Emotional Ties – Acts 20:36-38

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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It has been my great privilege to serve in several churches over the past forty years. It was hard each time we moved on to another ministry, but we had many good memories of sweet friendships forged, tearful farewells, and many loving embraces. While we have been blessed with close relationships in each church, we well remember one dear middle-aged brother who stood to thank us for our ministry, but he could only weep. These Christian friendships have been so precious; we’ve had a number who have come great distances to regularly visit us and bring rejoicing to our hearts.

As the Apostle Paul bid farewell to the elders of Ephesus, we read one of the more touching scenes in the New Testament. “And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more…” (Acts 20:36-37). This obvious close relationship forged between them was so strong their parting literally brought them to tears. This kind of relationship between believers, especially between those who minister the Word and those who receive such ministry, should be the norm for all Christians. Paul experienced similar bonds with saints that were closer than biological family members. When writing to the saints at Philippi, Paul addressed them saying, “…My brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved” (Philippians 4:1). He acknowledged his dear friends Priscilla and Aquila who had housed him, worked along side him, and moved to minister with him. He described them as ones “who have for my life laid down their own necks” (Romans 16:4). Likewise, when Paul was imprisoned in Rome, Onesiphorus “… sought me out very diligently, and found me…and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest…” (II Timothy 1:17-18). In these instances, Paul had extended his heart to believers. As he ministered, they had responded in kind, and a deeply satisfying relationship not only grew, it thrived.

Have you established an extremely close, heartfelt relationship with other believers, including those who have committed their lives to minister God’s Word to you? These can be some of the sweetest and most rewarding relationships in life. Today, reach out in friendship and grateful appreciation to those who minister God’s Word to you.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."