Paul’s Warning: Acts 20:25-31
““25) And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. 26) Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27) For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 28) Be on guard for yourselves and for 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. 29) I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30) and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31) Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.” Acts‬ ‭20‬:‭25‬-‭31‬
Satan works hard on two fronts. First, he seeks to hinder the gospel and prevent people from coming to Christ. Jesus talked about this in the parable of the sower. (See Mark 4:14-15) Paul also talked about it in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. Satan uses many ploys to run interference against the gospel message.
But secondly, he seeks to prevent Christians from growing up and reaching fruitful maturity in Christ. In this text, Paul was warning the Christians in Ephesus about the coming wolf pack that would be feeding on them. (See Acts 20:28-29)
Let me be blunt, Satan wants to stunt your spiritual growth. He wants you to be carnal, fleshly, stuck in sinful bondage, ignorant of Gods Word, confused about kingdom principles and dwarfed in the filling and power of the Holy Spirit. He does not want you to discover and exercise your spiritual gifts or walk in your authority “in Christ.”
This is why for two years Paul did not shrink away from declaring the whole counsel of God to them. (Vs 27) He wanted them step into their full position “in Christ.” He wanted them to fully comprehend their new life in Christ. He wanted them to put off the old and step into the new. He wanted them to live and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. He wanted them to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that they might be filled up to all the fulness of God. (See Ephesians 3:14-21)
Paul latter wrote the Epistle of Ephesians to this group to ground them in biblical truth and move them to Spirit empowered maturity. He wanted them to reach their full potential “in Christ.” He wanted them to grow up into all the fulness of Christ.
Let me summarize. The Christian life begins with understanding and putting faith in Jesus Christ through the simple gospel message. This brings salvation. Then starts the process of learning, growing and becoming mature, fruitful and powerful by learning to live and walk in your renewed spirit rather than your sinful flesh. Satan is desperate to stop this process in the life of every believer.
He wants to keep you ignorant, distracted, entangled in shameful sinful bondage while being confused about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He wants you to wallow in anger and bitterness through broken relationships and keep you a babe in Christ through deception and false teaching. Such was Paul’s warning to elders of the church at Ephesus as recorded in Acts 20:17-38.
What is your recourse? Grow up and become everything God called you to be “in Christ.” Don’t settle for spiritual mediocrity. Get in the Word, seek the ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life and start growing. Become the man or woman “in Christ” that God wants you to be.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global