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The apostle Paul was in Miletus when he sent for the elders of the Ephesian church. And when they arrived, with great emotion, he gave them some very, very important words of warning to heed . . .

  • “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.” (Acts 20:28-30 – NKJV)

The fact that “the church” seems to always be in some form of conflict is not something we should miss when we read the New Testament. There is a war being waged on earth between those who are of the Devil and those who are of God, between the unsaved world and “the church of God.”

It should be noted when one considers our text in chapter 20 of the book of Acts that the apostle Paul knew that he would not see his beloved brethren again (20:38). It was a final drawing together, and it is most notable that it was not a going-away party marked by jovial back and forth by the attendees and back-slapping and singing along with an abundance of food and drink. No . . . far from it!

A warning, that’s what this parting get-together was all about. “Take heed” is the command of the apostle, continuous “heed,” and do so “to yourselves and to all the flock.” Be reminded that you elders have been “made . . . overseers . . . shepherds” of “the flock” that makes up “the church of God.” Never forget that this “church of God” that you are “overseers” of was “purchased with (God’s) own blood.” It is extremely valuable to Him. And there is extreme danger to her, a danger that is something Paul was deeply concerned about and wanted his listeners to be extremely concerned about.

You see, the divine command for continuous “heed” is needed because “savage wolves will come in among . . . the church . . . among you.” The word “savage” in this context speaks of, “oppressive, violent, fierce” (Zodhiates). Such “wolves . . . coming” from without with a most “violent” intent, one meant to not “spare the flock,” to cause great harm. Such were the Jews who constantly followed the apostle Paul from place to place always with the intent of disrupting his ministry and corrupting the gospel of Jesus Christ that he was preaching.

In today’s world, the discerning disciple of Christ should certainly see that all kinds of “wolves” are positioned in the world with the intent of doing harm to “the church of God,” that “church” which was “purchased with” the “blood” of Christ. A “church” that “God” has entrusted with the truth, His truth.

And also, of great concern, is that “from among yourselves men will rise up.” These will be “men” whose intent will be “to draw away the disciples after themselves.” They are “men . . . speaking perverse things.” Out of their mouths come teachings that they seek to use to bewitch “the flock.”  They are “men” bent on satisfying their own lusts, their own desires. And they are extremely dangerous because they corrupt sound doctrine, they seek to undermine the Faith, they are maybe more dangerous to “the church” because they are “among,” or in “the church of God.”

Such “men” are so very prevalent today! They twist the Scriptures to say what they want them to say. They do so to draw out followers that their ministries may look successful to the world. Their intent is not to fulfill the will of God but to satisfy their own insatiable desires for power and fame and money. Oh, they are everywhere in our day and it behooves us to awaken and make sure that their intentions, made evident by their “speaking,” do not take us who make up “the church of God” captive to lies.

I’ve always taken these words of Scripture to heart, and strived to do just what Paul told us to do,

  • “Therefore watch and remember that . . . I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears” (Acts 20:31- NKJV)

How about you? Do you find yourself heeding the warning?

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