It is clear that the commitment Paul felt was not just to the Gospel and its spread, but also to the people he encountered along the way. He would have experienced great joy as he saw them transformed from darkness into light: oppressed and broken people receiving Jesus Christ into their lives! Paul had spent a long time at Ephesus- two years and three months-and he had become deeply involved in the lives of the believers who lived there: not only did he speak of preaching publicly, but of going from house to house: he knew them well! It was now 54 AD, less than twenty five years since the death of Jesus and the Gospel was spreading far and wide. The Gentiles especially seemed to receive it with great joy. Paul reminds the Ephesians here of his qualities knowing full well that when he departed, 'fierce wolves' would come in to the Church to try to destroy it.
1. He had spoken fearlessly. He had told them all of all of God's will, he hadn't avoided speaking on some issues which may have been controversial.
2. He had lived independently. No one could ever accuse Paul of making a living from the Gospel. His own hands had supplied his needs.
3. He had bravely faced the future. He knew what lay ahead and it wasn't going to be good.
Paul then brought certain challenges to the Christians in Ephesus:
1. He reminded them of their duty. As servants of the Good Shepherd, they too should be prepared to look after His sheep.
2. He reminded them of the danger they faced. There would be a battle ahead to keep the faith intact and the Church pure.
3. They would be doing this without Paul, but they would still have the power of the Holy Spirit with them to guide, bless and bring courage.
There is deep affection from both sides running through this passage and this is how Christian fellowship should be!