Intro. Paul is now on his way toward Jerusalem. He hopes to get there in time for the feast of Pentecost. It is about a five-day journey from Troas to Miletus. Luke tells us the route they took. First of all, Paul decided to walk the first leg of the trip. From Troas to Assos is about a twenty-mile hike. Going by ship, you have to go around the point of land and it is about 30 miles by ship. Paul probably figured he was going to be on the ship for many days, and thus decided to walk the first leg of the journey. Walking gives great opportunities for meditation. Paul had been told by the Lord the many troubles that wait for him in Jerusalem, and perhaps Paul was contemplating these things. He got on board at Assos, and the next day they came to Mitylene, which was a seaport on the island of Lesbos. The next day they passed by the island of Chios, and the following day they passed by the island of Samos, and anchored at Trogyllium which was a port on the mainland about one mile from Samos. The next day
they sailed on to Miletus. Miletus was a large port at the mouth of the Meander river and once the capital of Ionia. From here the ship probably took on the provisions for the long journey to Syria, so they had a few days so Paul sent for the elders of Ephesus to meet with him there. Paul did not want to sail up to Ephesus because of the extra time that it would take. Miletus is about 35 miles from Ephesus.
I. PAUL'S TALK WITH THE ELDERS.
A. He speaks of his ministry to them.
1. You know from the first day that I came into Asia, what manner I have been with you at all seasons.
a. Paul told Timothy to be an example to the believer.
b. This should always be the case, a pastor should not just tell people the way, but should lead them in the way. He shows by the example of his life the way.
c. Paul wrote to the Corinthians to follow him even as he followed Christ. He said to them:
For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience is, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our manner of living in the world, and more abundantly toward you.
Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
But in all [things] proving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watching, in fasting;
By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by love unfeigned,
By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
By honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and [yet] true;
As unknown, and [yet] well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and [yet] possessing all things.
d. To the Thessalonians he wrote:
For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance; as you know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit:
For our exhortation [was] not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, who tries our hearts.
For neither at any time used we flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God [is] witness:
Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor [yet] of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherishing her children:
So because we loved you so deeply, we were willing to impart to you, not the gospel of God only, but our own souls, because you were dear to us.
For you remember, brethren, our labor and travail: for we labored night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we freely preached unto you the gospel of God.
You [are] witnesses, and God also, of how holy, righteous and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
e. To Timothy Paul wrote:
But you have fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
f. Paul had declared, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die gain."
g. He said, "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of Jesus Christ."
h. He said, "And when Christ who is our life shall appear." Christ was his life.
B. Here is how Paul describes his ministry to them.
1. Serving the Lord with all humility of mind.
a. It was not an attitude like, "You are so blessed to have me as your pastor," but "I am so blessed to have you in my congregation."
b. He always saw himself as serving the Lord.
c. I think that this is very important for a minister as always seeing himself as serving the Lord. Serving people can sometimes be irksome and unrewarding. It is much easier to please the Lord than it is to please people. Jesus said, "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
2. "With many tears and temptations."
a. I think of that psalm:
He that goes forth with weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves.
b. The temptations that he refers are actually the trials that he went through. Especially from the Jews who it seems were always plotting against him. Also in the last chapter we remember the riot that was stirred up by Demetrius the silversmith.
3. I held nothing back from you that might be profitable to you.
a. Paul had given himself completely for them.
b. This was Paul's modus operandi everywhere he went, to all that he ministered to, he gave himself totally to those he was ministering to. He wrote to the Corinthians:
"And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you."
4. I have shown you and taught you.
a. Not only did Paul teach them the scriptures, but he lived out the scriptures before them.
b. As he had exhorted Timothy to be an example of the beliver so he was an example.
c. The old adage declares that actions speak louder than words. Sometimes our actions drown out our words. We must always seek to practice what we preach if we want people to practice what we preach.
5. Publicly and from house to house.
a. God have mercy on the minister who is so enamored by the crowds that he cannot take time for the individual.
b. Jesus was never too busy for the individuals, and if a minister becomes so great that he cannot take time for an individual, he has become greater than his Lord.
c. Some of the greatest sermons Jesus preached were preached to individuals.