Book of Acts Chapter Twenty (Part Three)

Introduction: A key idea in the book of Acts is that believers should be witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. Today, we hope to finish our discussion of Paul’s ministry in Asia Minor.

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Body:

Read Acts 20:25-38 Paul continues his conference with the leaders in this section of the book of Acts. He talks about how he will never return to this area. However, he is comfortable with his faithfulness among them. He urges them to be on guard and be good shepherds, because the devil will be causing trouble.

He talked about his example of hard work and the blessing of giving. The text ends with a tearful good bye, after prayer.

Applications –

- Death preparation. Notice in vs. 25 the idea that Paul is going to not only Jerusalem, but ultimately, he is going to die. All of us have a date with death. Instead of being afraid of it or ignoring it, we ought to prepare for it. We would do well to make sure we have life insurance and estate plans in order, including gifts for the church.

We should try to put relational loose ends in place. But most of all, everyone should make sure that he/she has accepted Jesus as one’s savior by faith. Let’s make preparations for our date with death.

- Doing our best and trusting God with the rest. Notice in vss. 26, 31, 33-35 that Paul gave his best, so that the blood of those he ministered to would not be on his hands. Doing his best included telling the whole truth, not just the parts they wanted to hear. It included three years of faithful passionate teaching and exhortation (similar to preaching).

After giving his best, he is comfortable leaving them in the hands of the Lord. First, every believer should give his/her best in serving the Lord. We should do it, so that at the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will not have to give an account of the blood of others.

When we don’t tell people the whole truth, we share in their sins of not doing right. If we tell them and they don’t hear then that is their problem. But when we don’t tell them, that is our problem.

Second, ministry often calls for patiently and passionately saying the same thing over and over again. Just like it took us more than one or two sermons to get to where we are, it will take time for others to grow as well.

Third, there should be some satisfaction in knowing that when we are gone, we can trust God to take care of those we leave behind. If the truth was told, not only will our loved ones be in God’s hands, when we leave, but they are in God’s hands now. Let’s work on doing our best in ministry and trusting God with the rest.

- Watching over ourselves and others. Notice in vs. 28 of this section of the book of Acts that the Elders or leaders of the church are to watch over both themselves and the people of God. They are to be the shepherds/caregivers of God’s sheep.

First, every leader should understand that when the devil takes him/her down, it has an impact on all who follow the leader. Therefore, as leaders, we should give extra effort to keeping the devil from tripping us up.

Second, we are responsible for taking care of God’s sheep/people. Pastor’s are to feed and lead the church. Helpers/officers are to assist the Pastor as qualified appointed members. The sheep of God are known for hearing and obeying God’s word. Everybody in the church crowd is not saved and a child/sheep of God.

Let’s work on watching over ourselves and those God has placed in our trust. If you are not a leader, you should pray mightily for the leaders God has placed in your life. /// It is also worth noting that the Holy Spirit is responsible for making the Pastor the overseer of the church, not simply the vote or some committee or board.

At best, the Holy Spirit may use a committee, board, or vote, but it is ultimately the Holy Spirit’s work. If it is not the Holy Spirit’s work then the person in the Pastoral office and the church are in grave trouble.

- Wolf preparations. Notice in vss. 29-30 of this section of the book of Acts that there is the mention of approaching salvage wolves. Some of the wolves will come from among them. The devil doesn’t fight fair. He is out to kill, not simply harm. Wolves eat sheep.

On one hand, we should take our ministry assignments as seriously as a shepherd would take his/her duties to protect sheep from wolves. After all, the devil is really trying to kill and destroy those who call on the name of the Lord.

On the other hand, we should make sure we don’t let the devil use us. When the text talks about some of the wolves coming from among those who are gathered, we should make sure we are not one of those types of people.

We are more likely to be one of those types of people, if we are not prayerfully studying and striving to obey God’s word with the support of other believers. When we think about these verses and applications, we should see that the Pastor’s task is not to create personal fans for him/her-self.

They are to help develop fans and followers of Jesus. Jesus is our hope for surviving wolf attacks. Let’s work on being prepared to deal with the wolves.

- The blessing of giving. Notice in vs. 35 of the book of Acts the idea of it being more blessed to give than to receive. There is no mention of Jesus saying this in the gospels; however, we can be certain that Jesus said a great deal more than what we see recorded in the gospels, in His three years with His disciples.

Included in this idea is how there is a deep satisfaction in giving to meet the needs of others. This satisfaction is greater than the satisfaction of receiving the charity of others. Someone reading these notes can testify to there being greater satisfaction in having a job and giving to those who are less fortunate than being on welfare and receiving the charity of others.

This may very well be why some billionaires give and leave so much of their wealth to charity. Let’s work on giving like we believe there is a great blessing in doing so.

- Praying, weeping, and trusting. Notice in vss. 36-38 the praying, weeping, and trusting of God’s will. If we keep on living, we will have some times where we will be called upon to press forward towards what appears to be stormy weather. We are sure to feel tempted to weep, depending on the intensity of the storm or disturbance.

But thank God, prayer can help us get through. Let’s work on praying together, as a means of obeying God and getting through the rough times in our lives.

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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