When it was time for Paul to head to Jerusalem, he had a sense that “this was it.” And so, in a very touching moment, Luke records for us his farewell to the Ephesian elders. Paul was connected to lots of churches in the mid-east and Asia minor, but he was closest to the people in Ephesus. That’s why the goodbye was so difficult:
20 …and that I did not shrink back from proclaiming to you anything that was profitable, or from teaching it to you in public and from house to house.21 I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus. (Acts 20:20-21, HCSB)
New Testament scholars consider this verse significant, because in it Paul gives the gospel message in outline form. They call it the kerygma – from the Greek meaning “proclamation.” It is the basic gospel with nothing extraneous added:
- Repentance for sin
- Faith in the saving work of Jesus
Pretty simple stuff, really…boy we’ve made it complicated.
My prayer for you is that you live the sort of life Paul described…that you don’t shrink back from proclaiming these two simple truths. Don’t withhold anything profitable from your brothers or sisters. Teach those who need it, and testify to those who need to hear it.