12/12/15 How to Live . . . and Die

READING: Acts 20:4-23:35

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  There is much packed in the chapters of today’s reading. For example, I’m reminded that if I preach at midnight for way too long, my audience might fall asleep and fall out the window!  ?  

In all seriousness, though, the continued stories of Paul’s journeys lay out a challenge to live as he lived — fully devoted to Christ. I read these descriptions, and I realize how shallow my commitment can be some days.  

  1. Paul served the Lord in humility.  “You know, from the first day I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time— serving the Lord with all humility . . .” (Acts 20:18-19)
  2. Paul shared the gospel with others — so much so that he could rest in his obedience.  “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of everyone’s blood, for I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole plan of God.” (Acts 20:26-27) 
  3. Paul so invested in others that they grieved his departure. "After he said this, he knelt down and prayed with all of them. There was a great deal of weeping by everyone. They embraced Paul and kissed him, grieving most of all over his statement that they would never see his face again.”  (Acts 20: 36-38)
  4. Paul was willing to die for the gospel. “But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace . . . What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 20:24, 21:13)

ACTION STEPS:  Evaluate your own life in light of these descriptions of Paul’s life. Do you live and die for Him? 

PRAYER: “God, change my life this day. Help me to serve You humbly, to share the gospel continually, to invest in others deeply, and to be willing to give up my life for You.”