Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament scriptural account of the spiritual body of Jesus Christ, which is the church as it was written and recorded in the book of Acts by the beloved physician Luke. More specially, today’s passage is found in verses thirteen through thirty-eight of the twentieth chapter. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find yourself coming to another transitionary period within the life of the apostle. In the nineteenth chapter of the book of Acts you will find the apostle Paul spending just north of two years in the city Ephesus after having previously visited it and having to depart because of a desire to come unto Jerusalem. If you read the nineteenth chapter of the book of Acts you will find that when the apostle Paul first arrived at Ephesus for the second time he found certain disciples whom he asked if they had received the Holy Ghost since they believed. The disciples responded by telling Paul that they had no so much as even heard there was a Holy Ghost—to which the apostle Paul asked them unto what baptism they were indeed baptized. When the apostle Paul heard their response and how they had been baptized unto John’s baptism he began speaking to them how John’s baptism was one of water unto repentance for sins, and how that baptism was an initial and preparatory work that would prepare men for One who would come baptizing them with the Holy Ghost and with fire. After hearing these words these disciples were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and immediately the apostle Paul laid his hands on them and prayed. Upon laying his hands on them these twelve disciples not only received the Holy Spirit and were filled, but they also began prophesying and speaking with other tongues. As you read the nineteenth chapter of the book of Acts you will come face to face with and encounter the work of the Spirit among certain of those which were present in the city of Ephesus as the Holy Spirit continued the work of filling and baptizing Gentiles. What would begin with Cornelius and his entire household with the Holy Spirit coming upon and baptizing Gentiles as well as Jews would continue full force and full steam in the city of Ephesus as here we have twelve more disciples who were filled with the Holy Ghost and who began speaking with other tongues and prophesying. If we are going to understand and recognize the work which took place within the city of Ephesus it is necessary and imperative that we take note of the fact that when the apostle Paul first entered the city there was a specific work of sowing the seeds of the kingdom and of sowing the seeds of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ—seeds which would be manifested in the fruit of twelve disciples who believed on the name of the Lord Jesus and would be both filled and baptized by the Holy Spirit. It would be this work of the Holy Ghost filling these twelve disciples that would set the stage for everything else that would take place within the city of Ephesus.
As you continue reading the New Testament book of Acts you will that after the apostle Paul had laid his hands on and prayed for these twelve disciples and they received the Holy Ghost, he entered into the synagogue of the Jews and spoke boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. The preaching of the apostle in the synagogue—as it was and has always been since he first began preaching in the synagogues of the Jews in Damascus—was met with a mixed response, for what we find in this passage of Scripture is how divers Jews within the synagogue were hardened, believed not, and spake evil of the way of Jesus the Christ and Christianity before the multitude. Recognizing what was taking place there in Ephesus the apostle Paul was not willing to allow the disciples who had just received the promise of the Father which was the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit, and so we read how he separated the disciples from those whose hearts were unbelieving and those whose hearts were hardened to the gospel. What’s more, is that the apostle Paul was unwilling to subject these disciples and those who believed to the chaos and confusion that was once more being manifested by the Jews, and so he separated them unto himself and began disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. I have to admit that it’s actually quite unique and astounding when you read the words which are found within this passage, for what you will find contained therein is a principle that sometimes we have a hard time believing and even accepting. What you will find within this passage is the apostle Paul separating these disciples who believed and were baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost from those whose hearts were hardened and who believed not, but were intent on speaking evil of the way of Christ before the multitude. In all reality, I am convinced that there is an underlying principle that is found within this passage—namely, that there are certain times when it is necessary to separate ourselves from those whose hearts are hardened and from those who have unbelieving hearts and cannot believe on the Lord Jesus the Christ. Within this passage we find the apostle Paul separating these disciples from the hardened and unbelieving Jews—perhaps to preserve and protect the deposit which was placed inside and within these disciples. In fact, if you turn and direct your attention to the epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Ephesian congregation you will find the following words which were written concerning the work which the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has in fact done within our hearts and lives in choosing us for and unto salvation:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as it hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predominated us unto the adoption of the children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were scaled with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:3-14).
I would dare say that what we find in the opening verses of the nineteenth chapter of the book of Acts as the apostle Paul separated the disciples from the unbelieving Jews whose hearts were hardened against the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ is the preservation and protection of the earnest deposit of the Holy Ghost which was found within the hearts and lives of the disciples. The apostle Paul separated the disciples which were present within the synagogue and brought them with him when he went into the school of Tyrannus in order that he might separate them from the negative and unbelieving words which were being spoken by those Jews whose hearts were unbelieving and hardened against the gospel of Jesus the Christ. It’s necessary and important that we recognize and understand this particular reality, for by understanding what is found within it we come to understand the wonderful and powerful truth that there are times when it is necessary for the true and believing disciples of Jesus the Christ to be separated from those whose hearts are hardened and whose hearts are unbelieving before the living God in order that the work and deposit which was begun within their lives might be guarded, preserved and protected. There is not a doubt in my mind that there are times when it is necessary to separate the disciples who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus the Christ from those whose hearts are hardened and who are unbelieving in order that their unbelief might not spread like gangrene into their hearts and lives. What we find within the nineteenth chapter of the book of Acts is a wonderful and powerful reality of the apostle seeking to guard the earnest deposit which was placed within the hearts and lives of these disciples, in order that the work which was begun in them might continue and might be completed. There is not a doubt in my mind that there are times within our lives when the true disciples of the Lord Jesus the Christ need to be separated from those whose hearts are hardened and unbelieving in order that confusion might not be allowed to settle in their hearts from those whose hearts are hardened, and those who are unbelieving in the sight of the living God. That which the apostle Paul did with these disciples was separate the disciples from the potential danger and threat of those who would seek to stir up and incite chaos, controversy and confusion within their hearts and lives, and even around them in the synagogue. The apostle Paul recognized the danger of chaos, controversy and confusion within the synagogue from those whose hearts were hardened and unbelieving, and as a result he separated the disciples from it in order that they might not be caught up and perhaps even swept away in the midst of it.
If you continue reading the words which are found within the nineteenth chapter of the book of Acts you will find the apostle Paul disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus for the space of two years, and how as a result of his teaching daily in the school all those who were in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. What’s more, is that you will also find that it would be during this time that God would work special miracles by the hands of Paul, so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. What began with the work of the Holy Ghost in baptizing and filling these twelve disciples would continue in the school of Tyrannus, as not only would all those who dwelt in Asia hear the word of the Lord Jesus, but so also would there be a great work of miracles which would be wrought by and through the hands of the apostle Paul. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that once the apostle Paul separated the disciples from the chaos, the confusion and the controversy of the Jews there in the synagogue, the word of the Lord Jesus was able to spread unhindered and without impediment as the unbelieving Jews whose hearts were hardened would not be able to stop or stand in the way of that which the living God was doing there in Ephesus. What began with an initial work of twelve disciples being baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost would continue with all Asia hearing the word of the Lord Jesus the Christ, as well as special miracles which were wrought and performed by the apostle Paul there in the midst of the city. How absolutely wonderful lit is to read how all those who lived and dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, and how following such a manifestation there in the city the work of the Holy Spirit would continue as the Holy Spirit would expose those frauds who thought they could engage themselves in the work of casting out devils and evil spirits by abjuring them in the name of the Lord Jesus the Christ whom the apostle Paul preached. As you read even further in the nineteenth chapter you will find that there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew who thought they could cast out demons and devils without consecration before the living God, and without the anointing of the Holy Spirit, which was the promise of the Father, You will read how there was one who was possessed with an evil spirit who when the evil spirit heard these seven sons of Sceva attempt to drive him out according to the Jesus whom Paul preached, responded to them by declaring that Jesus he knew, and the apostle Paul he knew, but he did not know who they were. What followed next was the man in whom was the evil spirit leaping upon these seven sons of Sceva, overtaking and prevailing against them, so that they fled out of the house naked and wounded. What followed next was this being made known unto all those who dwelt in the city of Ephesus, and fear falling on all, and the name of the Lord Jesus being magnified . What’s more, is that you will go on to read how many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds, and how many of them which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men. As if this weren’t enough, you will go on to read how the word of God grew mightily and prevailed there within the city of Ephesus, as well as within Asia. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact not only was the name of the Lord Jesus magnified during those days, but so also did the word of God grow mightily and prevailed.
The nineteenth chapter of the book of Acts ends and concludes on quite a completely different note, as what would initially begin with those whose hearts were hardened and unbelieving would be eclipsed by a riot and uproar which would take place within the city. If you continue reading the book of Acts in the nineteenth chapter you will find the enemy and adversary continuing to silence the word of God and destroy the work of the Spirit by thrusting the city into chaos, controversy and confusion. In all reality, I am thoroughly convinced that one of the enemy’s greatest tactics and strategies is to combat and counter the work of the Spirit and the word of Jesus the Christ by thrusting men and women into the midst of chaos, controversy and confusion. This was something that we find previously in the book of Acts, and especially while the apostle Paul was in Thessalonica and Berea. In the seventeenth chapter of the book of Acts you will find that it was the Jews whose hearts were hardened and unbelieving who gathered unto themselves lewd individuals in order to incite and stir up the people into a full on riot within the city. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that one of the greatest distractions from the work which the Holy Spirit desires to do within your life, and one of the greatest distractions from the word of Christ within your life is the introduction of chaos, controversy and confusion into the midst of your life—and even into the midst of the sanctuary and congregation you have joined yourself to. If you read the words which are found within this chapter you will find there was one within the city of Ephesus by the name of Demetrius—a silversmith by trade who made a living making silver shrines for Diana. It was this man named Demetrius who called together the workers of the same occupation and trade and declared unto them that it was by their craft which they made their wealth. With that being said, he would go on to speak and declare unto them that their work, their income and their livelihood was in danger by the gospel which the apostle Paul preached, for this apostle was preaching that there be no gods which are made with human hands and from gold, silver, wood and stone. Demetrius was so “zealous” for the sanctity and sacredness of the temple of Diana and the religion which brought them their gain and wealth that he stirred up these workers of the same craft by leading them down the path of hearing their craft which brought them great wealth was in danger of being set at nought. This man Demetrius would speak unto them that as a result of the preaching of this apostle Paul the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worships. Upon hearing these sayings of Demetrius those who had been gathered unto him were filled with wrath and began crying out with one voice, saying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” What we find and read next is exactly what the enemy and adversary sought and desired, for Luke writes and records how the whole city was filled with confusion.
Continuing to move even further in the nineteenth chapter you will find that as a result of the confusion which came upon the city, two of Paul’s companions—Gaius and Aristarchus who were both men of Macedonia—were caught and brought into the theater there in the city. It’s quite remarkable and astonishing how the apostle Paul would have entered into the theater and would have run straight into the midst of the confusion, straight into the midst of the chaos, and straight into the midst of the controversy without any regard for himself or for his well-being. Much like a fireman who would rush into a building that is on fire in order that they might save one or more individuals, the apostle Paul was willing to rush straight into the midst of the theater, and straight into the midst of the chaos, the confusion and the controversy. Ultimately the apostle Paul was restrained from entering into the theater, as the disciples and certain of the chief of Asia which were his friends would not permit him to enter into the theater and into the midst of the chaos and confusion. What’s quite interesting to think about and consider when reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture is that if you continue reading you will find that some who were present in the theater cried one thing, while others cried another thing, for the assembly was confused. Please don’t miss and lose sight of that word “confused,” for this is the second time the word or a variation of the word “confuse” was used to describe what was taking place within the city of Ephesus. Oh that we would understand that the enemy and adversary can and will always seek to combat the work of the Holy Ghost and the word concerning Jesus Christ by spreading confusion and chaos in the midst of the work. What we find within the nineteenth chapter of the book of Acts is a truly astonishing and remarkable picture of the word of God growing mightily within Asia, and the name of the Lord Jesus begin magnified, and how in an attempt to silence the word and to destroy the work of the Holy Spirit, the enemy and adversary will raise up certain individuals to help thrust the city into chaos, confusion and controversy. We dare not, we must not, we cannot and should not miss this very important reality, for it was the apostle Paul who emphatically wrote and declared that God is not the author of confusion. While it was written in the context of the gifts of the Spirit in operation within the church, the underlying principle of God not being the author of confusion is actually worth understanding and mentioning within this writing, for what we find within the city of Ephesus is not that which the living God authored Himself, but rather something the enemy would use to counter the word of the Lord Jesus the Christ, as well as the work of the Holy Spirit. Much like the enemy who sowed tares among the wheat and how the tares were permitted to grow alongside the wheat until the harvest, so like tares, thorns and thistles among wheat the enemy and adversary can and will seek to shroud the word of the Lord Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit in a cloud of chaos, in a cloud of confusion and in a cloud of controversy.
At the conclusion and end of the nineteenth chapter, as well as at the beginning of the twentieth chapter you will find that ultimately the uproar and riot would be brought to a gridding halt when the town clerk of the people stood up in the midst of them and eventually declared unto them they were in danger of being called into question because of the uproar. The final verse of the nineteenth chapter describes how when the town clerk had spoke he dismissed the assembly, while the first verse of the twentieth chapter begins with the words “and after the uproar was ceased.” Once the chaos and confusion had been brought to an end the apostle Paul called unto himself the disciples, and embraced them, and departed to go into Macedonia. When the apostle Paul had come into Macedonia and had gone over those parts, and given them much exhortation, he came into Greece where he abode for three months. The Jews there in Greece sought to kill the apostle Paul and once and for all put him to death by laying wait for him, and as a result of their conspiracy, the apostle Paul determined to return through Macedonia being accompanied by Sopater of Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus, Gaius of Derbe, Timothy, and Tychius and Trophimus. If you continue reading in the twentieth chapter of the book of Asia you will find the apostle Paul making his way toward the city of Jerusalem, for he had hoped to make it there by the time of the feast of Pentecost. As the apostle Paul and his companions purposed to set sail by Ephesus they came to Miletus where the apostle Paul sent for the elders of the church there in the city of Ephesus. It would be this encounter between the elders of the church of Ephesus and the apostle Paul that would be an emotional exchange between the two parties, as the apostle Paul would declare unto them that they would no more see his face from that day forward. What you find in the final verses of the twentieth chapter of the book of Acts is the apostle Paul speaking unto the elders of the church of Israel knowing that he would no longer and no more see his face, and knowing that he went bound unto the city of Jerusalem. What’s more, is the apostle Paul did not know what things which would befall him in Jerusalem, only that the Holy Ghost witnessed unto him in every city that bonds and afflictions abided in him. The exchange between the apostle Paul and the elders of the Ephesian church was quite an emotional exchange, for they were all sad and sorrow filled their heart knowing they would not see the face of the apostle Paul anymore. While it is true that this was an emotional exchange which would be made between the apostle Paul and the elders of the Ephesian congregation, we must recognize and understand that what is found in this exchange is a recounting of his time there in Ephesus, as well as a profound warning and word of caution concerning the departure and absence of the apostle Paul. If you begin reading with and from the eighteenth verse of this chapter you will find the apostle Paul speaking unto the elders of the Ephesian church declaring how they knew that from the first day he came into Asia, after that manner he had been with them at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which would come upon him by the lying in wait of the Jews. Within this exchange between the apostle Paul and the elders of the Ephesian congregation would in fact seek to call them into remembrance of his time and ministry there, as well as a powerful word of caution and warning before and unto them.
What I find to be so absolutely wonderful and incredible about the words which the apostle Paul spoke unto the elders of the Ephesian church is that he was able to emphatically declare unto them that he kept back nothing which was profitable unto them, but showed them, and taught them publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul sought to remind them of the time he spent among them laboring among them through many tears and temptations as he kept back nothing which was profitable from them. I feel the need to pause at this juncture right here and ask if this reality is true of us in this generation. I have to take a moment and ask the question whether or not those who are in ministry in many of our churches can in fact say with the apostle Paul that they have held back nothing which was profitable for the people. How many ministers in our churches today are giving unto the people that which is profitable unto them and are preaching the full counsel of the living God versus giving unto them that which they feel they need? I am thoroughly convinced when reading this passage of Scripture that there are ministers, there are preachers, there are pastors and those who are teaching and preaching the word of God to men and women who are in all reality withholding that which is profitable for them, and are doing so by not delivering unto them the whole counsel of the living God. There are ministers and leaders in our churches and congregations today who aren’t delivering unto men and women the full counsel of the living God, and as a result are stunting the growth of countless disciples of Jesus Christ. There are men and women within many of our churches today who are actually malnourished and starving because those who have been entrusted to look after and guard their hearts and souls aren’t delivering unto them the full counsel of the living God. There are ministers among us today who are preaching and delivering unto men and women only that which they feel is necessary, and that which they deem as being worth hearing and receiving. There are actually ministers who won’t touch the Old Testament because of its being “Old Covenant,” and our living under the New Covenant. What a terrible and dangerous tragedy it is to think about and consider how there are actually ministers today who are only providing a partial diet of the word of God unto the saints who gather in the house of God week after week, and as a result are actually depriving the saints of God that which is vital to their growth and maturity. In fact, I would dare say there are ministers and leaders who are in danger of stunting the growth and slowing the maturity of saints of God who have been entrusted into their care because they are perhaps afraid and unwilling to deliver the full counsel of the living God unto those who gather in the house of the Lord week after week. I read the words which the apostle Paul spoke unto the elders of the Ephesian congregation and I can’t help but be challenged by the incredible reality of how absolutely necessary it is for ministers and those who are entrusted with delivering and preaching the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ to deliver the full counsel of God, and to not pick and choose what they feel men and women need to hear. There are ministers right now who are in danger of being guilty before the living God for failing to deliver the full counsel of the living God in the hearing of the saints of God and disciples of Jesus the Christ.
As the apostle Paul was preparing to depart from Miletus and bid farewell to the elders of the Ephesian church he warns them of something very specific which they perhaps weren’t at all expecting. If you continue reading the words which are found within this passage you will find the apostle Paul declaring unto them first and foremost that he was pure from the blood of all men, for he did not shun to declare unto them the counsel of God. It was in the context of his being pure from the blood of all men and not failing to deliver unto them the full counsel of God that he proceeds to warn them to take heed unto themselves, and to the flock, over which the Holy Ghost made them overseers, and to feed the church of God, which he purchased with His own blood. These words were of critical and vital importance, for you will find the apostle going on to declare warn them that after his departing grievous wolves would enter in among them, which would not spare the flock. What’s more is that from themselves would men arise, which would speak perverse things to draw away disciples after them. It’s worth noting that the instruction the apostle Paul gave unto the elders was two-fold, for on the one hand he instructed them to take heed unto themselves to feed and shepherd the flock, while on the other hand he instructed them to beware of that which would seek to creep in among them and among the saints of God and disciples of Jesus the Christ. In all reality, this is perhaps the first mention in the book of Acts of false brethren, false teachers, and false prophets entering into the body of Christ—although it was Jesus the Christ who warned of false prophets, false teachers, and false brethren when speaking unto His disciples. If we are to truly understand that which the apostle Paul spoke unto the elders of the Ephesian church and congregation it is absolutely necessary and critical that we turn and direct our attention back to the words which our Lord spoke—first in the Sermon on the Mount early in His life and ministry, and second in the Olivet discourse when He spoke unto the disciples concerning the Last Days. Consider with me if you will—first those words which our Lord spoke in the Sermon on the Mount, and secondly those words which our Lord spoke in the Olivet Discourse concerning the Last Days:
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:15-20).
“Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wards and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilence, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill thou: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand) then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that were with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning fo the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not”(Matthew 24:4-26).
When we read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture—not only is it wise that we recognize the tremendous need to deliver the full counsel of God, but we must also recognize the very real need to take heed to and guard ourselves against deception and that which would seek to distract and deceive us. The apostle Paul knew and was very much aware of the fact that after his departure grievous and savage wolves would enter in among the church in Ephesus and would not spare the flock. What’s more, the apostle Paul knew and understood that from among themselves would there arise those who would seek to entice and draw men and women away and unto their own doctrine and teaching. The departure of the apostle Paul was intended on accomplishing two distinct realities, for the first was to instruct them to deliver the full counsel of God unto the saints. This was in direct connection to feeding the flock of God, for can one truly say they are feeding the flock of God—even feeding themselves—if they are not delivering the full counsel of the living God? The second, was to take heed unto themselves and to be aware of savage and grievous wolves which would enter in among the flock and would spare none before and around them. The words which the apostle Paul spoke unto the elders of the Ephesian congregation were indeed sorrowful words, but they were also words of life and words which if heeded and carefully considered would help the Ephesian church and congregation to thrive the way the Holy Spirit intended. As we read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture we must not only pay careful and close attention to whether we are feeding ourselves with the full counsel of the living God, but we must also take heed to ourselves that we are not deceived and led astray by those who would seek to deceive and distract us. What’s more, is that we cannot and must not be ignorant to the devices and schemes of the enemy, for the enemy can and will seek to shroud the work of the Spirit and the word of God in a great cloud of chaos, controversy and confusion. OH that we would read the words which are found within this passage and that we would truly understand that which the Holy Spirit is speaking to us, and that we would have ears to hear what the Spirit desires to speak to us in these last days and in this generation.