Church of Christ
Mission USA
(See  2010, 4 SW for first of article)
Goodbyes And Some Lessons From Them (continued)

by Perry Sexton

      Next consider an unsaid and unexpected goodbye. It seems Ananias and Sapphira were doing quite well financially. But they, being covetous people, wanted more. They coveted money and praise. They wanted to have the praise that Barnabas had, but without the sacrifice (Acts 4:36ff). A lot of people want the praise and glory without the work. Their heart problem led them to lie and to a permanent goodbye as far as this world goes. But they will be together, for the good it will do, in all eternity!  What a sad situation!

      Now look at a seemingly permanent goodbye which will result in eternal bliss together. It is the time when Jesus hung upon the cross of Calvary. Think of the many saddened hearts on that day: His disciples whom He loved and they loved Him. His mother Mary: can you imagine how she felt (John 19:25)? But that terrible goodbye can result in an eternity of blissful togetherness. As Paul said: (Phil 1:23) "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:" Even in the in death situation.

      Paul's farewell to the elders of the church at Ephesus. Paul was at Ephesus during his 2nd and 3rd missionary journeys. We have this of his 2nd journey:  (Acts 18:19‑21) "And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. {20} When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; {21} But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus."

      In Acts 19 we have Paul's return visit to Ephesus. This visit lasted 3 years (Acts 20:31). As Paul continued on his third missionary journey, in time, he passed close to Ephesus again. (Acts 20:17) "And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church." In his final farewell speech he said: (Acts 20:35‑38) "I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. {36} And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. {37} And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, {38} Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship."

      Prior to this farewell Paul warned them: (Acts 20:28‑30), "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. {29} For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. {30} Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." Some of these men Paul may see again in eternity, others he may not!

      In our lifetime we will say "goodbye" many times: Some will be temporary: a few days, weeks, months, or years. Some, though temporary, will span from earth time to eternity: We will see them again. Other goodbyes will be permanent. Concerning earth time and eternity! Some we will see no more on earth or in eternity unless, perhaps at the Judgment. As Christians, we have great hope, a true hope of seeing the faithful again some sweet day. (1 Thess. 4:13) "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” When we do have to say goodbye to our dear Christian loved ones who are facing death, let us remember it is far better for them "to be with Christ" (Phil. 1:23).

      To avoid eternal goodbyes with our friends and loved ones, we need to do all we can now to convert them to Christ and thus have a true and glorious hope of that land of no more goodbyes (Rev. 21:4). ♥