Excerpt from Y3Q2 Lesson 10: Paul’s Third Missionary Journey:
“The leaders in the church of Ephesus, of whom Paul had called to himself to speak, needed to realize that Paul would no longer be there physically to rely upon. They had to step up and take care of God’s church. “… 27. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 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” (Acts 20:25-28). Paul had done the job God had given him to do: he declared to all of the people the counsel of God (counsel means “God’s purpose, or plan”). He had taught them. Knowing that Paul would not be able to return to them, these men had to be prepared. “29. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30). They must not only be prepared themselves, but they must take care of, and prepare, the church over which they were the leaders. Not only would some (“grievous wolves”) come in and try to destroy new Christians, as well as the church, but also there would be leaders arise that would be filled with “perverse things” (perverse things means “perverted; corrupt; vicious; or ‘to turn aside divine truth’”). Some leaders would try to cause people to follow them – not Jesus. What were they to do? “31. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. 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” (Acts 20:31-32). They were to do just as Paul had done – for he had lived his life as an example. Paul warned that after teaching the new Christians how to live a Christian life (following Jesus), they would then have to warn the people, day and night, of these “grievous wolves” who would come “speaking perverse things” and to recognize them. Also, see what else Paul revealed. “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring 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” (Acts 20:35). Support means “to take hold of another mutually as by the hand; i.e. figuratively to support from falling as by the hand; to support, help, assist.” Weak means “without strength, powerless; weak; to be afflicted, distressed as by want, oppression, calamity, and such.” Newer Christians (as well as newer churches) need extra support, for they are weak in their new Christian life. Many new Christians (and even some older ones) are often afflicted and distressed by their want (things they desire, or want, as opposed to things God would have for them), or even what seems to be a calamity in their life. Paul warned that these people needed “support from falling as by the hand,” or assistance, from stronger Christians.
“After teaching them face-to-face one last time … one cannot help but recognized the impact that Paul had upon these Christians’ lives. These people loved Paul for the life he had lived, faithfully teaching them the things of Jesus.
“A Deeper Path: It is the responsibilities of church leaders to help new Christians (those who are “weak”) grow in Christ. However, it is not only the responsibility of the leaders, but it is the duty of all Christians. See the following verses. “1. We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification” (Romans 15:1-2). That are strong means “one who is strong, firm, fixed, established” – referring to the things of Christ. Infirmities means “to be weak or powerless; the result of being weak: i.e. referring to the scruples which arise by being weak in the faith of Jesus.” As Christians, we are not to please ourselves, for we must always remember that there are newer Christians who may not understand the things we do – for a newer Christian may not always know what the right thing to do in a situation is. It is the responsibility of every Christian to live a life according to God’s Word, so that newer Christians are not confused. We are to live a life that is right “for his good to edification.” Good means “good, in respect to operation or influence on others; i.e.: useful, profitable, beneficial.” Edification means “building as a process; i.e.: edification, spiritual profit or advancement.” Christians are to live lives that cause other Christians to become better Christians by living a life that pleases Jesus.”
Do you live a Christian life that helps newer Christians understand how to please Jesus, growing stronger?