20:35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
20:36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38 being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.
21:1 And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
Acts 20:35–21:1 ESV Read More

In His final conversations with the disciples, Jesus told them “People will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.”

Paul is on his way to Jerusalem where he suspects he will probably die or at least be imprisoned forever. He loves the Ephesian church and they love him. He spent more time preaching there than anywhere else.

And in his last moments with them, he does what he did best while they were together. He preaches about Jesus and shows his love for them.

One of the biggest complaints against the Church is that she doesn’t get along with herself. Granted, there are plenty of Straw Man examples out there to attack.

But what about the positive examples? Have you ever been among some people that were so loving, so caring, that you wanted to do all you could to be around them as much as possible?

I’ve experienced this on mission trips that I didn’t want to leave. This person or this group are so attractive, so caring, I don’t want to go back to my plain-old hometown!

Another place this happens is in recovery groups. When your ticket for admission is just admitting that you’re struggling, that opens a huge door for welcoming grace. Recovery groups sometimes embrace the unembraceable and hug the untouchable. It’s genuine, but it’s also the best strategy in the world to keep people coming back for more.

If you read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, you’ll see what kinds of things Paul taught them while they were together. They care for one another here in Acts and share this teaching-farewell at least one year before the letter of Ephesians is written.

After they left Paul (or Paul left them) they grew in wisdom and holiness in the Lord Jesus more than ever.

It was like they had been shown what is possible. They saw what a high level of love and commitment between people in a church could look like. So they strived to attain that new level. They learned why “love on another” was one of Jesus’ most important teachings as they did it.

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