Be on Guard
Be on Guard.
We are in chapter 20 of the book of Acts. and we are going to talk about being on guard. What do you think of when you hear: “Be on Guard.”
[28 Pay 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.
He tells them to be on guard. The next verse he tells them why:
[I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. (Act 20:29)
beware (of), be on guard (against), take care. active, as turning or holding one’s mind to someone or something; (a) with the dative of person give heed to, pay attention to (AC 8.10); (b) with the dative of the thing give or pay close attention to
Fierce wolves. Beware of dog signs. When you see that do you run up to the fence and put your hand through it to pet the dog? Do you stick your face through it to see what is going on? No! You are on your guard. You keep a look out. You are cautious. It’s not just a dog we are on the lookout for. It is a wolf.
The average weight of an adult male wolf is 30-80 kg .,while a typical male German Shepherd weighs 22-40 kg. Compared to a German Shepherd Dog which has 238 psi bite force, a wolf has a bite force of approximately up to 400 pounds of pressure. A German Shepherd has the speed of 63 kph and a wolf can can run 75 kph.
V28 Be on guard. For yourselves and all the flock. Danger is out there. Life is not a walk in the park. We need to prepare. We need to look out for ourselves and also for others. We need to care for them. Here leaders are to care for the church. If we are going to lead others we need to look out for them, care for them.
I want to look at some things in this passage that will protect us from those fierce wolves.
Let me tell you a few things that might help you be on your guard against wolves and other attacks.
- Partner with Good Friends
Scripture talks about involving others in your life. He who walks with the wise will be wise (Prov 13:20).
2 When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. 3 There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. 4 Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus.
Do you know everywhere Paul went he went with other people. He took people with him. They were important to him. It’s also neat to see these friends made sacrifices to go with Paul. These guys were taking off work, cost of traveling, and it was hard, and Paul was being opposed. They did it not just for Paul but for the Lord.
Invest in relationships. Not what have they done for me. Who has God put in my life? Who can I bless?
A few months ago I was with a friend, and we were talking about parenting, being dads and husbands and what we are doing to lead and build into our families. Don’t want to be couch potato dads!
I asked him what some of the main values were that he was trying to instill in his kids. He said, “To have good friends you need to be a good friend. You have to invest in relationships. It is as important as retirement, paying the house payment, or anything else.”
Aristarchus was with Paul in Ephesus when a riot broke out in the city because Paul was telling others about Jesus. Aristarchus put himself in danger because of his commitment to Paul, but more because of the commitment to the message of Jesus (Acts 19:29). In Colossians 4:10 Paul calls him his fellow prisoner. He is in jail with Paul. Phile 1:24 he is a coworker with Paul.
Gaius. from Derbe. This is where Paul went after he was stoned and thought dead in Lystra. Was baptized by Paul. Lived in Corinth. Probably a wealthy guy. He owned a house and let the whole church meet in it. Can we meet at your house next Sunday. Probably where Paul wrote the letter to the Romans from his house (Rom 16:23). Even the apostle John will call him his dear friend in the truth. He was also with Paul in the riots at Ephesus.
Tychicus was a faithful sevant and “fellow slave in the Lord” Col 4:7). Paul sent him to the Colossians to tell them how he was doing and that he might encourage their hearts. Sent him to Titus, to Ephesus.
Trophimus. Was a Greek and because Paul hung out with him, Paul is slandered because people said he brought Greeks into the temple and profaned the holy place (Acts 21:28-29). Trophimus didn’t abandon Paul. We know Trophimus will get sick and stay in Miletus for a while.
Life is hard. Serving is hard. These relationships stayed. Paul also had many that were broken. But he didn’t let that brokenness keep him from building relationships with others. If you want to minister to others you will have to know them well.
Also, these friends are not just hanging out talking football, drinking beer, watching movies. They are focused on the mission. You need friends pushing you to serve God. You should be pushing your friends to know and make known Jesus.
To have good friends you need to be a good friend. Be there for others. The gospel is worth taking risks. Be faithful when others are not.
And that means we are helping our friends to know God more. That means we should know how they are doing.
Questions: how can you involve others in your life? When people are in your life make sure to have a godward intentionality. What is God showing you? What have you read in the word?
- Know the Word of God
The church gathered to hear the Word of God. It was important to them. Also, those savage wolves,
“And men from among yourselves will rise up with deviant doctrines to lure the disciples into following them.” (Act 20:30 CSB)
They are going to lead astray by teaching things contrary to God’s word. The threat of wolves is not just outside and physical, like I’m going to get eaten. There are spiritual attacks.
A lot about mental health today. Do you know doctrines are mental work? It is about thinking rightly about the world God has put us in. part of good mental health is thinking rightly about who God is and what he has done. This is one of the questions in our Discovery Group. What does this passage tell me about God, myself, and the world we are living in.
- Jesus is a great example to everyone but he’s not really God.
- Did God really say to go to church?
- It’s all by grace. God wants you happy… go do whatever you want.
We have to challenge that! You want to know God’s word and the only way to counter those wolves is to know God’s word well.
20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,
27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God
Let me read another passage from here.
5 These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, 6 but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days. 7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. 9 And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11 And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. 12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.
What does this teach us? Don’t sit next to the window during the sermon! You know this was scary, but even after it happened, Paul did not stop teaching. He talked until daybreak. He went all night long! There will be hard times, accidents, setbacks in church and ministry, don’t stop preaching the word. Don’t stop listening to the word.
Know Your Purpose.
Jesus told a parable about a man who went and he found a treasure in a field, and then he went and sold all he had to buy that field. Just think about that. You are walking through the woods and find a treasure chest of gold. You know how much that field is worth and so you go and do whatever it takes to buy that field.
Give me all your money.
Give me 50 jumping jacks.
Clean the bathroom.
Watch Anne of Green Gables.
Shipwrecked. Arrested. Hated. Ignored.
Paul saw Jesus and understood that what he has in jesus is worth so much more than anything the world has to offer.
[22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24 But 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.
Paul never lost the wonder of knowing Jesus. His savior. His redeemer. His Lord. His friend. His purpose.
Do you see the wonder or do you see the pain?
Seminary. A professor stood up and said you guys should most value … and he started naming some of the professors that were not as well known. Others had written more books and better known speakers. And then he stopped and said the reason you should respect them is they are older, they have been through more stuff in the church, had more disappointments, been treated bad, things not go the way they wanted; and they still loved the church. They still loved God’s people. They still loved God.
When things get hard, when running an organization gets hard or disappointing, I go back to the gospel. Go back to Paul talking about how we can’t even fathom the height, the depth, the breadth of God’s love for us. Go back to thinking about how in Christ Jesus God is reconciling the entire world to himself– people, entire cosmos! What am I doing here? Why do I get to be a part of this???
Paul had a wonder of Jesus that fueled everything he did.
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.'”
33 I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. 3
There is no one weaker than me. There is no one who was in a bigger mess than me. There is no one who squandered God’s grace more than me. God’s grace is so big!
Fuels me to help others. Fuels me to involve others in my life. Fuels me to read God’s word. Fuels me to worship.
Celebrate like its an extra point- 1 point and it’s a kick (they should make that). Celebrate like it’s a touchdown