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Leaving a Lasting Legacy

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“Leaving a Lasting Legacy”

16 Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn’t want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. 17 But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him.

18 When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now 19 I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. 20 I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. 21 I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.

22 “And now I am bound by the Spirit* to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, 23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. 24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

25 “And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. 26 I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault,* 27 for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.

28 “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood*—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders.* 29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. 30 Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. 31 Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.

32 “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.

33 “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. 34 You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. 35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

36 When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. 37 They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. 38 They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship.

Acts 20:16–38 NLT
16 Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn’t want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. 17 But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him. 18 When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now 19 I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. 20 I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. 21 I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus. 22 “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, 23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. 24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. 25 “And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. 26 I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, 27 for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. 28 “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders. 29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. 30 Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. 31 Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you. 32 “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself. 33 “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. 34 You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. 35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” 36 When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. 37 They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. 38 They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship.
Introduction:
When your life is over, how will you be remembered?
What kind of spiritual legacy will you leave behind?
T.S.: The apostle Paul offers some statements about his own life, to the Ephesian elders, that offer a powerful witness. you and I can leave a lasting legacy if our lives bear the same testimony.

I- I have lived a consistent life for Jesus ()

Acts 20:18–19 NLT
18 When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now 19 I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews.
A- Consistent in all places (vs. 18-19a).
1- Paul’s consistency of life was known to all of those to whom he spoke.
2- Paul’s humble service to Christ (δουλεύων τῷ κυρίῳ μετὰ πάσης ταπεινοφροσύνης) remain the same throughout his tenure in Asia (about 4 years).
δουλεύων τῷ κυρίῳ μετὰ πάσης ταπεινοφροσύνης) remain the same throughout his tenure in Asia (about 4 years).
B- Consistent in all circumstances (vs. 19b).
1- He was consistent through tears (μετὰ δακρύων) of sorrow and anxiety.
μετὰ
2- He was consistent through trials and persecution from the Jews (πειρασμων των συμβαντων μοι ἐν ταις ἐπιβουλαις των Ἰουδαιων).
πειρασμων των συμβαντων μοι
δακρύων) of sorrow and anxiety.
ἐν ταις ἐπιβουλαις των Ἰουδαιων
()
Philippians 1:21 NLT
21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.

II- I have done my best to help others follow Jesus ().

Acts 20:20 NLT
20 I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes.
A- Paul did not shrink back from sharing the gospel.
B- Paul did not shrink back from telling believers what they needed to hear.
C- Paul did not shrink back whether in private nor in public.
()
Ephesians 4:11–16 NLT
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

III- I have continually sought to introduce other people to Jesus ()

Acts 20:21 NLT
21 I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.
A- Paul preached the same gospel to all people.
()
Acts 28:28–31 NLT
28 So I want you to know that this salvation from God has also been offered to the Gentiles, and they will accept it.” 30 For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense. He welcomed all who visited him, 31 boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.

IV- I have focused on following Jesus without regard to the cost ().

Acts 20:22–24 NLT
22 “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, 23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. 24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
A- Paul followed Christ even in uncertain circumstances (verse 22).
1- Paul did not know exactly what the future held, yet remained faithful.
B- Paul followed Christ even though he knew it guaranteed persecution. (Verse 23).
1- Paul did know that all indicators pointed to difficult times ahead for him.
C- Paul followed Christ without regard to what it may cost him personally (verse 24).
1- Paul’s focus was on the importance of his mission.
2- The mission was more important than Paul and his life!
3- We must be willing to become living sacrifices for the sake of God’s call.
()
Romans 12:1–2 NLT
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

V- I have shouldered my spiritual responsibilities with faithfulness ().

Acts 20:25–27 NLT
25 “And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. 26 I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, 27 for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.
A- Paul could affirm his complete faithfulness, even though he would never see the Ephesians again.
B- He could affirm that noone would face eternal punishment because he was unfaithful in his ministry.

VI- I have lived with a focus on eternal values ().

Acts 20:28–33 NLT
28 “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders. 29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. 30 Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. 31 Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you. 32 “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself. 33 “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes.
A- Paul warned the Ephesian leaders that some of them would adopt a temporal focus and seek to get people to follow them.
B- Paul reminded the Ephesian leaders that he had maintained an eternal focus in his care of them.
1- The emphasized that he had never served for personal gain (verse 33).
C- Paul prayed for God to preserve the Ephesian Christians.

VII- I have left a positive example for others to follow ().

Acts 20:34–38 NLT
34 You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. 35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” 36 When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. 37 They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. 38 They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship.
A- Paul set an example through hard work (verse 34).
B- Paul provided an example for them through his generosity (verse 35).
C- Paul set an example by praying with them (vs. 36 – 38).
().
2 Timothy 4:6–8 NLT
6 As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
Conclusion:
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