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Acts Chapter 20

Memory verses for this week:   Eph 2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Eph 2:6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:


Introduction:     In Chapter 19, God allowed Paul to perform miracles of healing by giving out aprons and handkerchiefs to people who were sick.  He soon faced great opposition by the silversmiths in Ephesus when he preached against the false idols.  The silversmiths had made great money making the Dinah of the Ephesians images, and they did not want the money to be stopped.  Paul was driven out, and this week we see him going into Macedonia and Greece.   

I.                    Paul Goes into Macedonia and Greece 

Acts 20:1  And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.

Acts 20:2  And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece,

Acts 20:3  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.


If you remember at the end of chapter 19, the townclerk had asked the people to realize how unreasonable they had been, and apparently it had worked and the silversmiths stopped accusing Paul and the disciples before all the people.  The crowd had turned into a rioting mob, and it was good that cool heads prevailed.  After the uproar passed, Paul called the disciples together and bid them farewell as he intended to sail into Syria.


Acts 20:4  And there 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.

Acts 20:5  These going before tarried for us at Troas.


Paul exhorted the brethren as he made his journey to Greece where he stayed for three months.  Once Paul learned that the Jews were waiting for him, he changed his plans and returned through Macedonia.   Paul had several of the disciples go with him on this journey including Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Timotheous, Tychius, and Trophimus. 


II.                  Paul at Troas     

Acts 20:6  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.

Acts 20:7  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.  

After the Passover, Paul and Luke left Philippi and in five days arrived at Troas where his companions awaited him.   It says they stayed in Troas seven days.  After Jesus died, the traditions of meeting on the Sabbath day was changed to gathering on the first day of the week to worship God.  We see that when they came together on the first day of the week, Paul preached to them.   And like some other preachers you may have heard, he preached a long time.  It is a blessing to have someone preach with great power from the Holy Spirit.  Apparently Paul was greatly empowered as he continued preaching until midnight.


Acts 20:8  And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.

Acts 20:9  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.


We see that while Paul was preaching, one young man fell into a deep sleep and fell down from the third loft.   I guess if the preacher is long in his message, good advice is to stay away from the window.   That is a bit humorous, but no one can stay awake for hours on end without help.  It says the young man was taken up dead.


Acts 20:10  And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.


Apparently, Paul went down and brought life back to the boy by a miraculous power.  And then what did he do?  He continued to preach.


Acts 20:11  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.

Acts 20:12  And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted


It says that Paul come up again to the disciples and ate, and after that, they talked a long while.  When morning came, they were still talking and he departed.   It is not clear for sure, but I think the Word of God was so fresh and real in these people that they were all rejoicing in hearing what Paul had to say.

That is how our minds and hearts should be.  The things of God should be foremost on our minds and we should hunger to hear the word of God.  Remember what Christ told Satan at the end of his temptations.  

Luke 4:4  And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

III.                From Troas to Miletus

 Acts 20:13  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.

Acts 20:14  And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene.

Acts 20:15  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. 

Paul chose to walk from Troas to Assos.  At that point, he met with his other company and they sailed along the eastern cost of the Aegean Sea until they arrived in Miletus.   Paul was in a bit of a hurry as he had a great desire to be in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost.  But he was determined to go to Ephesus, but due to lack of time, they stopped at Miletus, which was the port of Ephesus.  If you remember the feast dates, there were 50 days from the Passover feast until the feast of Pentecost.

 IV.               Paul and the Ephesian Elders

Acts 20:16  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.

Acts 20:17  And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.


We see Paul calling the elders of the church to come down to Miletus.  

Acts 20:18  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,

Acts 20:19  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:

When the Ephesian elders come, Paul reminds them of his ministry among them.

In John Calvin’s Commentary on Acts, he noted some things about Paul.  “You know.  In this sermon Paul chiefly devoted himself to encouraging those whom he had appointed pastors at Ephesus to follow his example in doing their duty faithfully.  This is the right way to censure people and to gain authority for teaching, when the teacher prescribes nothing that he has not done himself.  There was nothing wrong in Paul speaking of his own virtues.  Nothing is more intolerable in Christ’s servants than ambition and vanity, but since everyone knew very well the modesty and humility of this holy man, he did not need to fear incurring suspicion of vain boasting—especially when it was necessary for him to speak of his faithfulness and diligence in order that others should follow his example.  He did, indeed, extol his labor, patience, courage, and other virtues, but not to win praise from his listeners; it was so his exhortation would stick in their minds.  He also had another aim, that his integrity might afterwards reinforce his teaching.  He appealed to eyewitnesses lest he appear to be speaking about thing unknown.”


Paul lived the life that made people know that his Christianity was real.  When we talk the talk and don’t walk the walk, we are very ineffective in our witnessing. 

It says that his service had been done with all humility of mind, with many tears, and many temptations had come his way.  We know it was the Jews who brought the tears and the temptations. 

 Acts 20:20  And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,

Acts 20:21  Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

 Paul was a true man of God, and he tells them how that he had held back nothing that was profitable to them.   When a preacher picks specific verses and refuses to preach others, he is showing what he thinks is favor to man.  But when God wrote the words of the Bible, they were all to be preached and taught.  When sin is in our lives, we may not want to hear the condemnation of our sin, but the preacher has that responsibility to preach the whole counsel of God.  Paul was that kind of man, and that glorified God.  It says he taught them those things both in public and in their private homes.  And the most important message that can be preached is the Gospel, which he preached to both the Jews and the Greeks, telling them to repent of their sins and have faith in Christ.


 Acts 20:22  And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

Acts 20:23  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

 Paul explains how that the Holy Spirit compelled Paul to go to Jerusalem even though he did not know what would happen to him there.  (bonds and afflictions awaited him he said.)

Acts 20:24  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.

Acts 20:25  And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.


Paul is quite prophetic in telling them that they will not see his face anymore.

Paul’s number one purpose in life was to finish his course with faithfulness.  Remember what he told young Timothy.


2 Tim 4:7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

2 Tim 4:8  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 to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.


Acts 20:26  Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.

Acts 20:27  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

Acts 20:28  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.

Acts 20:29  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.


Why was Paul from the blood of all men?  It was because he had not shunned to preach the entire counsel of God to everyone.  Paul gives a charge to the Ephesian elders.  He tells them to take heed unto themselves and the flock which the Holy Ghost had made them overseers.   They were to feed the sheep in the churches, because Christ gave himself for the church with His own blood.  And he warns them that after his departing, there would be grievous wolves that could come among them.   God hates the man that sows discord in the church.  And those that are in the church that are not of God but of Satan can do a great deal of harm if we are not watching and being careful in all that we do.


Acts 20:30  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

Acts 20:31  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Acts 20:32  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.


Paul warns of how that some would rise up speaking perverse things and drawing away those who are weak in their knowledge of God.  Paul had been faithful to preach and teach for 3 ½ years.  And I know he had prayed for the churches with great compassion and tears.   But if they would draw to God’s word, Paul tell them that it would build them up.  Nothing strengthens a child of God like reading the Bible and drawing close to the Lord.


Acts 20:33  I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.

Acts 20:34  Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.

Acts 20:35  I have showed 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.

Acts 20:36  And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.

Acts 20:37  And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him,

Acts 20:38  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.  

Paul said he had coveted no man’s silver, gold or apparel.  Matthew Henry said this:  “Paul never aimed at worldly wealth.  “I have coveted no man’s silver, gold, or apparel”; nor do you, then you will be easy.  There were many in Ephesus, and many of those that had embraced the Christian faith, who were rich, had a great deal of money, and plate, and rich furniture, and wore very good clothes, and made a very good appearance.  Now, Paul was not ambitious to live like them.  Paul in effect was say I neither condemn them nor even them.  I can live comfortably and usefully without living great.  The false apostles desired to make a fair show in the flesh (Gal. 6:12), to make a figure in the world; but Paul did not do so.  He knew how to want how to be abased.”  

Paul says he taught them how to support the weak and reminded them of the words of the Lord when He said it is more blessed to give than to receive.  In verse 36, Paul closes his message in prayer.   And it really affected these elders.  They were in great sorrow over the fact that they would not see Paul again.  Those that we love are hard to lose, but if it is in the Will of God, we should accept it and rejoice that we can do things for God’s honor and glory.  I am sure it affected Paul to know he would not see these men again on this earth.


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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