Acts 20:22-24 reads, “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
In this passage of Scripture, we pick up the life of the apostle Paul at the end of His third missionary journey. While going about the areas of Galatia, Asia, and Macedonia, establishing and confirming churches in the faith, Paul collected money for the financially destitute church of Jerusalem. Here we find Paul in Miletus for a few days, as the ship on which he had booked passage is resupplied and outfitted for the journey. The apostle Paul, never one to waste time, takes this opportunity to send for the elders of the church at Ephesus, (Ephesus being approximately thirty miles distant). Now, as the New Testament Scriptures often use the term “elder” as a reference for the official leadership of churches, we recognize these men in our common terminology as the pastors of the church at Ephesus.
Unto these pastors the apostle Paul spends the whole of Acts 20:18-35 in a farewell address. Contextually, this address can be divided into four parts. First, in verses 18-21 there is Paul’s recollection of His past ministry with these men. Second, in verses 22-24 there is Paul’s intention to follow the Spirit’s leading. Third, in verses 25-31 there is Paul’s exhortation to these pastors concerning their ministry. Fourth, in verses 32-35 there is Paul’s commendation of these pastors unto God. In this message let us consider the second of these matters – Paul’s intention to follow the Spirit’s leading. In the three verses of Acts 20:22-24, the phrase with which verse 24 begins stands out with great strength and emphasis – “But none of these things move me.” The apostle Paul was like an unmovable rock. Regardless of how the storms might blow, he remained a steadfast man of God. Yet there are two questions that come to mind – By what things was Paul not moved, and from what things was Paul not moved? So then, in this first part of the message, let us consider the answer to the first of these two questions – By what things was the apostle Paul unmoved as a man of God? Furthermore, through Paul’s example let us consider how we also as men and women of God may also be unmoved in our spiritual walk with the Lord.