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Acts 20:1-38

  

“And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. 2 And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, 3 and there abode three months.  And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia. 4 And their accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5 These going before tarried for us at Troas. 6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. 7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. 8 And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered. 9 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep:  and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. 10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. 11 When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. 12 And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted. 13 And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot. 14 And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene. 15 And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus. 16 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia:  for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost. 17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. 18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, 19 serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: 20 and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, 21 testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And now, behold, I go bound in spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23 save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me [margin: “wait for me”]. 24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. 26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 28 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. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. 32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. 34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. 35 I have shewed 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.”

 

Introduction:  Paul Travels From Ephesus Back Through Macedonia To Corinth

 

Audio version: https://resources.ccphilly.org/teachinglibrary.asp?Book=44

 

“It says in chapter 20 now, “After the uproar” that’s where we ended, if you look back in verses 40-41, “For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.  And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.”  Now in chapter 20, verse 1, “And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them,” in Ephesus, this is most likely since the autumn of 57AD “and departed for to go into Macedonia.” we just saw that on the map there, and he comes to Philippi, at Philippi he will write the Book of 2nd Corinthians, as he comes into Macedonia.  He was there no doubt for the winter, as he moves through Macedonia down to Corinth, remember where Corinth is, and as he comes to Corinth he will write from Corinth the Epistle to the Romans, as he was there for the winter, such incredible things on his heart.  And there’s a young woman in Cenchrea, the port, her name is Phoebe, and he will give Phoebe, because he hears she’s going to make the journey to Rome, he will give her this greatest of Epistles, the Roman Epistle, and Phoebe will carry it during this season, from Cenchrea to Rome.  And in Romans chapter 16, verse 1 mentions her, “I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:  that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you:  for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.” (verses 1-2)  It says after the uproar, Paul then determining to go to Macedonia, says good-bye to the disciples that are there in Ephesus, as he comes to Macedonia, Philippi, he loved that church that supported him a number of times, no doubt he goes back to Thessalonica, Berea, “And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece.” (verse 2) So as he goes to this area, we know that he is troubled to some degree, he writes from Philippi in 2nd Corinthians, you don’t have to turn there, 2nd Corinthians 2:12-13, “Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother:  but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.” now Troas is on the upper northwestern side of Asia Minor, before he goes up to Macedonia.  He was hoping that Titus was going to come, because Titus had gone back to Corinth because there were divisions there.  Paul loved that church in Corinth, he had been there for over two years, and now they’re saying ‘I’m of Paul, I’m of Apollos,’ there were divisions, he sends Titus to Corinth to make sure the Corinthian church is healthy and things are settled, and he’s waiting to hear from Titus, hoping that Titus would have sailed across there and come to him at Troas.  Titus didn’t do that, so then he makes the journey, he said ‘I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother, but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.’  And then he tells us in the 7th chapter “For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.  Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;” (2nd Corinthians 7:5-6) and Titus finally comes, and says to Paul ‘not only is there no trouble in Corinth, they repented at the writing of your Epistle, their hearts are turned towards you, they’ve accepted what you said,’ it was a great encouragement to Paul.  So we have few things said here in these first two verses, but there’s incredible things in the background that are taking place.  And then he goes from Macedonia, and it simply says he goes to Greece.  That’s a long journey, see that all the way down to Corinth, and he will spend that winter in Corinth, and he will write the Epistle to the Galatians there also, and then as the Spring comes, he writes the Epistle to the Romans, both of them from Corinth there.  [see https://www.bible-history.com/maps/images/acts-pauls-third-missionary-journey.gif and https://www.bible-history.com/maps/images/acts_pauls_third_journey_and_rome.jpg  (the green line on this second link shows you the limit of the Roman Empire, and actually shows the border between the Roman Empire and the Parthian Empire, an empire Rome was never able to conquer, and they were mortal enemies.  The magi that came to Jesus when he was a baby were Parthians, and they came with such a large contingent of soldiers guarding these magi, that it scared the daylights out of Herod, who was under direct command from Rome to not stir up any trouble with the Parthians, Rome didn’t want a war started with them for any reason…just a little extra history if you’re interested.)  Both of these maps are very good, showing Paul’s precise journey on his third missionary journey.]  “And there he abode three months.  And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria,” and take that pilgrim ship they set aside for [Jewish] pilgrims going to Jerusalem “he purposed to return through Macedonia.” (verse 3) because he found out there was an ambush, they were waiting for him.  [The Jews from all these synagogues were still fuming mad at Paul, wanted to kill him, even though he hadn’t been bothering them in his latest stay at Corinth here, so when he was trying to book passage on a ship hired for the Jewish pilgrims on their way back to Jerusalem, they were conspiring to kill him onboard the ship, more than likely, throw him overboard or something.  This ship would sail from Cenchrea, more than likely to Caesarea or Joppa.  The disciples must have got wind of the Jewish plot in time to warn Paul.]  Now as he goes back to Macedonia, it says, “And there accompanied him into Asia [landing at Troas] Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.  These going before tarried for us at Troas.” (verses 4-5) in verse 5 you notice the word “us” there, so Luke is now back in the journey with them.  We haven’t been with Luke since back in Philippi long before this.  “These going before tarried for us at Troas.”  So this interesting group of men, and Luke.  Paul is a sick man, he’s a weak man in many ways, I’m sure he is glad to encounter doctor Luke again, and having had him there, he tells us in 2nd Corinthians chapter 11, about the trial he had in his own flesh, that he was struggling there in his own weakness, God said to him ‘My grace is sufficient for thee,’ he said ‘lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of revelations there was given unto me a thorn in the flesh, and the messenger of Satan to buffet me.’ those are two separate things, by the way, they’re not one thing.  Paul had some physical illness.  Besides that physical illness, that thorn in the flesh as he calls it, a messenger from Satan came and said ‘Hey, if God loves you, why’s this going on?  You know, if God loves you, why are you struggling so much?’  He said, ‘not only was it bad enough that I had this thing going on, but there was a messenger from the enemy there just hassling me.’  And wonderfully doctor Luke was there to tend to him in many ways.  And then Luke says in verse 6, “And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread,” now that’s Passover, earlier in the spring, “and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.”  We see where they’re sailing across from Macedonia back to Troas, and it says that they made that journey in five days.  You remember that back in chapter 16 it took them two days there, chapter 16, verse 11 it says they got a straight wind, God moved them through, and they had the vision of the man from Macedonia who ended up to be a woman name Lydia, not a man from Macedonia, but the wind was straight at their back so God could move them the same distance in two days, put wind in your sails, you’re on the move.  When he’s bringing this group back towards the area of Ephesus then back to Jerusalem, no doubt, he slowed things down.  What was it like for these men and doctor Luke and the great apostle to fellowship, he had gathered them, they’d come from these other churches he loved so dearly, they were carrying a great offering that they were going to take to Jerusalem.  Paul was being above reproach, in that he was letting them handle that, and representatives of these Gentile churches were going to come to Jerusalem to speak to the leaders and the elders there, and give this great offering to them.  What was their fellowship like on the boat?  Imagine five days, you’re in the Adriatic and beautiful blue water and you’re with Paul the apostle, looking at the stars at night, and just, I’m sorry, you can stay here, I just went there, sorry.  [see https://www.bible-history.com/maps/images/acts-pauls-third-missionary-journey.gif]  This journey, must have been wonderful.  But it took five days, “we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.” (verse 6) [here we see that it is apparent they were keeping the days of unleavened bread, a part of the Passover season of holy days, and again we see the apostle Paul in verse 16 wanting “to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost” another holy day apparently being kept by Paul and the early church in Jerusalem.  So it’s apparent that Paul and these early churches of God were observing the holy days of Leviticus 23, the first of which being mentioned in Leviticus 23 is the Sabbath.  Messianic Jewish believers in Jesus, based on recent historic research and archeological finds, believe these were the days of worship observed by the early churches of God in Greece, Asia Minor and Jerusalem itself.  To see an article based on this research see https://unityinchrist.com/history2/index3.htm Just to be fair, this historic research article at this link gives the Messianic Jewish view of these passages in Acts.]

 

Paul’s Longwinded Sermon Where Eutychus Falls Asleep And Falls Out a 3rd Story Window

 

Now look, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” (verse 7) that’s Sunday, the seventh day is Saturday, the Sabbath, this is Sunday, “upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread,’ so one of the early indications that the Church gathered on Sunday, the Church did not keep Sabbath, anywhere from the Anti-Nicene Fathers [at Roman Catholic history] you can read through Church history, the Church gathered on the Lord’s day, which was Sunday, resurrection day.  We’re told in 1st Corinthians chapter 16, verse 2 I believe, there that when you come together, the first day of the week, Paul says that’s when you bring the offering the first day of the week [that was a special offering Paul was talking about, that the Corinthians were collecting for him to bring to Jerusalem, cf. 1st Corinthians 16:2-6, on his journey back through Macedonia and Asia Minor on his way to Jerusalem, right where we are at right now.  1st Corinthians 16 was written to Corinth just before Paul arrived there to spend the winter there, which was covered by Luke in Acts chapter 18].  It’s interesting too, because it’s going to tell us here Paul spoke until midnight, that is not the Jewish keeping of time, that was sundown to sundown, the Romans kept time from midnight to midnight, so this is not the Jewish Sabbath at all, which began at sundown when the first three stars are visible.  By the way, Sabbath-keepers have lots of problems, it says God works six days and rested on the seventh, and in the law when it tells everybody about the Sabbath, it says you should work six days, so if you want to keep Sabbath, you should work a six day workweek, I don’t like that, I’m going to go to church on Sunday and work five days.  And then if you’re keeping Sabbath, and you’re a farmer, every seventh year you have to let your field go fallow, it’s not that simple, every fiftieth year everybody has to have all their debts forgiven [have you ever noticed economic depressions seem to take place every 50 years, a nationwide or worldwide forgiveness of debts would prevent that, it was something God put in his law to help out the poor, and was considered an economic blessing].  Keeping Sabbath was complicated, it’s not simple, reduced to something that Christians can claim and take hold of for some type of righteousness.  Paul tells us in Colossians that the Old Testament was just a shadow of things, but Christ is the body that was casting the shadow, so don’t let any man judge you in regards to feasts or holy days or sabbath days, Paul will say in Romans one man esteems one day above another, another man sees every day the same [cf. Romans 14:5-6, see https://unityinchrist.com/romans/romans12-14_2.htm].  You know, every day for me, and I know for you, is a day to seek the Lord, every day is the Lord’s day.  But the Church [greater Body of Christ] has continually since the resurrection on the first day of the week, Paul says here they came together on the first day of the week, on Sunday, “when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” (verse 7b)  That’s quite a sermon, I know, we started at 8 o’clock this morning, I can’t believe anybody would last until midnight, there would be a petition in this church in no time, ‘Pastor Joe has lost his mind, we got here in the morning, we endured the afternoon, my father fainted and had to be carried out about 3 in the afternoon…you know, it’s getting towards midnight.’  This is the last time, Paul no doubt is telling them what he’s going to be telling the elders at Ephesus at the beach at Miletus, that it’s the last time he’s going to see them.  [Comment:  that is why this is probably a special sermon given, having nothing to do with the day it was given on, Paul is saying his farewells and giving them one last exhortation and teaching sermon, cementing them in Christ, because Paul goes on and on and on in his sermon, right up until dawn, as we’ll see.]  And those in the church are gathered, I believe there are some, they were rivetted, listening intently.  Imagine what he poured out in 8 hours or 10 hours, Paul has had to say with them.  He goes until midnight, “And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.” (verse 8) these are not neon lights, they are not light bulbs, they’re torches and oil lamps, “And there sat in a window” that’s where I’d have been, trying to get a little fresh air, you’re in a sermon for 12 hours, you’re doing the best you can to keep deep breathing, get some oxygen “there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep:” that name means “lucky” or “fortunate” and boy was he, “being fallen into a deep sleep:  and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.” (verse 9)  So Eutychus, this young man, is sitting in the window, it’s gotten dark, they have torches, oil lamps going so people can look at their parchments, with Paul there, they have copies of the Old Testament, seeing things they need to see, it’s getting smoky in there, hot, Eutychus moves to the window, he’s trying to get some air, he’s doing this, like some of you do, in church on Sunday.  I don’t take it personally because it happened to Paul too, some of you, I watch you do this, and then when you do your best, you get this glaze over your eyes, and you come back again.  The funny thing is, when, sometimes you people snap back, and they nod their head like they were listening all along [laughter].  You don’t have to do that for me, just sleep, don’t snore, you don’t have to do that for me, I’m not offended, just sleep, don’t snore, if somebody snores just smack them, but sleep if you want to sleep, I’d rather have you sleep in here rather than in a bar or somewhere, so the Lord gives his beloved rest, if he does it here I understand, I won’t take it personally.  Eutychus is having one of those days, Paul’s been talking a long time, he’s switching position, he’s trying to get some air, he’s slouching off, he keeps dozing out, and one of these times it says “he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft,” from the third floor, “and was taken up dead.” So Paul, he preached till he killed somebody on this day, he fell down from the third floor and was taken up dead, doctor Luke was there, he examined him, ‘he’s dead.’  “Necrose” is the word, sometimes used as a corpse, he said he’s dead.  He tried to stay awake, sometimes preaching is talking and somebody else’s is asleep, I understand that.  He was taken up dead, “And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.” (verse 10)  They must have said, ‘Paul, pssst, Eutychus is dead, he fell,’ so the Bible study stops, it’s a good time, midnight, for an intermission, “Paul went down, and fell on him,” this is not CPR, I read some of the most ridiculous things, he’s not doing CRP, the boy is dead, Paul falls on him, “and embracing him,” much like Elijah and Elisha, “said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.” Evidently they began to wail and cry, which is typical of the culture, “Trouble not yourselves; for his life” literally “his soul” “is in him.”  His soul is in him, so Paul says ‘Don’t worry, he’s still alive.’  And then, listen, “When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.” (verse 11)  Paul takes opportunity now, ‘Take a little break, everybody get something to drink, everybody get something to eat,’  It says, “When he therefore was come up again,” to the third story, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.” even until the break of day, until the morning, this is without sleep, this man has preached from Sunday morning till Monday morning [technically, it doesn’t say when Paul started to preach on the first day of the week], it’s amazing there was only one casualty, you know, that’s 20 hours, 18 hours straight, just imagine what’s taking place here.  He preached all day Sunday till Eutychus fell out the window, then he took a break, had something to eat, then he preached till Monday morning, till the sun came up, that’s incredible.  But I wonder what it was like, if you read about the great revivals in church history, sometimes those meetings went on and on and on, seven days a week, I can just imagine, people, some of the people were just riveted here.  So don’t feel bad for Eutychus, in heaven, he’s going to be the guy who fell asleep.  But Paul raises him from the dead, no critic had anything to say, and probably no doubt invigorated, probably used it there at the study, he preached until the breaking of the day, and “so he departed.  And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.” (verse 12) they were greatly comforted, what a great ending to a long Bible study, they bring Eutychus back and he’s fine. 

 

Paul Continues His Journey From Troas To Miletus

 

Luke says, “And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul:  for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot.” (verse 13) So what it’s saying here, you see, there’s Assos, they had been at Troas here [see https://www.bible-history.com/maps/images/acts-pauls-third-missionary-journey.gif].  That’s 20 to 25 miles between Troas and Assos, ok, you guys are over here.  There’s Troas, they sail from there to Assos, Paul determines to go alone, and he walks.  There’s a very interesting thing that Luke gives to us here, that Paul the apostle wanted time to be alone.  Again, when we watch his life, he’s always in the metropolitan area, he’s always surrounded by people, he is driven, I mean he had just such an incredible life, and yet Paul now is musing, he’s grinding over things in his heart, he’s praying, he wants to walk, this is after a sleepless night, he just preached 24 hours, no sleep.  They’re gonna get on the boat, and I’m sure as soon as that boat starts rocking, they’re all going to be sawing zzz’s.  But Paul wants to be alone, isn’t it interesting?  And no doubt his bones ache, he has trouble with his eyesight, and he takes this long walk, probably 25 miles or so, from Troas to Assos, to be alone, he’s grinding out things, he’s going to see the elders from Ephesus, he’s determined that he needs to get to Jerusalem for Pentecost, one of the mandatory feasts.  He says clearly the Holy Spirit took him, he’s bound in the spirit to go, he says ‘All I know is I keep being warned, when I get there, that bonds and afflictions await me, chains and persecution, but none of these things move me.’ And the Spirit must be speaking to his heart, because when he comes to these men at Ephesus [who met him at Miletus] he’s going to say ‘This is the last time you’re going to see my face.’  And this was one of the greatest, this is the great Gentile church in many ways of his labour, it was even greater than the church at Corinth.  Hard for us to imagine, probably, the impact that this church in Ephesus would have.  [Comment: as pointed about before in a previous comment, just before the first Roman-Jewish War which destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem itself, the apostle John along with Jesus’ mother Mary moved to Ephesus, the church at Ephesus, probably with a good number of Jewish believers from the Judeo-Christian churches in Israel and the Jerusalem church in tow.  Wars move populations.  From just before the first Roman-Jewish War (67AD-70AD) to just before the second Roman Jewish War (132-135AD) my guess is that most of the Jewish believers in Yeshua had migrated either to Ephesus proper or the other churches of God in Asia Minor.  The apostle Paul had laid the foundation the apostle John would build upon, as the greater part of the early Church moved out of the Middle East into Asia Minor.]  But it says that Paul had determined to go afoot, there in verse 13, “And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene.” (verse 14) that is Luke speaking again.  “And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus.” (verse 15)  Now that’s where he had been longing to get so he could call for the elders from Ephesus.  “For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia:  for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.” (verse 16)  If he got pulled into the port at Ephesus he was fair game, the church loved him so dearly, he had been there for 3 years, he would have been swamped no doubt, and he longed to get to Jerusalem, that was what was burning on his heart.  So he goes, he sails past Ephesus, a little bit to the south to Miletus.

 

Paul Begins His Final Sermon To The Elders Of The Ephesus Church

 

And verse 17 says, when they landed there at port, “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.” he sent to Ephesus, 30 miles north of there. “And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,” (verse 18) you know the kind of man that I am, you know what I was like when I had come to you here, he says in verse 19, “serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:” that was his life, serving the Lord.  Again, at this point in time, just for a point of reference, Paul has traveled 5,580 miles on land, he’s travelled  6,670 miles by sea, that’s over 12,350 miles over a period of 16 years, and he’s evangelized about 1,500 square miles of territory, and that has changed the world, it has changed your life, it has changed my life.  And to this man, all of that simply for him was serving the Lord, the One who had come to him on the Road to Damascus, and changed his life forever.  And as he talks to these elders, we’re going to find at the end of the chapter them weeping together, on their knees.  He loved these men dearly, they loved him dearly, he’s pouring out his heart here, knowing these are the last things he’s going to say to them, and again, imagine being with your wife or your children, last things, knowing these are the last things I’m going to say to them, it’s the last opportunity I’m going to have to speak to them, or imagine being with people you’ve known for many years that you love so dearly, and you know that what you have to say is very pertinent, that it will matter.  And here is Paul looking at them, they come, what was it like when they saw each others faces, he’s must have embraced these elders, these men who had come from Ephesus.  And then he says “Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,” (verse 18) ‘in all kinds different circumstance in my life,’ “serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations,” literally “trials” there “which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:” (verse 19) you remember the persecution that took place there, he says ‘you’ve seen me in all kinds of different circumstances, you’ve seen me in tears,’ when someone’s seen you in tears, your heart is open around them, and in trials and so forth, and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (verses 20-21) “nothing that is profitable to you” very interesting here, doctor Luke uses a medical term, and it’s a specific medical term that speaks of withholding food from a medical patient, for particular reasons, sometimes they felt you don’t want to feed them in a particular circumstance, that’s our phrase here, “kept back,” Paul says ‘I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, I fed you, I held back nothing of sustenance, spiritually, from you, that was profitable unto you.’  “but have shewed you,” notice, he has demonstrated, he showed them, and secondly “and have taught you publickly, and from house to house.” the house churches.  Paul says ‘I haven’t kept back anything profitable unto you, you know that, I’ve withheld nothing, and I have showed you, demonstrated by example, and I’ve taught you publicly and from house to house,’

 

Two Parts To Paul’s Gospel Message:  Repentance & Faith

 

“testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (verse 21) this is what his testimony was.  These two ideas here, repentance and faith are joined by a single article, it means they are two sides of the same issue.  The Gospel message that he shared involved two things, repentance and faith.  That was the Gospel that Paul preached, there was no Gospel without repentance, metanoia, to change the mind, he expected people, when they came to Christ to repent.  If they were living in sinful, their lifestyles pagan lifestyles, Paul taught them that was to change, there needs to be repentance, and then after repentance, there needs to be exercising of faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ.  You don’t deserve anything, you don’t deserve to be forgiven, you can’t do anything to be worthy of it, this is an issue of repentance and then simple faith towards the Lord Jesus.  Repentance towards God, you’ve offended him, God is holy, the way you’ve lived, the way you’ve conducted yourself is an offense to a holy God, so there needs to be repentance.  And then there needs to be faith demonstrated towards the Lord Jesus Christ, you’re saved, he’s the one who died for you.  He says ‘These are the things that I testified to you, both to the Jews and to the Greeks.’  You read the Epistle to the Ephesians, of course on your own, I mean, there isn’t an Epistle in some ways that reaches to the heights or the depths, in some ways, as the Epistle to the Ephesians, the things that Paul had to say to them.  And he says here ‘that I kept back nothing, as I testified, went from house to house, publicly, and I testified repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 

 

“And Now, Behold, I Go Bound In The Spirit Unto Jerusalem, Not Knowing The Things That Shall Befall Me There”

 

He’s very aware of this pressure from the Spirit, “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:” (verse 22)  I had somebody ask me this morning, ‘Do you think that means he was bound in the Spirit or the Spirit bound him?’  I said, I think when Paul said that, he was speaking, he was talking the language of the day, I don’t think he ever thought ‘Somebody one day is going to think, Is this an imperative or is this areotist?’  I just think he said ‘You know what, I can’t escape it, I can’t get away, I’m bound in the spirit, I can’t get away from this, the Lord wants me to go to Jerusalem, I know it, it’s on my heart every day.’   Simply I think that’s what he’s saying.  “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:” (verse 22) ‘I just know I can’t avoid it,’ “save” or “except” “that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.” (verse 23)  King James says “abide” or “waiting for me.”  When we get to the next chapter we’re going to find out a prophet named Agabus takes Paul’s cloak and wraps it around him and says ‘whoever owns this is going to be bound in Jerusalem.’  So is he encountering those kinds of things in Philippi, in Berea, in Thessalonica, in Corinth?  We’re not sure, but in one way or another, through the conviction of the spirit of his own heart, through no doubt being warned of those that had spiritual gifts in the Church, he says ‘I only know this, the Holy Ghost is witnessing in every city saying, that bonds and afflictions await me, are waiting for me.’  This is a man whose given everything, and now bonds and afflictions are waiting for him.  I don’t know if he’s troubled by that.  He had written this letter already previously to the Corinthians, the 2nd Epistle, he said ‘Others, they want to take advantage of you, are they ministers of Christ?  I speak as a fool, I am more, in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prison, more frequent, in death, the threat of death, more often.  Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes save one, three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I’ve spent in the deep, in journeyings often, in perils of water, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils amongst false brethren, in weariness, in painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness, and besides those things that are without, those which come upon me daily, the care of all the churches.’ (2nd Corinthians 11)  So Paul, when he says to them here, he’s already written 2nd Corinthians, he says ‘I know that the Holy Spirit is saying in every city that chains, bonds and afflictions await me, but none of these things move me,’ he’d been through so much already.  And you know, when you read that list of things in 2nd Corinthians chapter 11, when we followed his journey, the Holy Spirit didn’t stop Luke to tell us, ‘Oh by the way, there was a shipwreck on this,’ we hear about one, and when we come the end of the Book of Acts, we’ll see a specific one, but he had been through many experiences [that obviously went unrecorded] like that, many difficulties, and they’re not delineated for us or put in a chronological sequence for us here as we follow in his journeys, the three missionary journeys.  He says ‘Yes, I know the difficulties are awaiting me,’ and we looked at this, this morning.

 

Paul Wanted To Finish His Course With Joy

 

“But none of these things move me, he had written 1st Corinthians by now, he had written 2nd Corinthians by now, he had written Galatians by now, all very recently.  He had written the Epistle to the Romans by now.  Think of the great truths that are settled upon this man’s heart by this time, you think of those things that he had written by the Spirit of God.  “None of those things” he says, “move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (verse 24)  ‘I don’t count my life dear to myself’ why? causative, “so that I might finish my course with joy,” that’s how he viewed his life, as a course, three times in the New Testament it means “it’s the course of a runner, running in the lane, staying in your lane, in staying on the track,” “that I might finish my course.”  Paul makes spiritual illustration from the Games, in Acts 13, Acts 20, Romans 9, 1st Corinthians chapter 9, Galatians 2, Galatians 5, Philippians 3, 2nd Thessalonians chapter 3, 1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy and I think he wrote Hebrews, Hebrews chapter 12 the first few verses also, he often references the Games, the running of a race, wrestling and so forth.  And here he says ‘I want to finish my course,’ he believed that God had a specific course for his life.  When Jesus appeared to him on the Road to Damascus, he told him ‘You’re going to go before kings, you’re going to go before rulers, you’re going to stand and give testimony,’ and Paul realized those things had been happening.  Listen, his course, beaten this many times, beaten with rods this many times, shipwrecked this many times, floating a day and a half, I’d have been floating in the ocean 15 minutes and saying ‘This is my course? I want to major in something else.’  Paul looked at all of that as God’s hand, God’s leading, God’s preservation, God’s direction, and he says ‘All I want to do,’ with that kind of life, I understand why he wanted to finish his course.  He just said ‘I just want to finish my course.’  He told us in chapter 13 of Acts, the Holy Spirit, verse 25, that John the Baptist fulfilled his course, that was by being decapitated, that was crossing the finish line for him, he fulfilled his running course, his lane, the lane he was running in.  Paul says here, ‘I know things are gonna get hard, things are going to get more difficult, it doesn’t move me from, you know, my face is set, my heart is set, it doesn’t move me from the course that God has for me.  And it’s because I don’t count my life as something that I’m going to wrestle with trying to protect it.’  He had wrote in Corinthians ‘Your life is not your own, it’s bought with a price,’ he believed that, he believed that this mortal must put on immortality, this corruption must put on incorruption, he already wrote that, ‘O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?’ he wrote all those things already, they were very alive to him.  He says ‘I don’t count my own life as something dear to myself, I want to finish my course,’ and we’re all going to do that, one way or another, he didn’t just say I want to finish it, he said ‘I want to finish my course with joy.’  And certainly I believe that he did that.  His last swansong, his last paragraphs of his life in 2nd Timothy, he says “I am now ready to be offered, to be poured out as an offering.  The time of my departure is at hand,” “strategic time” is the idea, he knew that was the right time.  That was ten years after this, by the way, I don’t think he realized on the beach at Miletus that his course was going to go for ten more years.  But he said here “The time of my departure is at hand, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course,” that’s what he says, it’s a third time in the New Testament this word “course” is used, “I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,” victory, “henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day, and not me only but all those who love his appearing.”  Paul said, every one of us here tonight, we are entitled to the same reward that he got.  He didn’t get something greater than us, again, all of us have a course, you all have your own course, designed for you, we are not competing against one another, we’re not competing against other Christians, you’re competing against the world, the flesh and the devil.  God has a specific course for you, your greatest competitor is yourself.  If you’re ambivalent, you’re lukewarm, the greatest threat is ‘How are you running the race?’  Paul says in Galatians chapter 5, ‘You know, you were running well, there, who did cut in on you, this persuasion cometh not from man, don’t you know a little leaven leavens the whole lump?’ and he’s talking to the Galatians about the fact that they had been set free in Christ, and now they’re listening to another gospel, they had been set free, ‘ya, we were Gentiles, we were heathen, and Jesus saved us,’ and now someone’s coming with another gospel telling you need to be circumcised, you need to be under the law, and you’re listening.’  Paul said ‘What are you doing, you were running so well, you were running the race, you were in your lane, and somebody cut in on you, got you off track, that persuasion is not from God.  And worse than that, a little leaven, a little bit of legalism, a little bit of Phariseeism leavens the whole lump, he says.’  But he had challenged them about the way they were running.  In 1st Corinthians, he had said this, he had written this already, ‘Every man that striveth for mastery is temperate in all things, now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible, I therefore so run, not as uncertainly, I so fight not as one who beats the air, but I keep under my body, his flesh, I bring it into subjection, lest by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be cast away, I should be disqualified.’  Paul says, the athletes of this world, they train, their diet, their workouts, all of it goes on the offseason, they don’t stop, and he says, they’re doing it to obtain a corruptible crown, ours is incorruptible.  And he said, I behaved that way, where I train that way, I fight that way, I keep my body under subjection, I don’t let my carnal nature and carnal appetites have their own way, he says, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.  So he says here, none of these things move me, “neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (verse 24) (thinking, no doubt back to that encounter on the Damascus Road.)  “And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.” (verse 25) no doubt Paul’s heart is heavy, he has that time, the 25 miles, walking alone.  At the end of the chapter we find them weeping on each other.  He says to these leaders of Ephesus, ‘You’re not going to see my face anymore, I know that.’and we’re going to see, that was a weight for them.  ‘Because you’re not going to see me again,’

 

‘I’m Innocent From The Blood Of All Men, Because There Isn’t Any Part Of God’s Word That I Was Ashamed To Deal Out To You’

 

“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.” (verse 26) he pictures himself like Ezekiel, the watchman, Ezekiel 3:18, to 33:6, you can turn there yourself, he says ‘I’m pure from the blood of all men, I’m innocent,’ why? “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (verse 27)  Paul says ‘I’m innocent from the blood of all men, because there isn’t any part of God’s Word that I was ashamed to deal out to you.’  You know, to me that’s my great confidence, is going from Genesis to Revelation, it takes 11 to 12 years to go all the way through the Bible [him giving “connective expository sermons”], when I get to the last verse I’m already hungry for Genesis, I can’t wait to go back and start over again.  I remember when the kids were little, I forget which one of them said, we’re coming to the end of Revelation, and they said ‘Dad, are you going to be done then?  When are you going to retire, when you get to the end of the book what else do you do with your life?’  I said ‘No, then we start over,’ they just kind of looked at me.  What great comfort, I can say… ‘I have not shunned to declare unto you the whole counsel of the Lord, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, orderly, through the Scripture, we’ve been Calvinist in some places, Arminianist in others, we’ve addressed every issue the Church argues over, we’ve hit every text, you know, you go from Genesis to Revelation, every part of it necessary, every part of it speaking to us, not teaching from the Bible, but teaching the Bible.’  Sadly, in much of the Church [greater Body of Christ, the other churches] today, if you ask them ‘Do you teach the Bible?’ they’ll almost be offended and say ‘Well sure,’ but the truth is, they’re not teaching the Bible, they’re teaching from the Bible, every text is a point of departure where they leave the Bible and they beat their own drum [And I must admit, very, and I mean very occasionally, on a few small points, the Calvary Chapels do that too, but for the most part they do not].  That’s vastly different than actually just teaching the Bible.  I’m so excited about the Bible, the Bible has incredible things to say.  Every time I go back, somewhere where I think I’m familiar, I find something I never saw before, it’s alive, it still talks to me.  If you’re having a problem with your Bible, I guarantee you, the problem’s not the Bible, it’s you.  Get on your knees with it, spend some time with it, and let it talk to you again, and it will re-invigorate you, it’ll strengthen you again, it’ll come alive to you again.  People want to criticize it, fine, it’s been here for thousands of years, you’re smarter than the Bible?  You write something, 4,000 years from now we’ll check in with you, and see if it’s a best-seller.  He says ‘I haven’t neglected to declare unto the whole counsel of God,’ teaching the Word, not teaching sermonettes to Christianettes, he wasn’t sharing, he doesn’t like to share when the church comes together, don’t want to be positive and gonna share, Paul said, ‘Preach the Word, be instant in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering,’ and he says ‘and I charge you before the Lord Jesus Christ, who will quicken the dead, preach the Word.’  And Paul could look at these Ephesians, he had been there for years, and say ‘I’m free from the blood of all men, I’ve given you’ it was the Old Testament then, ‘the entire counsel of God, I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.’  [How can we as pastors give all the Word of God to those we pastor?  see https://unityinchrist.com/pom/philofmin.htm] 

 

The People That Are Called To Be Overseers Of The Church Are Gifted To Do That Job By The Holy Ghost

 

His exhortation to these leaders now, “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.” (verse 28) [Comment:  “church of God” is mentioned quite a few times by Paul, which was apparently the name of the early New Testament churches founded by Paul during his missionary journeys, making it the Bible name for the early Christian churches.]  ‘Take heed unto yourselves, I’ve done my job,’ “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.” Now he’s saying, we could spend weeks here, he says this, he had gathered the elders, we’re told that, now he calls them overseers, episcopos, that describes, I don’t believe every elder is a pastor, I believe every pastor is an elder, but it is hard to delineate any of that in the Scripture, because the words seem synonymous so often.  Elder may describe those who are more mature just by the word itself, presbytos, the way it’s used.  The episcopos describes the functioning more, and overseers, somebody who stands back, and elder is not someone, an episcopos, who should be nit picking, what we need to do is to stand back and have a bigger picture of things, so we can watch what’s going on, it is a spiritual gift.  It is not something that someone chooses, and it says here it’s given by the Holy Ghost, not by an academic regime, not by a, it’s not a certificate on a wall, it says here the Holy Ghost hath made you episcopos, overseers.  And he says this to them, ‘I’m innocent from the blood of all men, I have not shunned to declare unto you any of the Word of God,’ “Take heed” it’s literally “Be on guard therefore unto yourselves,” before you have to be on guard for the flock if you’re going to be a leader, you have to be on guard for yourself first.  ‘Take heed to yourselves, and to the flock which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers,’ “to feed” poymane, “to shepherd the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”  Believe me, scholars lose their hair over this verse, trying to figure out an easy way around it.  If you do an honest exposition of this text, there’s no easy away around it, it says the Church is something that God has bought with his own blood.  Paul, when he wrote, he’s already written the Corinthian Epistle, he says ‘we see God in Christ, reconciling the world to himself,’ here he says God has purchased the Church with his own blood.  He is saying that to make an impression on these Ephesian elders, because it’s the last time he’s going to see them, and he’s saying ‘there’s no entitlements here.’  I see people in the ministry sometimes, the way they live, you know, they’re driving the latest Bentley or Rolls Royce or something, wait a minute, and then they have some cockamamie teaching to justify that, you know, they’re living in a 5 million dollar home, and some of them just make me want to jump out of my skin.  I remember one of them ‘I had to get, I tried to play golf to relax, but hitting that little ball around built up more stress, so I had to buy a yacht so I could go fishing and relax, and I was having a nervous breakdown and I think it was from laying on top of the letters that people sent me, and interceding for them, the ink was going through the pores of my skin and was building up in my system, and the doctor said ‘You need to get far away, not just away,’ to another planet would be good.  But Paul says here, the Church, you don’t have any entitlements, it’s something that God bought with his blood.  The people that are responsible within it, the overseers, are called and gifted to do that job by the Holy Ghost.  There’s always people that want in, we’re a big pond to fish in, you wouldn’t believe on a weekly basis the people we’re approached by that want to speak here, that want to hand out their literature, they see three services on Sunday morning, they think ‘This is a great place, a big pond to fish in, we’re gonna get our stuff in there!’  We’re saying ‘No you’re not going to get your stuff in here, you can’t hand that out here, no you can’t.’  Because you’re just a commodity to them, you’re not the Bride of Christ [to them], as you are to the leaders here, you’re not the Church bought in his own blood to them, they don’t feel the burden of responsibility granted and enforced on our hearts by the Holy Spirit, the fact that we’re going to have to give  an account someday.  And I look at this, and I understand how Paul’s pouring out his heart to these leaders.  He knows he’s not going to see them anymore.  He’s going to say ‘I warned you over the space of two to three years, with tears, because I knew what was going to happen after I left.  Because I have declared the whole counsel of God, so you take heed now to yourselves to be overseers in regards to the church of God bought with his own blood.’ 

 

Wolves In Sheeps Clothing

 

The reason, look at verse 29, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.”  “Grievous wolves” the word means “heavy” it means “burdensome,” no doubt, part of what he’s thinking about is the Judaizers, partially he may be thinking about pagan influence, requiring other things of the saints, other than what Christ has required.  He says ‘I know there’s going to be trouble from without and from within after I leave,’ his heart is broken about that.  “I know” he says this, “that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” Jesus warned about wolves in sheep’s clothing.  When they come, they don’t come like wolves, that’s a dead giveaway.  When they come, they come in sheep’s clothing, they look like sheeps, that talk like sheeps, they have God-speak, you watch them and you wonder ‘Are they sheeps?’  The way you can tell is what they eat, sheep eat grass, wolves in sheep’s clothing eat other sheep.  So when you see sheep eating other sheep, chances are you got a wolf dressed up like a sheep there, but he says they’re gonna come in, gonna take advantage of you, “For I now this…not sparing the flock” his heart is broken, “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (verse 30) out of envy, out of pride, a critical spirit, one thing or another, men are going to arise out of your own midst, with ambition, with envy, drawing disciples after themselves instead of after the Lord Jesus.  Paul says ‘I know that after I depart there’s going to be trouble from without, and there’s going to be trouble from within, you need to take heed, constantly guard, first yourselves,’ he says, ‘and then the flock of God, because these things are coming.’  And so many times people in the church, they’re critical, proud, they’re exclusive, they have understandings that nobody else has had for 2,000 years, you know, they’re envious, they want to get their stake in things.  He says to them in verse 31, “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”  “Therefore watch” that’s the responsibility of an overseer, to watch.  A good overseer, to me, should know what’s going on in the church.  We have incredible exposure now through the media, we should know what’s happening in the Church nationwide, we should see the trails, we should know the winds that are blowing through the Church.  Paul would say to the Ephesians, when he’s there with these elders, ‘God has given grace to the church, he’s given some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be teaching-pastors, for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry, till we all come to the maturity of the faith, that we would henceforth no more be blown by every wind of doctrine that comes through the church.’ (taken from Ephesians 4:1-16)  There is a maturity and there is a responsibility for overseers to see what’s happening in the Church, not just the local church, not just this church, but to understand what’s happening in the Church across the nation, in the area, and then to be on guard as the elders are here, for the sake of this fellowship, to exercise the responsibility, “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (verse 31) What was that like?  Paul’s saying, ‘for three years I was with you, I looked into your faces, and I wept, and said, look, there’s warfare, there’s going to be difficulties.’  The 6th chapter of Ephesians he speaks about [demonic] principalities and powers and so forth, he must have talked to them and told them about the difficulties they would face, and it must have broken his heart, he had a great sense of it while he was there. 

 

‘Finally, I’m Going To Entrust You To God & His Word’

 

This verse 32 is incredible, after all of the things he just said, and all of the threats he sees to the church, he says this, “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” (verse 32)  ‘I commend you to God, I’m not going to be here, these things are going to be happening, but God is on the throne, not the Judaizers, not the rulers, God is on the throne.’   “to the word of his grace,” secondly, “which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” He says this, ‘I’m going to entrust you to God and to his Word.’  Isn’t that remarkable?  All of his concerns, he said, because I’ll see your face no more, but I am going to commend you to God, to the word of his grace, which is, number one, able to build you up,’ God’s Word can strengthen you.  People say ‘I feel so weak, I feel so weak in regards to temptation,’ I think ‘How much time do you spend in the Word?’  “I knew you were going to say that!’  ‘You know, I’m going to see Dr. Phil, I don’t want to hear anymore of this!’  Sorry, sorry, the Word of God, here he says, is able to build you up, literally, it will strengthen you.  Secondly, it will give you an inheritance, it will secure you, it’s incorruptible, undefiled, that fades not away, it’s kept in heaven for us that are saved by faith.  The Word of God will strengthen you, the Word of God will secure you, the Word of God, here he says, will sanctify you, “among all them which are sanctified.”  “I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.” (verse 33) like the false teachers do.  He said ‘I’m not a hireling.’  “Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.” (verse 34) he was making tents there, when he came to Ephesus.  “I have shewed 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.” (verse 35) and this is the only place we have this quote of Jesus Christ, where he said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” John told us at the end of his Gospel ‘There are many things that Jesus said that weren’t recorded, I suppose all the libraries of the world couldn’t contain them if they were all written down.’  Interesting here, “more blessed to give than to receive,” Paul says, he’s taking away ground from the false teachers, because he’s saying ‘I don’t want anything from you.’ all the false teachers do.  He said ‘When I came, I worked with my own hands, to supply for others, to set an example for you, that you should labour to meet the needs of others.’  He took away the ground from the false teachers.

 

Paul Closes With Prayer

 

And in verse 36 it says “And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.” imagine these guys on the beach at Miletus, the waves, they’re not indoors, the sound of the surf, the open sky, what a day.  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.  And they accompanied him unto the ship.” (verses 37-38) they didn’t just wept, they wept sore.  Sobbing, they could tell by his expression, they could tell by his tone and his mannerism, ‘you guys know how I’ve been here with you, you know how I lived, I didn’t want anything from you, you know the example I set, publicly and from house to house, you saw me in trials, you saw me in difficulties, you watched me.  And now, I know as I go to Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit is bearing witness, yes, there’s chains, bonds and afflictions, none of these things move me, I don’t love my own life, it’s not dear to me, I want to finish my course with joy, I want to complete the ministry the Lord’s given me, and I want to give testimony to the Gospel of grace.  And now, those of you whom I’ve laboured among this long, you’re not going to see my face anymore.  But I’m free from the blood of all men, I haven’t shunned to declare unto you any of the counsel of God.  But take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock the Holy Spirit has made you overseers of the church of God he bought with his own blood,’ he says, ‘I know that after my departure, grievous wolves are going to creep out from inside, men are going to arise from your own midst, speaking perverse things, trying to draw men after themselves instead of after the Lord, watch therefore, you be the overseers, keep your eyes open on these things, watch.  And knowing that I didn’t cease to warn you about these things for a period of three years, with tears,’ he says. ‘But now I’m going to commend you to God, to the word of his grace, the Word of God, which is able to strengthen you, it’s able to secure you, it’s able to sanctify you.’  He had incredible confidence in God’s Word, and God’s sovereignty.  ‘I haven’t coveted anything from you, I’ve loved you, I didn’t ask for anything, I didn’t want anything from you, I wanted everything for you,’ Paul says, and they prayed, they wept, it says “sorrowing.”  Luke only uses that word two other times, when Jesus was a young boy of 14 years old, and they took him up to Jerusalem to be Bar Mitzvah’d, and they left to go back to Nazareth, he was missing.  And Joseph and Mary in a panic, as any parent would be to lose your child, and more so if you’ve lost the Messiah, you know you’re in big trouble, they go looking for him, and when they find him in the Temple, they say ‘Didn’t you know your father and I sought you ‘sorrowing’? that’s not just a normal sorrow, that’s a panic, that’s a broken heart, you’ve lost your child.  Anybody here that’s done that, we lost one of our kids in the Mall once, when kids were getting kidnapped, took us a half hour to find her, we were panicked, I can’t tell you.  ‘Didn’t you know we sought you, sorrowing?’  Luke uses it again, in the record of Lazarus and the rich man, where he says, the rich man says, you know ‘Warn my brothers, I am tormentedthat’s the word sorrow here ‘in these flames.’  So this is a very grievous extreme word here, it says they were sorrowing, that’s the sorrow adjoined to a panic of loss, for looking at him for the last time, it’s a sorrow that has torment attached to it, they’ve listened to his words, no doubt there must be such an impression of the Holy Spirit, they get on their knees, they’re all weeping, they’re holding on to him, it says they’re sorrowing, most of all because of the words he said, ‘You’re not going to see my face anymore,’ “And then they accompanied him unto the ship.” what that must have been, they got him there, Luke, these other men, Sopater and all of them get onboard ship again, and Paul, limping out, getting him on there, and the ship pulling away and the elders from Ephesus watching, waving, the men looking back at them.  You know what it’s like, you watch that boat get smaller and smaller…and Paul is gone, he just sailed out of their lives.  But what a letter they would receive from this man, the Letter to Ephesus, what a church.  Sadly, 30 some years after this, about 35 years after this, Jesus would say to the Ephesus church, ‘You’ve got a lot of great things going on, your works…’ [tape ends…transcript of a connective expository sermon on Acts 20:1-38, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

related links: 

 

Audio version: https://resources.ccphilly.org/teachinglibrary.asp?Book=44

 

For the Messianic Jewish interpretation of Acts concerning “days of worship” see https://unityinchrist.com/history2/index3.htm

 

What did Paul have to say about the free choice believers have in days of worship and dietary practice, given to them in the Word of God?  see https://unityinchrist.com/romans/romans12-14_2.htm  

 

How can we as pastors give all the Word of God to the flock of God entrusted to us?  see https://unityinchrist.com/pom/ and  https://unityinchrist.com/pom/philofmin.htm

 

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