Paul’s Farewell Address to the Ephesians
Open Your Bible
Acts 20:1-38, 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, Philippians 1:20-21
BY Bailey T. Hurley
During my senior year of high school, each student was given a writing assignment: what is the good life? It was a tradition at my school for each graduating senior to reflect on what they believed made a good life, almost like a farewell address to this chapter of their life. Then, we had to stand before a faculty board and support our thesis. We were being held accountable for the ideals of the good life we believed in.
I centered my thesis around Acts 20:24 where Paul writes, “My purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.” Everything else that made up the good life, like finding the right vocation, establishing healthy friendships, creating a Christ-centered family, and maintaining a walk with Jesus were all motivated by finishing the course Jesus gave me. My good life was to be a testament to the grace of God.
Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesians reminds me of his own personal paper on what he believed was the good life. Before he leaves the Ephesians, he reminds them of all he has done on behalf of Jesus. He has taught the hope of Jesus fearlessly, and has held the church accountable to the truth of Jesus’s word. He encourages them to continue to build a life around the same biblical values that he demonstrated for them—never shrinking back from living a bold life for Jesus.
Looking back, I see why our teachers asked us to write the paper. It wasn’t so that we could walk into the adult world with a perfect path towards our own version of the good life. It was to give us an opportunity to decide for ourselves what truths we would stand by when things got hard, and our morals were tested.
In the same way, Paul knew when he left the Ephesian church, “savage wolves” would hide amongst them and try to twist God’s truth (Acts 20:29). It was necessary for them to be alert, remembering Paul’s example so that they would not turn away from everything he had taught them about Jesus.
If you were to give your final address, what would you point to in your life that demonstrated what was most valuable to you? Would it sound a lot like Paul’s address—a life dedicated to the message of Jesus? My prayer for us is this: “As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). If you build a legacy for Jesus, I have no doubt your life will be a “good” one.
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