And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
I. THE DIFFICULTIES. The expression "many tears and temptations" proves beyond a doubt that he had serious difficulties to contend with, especially from his own nation. The Jews, zealous for the traditions of the fathers, looked upon him as a renegade, and lay in wait for an opportunity to kill him. There are seasons of reflection in the life of every right-minded man, in which the outflow of "many tears" would be a relief, because "the misery of man is great upon him." Now the "temptations" of difficulties which befell the apostle come to the lot of every good minister of Jesus Christ in some form or another. There is —
1. The hostile state of the parties between whom he negotiates. The Bible declares that "God is angry with the wicked every day," and also that the "carnal mind is enmity against God." Reconciliation is the keynote of the gospel ministry. The invitation to the feast, now as of old, is rejected on very trivial grounds. One buys a piece of land, another five yoke of oxen, and another marries a wife, and all beg to be excused. Another difficulty is that of —
2. Meeting the demands of a mixed assembly. It is one of the wonders of creation that there are no two countenances formed exactly alike. Could we but see, we should probably discover that there are no two souls exactly alike in all things. Add to this the diversity of position, education, temper, training, and character, and you will see how difficult it is to interest and instruct all. Another difficulty is that of —
3. Pecuniary support. "Yea, ye yourselves know that these hands have ministered to my necessities, and to them that were with me." Another thing to which the text points in relation to the gospel minister is —
II. THE DUTIES. There should be —
1. A faithful declaration of the whole counsel of God. "I kept back nothing that was profitable to you." Mark this: it is not what is pleasant, but what is profitable. He adopted two methods in the performance of his work —
(1) Public teaching. "And have taught you publicly." Paul's ministry was a thoughtful ministry; it made the people wiser and holier than they were before.
(2) Private visiting. "And from house to house." Another thing which the text points to in relation to the gospel minister is —
III. THE DOCTRINES. "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
1. He is to show man's relation to his Maker. "Repentance toward God."
2. He is to show man's relation to Christ.
Parallel VersesKJV: And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.