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Paul's Address to the Ephesian Elders (Acts 20)

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Acts 20

Paul at Troas
And after the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. 2 And when he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came into Greece. 3 There he spent three months; but as he was about to set sail for Syria, he was informed that the Jews planned to ambush him, so he decided to return through Macedonia. 4 Sopater of Berea, the son of Pyrrhus from Berea, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5 These had gone ahead earlier, and were waiting for us at Troas. 6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread; and in five days came to those at Troas, where we stayed seven days.
   7 And upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart the next day; and prolonged his speech until midnight. 8 And there were many lamps in the upper room where we 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 floor and was picked up dead. 10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and embracing him, said: Don't be alarmed. 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 lad alive and were greatly comforted.

Paul’s sermon at Miletus
   13 But going ahead to the ship we set sail for Assos, there intending to pick up Paul. For so had he arranged, he intending to go by land. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and came to Mitylene. 15 And sailing from there, the following day we arrived off Kios, the next day we crossed over to Samos and the day after we came to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, that he might not have to spend time in Asia. For he was in a hurry, hoping to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. 17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him 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 set foot in Asia, after what manner I was with you all the time, 19 serving the Lord with all lowliness of mind, and with tears and with trials which befell me by the plots of the Jews. 20 You know how I did not hesitate to declare to you anything that was helpful, and taught you in public, and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Gentiles repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And now I go bound in the Spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there. 23 Except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city, saying that imprisonments and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my race, and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom of God will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I did not hesitate to declare to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you bishops, to feed the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departing, fierce wolves shall enter in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 And from among you, men shall arise speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore be alert, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn every one night and day with tears.
   32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those that are sanctified. 33 I coveted no one's silver, or gold, or apparel. 34 You yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 In all things I gave you an example, that so labouring you should help the weak, and to remember the words that the Lord Jesus spoke, saying: It is more blessed to give than to receive.
   36 And when he had thus spoken, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And they all wept freely, embraced Paul and kissed him, 38 being sorrowful most of all because of his statement, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.


20:7 This could suggest that the early believers did the ‘breaking of bread’ service weekly. But there is no clear Biblical command about which day to do it on, nor exactly how often to do it.

20:20 House to house- Again we see the emphasis upon the home as the basis for organization of believers and spreading of the Gospel.

20:23 The Holy Spirit told Paul that he would suffer if he went to Jerusalem; but he also felt bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem (see v. 22 and 19:21; 21:4,11). Sometimes it seems God gives us contradictory guidance; this is so that we can work through the choices and come to a decision from the right motives, even if sometimes it doesn’t always matter what the decision is. In some matters it’s the process, not the product; the journey, not the destination... which is important.

20:26 Paul felt so truly and absolutely forgiven that he could say that he was “pure from the blood of all men”. Yet as he said that, he must surely have had the blood of Stephen on his mind, trickling out along the Palestinian dust, as the clothes of the men who murdered Stephen lay at Paul’s feet as a testimony that he was responsible for it. But he knew his forgiveness. He could confidently state that he was pure from that blood. Righteousness had been imputed, the sin covered- because he was in Christ.

20:31 Three years... night and day with tears- This is a huge statement. It reflects how major was and is the danger of false teaching and abuse entering the church. It shouldn’t therefore surprise us to conclude that ‘Christianity’ as a human religion is corrupted; but God has preserved His word the Bible, so that those who truly seek Him can still find Him.

20:32 The word of God’s grace has the power to build us up and lead us to the Kingdom. This isn’t to say that Bible reading alone guarantees salvation; but if we perceive within the Bible the word of grace, this will inevitably and naturally transform us into Kingdom people.