Reposted from Pr. Stout:
(38 verses, 4:47 to read)
What I am about to READ
- The are several details in this chapter about travels of Paul and other disciples. The Lord raises Eutyches from the dead through Paul and Paul preaches a sorrowful and encouraging farewell sermon in Ephesus.
MARK & LEARN
- The beginning of this reading gives a nice little word and summary of what the Lord’s Word does for us and what pastors are to proclaim – encouragement. It gives life.
- The Lord’s Word is an encouragement to live in accordance with the whole counsel of God, to watch ourselves, to pay careful attention to the teachings of those who preach the Word of God, and to have faith that emulates that of Paul, especially when he knows that suffering for the sake of the Lord’s Word is close at hand.
- The Lord’s Word also gives us the encouragement that we are not our own, we have been obtained by Jesus’ blood. We do not belong to our sin and failures. We belong to Jesus and are a part of His flock. We belong to the Church – not the church of me or the church of men, but the Church of the Almighty God.
- In that Church, we receive the Lord’s Word which is full of grace and able to build us up. We are surrounded by twisted teachings and too often give into temptation that might draw us away from following Jesus, but our Lord continues to give – His Word, His love, His mercy, His holiness. He is a God who proclaims that it is more blessed to give than receive. He gave His life to purchase us and continues to give His Holy Spirit to gather us to listen to the encouragement of His Word.
- Pray: Gracious Lord, help me to listen to Your Word, believing that it is profitable for repentance toward You and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Protect me from the fierce wolves who desire to draw me away from You. Help me to be alert of them and my own inclination to follow their teachings. I do not fully know what will happen to me in this body and life, but I do commend myself to You and know that Your Word is full of grace and able to build me up and give me an inheritance among the sanctified. As You love to give, help me love to receive from You those gifts which You proclaim as the most important – forgiveness, life, and salvation through Your Word. May that be the source of my giving to others in love until I finish this course of life and receive from You the gift of life eternal. Amen.
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Pastor Christopher Stout