21 Days of Devotion
Read Acts 19:1-20:38
Paul gathers the Ephesian elders together to speak to them one more time before he travels to Jerusalem, where he knows that persecution awaits him. As he offers his parting words, what he warns them most strongly about is false teaching. He is aware that dangers will arise from both without and within the church, threatening to lead the sheep astray. He impresses on them how essential it is that they faithfully teach the truth. Many are unable to teach the truth because they do not themselves fully know it. Assumed in Paul’s words here is the deep abiding knowledge of the Gospel that the Ephesian elders must possess and pass on so that the body of believers might be protected from falsehood. Also, we see in this passage the profound closeness Paul has established with these believers as he has helped them lead the church at Ephesus. Not only should we be encouraged here to press into a deep abiding knowledge of the Gospel, but we should also be encouraged to press into deep abiding Gospel relationships in our Hope family. No mature Christian lacks Gospel depth, and no mature Christian lacks deep Gospel relationships.
“Those who appear to be trustworthy yet teach strange doctrines—do not let them amaze you. Stand firm, like an anvil being struck with a hammer. It is the mark of a great athlete to endure punishment and to achieve victory.”
Ignatius to Polycarp 3.1