Sad Farewells (Acts 20:1-21)

December 2, 2012

Book: Acts

Sad Farewells (Acts 20:1-21)
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Scripture: Acts 20:1-21


Sermon Notes

At this time in Ephesus, the silversmiths were feeling the crunch of the economy after Paul came to proclaim the name of Christ (they made and sold idols of silver for the goddess – people quit buying).

There was a riot, the town clerk warned them that they were in danger from Rome for rioting.

The crowd dispersed. It seems as though Christianity found favor in this time. Some of Paul’s friends restrained him from entering in to defend his friends who were accused in the riots – God used the leaders of the town to calm the riots.

Then, Paul departed for Macedonia. He intended to go to Jerusalem, Rome, and Spain as well.

He hoped to find his fellow worker on the way to Troas – wanted to see Titus, didn’t see him in Troas, but met up with him in Macedonia.

2 cor 7:5-7 – indeed when we came, we had no rest, inside were fears, outside conflicts, yet the God of all comfort comforted us with the coming of Titus, and he in you (the Corinthians) when he told us of your zeal, mourning, etc, for me – I rejoiced.

Notice that Paul was comforted by Titus – God comforts the downcast.

Maybe God wants to use you to encourage someone else, or maybe someone else has encouraged you.

We don’t know how long Paul stayed here, but it must have been during this time that Paul ministered to Elyricum – there is no other record of that, but it is near here.

Here is one of the briefest summaries of Paul’s travels in Acts (5 verses). Some of Paul’s letters were written during this time (2 Corinthians and Romans). Luke never mentions the letters, he focuses on the spread of the church from Jerusalem to Rome.

From Greece, as Paul is ready to leave for Syria, he learned of (another) Jewish plot against him. So, he decided to leave Corinth. Because of the plot, he took the long way round (via Macedonia).

There were several men who accompanied Paul, chosen to represent the various churches to Jerusalem. Luke also mentions their origins.

Sopater was from Berea – high-class, noble, searched the Scriptures to confirm Paul’s words.

Aristarchus – had been dragged into the riot.

Gaius from Derbe.

Timothy (two letters written to him), Tychicus, Trophimus, from Asia.

Later, Trophimus will become the unwitting cause of Paul’s arrest.

These men, going ahead, waited for us (Luke is obviously with them again). The last time he joined them was in Philippi when Paul cast the demon out of the slave girl.

Possibly Luke would have represented Philippi, Paul – Corinth – to take the offering to Jerusalem.

From now on, Luke is much more detailed about his reports.

In Troas, he only records a single (momentous) event. On the first day of the week, we came together to break bread (possibly Communion – probably also lunch). This first day of the week is also the day that Christians usually met for worship – but this day was a special day, scholars are unsure if it is Saturday or Sunday. It was a special meeting – because is was the last time Paul thought he would ever see this church in Ephesus. So, the sermon ran a bit late…from evening until midnight. “And he continued to talk on…and on…” (NIV). There were lamps burning, air was stifling, crowded with people – Eutychus ( “good fortune” ) started to drift off to sleep (he was a young man, nearly a boy) – he fell from the window and picked up DEAD (remember Luke is a doctor). Paul picked him up, “no, no, no! Don’t worry! He’s alive!” Makes you wonder if he really was dead… especially with the way Luke records it – very blandly (matter-of-factly). But perhaps Luke had seen so many miracles by that time that he began to see them as commonplace…

Whatever the case, he’s restored to life.

Prophets Elisha and Elijah did similar things in the OT – Elijah prayed for the widow’s son (1 Kings), Elisha prayed for the Shulamite’s son (2 Kings), Jesus raised Lazarus, Peter raised Dorcas, Paul has now raised Eutychus. God reverses death in these cases for his own glory.

Then, Paul carried on preaching and teaching until morning – barely pausing.

They took the young man home greatly comforted.

Paul left Troas (with no sleep), and started walking. The others took a ship and arrived quicker. But, Paul enjoyed his walk, met them at Assos, and got on the boat and continued on.

They continued on…

They took one day hops between ports. Seems that Luke kept a journal of the details of the journey because there is so much detail in here.

V 16 – “He was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem for Pentecost – he’d missed Passover.”

He probably wanted to show the Jews that he wasn’t neglecting his Jewish heritage, and he wanted to present the offering.

Then, Paul stopped at Miletus, and the elders came and met with him – realizing this would be the last time they would probably meet.

This is the only example of a speech in Acts given by Paul to a Christian audience – and these were elders in the church. This speech closely resembles the voice echoed in Paul’s letters. This was also his farewell address – he told them he’d never see them again on earth. Some also call this “Paul’s Last Will and Testament.”

Paul has given speeches to secular leaders, political leaders, educated scholars, pagans, etc.

This is the only to Christians.

He starts with a defense of his ministry – from the first to last, he served the Lord with great humility and tears. Reminded them of his testing – by Jewish opponents (Luke hasn’t mentioned a lot about this – except Acts 19:9 – the Jews spoke evil – Luke concentrated more on the non-Jewish persecution – Paul refers to “fighting with beasts” in 1 Corinthians, and “the trouble in Asia” in 2 Corinthians).

He also reminds them that he had taught publicly, ministered in homes, only taught things that were helpful.

Nicky Gumble – “The gospel is public information – shouldn’t be hidden. Jesus was crucified publicly.” It’s the reason why he was crucified that we should understand.

The essence of Paul’s message was verse 21 – his message was consistent – Jews and Greeks should turn to God in repentance. The same way that Peter had urged them to turn in Acts 3.

Acts 3:36 “To you first (Jews), God having raised up Jesus, sent him to bless you in turning you away from your sins.”

Sometimes we think, “if I have to give THIS up, it’s gonna really stink…” but Jesus actually blesses us by turning us from those things.

Paul, like Jesus, preached publicly.

John 18, when Jesus was brought before Annas, HP (high priest), and questioned, Jesus said, “yo, I spoke publicly.”

We’ll continue with Paul’s sermon and defense of his ministry next time. His core message was for everyone to turn from their sins and to the Lord – that message is still the same today as 2000 years ago.

As we approach Christmas, we should ask ourselves, are we covered by the blood of the Passover Lamb? Jesus is our Passover Lamb – he sacrificed for us. As we by faith receive him in our lives, we are safe and secure from the enemy’s plan.

Let’s pray together.