PAUL'S MINISTRY IN ASIA
Asia was a Roman province of Bible times that covered the western portion of the Asia Minor peninsula. The city of Ephesus was its capital. Paul dedicated a significant portion of his ministry to this region:
Mysia (Acts 16:7)
Troas (Acts 16:8)
Ephesus (Acts 18:19; 19:1,9,10)
Assos (Acts 19:3)
Mitylene (Acts 19:14)
Chios (Acts 19:15)
Samos (Acts 19:15)
Trogyllim (Acts 19:15)
Miletus (Acts 19:15)
Coos (Acts 21:1)
Rhodes (Acts 21:1)
When all the time is added , some have estimated that Paul spent three years or more in this province.
THE WARNING TO THE ELDERS
Upon leaving the region, Paul warned the Ephesian elders of the serious dangers that lie ahead.
"For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them"(Acts 20:17-38; A.D. 60).
Paul did not say, "There is a good change, that after my departing . .. ." He said, "For I know this . . ." Paul was prophesying concerning the future of the Asian saints. The body of Christ would not be spared a severe test. But would they head this serious warning?
THE WARNING BY HIS EPISTLES
But that's not all!
After leaving, Paul also wrote three epistles to the saints in this province of Asia:
Ephesians (A.D. 64)
Colossians (A.D. 64)
Philemon (A.D. 64).
Paul warned the Colossian saints of the real danger of being spoils of a spiritual war.
"Beware lest any man spoil you . . . ye are complete in Him . . ." (Colossians 2:8,10).
"Let no man therefore judge you . . . Let no man beguile you . . . not holding the Head" (Colossians 2:16-19).
Paul warned the Ephesian saints, to be prepared for the evil day of testing that lie ahead.
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, having done all to stand . . ." (Ephesians 6:10-13).
But nevertheless, in less than a six-year span from the time he warned the Ephesian elders of theses dangers all those in Asia had turned away from Paul and his message (II Timothy 1:15).
And what does Paul say would be the ultimate result of the Asian saints turning away from him?
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they help to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (II Timothy 4:3-4).
And where does Asia stand today? Where does this region, that Paul invested so much in, stand spiritually today? It is the western portion of Turkey and is 98 percent Moslem!
It does not pay to neglect the writings of Paul!
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