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A central theme of the book of Acts relates to the power and work of the Holy Spirit through the apostles and in the life of the early church. In chapter 21 we are transported to a powerful and emotional scene as Paul and the elders of Ephesus prayed, wept and embraced prior to his departure for the volatile and hostile city of Jerusalem. This portion of Acts shows us the essence of the early and why its members transformed the ancient world. In particular, Paul charges the elders to keep watch over themselves and the flock and he commends them to the care of God and His Word. As we receive new members at Cross, may Paul’s words point us to our true source of strength and remind us of the true purpose of the church. Scripture Reading: Acts 20:28-38 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
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