Dear church,

This chapter concludes with a scene of tenderness. The apostle Paul told the elders of Ephesus – leaders with whom he had spent so much time – that they would not see him again. Paul was bound to encounter persecution in Jerusalem and even likely death.

And the elders were “sorrowful.” You can sense the heartache as they escorted him to the boat – to see him off for the last time.

To have good friends and then to lose them is a hurtful thing. This is even more so with someone who imparted to us the very words of eternal life. And not only that – was one who stuck around for two years to teach and to set an example for the new believers. Paul and the Ephesian elders had been through a lot together (see chapter 19).

And now their time with Paul was up. There was more for him to do. They all seemed to know this was the case. And his parting words to them were this: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”

This was a precious friendship. And this was a precious calling.

The tenderness Paul clearly felt toward the Ephesian elders – and they clearly felt toward Paul – was something God surely felt toward his church, “which he obtained with his own blood.”

We must remember the relationships that make up life of the kingdom of God. The love of believers for one another. The love of the elders for the church. The love of God for the church. The love of the Father and Son for one another.

Is “church” just something we “attend” each Sunday? No. We surely know it is much more than that. It is a tender and precious thing. These are our brothers and sisters – the children of God himself, whom God himself gave up his blood to redeem.

A couple of questions for your day: Is this how you think about the church and about your brothers and sisters in Christ? If it’s not – why not?

Chris

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