READ: ACTS 20:22–32
22“And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32And 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.” ACTS 20:22–32
The apostle Paul was saying goodbye to the elders and leaders of the church in Ephesus. It is interesting that Paul was commending them not to a bishop, a committee, or the government, but to God’s word of grace.
In the original Greek, the word that Paul used for “commend” meant “to give into another’s care” or “to entrust to someone’s care.” Paul entrusted the believers in Ephesus to God and to the message of His grace. He did this because he knew that God’s word of grace has a two-fold effect on all its hearers.
1. God’s word of grace is able to edify its hearers. “Edify” is an architectural term which means to help a house stand and be strong and sturdy. God’s grace, as revealed in His word, is able to make us strong and sturdy that we may continue to do His work. No matter what shakings come our way, God’s word of grace is sure to build us up and strengthen us.
2. It allows us to receive our spiritual inheritance in Christ. By grace, we have become joint heirs with Him. Everything that Christ inherits, we also inherit because of our faith in Him. This news is truly amazing!
Today, if you feel weak and powerless, His word of grace says, “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength” (Isaiah 40:29). You may not have much here on earth, but by His grace you have inherited eternal life and the kingdom of God.
God’s edifying grace makes us strong and gives us access to our inheritance in Christ.
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Reflect on the events of the last six months. How has God’s word of grace built you up when you were weak or powerless?
What passages do you usually turn to in order to draw strength from God? Write them here. How can you continue to be edified by God’s word of grace, so that you will stand strong and sturdy, no matter what will happen in the coming days?
God’s grace makes us strong. Is there anyone around you who needs to be strengthened by God’s grace? How can you encourage that person to seek God and tap into His grace?
Father, I know that apart from the grace You have freely given to me, I will not be able to stand strong and have faith. Thank You for the gift of edifying grace that makes me sturdy in my faith. I have confidence in knowing that whatever comes my way, Your grace holds me and makes me strong. I will not shrink back from any challenge I may face because I know that You are there with me. Thank You that by Your grace, I am coheirs with Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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BASAHIN: MGA GAWA 20:22–32
22“Ngayon, pupunta ako sa Jerusalem dahil ito ang utos ng Banal na Espiritu sa akin. Hindi ko alam kung ano ang mangyayari sa akin doon. 23Ang alam ko lang, kahit saang lungsod ako pumunta, pinapaalalahanan ako ng Banal na Espiritu na bilangguan at pag- uusig ang naghihintay sa akin. 24Pero hindi mahalaga sa akin kung ano man ang mangyari sa akin, matapos ko lamang ang gawain na ibinigay sa akin ng Panginoong Jesus, na maipangaral ang Magandang Balita tungkol sa biyaya ng Diyos. 25Napuntahan ko kayong lahat sa aking pangangaral tungkol sa paghahari ng Diyos, at ngayon alam kong hindi na tayo magkikita pang muli. 26Kaya sasabihin ko sa inyo ngayon, na kung mayroon sa inyo na hindi maliligtas, wala na akong pananagutan sa Diyos. 27Sapagkat wala akong inilihim sa inyo sa aking pagtuturo tungkol sa buong layunin at plano ng Diyos. 28Ingatan ninyo ang inyong sarili at ang lahat ng mga mananampalatayang pinababantayan sa inyo ng Banal na Espiritu. Pangalagaan ninyo ang iglesya ng Diyos na kanyang tinubos sa pamamagitan ng sariling dugo. 29Sapagkat alam kong pagkaalis koʼy may mga tagapagturo riyan na katulad ng mga lobo na papasok sa inyo at sisira sa inyong grupo. 30Darating din ang panahon na may magtuturo ng kasinungalingan mula mismo sa inyong grupo at ililigaw nila ang mga tagasunod ni Jesus para sila ang kanilang sundin. 31Kaya mag-ingat kayo, at alalahanin ninyong sa loob ng tatlong taon, walang tigil ko kayong pinaalalahanan araw at gabi nang may pagluha. 32At ngayon, ipinagkakatiwala ko kayo sa Diyos at sa kanyang salita na tungkol sa kanyang biyaya. Makapagpapatibay ito sa inyong pananampalataya at makapagbibigay ng lahat ng pagpapalang inilaan ng Diyos para sa lahat ng taong itinuring niyang sa kanya.” MGA GAWA 20:22–32
Si apostol Pablo ay nagpapaalam sa mga namamahala at namumuno ng iglesya sa Efeso. Nakatutuwa na ipinagkakatiwala sila ni Pablo hindi sa isang obispo, komite, o pamahalaan, kundi sa salita na tungkol sa biyaya ng Diyos.
Ang mga mananampalataya sa Efesus ay ipinagkatiwala ni Pablo sa Diyos at sa mensahe ng Kanyang biyaya. Ginawa niya ito dahil alam niya na ang epekto ng salita tungkol sa biyaya ng Diyos sa lahat ng mga nakakarinig nito ay may dalawang bahagi.
1. Ang salitang patungkol sa biyaya ng Diyos ay nagpapatatag sa mga tagapakinig nito. Ang “nagpapatatag” ay isang salitang ginagamit sa larangan ng arkitektura na nangangahulugan ng pagpapatibay sa isang bahay. Ang biyaya ng Diyos, gaya ng sinasabi sa Kanyang salita, ay nagpapatibay sa atin upang maipagpatuloy natin ang Kanyang ginagawa. Anuman ang mga pagsubok na maranasan natin, ang salitang patungkol sa biyaya ng Diyos ay tiyak na magpapatatag sa atin.
2. Pinahihintulutan tayo nito na matanggap ang ating espirituwal na mana kay Cristo. Dahil sa biyaya ng Diyos, tayo ay naging tagapagmana rin gaya ni Cristo. Ang lahat ng mamanahin ni Cristo ay mamanahin din natin dahil sa ating pananampalataya sa Kanya. Ang balitang ito ay tunay na kamangha-mangha!
Ngayon, kung ikaw ay nanghihina at pakiramdam mo ay wala kang magawa, sinasabi ng Kanyang salita na “pinalalakas Niya ang mga nanghihina at ang mga napapagod” (Isaias 40:29). Kahit kaunti lamang ang mayroon ka dito sa mundo, sa pamamagitan ng biyaya ng Diyos, mapapasaiyo ang buhay na walang hanggan at ang Kanyang kaharian.
Ang nagpapatatag na biyaya ng Diyos ang nagbibigay sa atin ng kalakasan at ng daan upang matanggap natin ang ating pamana kay Cristo.
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Pag-isipan ang mga nangyari nitong nakaraang anim na buwan. Paano ka pinalakas ng salitang patungkol sa biyaya ng Diyos noong mga panahong napapagod at nanghihina ka na?
Anong mga talata mula sa Bibliya ang madalas mong binabasa upang makatanggap ka ng kalakasan mula sa Diyos? Isulat ang mga ito sa puwang sa ibaba. Paano ka patuloy na magiging matatag sa pamamagitan ng salitang patungkol sa biyaya ng Diyos upang magawa mong manindigan nang may kalakasan anuman ang mangyari sa hinaharap?
Ang biyaya ng Diyos ay nagpapalakas sa atin. Mayroon bang tao sa paligid mo na kailangang mapalakas ng biyaya ng Diyos? Paano mo mahihikayat ang taong ito na hangarin ang Diyos at tanggapin ang Kanyang biyaya?
Ama, alam ko na kung wala ang biyayang ipinagkakaloob Mo sa akin, hindi ko magagawang maging malakas at tumayo nang may pananampalataya. Maraming salamat sa kaloob Mong biyayang nagpapatatag at nagpapalakas ng aking pananampalataya. Malakas ang aking loob dahil sa kaalaman na anuman ang kaharapin ko, ang biyaya Mo ang nangangalaga at nagpapalakas sa akin. Hindi ako uurong sa anumang pagsubok na kakaharapin ko dahil alam ko na parati Kitang kasama. Maraming salamat dahil sa pamamagitan ng Iyong biyaya, ako ay tagapagmana rin kasama ni Cristo. Sa pangalan ni Jesus, amen.
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READ: ACTS 20:22–32
22“Now I am going to Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit compels me. I don’t know what will happen to me there. 23I only know that in every city the Spirit warns me. He tells me that I will face prison and suffering. 24But my life means nothing to me. My only goal is to finish the race. I want to complete the work the Lord Jesus has given me. He wants me to tell others about the good news of God’s grace. 25I have spent time with you preaching about the kingdom. I know that none of you will ever see me again. 26So I tell you today that I am not guilty if any of you don’t believe. 27I haven’t let anyone keep me from telling you everything God wants you to do. 28Keep watch over yourselves. Keep watch over all the believers. The Holy Spirit has made you leaders over them. Be shepherds of God’s church. He bought it with his own blood. 29I know that after I leave, wild wolves will come in among you. They won’t spare any of the sheep. 30Even men from your own people will rise up and twist the truth. They want to get the believers to follow them. 31So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning you. Night and day I warned each of you with tears. 32Now I trust God to take care of you. I commit you to the message about his grace. It can build you up. Then you will share in what God plans to give all his people.” ACTS 20:22–32
What would you do if one day your school decided that instead of Math, Science, English, and the rest of the subjects, all you’ll do every day is watch movies and read comic books? While you might be overjoyed, a school like that wouldn’t give you a good foundation for the things you’ll want to accomplish later.
In the same way that your parents entrust you to your school and teachers to teach you the right things, the apostle Paul entrusted the believers to God and to the message of His grace. This statement has two lessons for its hearers:
1. God’s grace builds strength in us. God’s grace will build you up, as Paul said in the Scripture. It helps us become strong and sturdy. The way our schools build us up to be ready for the next academic levels, God’s grace prepares us for the spiritual challenges that we will be facing. No matter what shakings come our way, God’s grace is sure to strengthen and build us up!
2. God’s grace gives us access to our inheritance in Christ. The Scripture says, “Then you will share in what God plans to give all his people.” When God gives us His grace, we instantly have a part in the inheritance that God has promised to give His people. This is great news—and we don’t even have to work for it!
What does this tell us? If you feel weak and powerless, God promises to give you power and increase your strength (Isaiah 40:29). If you feel like you don’t have everything you want, by His grace you are rich because you have inherited eternal life and the kingdom of God.
God’s grace builds strength in us and gives us access to our inheritance in Christ!
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In the same way that our lessons in school help us with many things, God also uses His word to teach and help us. What are some of God’s commands, words, and promises that you turn to when you need strength? How do they help you?
God knows my needs (Matthew 6:24). I do not worry when I need something because I know that God provides for me.
In school, to make sure that you know your lessons, you do activities and review lessons. How about with God’s word? How can you continue being built up so that you will stand strong, no matter what will happen?
Father, I know that apart from the grace You have freely given to me, I will not be able to stand strong and have faith. Thank You for the gift of Your grace that builds me up, making me sturdy in my faith. I am confident knowing that whatever comes my way, Your grace holds me and makes me strong. I will not shrink back from any challenge I may face because I know that You are there with me. Thank You that by Your grace, I have access to my inheritance in Christ. In the mighty name of Jesus, amen.