“Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we boast in the Name of our God.” (20:7) This verse could be used to summarize some of the problems with our modern church.
We are a rich generation. And when I say rich, I don’t mean just in financial entities, though those are certainly there. We are also rich in experiences and in knowledge. Medicine is more sophisticated than ever. Our understanding of the mind and how it works can help bring healing to the most desperate individuals. Technology has made it so that we can acquire knowledge on any possible subject. We are rich in many ways.
Yet the bottom side of this privilege is that we become self-reliant. We begin to think that we know it all and can do it all – without any help from our God. It is our God who has generated all of the inventions we enjoy. It is our God who has given men the intelligence to accomplish the many discoveries of our day.
So for us to “trust in chariots and horses,” instead of our God is really missing the mark.
We have come a long way, but there is always more. Our Father still knows more than we do and has more ability than we can imagine.
More importantly, only our God can change a heart or truly heal wounds of the past. Only our God can heal a broken marriage so that it is better than before. Only our God can deliver from drugs and alcohol completely and totally.
Only our God can fill the “God-shaped hole” on the inside of every man. Only God.
As Paul gets ready to leave Ephesus, he pours out his heart. The last time he was there, Paul had stayed with these people for three years – much longer than most places he went. They had become friends in the deepest way, and leaving them was very hard.
First of all, Paul has had prophecy which has forewarned that chains await him in Jerusalem, so he knows that he is about to encounter difficulties. He also knows that, just as in every place he has gone, “savage wolves” will come into the church, trying to lead the people astray from the gospel. Even men from within the flock will arise trying to pervert the gospel. Paul charges the overseers to be faithful in taking care of their own people.
As Paul laments all of these things, he gives the shepherds a charge to be faithful and departs – among many tears.
We have to remember that the church of Jesus Christ was new and extremely vulnerable in Paul’s day. Every where he went, there would be those who wanted to stomp out the gospel. They would be those sent by the devil to stop God’s move. With the fall of Adam, the devil had had great influence in the world. Through the blood of Jesus, men were rising up who could take authority over him and bind up his works.
The devil was not going down without a fight, so he continually tried to divide and conquer the small groups of believers left by Paul. He would bring false doctrine or strife into every place he could.
Sometimes the false doctrine would be attempts to bring the Greek mindset, with its many gods, into the picture. In other cases, the devil would stir up the Jews to fight against God’s redemptive plan. In a nutshell, the devil would stir it up any way that he could. His mission: in any way possible, stop God’s plan to disciple Christians in all of the world.
The devil knew that Christians, who had been empowered with God’s Holy Spirit, would be able to destroy his works in the earth. He had to stop them! So he tried everything he could.
But our God would not and will not be stopped. The love of Jesus Christ was being sent into all the world…and it still is.
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