Serving the Lord - Acts 20

Serving the Lord

Acts 20:1-38

Everyone has their ups and downs, good days and bad days.  However, we each have our own lifestyle which defines who we are.  The apostle Paul had spent three years in Ephesus, where the people got to know him quite well.  He said to the elders of the Ephesian church, "You know, from the first day that I came to Asia (Minor), in what manner I always lived among you, serving the Lord...."  His manner of life was no secret to the people of Ephesus.  He was recognized as one who served Jesus Christ.  He displayed the lifestyle of a servant.

This was evident as he served the Lord "with all humility."  Acts 20:19.  He did not count his life dear to himself.  He wrote to the church at Thessalonica, "So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us."  1 Thessalonians 2:8.  True humility places a high value on others.  Others, others, others!

Paul also served the Lord "with tears and trials."  Acts 20:19.  He makes specific reference to "the plotting of the Jews."  Following his conversion, he testified to the Jews in Damascus that Jesus is the Christ.  How did they respond?  They plotted to kill him.  Acts 9:23.  He escaped to Jerusalem, where Greek-speaking Jews attempted to kill him.  Throughout his ministry his life was constantly in danger.

Many of his tears were tears of compassion.  With tears he warned the church leaders at Ephesus that false teachers would arise, and draw away some disciples after themselves.  Acts 20:29-31.

There is the encouraging story of a young Salvation Army officer who was disappointed by the lack of response to his ministry.  He wrote a letter to General William Booth, the organization's founder, expressing his discouragement.  The wise general answered, "Try tears!."

It should be known that the apostle Paul also served the Lord "with joy."  Acts 20:24.   It was said of the Lord Himself that He was anointed with "the oil of gladness."  Hebrews 1:9.  Paul looked to Jesus, "who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame...."  Hebrews 12:2.  The psalmist wrote, "Serve the Lord with gladness."  Psalm 100:2.  Paul did just that.  He ran the race, and finished the course with joy.

Consider Psalm 126:5, 6.  "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."

Are you serving the Lord?  Jesus said, "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also.  If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor."  John 12:26.

 

Lord, use us in Your service.  We are volunteers for Jesus.  Thank you for the encouragement that we receive through Your Word.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

The Holy Spirit Told Me - Acts 21 

 
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