think the Lord discounts him? Everyone that belongs to Christ is precious to Him.
Some of you may be getting a bit nervous for fear the speaker is widening out too broad a ground. I trust that before we get through we won't feel that way. But there is a great danger of becoming shriveled in our affections to those who are Christ's.
(To be Continued)