Acts 20:24, 27, 31—But 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. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
When Paul arrived at Miletus, he sent for the elders (overseers or bishops) of the church at Ephesus. The church had grown so much that he could not address them all, so instead, he spoke to the church leaders. He told them that the Spirit was leading him to Jerusalem but also warning him that it meant hardship. Yet Paul was not worried about his life; he was concerned about finishing the tasks the Lord had given him. That task was telling people about God’s grace. That should be the focus of our message. Paul didn’t pull punches when it came to speaking the truth about the word. It often caused his persecution, but he refused to compromise. He would not water down the Gospel for personal acceptance or safety or self- advancement. Repentance and dying daily are not a popular gospel, but it is the true Gospel. Anything short of that is not the whole will of God. Then Paul warned them about the heresies that were about to enter the church. He told them the source of those teachings would be men who wanted others to follow them personally. Pride has a way of making us think we see something no one else does. It causes us to elevate ourselves above others. Paul had taught faithfully for so long so that they would be grounded in the truth and able to recognize it from a lie. His letters can help us do the same. You can’t sit there at Ephesus under Paul’s teaching, but you can read the letter to the Ephesians and other churches. Notice that he unceasingly warned them with tears. Paul wasn’t afraid to show emotion. He could foresee wolves coming into the flock. That broke his heart. A teacher who demonstrates genuine love is a powerful influence on the flock.