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Fierce wolves will come

Acts 20:27-38

Pastor David Ernst

Eighth Sunday after Trinity
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Jul 25, 2021 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

When Saint Paul was about to leave the pastors of Ephesus, he told them: "I know this, that after my departure, ferocious wolves will come among you, who will not spare the flock. Also from among you men will rise up, speaking things wicked, to draw the disciples after them. Therefore watch and remember that for three years I did not cease to admonish everyone with tears night and day. "

Over and over again the Bible calls the false teachers wild wolves that destroy the sheep. They come to Christians from outside. They also arise from within the congregations.

Ephesus was well situated as a commercial center, with its port on the Mediterranean Sea, located near the Menderes River valley. It was a free city, famous for its flourishing Jewish population. According to Acts 18-20, Paul spent about three years with the Christians in Ephesus, which is more time than with any other congregation in which he has served.

The book of the Acts of the Apostles recounts how Paul went up to Jerusalem for the last time, bringing donations from distant churches to the Jerusalem church, facing danger and death, leading him to his arrest in Jerusalem, to his two-year prison in Caesarea, his appeal to the emperor, and the dangerous journey that eventually brought him to Rome. Then from house arrest in Rome, Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, also to the letters to the Philippians and Colossians and Philemon

Paul made his planned trip to Macedonia and Greece, returned to Asia Minor via Philippi and Troas, and met the Ephesian shepherds at Miletus, where he addressed them in a moving farewell. Miletus was only forty-eight kilometers from Ephesus, and was connected to the capital by a good Roman road. As soon as Paul learned that his ship would be delayed for several days, he sent a message to Ephesus, fervently asking the shepherds to come down.

He gave them, first of all, a brief account of his work in his city. Paul had not weakened the proclamation of the Law, but his greatest joy had been bearing witness to the Gospel of God's grace in Christ Jesus. Paul had emphasized all this once again, because it was his personal conviction, based on the prophecies he had recently heard, that all who were now gathered before him, through whom he had traveled with the proclamation of the kingdom of God, would not return to see his face. He knew that after his departure from them, they would enter the flock without false teachers who would use all means to disturb the congregation, to murder souls trying to persuade them to accept false doctrine. And then there would be those inside, men who would rise up without calling or authority and would set themselves up as teachers, with a doctrine full of perverse and anti-Christian matter.

Jesus also warns us not to have anything to do with a false teacher of religion. False teachers never come saying that their teaching is false. Satan never tells us who he is or what he is. He is the great liar and deceiver. The false religious teachers look very innocent, like cute sheep, but in reality they are vicious, like hungry wolves. What is meant by fruits? Not their actions because they have already told us that their actions are deceiving us. Fruits here means "teachings". Whenever the Bible warns us about false teachers, it warns us about their teachings.

Examine what anyone teaches about Christ. Paul points out to the pastors the only sufficient source of courage and sufficient strength, recommending them to God and to his Word, the grace of God being the main content of the Gospel. With the counsel and admonition of God, as presented in this Word, before them at all times, they could not fail in strength in the midst of all adversity. Because this Word can at all times edify, edify Christians, and not only promise them, but also give them an inheritance among all consecrated people. The promises of mercy in the Word of God are so sure, so clear, that there is no question of their glories as the possession of believers. In them we have the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.

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