The church has been and will be under attack, both from the outside and even from within. Protect yourself by putting God's Word into your mind.
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Acts 20 (ESV)
1 After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia.
2 When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece.
3 There he spent three months,
and when a plot was made against him
by the Jews
as he was about to set sail for Syria,
he decided to return through Macedonia.
4 Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him;
and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus;
and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy;
and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus.
5 These went on ahead
and were waiting for us at Troas,
6 but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.
7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread,
Paul talked with them,
intending to depart on the next day,
and he prolonged his speech until midnight.
8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered.
9 And a young man named Eutychus,
sitting at the window,
into a deep sleep
as Paul talked still longer.
And being overcome by sleep,
he fell down from the third story
and was taken up dead.
10 But Paul went down and bent over him,
and taking him in his arms, said,
“Do not be alarmed,
for his life is in him.”
11 And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten,
he conversed with them a long while,
until daybreak, and so departed.
12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.
13 But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land.
14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene.
15 And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios;
the next day we touched at Samos;
and the day after that we went to Miletus.
16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus,
so that he might not have to spend time in Asia,
for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.
17 Now from Miletus
he sent to Ephesus
and called the elders of the church to come to him.
18 And when they came to him, he said to them:
“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia,
19 serving the Lord with all humility
and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews;
20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable,
and teaching you in public and from house to house,
21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 And now, behold,
I am going to Jerusalem,
constrained by the Spirit,
not knowing what will happen to me there,
23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment 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 course and the ministry
that I received from the Lord Jesus,
to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
25 And now, behold,
I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again.
26 Therefore I testify to you this day
that I am innocent of the blood of all,
27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.
28 Pay careful attention
and to all the flock,
in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers,
to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
29 I know that after my departure
fierce wolves will come in among you,
not sparing the flock;
30 and from among your own selves
will arise men speaking twisted things,
to draw away the disciples after them.
remembering that for three years
I did not cease night or day
to admonish every one with tears.
32 And now I commend you
and to the word of his grace,
which is able to build you up
and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
33 I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.
34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered
to my necessities
and to those who were with me.
35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way
we must help the weak
and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself 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 And there was much weeping on the part of all;
they embraced Paul and kissed him,
38 being sorrowful most of all
because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again.
And they accompanied him to the ship.
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Acts 20 Summary
Luke, the author of Acts, gives a detailed itinerary of the missionary team's trip back to Macedonia.
Their week in Troas is capped off by a meeting together on the Lord's Day (one of the first references to Sunday worship for the early church) in a very warm upper room in which Paul preached for hours. Poor Eutychus can't hack it and falls asleep, which is bad enough (speaking as a preacher), but made even worse by the fact that he was sitting in an open widow three stories up.
After being killed by the fall, Paul miraculously raises him from death. After a brief snack, it was right back to preaching till dawn. Excellent.
As they continued to travel, Paul meets with elders from the Ephesian church. Knowing this will be their last time together, Paul gives an impassioned farewell speech.
In speaking to these elders, Paul gives an ominous warning that fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things (v29-30).
To defend against this Paul gives these men a simple command:
He then charges them to use the one and only weapon available to the church. I think both the ESV & NIV miss the emphasis of this word when they translate what Paul did and is commanding to be done: admonish / warn the people.
The Greek word is a compound of to place in / mind. So the best way to defend the church from deadly attack is to put the truth of God's Word in the minds of Christians.
That's what motivated Paul to preach past midnight that fateful night for young Eutychus.
This is why every Lord's Day we come together twice to read the Bible, sing the Bible and pray the Bible.
And this is why you're reading the Bible five days a week.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who has given you word of His grace;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will faithfully put the Word of God into your mind.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: