Book of Acts Chapter Twenty (Part Two)

Introduction: A key idea in the book of Acts is that believers are to be witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. Today, we hope to discuss Paul’s journey in Asia Minor.

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Body:

Read Acts 20:7-12

3. Asia Minor: Troas and the Elders of Ephesus. In this section of the book of Acts Paul was engaged in a rather long discourse with a group of believers. A young man fell into such a deep sleep that he fell out of a window and died.

Paul went down and was used by God to bring the young man back to life. Paul then went back to the assembly and kept on eating and talking until day break.

Applications –

- Sunday. Notice in vs. 7 of the book of Acts that the believers assembled on the first day of the week, which is Sunday. It seems as if the early church chose Sunday, instead of Saturday (i.e., the Jewish Sabbath), as a celebration of the Sunday resurrection and to distinguish it from the Jewish Sabbath.

When working on Sunday was rare, it was easy to tell people not to work on Sunday. However, with so many 24 hours a day and 7 days a week operations, it seems that the greater good is not the prohibition of working on Sunday but being a wise steward, which may include working on Sunday to take care of financial responsibilities.

God is worthy and available for worship every day of the week. The church may do well to look at additional days of worship, besides the 11:00 a.m. Sunday morning hour.

More important than worshipping on Sunday morning is our worshipping God on a regular bases and then living as Christians ought. Let’s work on regular worship and Christian living.

- The Lord’s Supper and fellowship. Notice in vss. 7, 11 of this section of the book of Acts there is the mention of breaking bread, which may be a reference to both the Lord’s Supper/Communion and/or fellowship.

First, the Lord’s Supper/Communion is a sacred time of reflecting on the price that Jesus paid for our being saved and servants of the Lord. Such reflection should lead to our being obedient to the Lord.

Second, fellowship among believers is so important, and eating with one another is a great way to fellowship. Out of fellowship comes relationships and trust, so we can do our ministries better.

Let’s work on fellowshipping and working with one another as those who have eaten the body and drunk the blood of our Lord.

- Flexing to attention span. Notice in vs. 7 that Paul was very long winded. As those who witness to others, we should be careful about being too long in our presentations.

Most people can force themselves to pay attention for about 20 minutes. However, if the material is very interesting to the person, they can pay attention longer.

Let’s work on flexing our presentation time to the attention span of the person to whom we are talking. Remember that the more interesting we make our presentation, the longer attention span we have to work with.

- Miracles. Notice in vss. 9-11 of this section of the book of Acts that God used Paul to perform a miracle. There is no question that God is able to perform miracles.

In fact, every morning that we wake up is evidence of God’s miraculous power.Think about all that God superintended and made sure was in order for us to make it from one morning to another. However, the idea of a person having the gift of miracles is suspect.

The miracles of the Bible are normally for unbelievers and very short termed. Therefore, for a person to claim to have an ongoing gift of performing miracles in a congregation of believers seems out of the spirit of what we see in the Bible.

Let’s work on living wise godly lives, instead of counting on someone to have a gift of miracles.

Read Acts 20:13-24

Continued. In this section of the book of Acts Paul travels from place to place and finally arrives at Miletus. He has a conference with the Elders/church leaders.

He reminds them of how he has been faithful in ministering to them. He tells them of his being compelled by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem, in spite of the persecution that he expected.

Applications –

- An inspiring track record. Notice in vss. 17-21 that Paul uses his track record of faithfulness to underscore his point. It is important to develop a track record of faithfulness. The more we commit ourselves to doing God’s will and then actually doing God’s will, the more moral authority we have with those to whom we minister.

However, when we don’t make commitments or we don’t keep our commitments, our ministries suffer from a lack of moral authority. Let’s work on making and living by our commitments to serve the Lord.

Moral authority is not an automatic by-product of getting older or having been in a church for decades. Some have simply become older immature Christians, if Christians at all. Some have simply become “tenured pew members,” instead of mature disciples.

- Bi-level ministry. Notice in vs. 20 of the book of Acts that there is a need for at least bi-level ministry. There is a need for both public and house to house or personal levels of ministry.

In our churches, there is a need for pulpit and group level ministry. But there is also a need for follow-up and accountability partnership level ministry. In order for this kind of multi-level ministry to be effective, there is a need for alignment and faithful workers.

The public and personal levels of ministry need to be saying the same thing and pushing for the same goals. It is manageable to find a preacher and a few teachers to do the public ministries.The challenge is often finding lay people willing to do the personal ministry in an accountable way.

Let’s work on being a part of and supporting bi-level ministry in our churches. The stronger the members, the stronger the church; the stronger the church, the greater blessing it can be to the members and the community.

- Trusting God’s care. Notice in vss. 22-24 of the book of Acts that being compelled by the Holy Spirit is mentioned. Notice further that being compelled by the Spirit moved Paul to be more concerned with finishing the Spirit’s assignment than being afraid of hard times and lack of details.

Every believer reading these notes should be familiar with believing that God wants you to do something, even though it seems as if there are some unanswered questions and even some trouble ahead.

When we find ourselves in this situation, we would do well to make sure we are following God’s will, as best we understand it, and that we trust Him to take care of those who obey Him.

Prayerful study and wise counsel can help us with discerning God’s will. Everything we feel strongly about is not God’s will. Let’s work on trusting God to take care of us, as we do His will.

Conclusion: Let’s work on being witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will.

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