Faithlife Sermons

Saying "Goodbye"

Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Intro

Humor
Barbara Candee letter
It’s Quarantine Day…Again
Never Ending Quarantine
County News
Dr. Rita Kerr
Gavin Newsom
Setting
Refresher
Miletus (Appropriate place to say Goodbye)
Miletus surpassed by Ephesus as port and commercial center.
Paul confirming his passing the torch of ministry to the Ephesian elders.
History
Commercial Center and Colonization Sender
The Lexham Bible Dictionary History and Geography

In the classical period, Miletus was one of the wealthiest and most significant Ionian cities in terms of commerce and colonization. Beginning around 780 BC, Miletus began colonizing the Propontis, later expanding into Thrace with a total of 75–90 colonies (Pliny, Natural History 5.31; see also Crouch 277), making it possibly “the greatest of Greek mother cities” (Graham, Colony and Mother City in Ancient Greece, 98).

Intellectual center of the Mediterranean
The Lexham Bible Dictionary Lydian Empire

Miletus remained a significant trade city, and in the seventh and sixth centuries it became an intellectual center for the Mediterranean world (Graham, Colony and Mother City in Ancient Greece, 106; Crouch, Geology and Settlement, 186).

Former Port City
The Lexham Bible Dictionary History and Geography

Miletus sat on the edge of the western coast of Asia Minor near the mouth of the river Maeander, near the modern-day city of Balat, Turkey. Until the late second century BC, Miletus was the leading center for commerce and art in the Mediterranean world (Trebilco, “Asia,” 361). Increasing silt deposits from the river Maeander gradually closed off Miletus’ port access (Crouch, Geology and Settlement, 278). Since the city could no longer compete with the commercial center of Ephesus, it decreased in importance (Trebilco, “Asia,” 361).

Tough Times
The Lexham Bible Dictionary Medo-Persian Empire

Miletus was destroyed during the Persian war of 500–495 BC but rebuilt itself as a flourishing commercial center soon after.

Alexander the Great
The Lexham Bible Dictionary Alexander the Great and the Roman Empire

Alexander the Great took Miletus in his bid against the Persian Empire less than a century later. Miletus remained a Greek city until annexed into the Roman province of Asia in 133 BC. By this time, the city had waned as a thriving commercial center and was no longer the most important seaport in the Mediterranean.

Paul’s Day
The Lexham Bible Dictionary Miletus

MILETUS (Μίλητος, Milētos). A declining center of commerce on the western coast of Asia Minor during the New Testament period.

Out of the boat
Then
Paul likely would have docked his ship in the Lion’s Harbor
Now
Due to river silt depositing over years, the harbor is today over 6 miles inland.
Lions
Then
2 sizeable marble lions flanked the harbor. Paul would have had to walk through them. They had been there for 300 years.
Now
Only one statue remains, and that only partially. It’s head and part of it’s rear sits in an open field in dirt surrounded by shrubs.
Monument
Then
Just inside the harbor was a 35’ tall Roman monument.
Now
Very little remains.
Temple of Appollo
Then
Open air temple to Appollo.
Like Artemis to the Ephesians, so was Apollo to the Miletians. 112 columns, each 50’ high supported the temple.
Now
Left in ruins.
Other things
Then
Paul would have passed an agora (Marketplace), and vast gymnasium, a city counsel chamber which had been dedicated to Antiohcus IV Epiphanes, desecrator of the 2nd temple.
Antiochus was the one who defiled God’s temple and punished the Jews who sought to continue to worship Yahweh.
Why Miletus
Paul wasn’t here for sightseeing, though. Paul was in a hurry
Avoid Ephesian hospitality requirements
Avoid unnecessary attention
Get back to Jerusalem by Pentecost with a gift for the church there.
We don’t really know.
One thing we do know, is that Paul was here to say “Goodbye”
Jenness Park
Saying goodbye to Jenness Park
“The action, approved during the regularly scheduled May 14 meeting held virtually, calls for Jenness Park to be closed immediately and permanently shut down by June 30. The recommendation also gives CSBC corporate officers authorization to “take necessary actions” to sell the camp and its assets.
An amendment to the recommendation gives SBC churches/entities through June 30, 2020 priority in purchasing the camp.
Jenness Park is a 160-acre camp owned by CSBC in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Sonora. The camp has been part of the California Southern Baptist family since 1953.”
https://www.csbc.com/news/2020/csbc-executive-board-recommends-selling-jenness-park-christian-camp
Saying “Goodbye” to the Ephesian Elders

Live the Example (vv. 18-27, 33-35)

A. How He Loved (v. 18-19)
Acts 20:18–19 NASB95
And when they had come to him, he said to them, You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews;
How He Loves
When this song came out, churches weren’t sure about it because it mentions “sloppy wet kiss”. Changed to unforeseen kiss.
The point: David Crowder and John McMillan
Written as a personal worship song. Included names in the songwriter’s life. Not meant to be a corporate song, but a private worship song.
David Crowder asked the author if he could change the lyrics so the church could sing it together.
How God loves us should be an amazing revelation.
Paul’s love of the church was a picture of God’s love for the church.
1. With Humility (v. 19) and With Honesty (v. 19)
Transparent Ministry
Paul lived with people. I probably have a habit of sharing too much, sometimes. I want to be open. There is a right way to do it. Paul lived honestly with those around him in such a way that his life and ministry were one and the same. He wasn’t a different man, as I read, in the pulpit/lectern and in the tent shop. same guy. I don’t feel that Paul was someone who needed to turn on the preaching voice and adopt a different persona. When we think of celebrities nowadays, it seems we are usually referring to performers. Athletes, actors, musicians, they perform something for others’ amusement. Do you ever find it weird that not only actors pretend to be someone else. It’s so weird that even sports icons refer to themselves in the third person or give themselves alter egos and refer to them like they are real people. they seem to pretend to be someone else when they are performing. It can be the same withy Christians.
If you and I are “performing” for others…acting what we think Christians should be, then we aren’t doing it right. Paul didn’t “act” with them in performances, he “lived” with them. They knew Paul, not superstar apostle, but Paul the man.
Leave people with honesty and humility. Not lifting ourselves up, but allowing God to do what He will in each of us.
When it’s time to say Goodbye, we want to leave a legacy of honesty and humility.
B. How He Taught
1. With Helpful Instruction (v. 20a)
Acts 20:20 NASB95
how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house,
Paul, when he was preaching, we know, was not not known for preaching what people wanted to hear, but what they needed to hear.
Paul has been accused of being harsh, but it’s usually, in my opinion that people are used to hearing the rebukes in scripture and feeling the conviction of the Spirit and they shoot the messenger. That Paul, always meddling.
I was teaching a class and a tough part of scripture popped up and someone said, this sound like the author here is just going off the rails. They’re taking this too far. I said, I can see why you’d say that, but the author is not alone in his comments. In fact, a reading of the entirety of scripture will inform us about itself. I can read a difficult passage and in most cases, there is an abundance of other scripture, which confirms and directs my understanding, so I can say, “Yes, this agrees with the rest.” If something seems out of place, maybe my understanding is off. Dig a little deeper, ask some more questions. I think God lets us bump our heads into something hard and then sit back, rubbing our sore heads and think about it.
Helpful instruction is not always comfortable, but it is helpful. We need to leave a legacy of preaching and teaching what people need to hear, not necessarily what they want.
2. Without and Within Houses (v. 20b)
Acts 20:20 NASB95
how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house,
Paul’s ministry was not only a public ministry, but a private ministry.
Paul didn’t have an off switch. Certainly he adjusted to the situations, but he ministered everywhere and anywhere he could.
Right now, our ministry is limited, but at the same time it’s unlimited.
In one way, you can hear the same message you would have, but miss the fellowship and comfort God’s family brings.
In another way, the message can reach so many more people 24hrs a day and get into the home where it couldn’t before.
The state tells us that this is enough. I would beg to differ. We have made the choices we have out of respect for authority and a desire for safety.
There may come a time soon, church, where we will need to decide. If the NeverEnding quarantine continues, how long will we forsake the fellowship?
People have called me and said, “The order is done!” They are right, the Amador County Order is. the State is still in effect. We have a lot of praying and sharing to do church.
Do we say goodye to fellowship for the time being or don we say goodbye to the quarantine. We will be talking today with leadership about a safe plan that aims to follow the guidelines we are currently under and we plan to submit this to you, the body, for decisions. This has been the hardest time for us in my memory. God is preparing us , church.
Think of what we are learning at this time
How many of us are now afraid of hugs? a Handshake now is a sign of insensitivity instead of friendship. Our cultural norms and already shifting.
Are we to be safe? Absolutely! Are we to live in fear? No! Are we to learn and move forward? Yes.
Let’s be honest. When we see someone in the store, are we more worried about them getting us sick, or are we worried that they might be going to hell? The real pandemic, sin, has been ongoing since the fall of man.
But praise be to God, an antidote has been around for 2,0000 years. His name is Jesus Christ.
Covid-19 has a chance of death, but sin is 100%. A vaccine has a chance it will work, but putting your faith in Christ Jesus is 100% effective.
Church, this week I got some thinking for you to do.
Pastors and churches across our state are choosing to violate the order.
Some are meeting privately and some publicly. Maybe we, in the past, were doing too much public and not enough private. Maybe, you’ve bee reclusive and not in church for a while even before this. I hope that we all realize that covid-19 or no covid-19, we need a public and private ministry. Parents, are you reading the bible to and discipling your children at home? Church wake up. We need to be ready. If this comes back, do we have tight fellowship with others around us? Do you beliong to a bible study, accountability group in Christ that you can call, visit, talk to, lean on? We all need a public and private ministry.
When you and I say Goodbye, did we leave behind a legacy of public and private ministry?
3. With the Gospel (v. 21)
Acts 20:21 NASB95
solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Although Paul’s message was aimed at different audiences, His focus was always on the gospel of Christ. He made sure that people knew the message of God’s work of salvation and how to get there. Repentance and Faith. Turn and Trust. Turn away from Sin and Trust On The Lord Jesus Christ.
Our message should be consistent, first and foremost the Good News of Jesus Christ.
When we say Goodbye, people should know the Gospel.
C. How He Left
1. With obedience (v. 22-24)
Acts 20:22–24 NASB95
“And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.
Paul listened and obeyed the Holy Spirit.
Some viewed what the Spirit told Paul as warning. God has spoken to His people many times, and often when Jesus spoke of hardships and trials they weren’t warnings, but promises. We were not put on earth to be comfortable.
When we say goodbye, may we look back on a ministry of obedience, even when obedience seemed to threaten my comfort and safety.
2. With a Clean Conscience (v. 25-27)
Acts 20:25–27 NASB95
“And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. “Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.
Clean conscience in telling the whole purpose, plan, counsel of God. everything that God wanted Paul to say, He said it. He didn’t shrink back from hard sayings.
Smooth Jazz or Ugly Jazz. Everyone has their preferences and both have their place.
Share about God using the sax playing and style matched the circumstance.
Both have their places, but they must be applied appropriately.
God’s word has messages of comfort and messages of correction. God’s love for humanity and His wrath against sin are both relevant and must be shared.
When we say goodbye, may we leave with a clear conscience that we shared the whole word of God
D. How He Worked
1. Without Greed (v. 33-35)
Acts 20:33–35 NASB95
“I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes. “You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
Wolves are coming. I am blessed and you have been blessing the church. But, I want to see our ministries continue.
Their desire will be to abuse the sheep and get what they want from them.
When we say Goodbye, may we leave a legacy of hard work and not fleecing.

II. Leave with Exhortation (vv. 28-31)

When we say goodbye, I need to do so with direction.
A. Watch Yourselves (v. 28a)
Acts 20:28 NASB95
“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
When we say goodbye, may we exhort others to watch themselves.
B. Watch Over the flock (v. 28b-29)
Acts 20:28–29 NASB95
“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
presbuteros (elders)
Acts 20:17 NASB95
From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church.
Episkopos (bishops/overseers) and Shepherds (poimaino/poimeyn)
Acts 20:28 NASB95
“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
When we say goodbye, may we leave shepherds who watch over the flock.
C. WatchOut for wolves (vv. 29-31)
Acts 20:29–31 NASB95
“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.
When we say goodbye, may we leave shepherds who watch out for wolves

III. Entrust them to the Lord (v. 32, 36)

A. Entrust them to God (v. 32a)
Acts 20:32 NASB95
“And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Set apart for His service. Commissioning them.
B. Entrust them to His Word (v. 32b)
Acts 20:32 NASB95
“And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
The message consisted of the Old Testament and Paul’s Teachings, and letters they would later read, which we call the New Testament. We have this today, so that we too can use these words to entrust to other people.
We can’t be there forever for people. If we teach people to depend on us, eventual;ly we will let them down. We will sin, we will leave. If we teach people to depend on God, they will have someone always.
C. Entrust them in Prayer (v. 36)
Acts 20:36 NASB95
When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.
When we are apart we pray for each other. We can commit each other to God’s hands in intentional prayer.

Conclusion

Paul says Goodbye (vv. 37-38)
Acts 20:37–38 NASB95
And they began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him, grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they were accompanying him to the ship.
What are we saying Goodbye to?
Jenness?
Covid-19?
Hugs and Handshakes?
Children’s Ministry?
Government orders?
“Normal” church services
Saying “Goodbye” means Saying “Hello” to something new
Let’s use God’s word to inform us as individuals and as the Church in our next steps.
How can we as the body live out the call ahead of us?
read over these verses and pray about the direction God wants for our church. How are we going to move forward? Together? Apart? A Combination?
Church Leadership will meet and we plan to present a letter and a survey to the body to help get your input. Please saturate yourself in this word this week and ask God what he has for our church.
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