Verse 32 is key to this passage. Paul commits people that he loves to the word of God’s grace. He’s not leaving them with nothing.
God and his word build Christians up
If we want to become the building God wants us to be, we need to let him tell us where he wants us to be. God’s word shows us how he wants us to be, whether it’s loving our neighbour, or honouring our parents, for example.
God and his word give an inheritance
It’s life forever with him in a perfect world. This is an inheritance for every Christian. God needs to work in the life of someone to bring them to him. Every person in the world has sinned. We’ve all rejected. We’ve all failed to live up to our own standards, let alone God’s. We’re not abandoned and left under judgement. God has acted. He has come to rescue us. Jesus came to live a perfect life and die an unjust death. He died as a substitute. He died in our place. We have an inheritance if we follow him.
A life of love
This passage is a model of what it looks like to follow God (1 Corinthians 11:1). Paul gathers the Ephesian elders together. He implicitly says “imitate me”. The church family in Ephesus is a family that Paul loves dearly. They were to never see him again. Mostly, we see Paul lived a life of gentleness and care. He loves people because he knows how much God loves people. This is a responsibility particularly for leaders of churches, but also for all Christians. We should include everyone when inviting people round, instead of just those we have lots in common with.
A life that takes every opportunity to speak
Paul knows he’s going but wants to make the most of the time he has (v7) and so he talks until midnight. Eutychus falls out of a third storey window. As funny as the story is, imagine if that happened to someone you cared about. Paul is a chosen apostle with unique authority. It’s an incredible miracle. It’s not normal, but it’s another reminder of the authority of Paul’s words, that we can trust what he says. Paul has spent his life modelling that it’s God’s word that builds Christians and gives an inheritance. He models a life that takes every opportunity to speak of God and his word. We should do the same. Aren’t there lots of good ways that we can speak to people of God and his word?
A life that teaches all of God’s word (even the hard bits)
The whole of God’s word is helpful. God wouldn’t have given it to us otherwise. People will come and try to destroy God’s church (v29-31). When we begin to avoid the bits that are hard, that can happen. It’s not loving to avoid difficult conversations. We are to teach all of God’s word. There are plenty of people who say they are Christians but deny God’s word. Paul has told the truth (v26).
A life that reflects what you say
Christians have been labelled as hypocrites for many reasons. Individually and corporately we need to confess when we’ve failed. The difference between being a hypocrite and being an honest Christian is that a hypocrite tries to pretend otherwise. We don’t need to live for money or comfort; we need to live for the inheritance waiting for us. Shouldn’t we love the community in which we live? If this is the most important news in the world, shouldn’t we use what we have now for the benefit of others? Paul knows how much better life in eternity will be. We will find a delight in it, as we’ll be living more for God’s glory as we trust in him. In what small ways can we imitate Paul? We can’t do it alone. We can only do it by God working through us.