Scripture: Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. 29 I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them.
Observation: The apostle Paul uses imagery of sheep, shepherd, and wolf to describe a situation that happened repeatedly in the churches he planted. After spending months, or even years, establishing a church community – others would come after him to tear it apart.
Application: I see this kind of thing happen all the time. God takes hold of a person, or an entire community, producing tremendous spiritual fruit. It’s awesome! But then resistance emerges. In an individual there might be illness, or a relationship problem, or extreme busyness, or a moral failing that sabotages the breakthrough. In a community situation, dissension or anxiety or disagreements threaten to pull the people apart. Hence Paul’s warning to the early church is a warning for you and me as well. As God advances the kingdom through us, the enemy of God will resist. This should not be a surprise. Nor should we be afraid, for our God will never leave us nor for sake us – despite very real hardships we must be prepared to endure for Jesus’ sake.
Prayer: Lord, following after you is not easy. There are hardships and difficulties along the way. Yet you provide every resource necessary to withstand the attacks of the enemy and to persevere. Give us grace to remain faithful to you in good times and bad. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.