Farewell Message from Pastor Wells
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Paul’s farewell sermon to the Ephesian elders is a moving description of what it means to be a pastor—and (I say it humbly) you almost need to be a pastor to understand. He talks about trials (Acts 20.18-19), about faithfulness in preaching (vv. 20-21), about purity and selflessness (vv. 33-35). He talks about uncertainties and hardships that lie ahead (vv. 22-23), and his heart desire to finish strong (v. 24). And then—and here our emotions begin to rise—he speaks the unwelcome truth: I know that none of you . . . will see my face again (v. 25). Thus the unbearable closing scene—there was much weeping on the part of all . . . most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again (vv. 36-38).
Many use emotion to manipulate, but Paul speaks this way to warn. For after my departure, he says, I know that . . . fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock (v. 29). So Pay careful attention to yourselves, he urges these elders, and to all the flock . . . to care for the church of God (v. 28). The great Puritan pastor Richard Baxter expounded that one verse into an entire book . . . to teach pastors how to be pastors! First (said Baxter) give oversight to yourself. Then, and only then, give oversight to the congregation.
How? By the Word of God. Remember, Paul says, that I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God (v. 27). And now that I am leaving, be alert (v. 31). Threats will come, and your only protection is the Word.
You know, and I know better, that my life and ministry cannot hold a candle to that of the great Apostle. Besides, in the kindness of God, some of us will see each other again! But my desire for Christ Church is the same as Paul’s for Ephesus. And so, with him, 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 sanctified (v. 32).
Welcome to Christ Church this Lord’s Day. You are, and always will be, dearly loved.
Share This Post