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Acts 20. 32

 

In this portion of the book of Acts, Luke is detailing Pauls departure from Ephesus.  He actually is passing by from the North and calls for the Ephesian elders to meet him close by in Miletus. There he bids them farewell amidst many tears, for he has been with them for three years, amongst much undermining from the Jews there, solemnly testifying of repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Now he is leaving and will never come back.

As a father figure to them, who by the Holy Spirit of God, was led to take the Gospel of truth, of salvation to them, teaching them the depth of the Hebrew knowledge of Jehovah.  The Hebrews after all were the keepers of the oracles of God, the Torah, and were the chosen people of God.  They were given the very Words of God and meticulously maintained their integrity yet in most cases they did not fully embrace, commit to, or understand completely all that was being said in the Scriptures.

Without the history of Judaism, without the Torah, which contains the revelation of Jehovah, to man, our understanding of Jesus Christ is almost pointless.  How are we to understand  the death of a man, is somehow related to our sin?  In other words, if someone dies while rescuing me, I understand the depth of his sacrifice.  Yet if someone dies and it in no obvious way rescues me, of what possible benefit is it to me?  So without the revelatory background of the Hebrew encounter with God, we as Gentiles have no base of understanding, or relating to the truths expressed.  Jesus, while on earth, often taught in parables in order to bring flesh to spiritual concepts, and realities.  For instance, in Luke 15, the well known story of the prodigal son, was not so much the repentance of the son, but rather the enduring love of the father.  The older son also, who was every bit as much the rebel as was his brother, never understood the depth of love of his father. He considered his life at home as one of slavery,  and rebelled against his father, yet he was shown the same unmerited love as his brother.  Their father actually humiliated himself for their benefit.  Understand and compare Philippians 2. 6-8

The parable of the Good shepherd, also Luke 15, and the lost sheep, shows the value the shepherd puts on each sheep, and the effort he will go to to find, rescue, and restore that lost one to the fold.   Also it reveals what part the sheep plays in this drama, he is entangled, trapped helplessly and offers nothing but to be found.

These parables are pictures of grace, unearned, unmerited grace.   So as Paul taught the  Ephesians well, the full gospel of Christ, he concludes with, ” I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are being sanctified.”

We are in that same prayer, being entrusted to Jehovah, and to the word of His saving grace, His enabling grace, His empowering grace, His delivering grace, His sufficient grace, His life changing grace, His freedom from the past grace, His pressing on to the prize of the high calling of God grace, His work together with me grace, His building you up grace, and His give you an inheritance grace.

Do you see, we have been commended to God, we have been left in good hands.  Understand this: Grace makes, Faith takes.  Its available for us to take and use.

Karl