In following The Way, they had to step off the way of church. It was not possible to follow the church-way and The Way. Those were two very different “ways” which led in two very different directions. However, not following the way of the church put your life in jeopardy. Those who were on the church-way hated those who followed the Way of Jesus.
Paul had been a very good follower of the church-way. He hated and persecuted those who followed The Way. But then he met Jesus. Now he was firmly on The Way and proved it in his life. The same zeal he had given to the church, he now gave to Jesus. The love he had for his church he now offered to Jesus alone. He showed his love for Jesus by taking The Way with him when he traveled around Asia, Greece, Italy and Israel. There was no way he was going to leave The Way. Nothing of this world was ever again to get in his way of showing others The Way.
After spending some time resting from his last journey, he set out to take The Way to the world again. Jesus stated that a person putting his hands on the plow and looking back was not worthy of The Way. After all, if you are looking back, how can you stay on The Way? Looking back produces crooked ways. One must always be looking towards The Way in order to keep a straight path. Paul was keeping on The Narrow Way.
The churches today are no longer on The Way. The Jews of Paul’s day were looking back to Moses and the prophets thinking they were on the right path simply by association or genealogy. The Jews claimed Moses and the prophets while refusing to live in obedience to them. The churches today are doing the same. They are looking back to their founding “fathers” and “prophets” thinking that they are on the path simply by association with the past. But they refuse to live in obedience to The Way.
Paul and the early converts to Jesus were pointing people, not to a church, not to an organization, not to a denomination and certainly not to a past, but to a present life that was constantly to be walking on The Way. It wasn’t about “believing” or “membership”, it was about living The Way: perfect, sinless and commandment keeping. Paul was constantly seeking out those who had become disciples of Jesus and strengthening them in The Way
Acts 18:23 to Acts 20:38 After spending some time there, he departed and went from place to place through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
Many of us are spending way too much time in one place. We need to depart and go from place to place strengthening all around us to remain faithful, not to a church or denomination or doctrine, but to The Way Jesus lived: perfect, sinless and commandment keeping.
Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos arrived in Ephesus. He was a native of Alexandria, an eloquent man, and well versed in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the Lord’s way, and with spiritual fervor he kept speaking and teaching accurately about Jesus, although he knew only about John’s baptism.
There are many today who have been baptized into a church and know some of the Lord’s way. They speak with spiritual fervor and eloquence, yet, there is something missing in their lives.
He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him home and explained God’s way to him more accurately.
Many need to come out of the church and learn “God’s way” more accurately. We need to keep on The Way which constantly becomes narrower as we travel on it. We need to learn more accurately how to keep on The Way. The baggage of church, the world and old habits need to be thrown off our backs. It is hard to plow when carrying so much weight. Jesus wants us to remove the weight we are carrying and take His yoke. Then the plowing will become easier. By remove the burden of church, denomination and sectarianism we become free to travel The Way more productively. The problem is our ego, pride and desire to be “right”. Many do not want to hear the “truth”. No, they want to sit around “reasoning together”, not to learn the truth, but to compromise truth to match their own beliefs.
When Apollos wanted to cross over to Achaia, the brothers wrote to the disciples there, urging them to welcome him. On his arrival he greatly helped those who, through God’s grace, had believed.
Are you greatly helping those around you who believe? Or are you sitting in church holding on to the help you could be giving others? We help ourselves by helping others. Sitting in church isn’t doing anything for the good of believers. Let us truly “believe” by living as Jesus did: encouraging and helping others to live the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life.
He successfully refuted the Jews in public and proved by the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.
Throughout history there have been different “present truths” that were needed to be presented to the world. At the time of Noah, it was present truth that the world was coming to an end, as they understood it, and that they had to get into the Ark to be saved.
At the time of the Tower of Babel it was present truth that they were not to congregate in one place, but spread out around the world.
At the time for the burning of Sodom it was present truth that they had to leave Sodom for their lives.
At the time of Egypt it was present truth that they had to leave their homes, a place they had pretty much become accustomed to, and go wander in a deserted, unfamiliar land.
At the time of Jeremiah it was present truth that they had to get out of their “church” and go to a pagan land if they wanted to survive.
At the time of Ezra and Nehemiah present truth was to leave the pagan land by running for your life.
At the time of Jesus present truth was to accept Jesus in place of the lamb, the temple and the whole church system of ceremonies, feast days and traditions which had pointed to Jesus.
At the time of Paul present truth was to learn how to live in Jesus and walk on The Way. Apollos was proving Jesus to be the Messiah, the Lamb of God, the present Truth, and their obligations to leave the church system and follow The Way of Jesus.
Their “present truth” is not necessarily our “present truth” today. However, people feel very comfortable in past “present truth” rather than stepping out into “present truth” God is now giving. The past “present truth” is still “truth”; we know Jesus is the Messiah, the One who was to come to die and take our penalty for sin. What has been lost, and is rarely taught, is our obligation to live in obedience to His teachings to be perfect, stop sinning and to keep the Ten Commandments in order for the death of Christ to save us eternally. We are all hung up on His resurrection and what He offers us, but few are willing to live in obedience in order to get what He offers us.
It was while Apollos was in Corinth that Paul passed through the inland districts and came to Ephesus. He found a few disciples there and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered him, “No, we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
The early Christians had much to learn. For over 500 years the church system had totally brainwashed the people into a “Catholic” system of just going through the ceremonies and traditions of the church for their salvation. Obedience to the Ten Commandments was not emphasized for salvation. It was all about belonging to the church and living in obedience to the church system.
The early disciples had to learn the “present truth” of separating from the church and going directly to Jesus. Jesus, through His Holy Spirit, would direct each individual. Each individual was responsible for his own personal salvation through a personal relationship with Jesus. This was very hard for them to understand after centuries of indoctrination by the church.
He then asked, “Then into what were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John baptized when they repented, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.”
Even John understood that he was not to set up another church system or develop a “following”. He never pointed anyone to the church. He never pointed anyone to himself. He pointed everyone to the keeping of the Ten Commandments for their salvation and to Jesus as the Lamb of God. The Christians were to be introduced to the Spirit of God who would lead them into a more thorough walk on The Way. They were to live “through the sanctifying action of the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus”. 1 Peter 1:2.
Many Christians today have been baptized into a church or the name of Jesus. However, being baptized into the “Name of Jesus” is about making a commitment to walk in The Way Jesus commanded: perfect, sinless and commandment keeping. Therefore, “present truth” now is to prepare Christians for the final movement of earth’s history. Never in the history of the world has there ever been a time as is about to fall upon us. We must live the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life. When probation closes, we must live seven month sinlessly and in perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments. We must get out of our churches and learn how to let the Spirit of God dwell in us and teach us.
Notice, John did not baptize those who “believed”, but “when they repented”. Churches today do not require people to first “repent”. It is all about “believing” and coming to church. Most churches have no idea what true repentance is.
On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy. There were about twelve men in all.
Many today are baptized, but few receive the Spirit of God. Those doing the baptizing are doing it for church membership and are devoid of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God can only come upon those who are living in obedience to The Way of Jesus: perfect, sinless and commandment keeping. The purpose of receiving the Holy Spirit is for the Spirit of God to point out your sins and bring you to repentance. If you are believing in Jesus without the Spirit of God to point out your sins, you will be lost.
He went into the synagogue and spoke there boldly for three months, holding discussions and persuading those who heard him about the kingdom of God.
Here again we find Paul speaking boldly and holding discussions about “the kingdom of God” and not about joining any new church or denomination. Paul was not looking for “followers”. He wasn’t trying to start a “cult” or fan club. Today, Paul would speak boldly and cry out, “Stop following me and go follow Jesus”. All the churches are cults of Paul. They quote Paul, worship Paul, build their churches and denominations around Paul and make him their savior. Paul pointed people to Jesus and the Kingdom of God. Who are you following and listening to?
But when some people became stubborn, refused to believe, and slandered the Way in front of the people, Paul left them, taking his disciples away with him, and held daily discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.
Now you see why God wants you to leave your stubborn and slanderous church. Churches are not following The Way. The churches refuse to accept Jesus as The Way. They refuse to acknowledge the teachings of Jesus that we must stop sinning and keep the Ten Commandments perfectly to get our eternal life. The churches twist Paul to make him totally disagree with and slander the teachings of Jesus.
This went on for two years, so that all who lived in Asia, Jews and Greeks alike, heard the word of the Lord.
For two years Paul taught the “Word of the Lord”. Not once do you hear of Paul making up his own theology or putting in his own philosophy or starting a church. The Bible is completely silent to all of that. There isn’t even a hint of it. Paul preached and taught from the Old Testament as it was exampled and taught by Jesus. There was no New Testament for Paul to teach from! The New Testament had not been written yet and would not be compiled for another 300 years. Not once does Luke mention the students of Paul discussing a “new theology” or “church organization” taught by Paul.
God continued to do extraordinary miracles through Paul. When handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched his skin were taken to the sick, their diseases left them and evil spirits went out of them.
Are you doing “extraordinary miracles”? Maybe you aren’t because you are not teaching and living by the “Word of God”? Maybe you are sitting in church hearing your pastor, church or denomination discussing a “new theology” based on twisted texts from Paul. Don’t you think it is time to get out of your church, go to Jesus and learn how to walk on The Way?
Then some Jews who went around trying to drive out demons attempted to use the name of the Lord Jesus on those who had evil spirits, saying, “I command you by that Jesus whom Paul preaches!” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this.
Many are trying to imitate Paul. Many want the pride, ego and fame that comes with the show. But the works they are accomplishing are not of God. They have not the humble spirit of Paul who only pointed people to Jesus.
But the evil spirit told them, “Jesus I know, and I am getting acquainted with Paul, but who are you?” Then the man with the evil spirit jumped on them, got the better of them, and so violently overpowered all of them that they fled out of the house naked and bruised.
At some point, the false preachers, healers and prophets will be violently overpowered by the demons that are now using them. Those who are involved with church, this world and all that is offerer by them, will be violently overpowered by the very things they think they are controlling. We are only to let the Spirit of God control us. That can only happen when we live in “The Way” of obedience to the teachings of Jesus.
When this became known to everyone living in Ephesus, Jews and Greeks alike, they all became terrified, and the name of the Lord Jesus began to be held in high honor.
Very few today are “terrified” and hold “the name of the Lord Jesus” in high honor when they see the results of evil. No, most hold the name of their church in “high honor”. When evil comes back on them, they go to psychiatrists, counselors, ministers, pastors, some kind of “program”, psychologists and anything other than to Jesus. Only God can heal the sin-sick soul and mind. Only Jesus can break the filthy habits of this world from our minds. Only Jesus can drive out the demons that are inhabiting our lives. But people prefer to sit in church putting on a show of piety and “Christianity”. They do not want to work out their salvation through obedience to Jesus.
Many who became believers kept coming to confess and talk about what they had been doing.
Churches today have no understanding of true Christianity and the function of the “assembly”, the “ekklēsia”. The “assembly” was not a church where the members came for one or two hours a week to hear someone preach a “sermon”. It was not a place to be entertained. It was not where they gathered as a social gathering to discuss their worldly activities. They gathered to confess their sins and talk about what was going on in their lives that needed to be changed. They confessed and repented of their sins. They gave up their sins to live as Jesus lived: perfect, sinless and commandment keeping.
When was the last time you assembled in your church and stood up to share with those around you what you needed to change in your life? When was the last time you saw anyone else stand up and share what they needed to change in their lives? Maybe you are not “assembling” for the right purpose.
Moreover, many people who had practiced occult arts gathered their books and burned them in front of everybody. They estimated their value and found them to have been worth 50,000 silver coins.
When was the last time you went through your music, DVDs, books, phone contacts and weeded out what did not hold up to biblical principles? “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8.
Church people have no clue of their responsibilities to Jesus. They go to church but refuse to go to the Bible, in its entirety, and obey every word that proceeds from the mouth of God that has to do with eternal life.
In that way the word of the Lord kept spreading and triumphing.
Today, church is spreading and triumphing, but the “Word of the Lord” is nowhere to be found.
After these things had happened, Paul decided to go through Macedonia and Achaia and then to go on to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have gone there, I must also see Rome.”
There was only one thing on Paul’s mind: taking the Word of God to the world. What is on your mind?
Then he sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he himself stayed in Asia a while longer.
Paul was doing everything within his power and ability to spread the “Word of God”. Are you? Or are you spreading church?
Now about that time a great commotion broke out concerning the Way.
Be assured, if you are following the Way, living it, teaching it, promoting it and supporting it, you will cause a “great commotion” around you.
By making silver shrines of Artemis, a silversmith named Demetrius provided a large income for skilled workers. He called a meeting of these men and others who were engaged in similar trades and said, “Men, you well know that we get a good income from this business.
It always comes down to money. Churches make “a good income from this business” and do not want it disturbed. Don’t tell them to teach the “Word of God”. Oh no, they only want to teach what will keep the money flowing in.
You also see and hear that, not only in Ephesus, but almost all over Asia, this man Paul has won over and taken away a large crowd by telling them that gods made by human hands are not gods at all.
The churches and pastors today are saying the very same thing. “That ministry is telling people that our church is ‘made by human hands’ and is not of God. That our teachings are not what Jesus taught. That our systems, traditions and ordinances are useless for eternal life.”
There is a danger not only that our business will lose its reputation but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be brought into disrepute and that she will be robbed of her majesty that brought all Asia and the world to worship her.”
Oh yes, their “business will lose its reputation” when the people find out the truth. The churches are all of the devil and taking people to hell.
When they heard this, they became furious and began to shout, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
Yep, they do become furious and boy, can they shout. They shout how great is their church for your eternal life.
The city was filled with confusion, and the people rushed into the theater together, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s fellow travelers from Macedonia.
Yep, the churches will be “filled with confusion, and the people” will rush at you with hate if you speak the truth. I get letters all the time from those who love their churches, ego, pride and opinions more than Jesus. Their pride and ego are bound up in their church, self-worth and opinions. They love the praise of men more than obedience to Jesus.
Paul wanted to go into the crowd, but the disciples wouldn’t let him. Even some officials of the province of Asia who were his friends sent him a message urging him not to risk his life in the theater. Meanwhile, some were shouting one thing and some another, since the crowd was confused, and most of them didn’t know why they were meeting. Some of the crowd concluded it was because of Alexander, since the Jews had pushed him to the front. So Alexander motioned for silence and tried to make a defense before the people.
I have seen this over and over again. People let their emotions get a hold of them and reason goes right out their ears. Their minds are filled with confusion and great excitement. But none of it has to do with reason and truth.
But when they found out that he was a Jew, they all started to shout in unison for about two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
Many have stopped their ears to the truth this ministry puts out and all they do is shout over and over and over again what they want to believe instead of listening to truth and facts. All they want is their own opinions. They want to “reason” with God to get Him to agree with them. They do not want to change their lives to come into submission and obedience to God.
When the city recorder had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who in the world doesn’t know that this city of Ephesus is the keeper of the temple of the great Artemis and of the statue that fell down from heaven? Since these things cannot be denied, you must be quiet and not do anything reckless. For you have brought these men here, although they neither rob temples nor blaspheme our goddess. So if Demetrius and his workers have a charge against anyone, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They should accuse one another there. But if you want anything else, it must be settled in the regular assembly, because we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, and there is no good reason we can give to justify this commotion.” After saying this, he dismissed the assembly.
Christians are called to live in pease. We are never to surrender the truth, however, we do not riot, argue or start an insurrection over our beliefs. That is what the devil and his churches do. And truly, God will charge them “with rioting today, and there is no good reason we can give to justify this commotion.” No there is not. It only has to do with their pride, ego and what they want to believe. Lucifer started all this rioting, arguing and insurrection in heaven. He is only continuing his rebellion through the churches here on earth.
There are many who have come out of their churches physically, but mentally and emotionally they are still living the church life. They still have not submitted to Jesus and are not living as He commands. Church just isn’t a building or denomination, it is a mind-set that needs to be eradicated from the life. It was instituted by the devil to destroy you. Our hearts and lives must be in submission only to Jesus and His truth.
When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the disciples and encouraged them. Then he said goodbye to them and left to go to Macedonia.
Without surrendering the truth or in any way bringing disrepute to the Word of God, Paul left. He didn’t start the riot. He didn’t begin the trouble. Only the wicked can’t stand truth. Christians are law abiding: first to God and then to society.
It is interesting, as I watch the news, how the wicked love to point fingers at the righteous and blame them for the troubles and disturbances caused by the wicked. The wicked want to live the wicked life and they don’t want anyone telling them they can’t. Therefore, the wicked blame the righteous for their own acts of rebellion and hate against righteousness. The churches are doing the same against the truth of Jesus.
He went through those regions and encouraged the people with everything he had to say. Then he went to Greece and stayed there for three months. When he was about to sail for Syria, a plot was initiated against him by the Jews, so he decided to go back through Macedonia.
Plots are always being hatched against the servants of God. Only by the power of God, through the agencies of His angels and His Spirit, are we protected. Evil is all around us. Every day, many times a day, I am in prayer asking God to protect me and this ministry and all who support this ministry and those involved with it. The devil is working so hard to destroy those who love and support this ministry. We must not do anything that would give the devil an opportunity to take advantage and hurt this ministry.
He was accompanied by Sopater (the son of Pyrrhus) from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia. These men went on ahead and were waiting for us in Troas. After the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we sailed from Philippi, and days later we joined them in Troas and stayed there for seven days.
Paul was always on the move for the “Word of God”. Are we as dedicated. The early Christians were only following the example of Jesus. Seldom did He remain in any one place for His own convenience. Even when a whole town wanted Him to stay, He told them that He must teach the Word in other towns. What are you doing? Still sitting in church?
On the first day of the week, when we had met to break bread, Paul began to address the people. Since he intended to leave the next day, he went on speaking until midnight.
When the sun set on the Sabbath, the 7th day of the week, the first day of the week began. We today would say, “Saturday night”. But in those days, when the sun set, the next day began. So, after the Sabbath, after resting and keeping the Sabbath holy, when the sun had set, it was now the first day of the week and they came together to break bread and hear the stories Paul had to tell.
Now there were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. A young man named Eutychus, who was sitting in a window, began to sink off into a deep sleep as Paul kept speaking longer and longer. Overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third floor and was picked up dead.
How many of us today are falling into deep sleep in our Christian life? We must be very careful. We might end up dead for ever. Fortunately, Paul was there to raise the young man back to life. If you do not wake up, you may not be so lucky.
But Paul went down, bent over him, took him into his arms, and said, “Stop being alarmed, because he’s still alive.” Then he went back upstairs, broke bread, and ate. He talked with them for a long time, until dawn, and then left. They took the young man away alive and were greatly relieved.
Our churches today are only about the show. They are timed for maximum effect and money making. We limit God to a couple hours on Sabbath morning. How arrogant and disrespectful. In Paul’s day, Christians gathered, not for the show, not for any set time, but to spend a day, two days or more, sharing and confessing, repenting and encouraging each other in obedience to Jesus. How far our churches have fallen. It is not possible to pick them up alive. They have fallen too far.
We proceeded to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we intended to pick up Paul. He had arranged it this way, since he had planned to travel there on foot. When he met us in Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. We sailed from there and on the following day arrived off Chios. The next day we crossed over to Samos and stayed at Trogyllium. The day after that we came to Miletus. Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in Asia, as he was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost, if that was possible.
Paul was not rushing to get to Pentecost because he believed in the Feast Days. He wanted to get there in order to spread the Word of God to the thousands of church members who would be there from all over the world. He was only following the example of Jesus. Jesus did not go to the Feast Days because it was a requirement for salvation. He went to teach the people who would come from all over the world. It was against the command of God for an Israelite to observe any of the Feast Day ceremonies outside of Jerusalem. This provided an excellent opportunity for Paul to reach people from areas of the world he would otherwise not be able to personally visit.
At these visits Paul would be able to share the truth that the Feast Days, services, rituals, circumcision, sacrifices and the traditions of the Jewish nation were abolished in Jesus. Now they were to look to Jesus, the substance of the shadows which pointed to Him.
From Miletus he sent messengers to Ephesus to ask the elders of the church to meet with him.
Paul wanted to make sure the “elders”, the old men, the aged men of wisdom and understanding, would be able to continue in the teachings of Jesus. It was important to Paul that the old, wise and mature men who knew the Old Testament were instructing the new believers “with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:15-17.
When they came to him, he told them, “You know how I lived among you the entire time from the first day I set foot in Asia. I served the Lord with all humility, with tears, and with trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews.
Paul wanted to make sure they understood how important the keeping of the Ten Commandments were. He served the “Lord with all humility, with tears, and with trials” because he was obedient to the teachings of Jesus, living the sinless and commandment keeping life perfectly. Can you say, as Paul did, “You know how I lived”. What example are you giving to all around you?
I never shrank from telling you anything that would help you nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house.
There were no Christian “churches” in Paul’s day to teach in. The Christians had come out from the “churches” of their day and met in public places or in homes. He only went to the “churches” of the Jews for the sole purpose of sharing the truth with them. We need to get out of our churches today and begin teaching “publicly and from house to house”. And yes, we need to be telling people what “would help you”. Church helps not one person into heaven.
I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance to God and faith in our Lord Jesus.
He did not teach about “church”, how to set up a church organization, how to build churches or any denomination. He taught people “repentance to God and faith in our Lord Jesus”. How sad that churches and denominations are no longer following the example of Jesus or Paul.
“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that in town after town the Holy Spirit assures me that imprisonment and suffering are waiting for me.
Paul was compelled. He wasn’t “paid”. It wasn’t his “job”. He loved Jesus so much he gave up his church, his political party, his family and eventually his life for Jesus and the truth Jesus taught. Today, the ministers, pastors and preachers teach for money, their church and denomination. None are “compelled” by the Spirit to work for Jesus. They work for themselves. None are telling the truth.
But I don’t place any value on my life, if only I can finish my race and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
If only we would stop placing such high value on our churches, pastors, minister and teachers and look to Jesus. We no longer hear the “gospel of God’s grace”. We hear the devil’s counterpart. We hear the false gospel of grace. But the true “gospel of God’s grace” is no longer taught. People don’t want to hear the truth today any more than they did when Jesus and Paul taught it. Why? Because the pastors, ministers, teachers and leaders of the churches and denominations today place more value on their worldly life then on their eternal life. None are teaching what the Lord Jesus has given us to teach.
“Your prophets (pastors, teachers, leaders, ministers) look on your behalf; they see false and deceptive visions. They did not expose your sins in order to restore what had been captured. Instead, they crafted oracles (teachings) for you that are false and misleading.” Lamentations 2:14.
“Now I know that none of you among whom I traveled preaching about the kingdom will ever see my face again. I therefore declare to you today that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I never shrank from telling you the whole plan of God.
How sad that the churches and denominations of today are not “telling you the whole plan of God”. They take bits and pieces and twist them to say what will bring money into their churches and denominations. But they are not telling you the whole plan of God. The plan of God is for you to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments in order to earn your eternal life. Jesus can’t save one sinner. “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins”. Hebrews 10:26. Paul taught the people to stop sinning. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:1, 2.
Pay attention to yourselves and to the entire flock over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to be shepherds of God’s church, which he acquired with his own blood.
The churches and denominations, the pastors and ministers of today are not paying attention to the message Jesus has given to the flock. That message? “Teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you.” Matthew 28:20. Jesus taught us to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get our eternal life. But that is not what you hear in our churches and denominations today. The shepherds of God’s people are no longer God’s shepherds. They have become ravenous wolves, fleecing the flock.
I know that when I’m gone savage wolves will come among you and not spare the flock. Indeed, some of your own men will arise and distort the truth in order to lure the disciples into following them.
And that is exactly what has happened. The shepherds traded in their wool for wolf’s teeth. From the inside, from the seminaries, church schools, denominational universities men have arisen who “distort the truth in order to lure the disciples into following them”. How true. Now it is about this pastor, that evangelist, this dynamic preacher and that exciting church. But none of it has to do with living in obedience to the teachings of Jesus. It is all about following men in their cultist teachings. Teachings “which ignorant and unstable people distort, leading to their own destruction, as they do the rest of the Scriptures.” 2 Peter 3:16.
So be alert! Remember that for three years, night and day, I never stopped tearfully warning each of you.
For twenty-one years I have been “tearfully warning each of you” to get out of your churches and prepare your lives for the close of probation. God can’t do it for you. He can’t save one person who refuses to change his life and live as Jesus commands: perfect, sinless and commandment keeping.
“I am now entrusting you to God and to the message of his grace, which is able to build you up and secure for you an inheritance among all who are sanctified.
Our churches, pastors, ministers and denominations just refuse to read the complete texts. The only way we can be built up and be secured for our eternal inheritance is for us to be “sanctified” in Jesus. Sanctification is a work we must do our entire life. At no time can we stop. You must “continue to work out your salvation” each day. Philippians 2:12. That is the only way we can be built up and be secured for eternal life. Going to church has nothing to do with your eternal life. It has everything to do with your eternal death. Working the Ten Commandments into our daily lives is the only way we will get to Heaven.
I never desired anyone’s silver, gold, or clothes.
Oops, that just put a shot into the bow of all churches and denominations. Boy, do they desire everyone’s silver and gold. But they are not interested in giving you the gold which comes from Jesus. That gold is His character of a perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life.
You yourselves know that I worked with my own hands to support myself and those who were with me. In every way I showed you that by working hard like this we should help the weak and remember the words that the Lord Jesus himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Yes it is. For over 21 years in this ministry I have found that statement to be so true. I receive far more blessings in giving the gospel to inmates than anything I get from it. Jesus has blessed me so much, but I simple use those blessings to give to inmates and anyone else who will accept what Jesus has been giving through this ministry.
When Paul had said this, he knelt down and prayed with all of them.
Many times a day I am in prayer for all who are involved in this ministry. Those who support this ministry, those who share our material and those who live the truth Jesus has given us to teach.
All of them cried and cried as they put their arms around Paul and kissed him affectionately. They were especially sorrowful because of what he had said—that they would never see his face again. Then they took him to the ship.
The love of the early Christians is truly missing in our lives today. Why? Because the Way of the Ten Commandments is love. Without the Ten Commandments in the heart, there is no Way to love. You can talk about “love” all you want, but unless you understand what love is, the keeping of the Ten Commandments in the heart, you have no love. Only God is love. Only His Character is love. We only have love as we demonstrate His character in our own lives. That character is shaped and revealed by the keeping of the Ten Commandments. By living obediently to the Way of the Ten Commandments we show the character and love of God in our own lives. Going to church has nothing to do with keeping the Ten Commandments. Obeying Jesus has everything to do with keeping the Ten Commandments. Are you walking on The Way?