25 “And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:25–27)
Final words. If you knew you were saying goodbye to someone and would probably never see them again, this side of heaven, what would be your final words to them? Perhaps it might be, “Take care of yourself,” “be well and be safe,” “until we meet again,” or as Rick Blaine said to Ilsa Lund at the Casablanca airport, “Here’s looking at you kid.”
More than likely, if we had any affection for the individual in question, we would say “I love you.” We can be quite certain the Apostle Paul possessed deep affection for the Ephesian believers in general, and the Ephesian church elders in particular.
As today’s text indicated, Paul was sure that he would never see these elders again. One commentator writes, “He (Paul) isn’t necessarily expecting to die soon, he knows he will pass through Jerusalem alive an eventually visit Rome. But he cannot guess how long these events might take, and there are other fields beyond that he wishes to visit, especially Spain (Romans 15:23-29).”
What Paul does tell them is that he had done his duty. He has declared to them, and to the church at large, the whole counsel of God. Therefore, the duty to watch and warn people, respectively the converted along with the unconverted, is now theirs.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “A grave responsibility is placed upon the Ephesian elders. But modern elders bear the same responsibility – to watch over the souls of their people. Do all that you can to encourage your elders. Invite them to your home for a meal, praise them and thank them frequently, and pray fervently for them. Seek to make their service a joy.”
Amen! Have a blessed day and may each of us be a blessing to our church elders.
Soli deo Gloria!