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Life in the Church 

Acts 20

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • May 14, In the year of our Lord, 2017


  1. Acts 20.1–6 | The Preachers on the Move

    1 After the uproar had ceased, Paul called the disciples to himself, embraced them, and departed to go to Macedonia. 2 Now when he had gone over that region and encouraged them with many words, he came to Greece 3 and stayed three months. And when the Jews plotted against him as he was about to sail to Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. 4 And Sopater of Berea accompanied him to Asia—also Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. 5 These men, going ahead, waited for us at Troas. 6 But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days.

    1. Things settled down in Ephesus and
      1. Paul met with the brethren,
      2. then left for Macedonia.
    2. Along the way he stopped at congregations and
      1. encouraged the brethren.
      2. When he arrived in Greece, he stayed three months.
    3. As usual the Jews plotted against him,
      1. probably intending to catch him as he boarded a ship for Syria.
      2. He decided not to go that way and went back through Macedonia.
    4. As he made this journey, his team grew, including
      1. Sopater of Berea,
      2. Aristarchus and Secundus of Thessalonica,
      3. Gaius of Derbe,
      4. Timothy, and
      5. Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia.
        1. Paul, Silas, and Luke lagged behind, but
        2. the others went on ahead to Troas, the former site of Troy.
    5. Once the Jewish Days of Unleavened Bread past,
      1. Paul, Silas, and Luke traveled to Troas,
      2. taking five days to get there, but then
        1. once they arrived they stayed in Troas seven days, and
        2. I believe they did so for what follows.
  2. Acts 20.7–12 | Breaking Bread and Preaching

    7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. 9 And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.” 11 Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. 12 And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.

    1. Toward the end of the seven days,
      1. Paul was ready to leave, but
      2. before he did,
        1. he met with the church in Troas
        2. at the regular meeting time of the church upon the First Day of the Week.
    2. The purpose of the brethren for meeting on the First Day of the Week
      1. was to break bread,
      2. a way of referring to the Lord’s Supper.
    3. During this assembly, Paul spoke and kept speaking until midnight.
      1. We do not know when their meeting began, but
      2. Paul went beyond their normal time for quitting.
    4. The room on the upper level of the facility where they met,
      1. was well-lit by many lamps, nevertheless,
      2. the bright light did not keep one young man from falling asleep.
        1. He sat on the window ledge, and
        2. he went deep enough into sleep
          1. that his body relaxed and
          2. he fell backward,
            1. falling three stories, and
            2. hitting the ground he died.
    5. Paul ran down,
      1. kneeled down to him,
      2. picked Eutychus up, and doing so
        1. raised him from the dead, and
        2. Paul told everyone not to trouble themselves, because
          1. the young man was alive.
    6. They went back upstairs,
      1. broke bread and ate it,
      2. probably now a regular meal, and
        1. Paul continued teaching,
        2. going as long as the rising of the sun.
    7. They were all excited that Eutychus was alive.
  3. Acts 20.13–16 | Heading Toward an Evangelism Opportunity

    13 Then we went ahead to the ship and sailed to Assos, there intending to take Paul on board; for so he had given orders, intending himself to go on foot. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene. 15 We sailed from there, and the next day came opposite Chios. The following day we arrived at Samos and stayed at Trogyllium. The next day we came to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.

    1. From Troas the group took a ship to Assos,
      1. except for Paul because he wanted to walk there,
      2. about a 30 mile distance.
    2. Finally Paul caught up to the group, and
      1. they took another ship to Mitylene,
      2. an island off the coast of Asia Minor.
    3. From there they sailed to another island, Chios, and
      1. from there they sailed to Samos,
      2. which is another island just off the coast from Ephesus.
        1. They spent the night at Trogyllium, a town on Samos.
    4. While Paul wanted to see the elders from Ephesus,
      1. he bypassed the town and
      2. they all traveled to Miletus,
        1. which was on the mainland just south of Ephesus.
        2. Paul wanted to go past Ephesus, because
          1. he did not want to be delayed on his journey to Jerusalem, for
          2. he knew that if he went to Ephesus,
            1. the brethren would not let him go, and
            2. he would not have wanted to do.
  4. Acts 20.17–35 | A Message for Elders 
    1. Once they arrived in Miletus,
      1. he sent to Ephesus, an d
      2. asked for the elders to come to him, because
        1. he had some important things to tell them.
    2. 20.17–21 | How Paul Lived Among the Ephesians

      17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. 18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, 19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; 20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

      1. Paul had lived an open life.
      2. His open life included:
        1. Serving the Lord with all humility.
          1. He did not go there to become rich.
        2. His service to the Lord included,
          1. shedding tears and
          2. experiencing trials from the Jews.
        3. Nevertheless, he did not hold back from them anything that was helpful, but he told them whatever would profit them.
        4. He taught publicly and privately.
        5. He spoke to all people.
        6. His message was:
          1. Repentance toward God and
          2. faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
    3. 20.22–24 | Persecution Did Not Move Paul

      22 “And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

      1. He revealed his plan to go to Jerusalem,
        1. although he did not know what would happen there,
        2. just that the Holy Spirit warned him
          1. that in every city
          2. chains and tribulations awaited him.
      2. However, the prospect of such persecution
        1. did not frighten him,
        2. he did not run away,
        3. he did not change the message.
      3. He did not so cherish his life that the anticipation of persecution did not move him.
      4. No, the ministry he received from the Lord Jesus,
        1. he would finish with joy, and
        2. that was to testify to the good news of the grace of God.
    4. 20.25 | A Final Goodbye

      25 “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.

      1. Then Paul gave the bad news:
      2. they would never see him again.
        1. He had preached the kingdom of God among them, but
        2. it was time for him to move on to the next level of the kingdom.
    5. Acts 20.26–27 | Declaring the Whole Counsel of God

      26 “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.

      1. He reminded them that he was innocent of the blood of all men.
      2. Why? He did not fear to announce to them all that God had to say.
    6. Acts 20.28–31 | Pastors, Take Heed to Yourselves and to the Flock

      28 “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

      1. Paul knew that his preaching ministry and presence prevented harm from coming to the church in Ephesus and elsewhere.
      2. Since he would no longer see them, they had to take heed.
        1. Take heed to themselves.
        2. Take heed to the flock.
      3. The Holy Spirit had made them the overseers,
        1. which meant they had to shepherd the church,
        2. remembering that Jesus had purchased the church with His own blood.
      4. Just like Moses, Paul knew that without him around what would happen.
        1. Wolves would enter the flock, even the eldership.
        2. Also the church and the eldership would create its own wolves.
          1. These wolves would act savagely,
          2. not sparing anyone.
            1. The wolves would speak perverse things
            2. with the goal of drawing away disciples to form their own group.
      5. He had warned them of the coming apostasy through false teachers.
        1. He warned them daily, night and day,
        2. with tears, knowing of the damage they would do.
          1. Church history shows that he was right.
          2. The church has suffered catastrophic division through the centuries.
      6. This is why they had to watch,
        1. listening to everyone,
        2. watching for any signs of this problem.
          1. They had to know the flock.
    7. Acts 20.32 | Someone and Something to Commend

      32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

      1. Paul could do nothing further, but
      2. commend them to something that would help them.
        1. First, he commended them to God.
        2. Second, he commended them to the word of God’s grace.
      3. The word of God’s grace would do two things:
        1. It would build them up.
        2. It would give them an inheritance among the rest of the sanctified.
    8. Acts 20.33–35 | Be a Giver, Not a Taker

      33 “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

      1. The church does not exist to make anyone rich.
        1. The church does not serve as anyone’s personal servant.
      2. Paul did not associate with the brethren to find out what he could get out of them.
        1. Instead, he served them.
        2. He provided for himself and for his team.
      3. He reminded them of the words of Jesus
        1. that serving supersedes receiving.
        2. Therefore, we should labor to support the weak.
  5. Acts 20.36–38 | They Would Not See Him Again

    36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, 38 sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.

    1. They kneeled and prayed.
    2. Paul had become a very dear friend to them all.
      1. Therefore, the words that affected them the most
      2. were that they would not see him again.
        1. These grown men wept,
        2. they embraced, and
        3. they kissed as easterners do.


  1. The Lord moves some people around and others He has stay put. 
  2. We cannot overemphasize the weekly meeting of the church. 
  3. Eat the Lord’s Supper 
  4. Focus on an evangelism target. 
    1. Pray about it.
    2. Do good works for that person.
  5. The church needs elders. 
  6. Elders need to watch the flock.