Acts 20

Acts 20:1-38

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.’ “

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.

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1 year ago

Paul was dedicated to serving all he could reach with a message of identity with Christ in victory and triumph. However, he wasn’t disillusioned about the life experience for those who receive and walk in this new life. He had the revelation that Jesus carried everything so we wouldn’t have to, but his own life demonstrated that faith in Christ would be greatly threatened from within and without. For every challenge, though, there was an overcoming. A young man’s death from his lengthy teaching resulted in a much encouraging resurrection. Each plot against him was turned into another ministry opportunity. He was also aware of the perilous dangers of false teaching and was driven to defend the body for whom Jesus gave His life against those threats. He willingly faced certain imprisonment, clearly understanding that he would no longer see those he so passionately loved and cared for. His “more-than-overcoming” was not for lack of opposition by any means. What he was so faithfully building, apparently, wasn’t something that could be held up as an earthly accomplishment for his own personal gratification, but rather, like Christ, strengthening each member to be a part of that great temple for God’s occupation and glory.

While there are promises that drive our faith and authority for every aspect of living an abundant life, personal gain is not the mission, the goal, or the aim for those committed to kingdom service. A much greater purpose drives the motives of those truly caring for Jesus’ prize. Dedication to Him and His body will not go without direct threats from the enemy by those assailing it from the outside and those who are his agents on the inside. With this clear understanding, however, will also come an equipping to effectively overcome every threat and be a part of the eternal purpose of the Father. Rather than drawing back in the least, seeking to avoid, or becoming defeated by the enemy’s movements, there can be an identity of undefeated power in the face of his most diabolical scheming with a Spirit lead and empowered response. Knowing this mark, though, and remaining fixed on it through come what may, will disable any diversionary tactics and ensure victory through any battle.

1 year ago

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