Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim
When Paul Left A Church
Acts 20:22-32
22"And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. 24 "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. 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. 32 "And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. NASU

Introduction
It is with many emotions that I preach my last sermon as pastor. I have looked to the apostle Paul
for my text today, and will use these verses to share When Paul Left A Church. I find many similarities as Paul left:
 

1. He Left with A Clear . . Calling. v 22-23

2. He Left with A Clear . . Conscious. v 24-27

3. He Left with A Clear . . Cautioning. v 28-31

4. He Left with A Clear . . Commendation. v 28-31
 
 

1.    He Left with A Clear . . Calling. v 22-23
    22"And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.

A.    His Calling was . . Bound In the Spirit. v 22
    22"And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to
    me there,

        1.    Bound by A Known . . Biding. v 22 a
            a.    Paul Knew He was called to go to Jerusalem.
 
        2.    Bound by A Unknown . . Biding. v 22 b
            a. Paul Did Not Know the Details of His Call.

B.    His Calling was . . Bound In Suffering. v 23
    23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and
    afflictions await me.

        1.    The . . Testimony of Suffering. v 23 a
            a.    Testimony from the Holy Spirit.

        2.    The . . Tribulation of Suffering. v 23 b
            a.    Tribulations of Afflictions.

Illustration
I know a man who has two sons. They both have entered the ministry. He told me how pleased he was as his sons went off to school and as they accepted their first pastorates.

Then with tears in his eyes he said "I had no idea Christian people could treat a minister like they have treated my boys." That is a sad story that is repeated church after church. Every pastor I know who has been in a pastorate for at least 3 years has some one in the church that is trying to stir up trouble.

Would you believe in the twelve years I have been the pastor there have been people in this church tell me I ought to leave. It has happened 5 or 6 times. But, every time it was followed by a significant confirmation of the Lord that I should stay right where I am. The first time it happened I lead people to the Lord the next day.

Do I think I am called to the church in Belgrade? YES!

Do I think I will never have a problem over there? NO!

Application

In the text Paul had to deal with much worse than ministers do today. The Holy Spirit told him about it and he went anyway.

Three years after the new pastor is on the field some people will not like him. It may be a different group of people but that will happen. It is true in every church I know anything about.

The pastor is called of God and should go to a church and leave a church when God calls.
 
 
 

2.    He Left with A Clear . . Conscious. v 24-27
    24 "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my
    course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel
    of the grace of God. 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.
 

A.    Paul had a clear Conscious in . . Motive. v 24
    24 "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course
    and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace
    of God.

        1.    He Had A . . Self Sacrificing Motive. v 24 a
            "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course
            and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, . . . "

        2.    He Had A . . Salvation Motive. v 24 b
            ". . . to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. "

B.    Paul had a Clear Conscious In. . Contacts. v 25
    25 "And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom,
    will no longer see my face.

        1.    Clear about all he had been in contact with.
            a.    He did not have to try to avoid anyone.

C.    Paul had a Clear Conscious In. . Credibility. v 26-27
    "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.

        1.    Credible In . . Sharing. v 26
            "Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.

            a.    Paul belonged to the CIO. Everybody he saw he owed to tell them about Jesus
            b.    He Faithfully Shared.

        2.    Credible In . . Shrinking. v 27
            "For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.

            a.    He Did not Shrink. Galatians 2:12
                For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were
                come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. KJV
 
 

3.    He Left with A Clear . . Cautioning. v 28-31
    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.

A.    A Caution to the , , Overseers. v 28
    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.

        1.    These are pastor Paul had trained.
            a.    They are to be on guard.

B.    A Caution about the . . Oppressive. v 29 - 30
    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.

        1.    Paul's . . Awareness of the Oppressive. v 29 a
            29 "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, . . . "
 
            a.    His departure.
            b.    Their departure.

        2.    Paul's . . Admonition about the Oppressive. v 29 b
            ". . . not sparing the flock;

        3.    Paul's . . Amplification of the Oppressive.. v 30
            30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away
            the disciples after them.

        4.    The . . People of the amplification.
            30 and from among your own selves men will arise, . . "
            a. Their . . Pronouncements
                ". . . speaking perverse things, . . . "
            b.    Their . . Passion.
                ". . . to draw away the disciples after them."

C.    A Caution about the . . Observations. v 31
    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.

        1.    Caution of . . Alertness of the Observations. v 31 a
            "Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day..."

        2.    Caution In . . Admonishing of the Observations. v 31 b
            ". . . for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears."
 
 

4.    He Left with A Clear. .Commendation. v 32
    32 "And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and
    to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. NASU

A.     Commended to . . God. v 32 a
    "And now I commend you to God. . . "

B.    Commended to . . God's Word. v 32 b
    ". . . and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the
    inheritance among all those who are sanctified."

Illustration Meant Humorously
A pastor who had a troublesome church was leaving to become the chaplain at a State Prison. The text for his final sermon was from John 14:1-6 his title was "I Go to Prepare A Place for you.
 

Conclusion

I can look out over the congregation today and see several who got saved during these 12 years.
Some would say they really grew in the Christian Faith during these years, and some have become leaders.  In my opinion this church is in much better shape today than it has ever been.  You have more staff than you have ever had, more buildings in better shape, and one of the best evangelism emphasis through the Faith Evangelism Strategy of any church in Southern Missouri. In addition the Discipleship Program is one of the best in all of Southern Missouri.  If I were a young man interested in a move I would certainly consider this church.  I believe your best years are ahead of you, and I will look to hear great things from you in the future.
 

Yes:  When Paul Left A Church

1. He Left with A Clear . . Calling. v 22-23

2. He Left with A Clear . . Conscious. v 24-27

3. He Left with A Clear . . Cautioning. v 28-31

4. He Left with A Clear . . Commendation. v 28-31

And I do The Same.