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Act 20-1,2

(138j) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Exhortation >> Exhorting the people to remain true to the Lord – Paul left Macedonia and went to Greece after exhorting the disciples to remain true to the Lord (Act 11-23). The word “exhort” is fairly commonly used in the Bible but is not often used anywhere else, and for that reason we consider it a biblical term. Exhort is akin to “encouragement”, only it is a stronger word. We give encouragement to those who are faithful to the Lord that they might continue in the faith, whereas an exhortation encourages us to increase beyond our current faithfulness. In Paul’s day, believing in Jesus meant there was a possibility they would have to forfeit their lives for the cause of faith, because persecution was intense, not just on the leaders but also on the followers of Jesus. Today, however, the Church has integrated into the world and become an entity of the state, and persecution has for the most part subsided. Some Christians still suffer verbal and physical abuse because of their faith, but the government itself supposedly supports freedom of religion, so legally if somebody persecutes us, he can be charged with crimes against our freedom to practice religion. That is, there are laws against persecution, and that makes it easy to be a Christian, and for that reason there are all kinds of people in America who claim to believe in Jesus. In fact, just about everybody when asked will claim to believe in Him, but if the Church were pressed the way it was pressed in the first century, the vast majority of those who claim to believe in God would immediately crumble, like the seed that was sown on rocky soil. Christians in the book of Acts are not the same caliber as Christians today. We read the book of Acts and compare our faith to theirs, calling ourselves brethren with those who suffered, but in truth there is no comparison. The disciples of the First Century were far more committed to the faith than most of us.

Act 20,3-16

(251a) Priorities >> God’s prerequisites >> Making plans >> Making plans according to the will of God >> Making plans within the boundaries of God’s will – The uproar in the theater took place in Ephesus; then after exhorting the brethren he left for Macedonia. The statement is true that the richness of life is in the journey and not so much in the destination, which is usually anticlimactic. On his way Paul encountered many experiences and led many people to the Lord and encouraged many Christians in the faith. Then he went to Greece, and he spent three months there. We should not concern ourselves so much with our goals as much as the journey we take to get there. The narrow way that God has prepared for each of us is the journey, and our goal is to walk this trail, but if we refuse, we will fail to benefit from this life. People set goals for themselves and beat themselves half to death getting there, and they don’t bother bearing any fruit or learning any lessons or smelling any roses along the way. They figure life hasn’t started until they reach nirvana, but the truth is life is lived along the trail we took to get there. See also: Trail of good works (Omitting righteousness is the cause of sin); Col 3-13; 124e

Act 20,7-12

(147g) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Raising the dead

Act 20-9,10

(123k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Being in love with the body of Christ >> Physical affection with spiritual motives – Apparently Paul was longwinded; he loved God’s people; he obviously had a lot to say to encourage them. He was rich in telling stories about his experiences and teaching them the Scriptures. Most of the epistles were written by Paul, which we consider the word of God, and in fact he knew the letters he was writing to the Churches were the word of God (1The 2-13), and he knew they would be preserved for generations after him to read. Paul was excited about God and His word and about Christianity and evangelism and about bringing the gospel to as many people as possible. He was so completely absorbed in these things that he lost a night's sleep ministering to the people, and the next day left for Troas. He left them with a miracle of returning the boy’s life to him, hence putting the exclamation mark on everything he said that night.

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Act 20-11

(130a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Being in one accord >> Communion

(137m) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Maturity >> Maturing with our brothers >> Employing your gifts to mature the body (Spiritual fellowship) – They broke bread frequently; most churches call it communion, which implies a ceremony, whereas in this case breaking bread referred to spiritual fellowship, which is similar to communion. People couldn’t seem to get enough of Christianity in the early days of the Church. Where is the excitement nowadays, staying up all night and talking about Jesus? The church needs revival like no other time; our faith has regressed to a lot of doctrines and rituals. We are no better than Israel who refused to walk in their old covenant, so when their Messiah finally came, they didn't recognize Him. The Jews hardly believe in anything anymore and we could just about say the same for ourselves. Maybe we believe in a lot of false doctrines and that's why we have slumped into apostasy, since there is really no point in strongly believing a lie. How can we expect God to bless our lack of enthusiasm? We think God should be pleased with us because we went to church; we socialized but we didn’t actually talk about Jesus; we talked about things other than our faith. How can we call that spiritual fellowship?

Act 20-12

(228b) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> Comforted >> God comforts you in times of adversity >> He comforts you in your grief

Act 20-16

(76i) Thy kingdom come >> Desires of your heart >> Your interests – Paul avoided Ephesus, being where the big commotion occurred in the theater (Act 19,23-34), and he was earnestly desiring to reach Jerusalem before Pentecost to celebrate with the elders of the Church, not just to operate his gift of gab, but also to enjoy spiritual fellowship, a mutual exchange between the brethren. They have devoted their lives to maintaining and developing and nurturing their anointing, spending all their time and energy fanning the flame in their heart. The more we devote ourselves to the Spirit of God who dwells in us, the more He will manifest in our lives and the more we can bless others.

(248c) Priorities >> God’s priorities >> The will of God is sometimes a mystery – Paul’s reasons for going to Jerusalem were complicated. He claimed he wanted to go there to celebrate Pentecost with the elders, which was obviously the case, but it is possible he had other motives besides this. Act 19-21 gives basis for asserting that God led Paul to Jerusalem, "Paul purposed in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem... saying, 'After I have been there, I must also see Rome.'" This decision ended his career as an evangelist and resulted in a long journey that would eventually lead him through the rest of his life. He probably suspected it would happen this way. Celebrating Pentecost in Jerusalem with the elders didn’t seem a big enough reason to risk venturing into the city that “kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her” (Mat 23-37). He was warned many times that if he showed his face in Jerusalem it would not go well with him, so there must have been a bigger reason than Pentecost. Paul didn’t tell his companions the real reason he was doing this; in fact, his true motives were not even clear in Scripture, so it is possible that not even Paul knew why he was going there. This is how it seems to us when God works to change the circumstance in our lives for good. The will of God is a strange and a complicated thing; it is not always straightforward, if ever, probably because there is always a composite of God’s will and our will entwined. As a consequence of this action Paul was locked in prison for years where he wrote most of his epistles. This is the first known prison sentence Paul faced, so basically half the New Testament resulted from this decision, sounding like it was indeed the will of God that Paul went to Jerusalem. Much as Paul loved adventure, preaching the gospel and teaching the brethren, he may not have ever gotten around to writing the epistles of the New Testament that we read today. He turned the world upside-down for Jesus, and it was good that he jumpstarted the Church this way, but if that is all he did, his influence may have fizzled into obscurity. God sat him down, for he was not about to sit on his own. He was a man of action, so to tell him to sit down was indeed a prison sentence. God had to throw him in jail so he could concentrate on writing letters to the Churches he had visited throughout his missionary journeys, which became the epistles of the New Testament. In them he penned down the doctrines that he taught, lest they forget. Without many of the doctrines that Paul infused into the Church through his writings, it probably would not have lasted these 2000 years. See also: Paul goes to Jerusalem; Act 24,1-9; 202a

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Act 20,17-38

(5c) Responsibility >> Advocate God’s cause >> Disciples finish the course

(102m) Thy kingdom come >> Faithfulness (Loyalty) >> Loyalty is unswerving – Paul was bound in spirit for Jerusalem. God had plotted a course for him (Act 23-11), though we all know he could have disobeyed and not gone, but Paul wasn’t the kind of person to disobey a direct order from the Lord. Within the parameters of obedience, Paul had no choice but to go to Jerusalem, for disobedience and rebellion were simply not an option; he would rather die than disobey the Lord even on the smallest point. If God told him to go into the temple at Jerusalem shared with gospel-hating Jews, that is exactly what he did. Paul spent years in prison; he could have used this time more effectively as an evangelist preaching the gospel and going on other missionary journeys, yet God saw it more necessary to write his epistles for us who would believe in Jesus after the apostles fell asleep.

(139b) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> The adversity of our brothers encourages us

(236i) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Invest in the treasures of the kingdom >> Invest in the gospel

Act 20,17-36

(138l) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Exhortation >> Admonishments – Paul was putting the elders of the Church on notice about how they should behave, reminding them of his standard of a clear conscience and a blameless reputation that he was unwilling to let anyone intimidate him from preaching the full message of the gospel. The Church respected their spiritual leaders, and if the gospel required them to give their lives, they would gladly give it. This is what the saints needed in their leaders to whom they entrusted their eternal souls. Martyrdom is the acid test for Christians; if we die trying to save others, then so be it. That was Paul’s attitude, and he wanted the Church to have the same sentiment, because it is the only one that fosters growth in the body of Christ.

Act 20,17-35

(101f) Thy kingdom come >> Zeal >> Fulfill your calling with zeal – Paul admonished the elders to take care of his investment in the saints and protect the gospel from falling into the hands of unprincipled men and zealously pursue the knowledge of God so they didn’t teach amiss. On the one hand, “zeal” is a derogatory word nowadays, associated with fanatics. In contrast, Ambition, though it is synonymous with “zeal”, has a positive connotation, most often used in a business context to describe people who are motivated by money. On the other hand, the biblical use of the word “zeal” has a positive connotation. “Zeal for thy house has consumed Me,” the Psalmist said about Jesus (69-9). Paul was the most zealous disciple of all the apostles, eclipsed only by the leaders of the Great Endtime Revival yet to come, in which 144,000 Jews will lead the gentile church into victory over the antichrist, who will have stored up 2,000 years of zeal in their hearts, and when God releases them, there will be an explosion of Christianity in the world, and they will dictate the true doctrines of the Church for the believers to receive. If anyone rejects the teachings of the 144,000, they simply will not participate in this revival. The church has veered so far from the true teachings of the gospel over the last two millennia that the teachings of the Jewish zealots will be unrecognizable by most denominations of Christianity, and the vast majority of the Church will reject their teaching and reject the revival and reject God’s purpose for themselves, just as they have done throughout their Christian lives. They never did the will of God, but were interested only in believing doctrines that appealed to their flesh that disavowed them of any responsibility for their own behavior. See also: Great Endtime Revival (Jews will manage the gospel at the end of the age); 2Cor 11-22; 148d

(152b) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Apostles >> Commitment to the cause proves apostleship

(235k) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> All things are for your sake >> We are fighting for you >> Our effort is for your sake

Act 20,17-32

(44d) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Complete >> Finish the course

Act 20,17-30

(233k) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the glory of God >> Seek His glory without wavering >> Seek His glory through hardship

Act 20,17-27

(6c) Responsibility >> Advocate God’s cause >> Jesus’ yoke of evangelism

(7d) Responsibility >> Protecting the gospel >> Defend the word by preaching it

(11l) Servant >> Paul’s example of ministry When Paul’s missionary adventures led him to a new region, he would immediately find the Jewish synagogue in that area and preach the gospel to whomever was in attendance, who were mostly Jews. This was his first point of action and a very effective manner of dispensing the gospel for two important reasons: it was a public speaking place where he was allowed to go and share his thoughts, and the gospel belonged to the Jew first. The Jews would often cause a ruckus, getting the attention of the gentiles who were second on Paul’s list. However, the Jews remained a thorn in Paul’s side throughout his life, who persecuted him from town to town, causing friction, making up stories about him and denigrating the word of God.

Act 20,17-19

(73a) Authority >> Hierarchy of authority >> Authority makes you accountable >> Kingdom of God is opposite of the world

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Act 20,18-27

(100b) Thy kingdom come >> Perseverance >> Persevere in preaching the gospel – Paul was prepared to become a martyr for the Lord, being something God probably placed in his heart on the day of his salvation along the road to Damascus, based on what God said to Ananias in Act 9-16, “I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” There has been an ongoing debate as to the object of Paul’s thorn in the flesh; the most likely candidate was the Jewish persecution that followed him from town to town, who constantly ridiculed him and got him in trouble with the authorities; he was whipped, beaten and imprisoned for years at a time, and it was almost all to do with the Jews.

(122i) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Boldness in adverse circumstances >> Speak the truth in the face of adversity

Act 20,18-24

(129l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Being in one accord >> Single minded >> Going to any limit to fulfill God’s will -- These verses go with verse 31

Act 20,18-21

(142i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Having a reputable ministry >> A reputation of ministry in the word -- These verses go with verses 31-38

(143d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> Paul ministered publicly When Paul used the word “publicly,” he mostly meant teaching in Jewish synagogues, otherwise where could he go to teach and preach the gospel without violating public laws, as in the case of our own time. Although each synagogue had an official, his office was not like that of a church pastor, who is usually the only voice people hear from week to week. Those who stand behind modern-day church pulpits must have authority to teach and preach the word of God, and they receive this authority from accredited seminary colleges where they earn large degrees in theology. This is to protect the assembly from nefarious heretics who would like to introduce their toxic doctrines into the Church’s belief system. The problem with this setup is that if heresy did somehow creep in, it is almost impossible to expel it. Jewish synagogues did not have such an arrangement; rather, anyone who had something to say could speak his mind to whomever was in attendance. This indicates a de-emphasized leadership within Jewish synagogues, but the early church held a much greater emphasis on leadership, which has remained to this day. However, there were advantages to having de-emphasized leadership; it gave freedom to anyone who had something to say, providing opportunity for gifted people to speak their mind. Home Bible studies are closest relative to the Jewish synagogue with one exception: unlike Jewish synagogues home Bible studies are a private setting; those who attend must know a Bible study is held at that house and be invited. Israel did have a centralized ministry to represent the people before God called the Levitical priesthood, which was similar to the modern-day church. So Israel had both official and unofficial forms of worship, which is similar to churches that promote home Bible studies.

Act 20-18,19

(165h) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Hardship >> The hardship of persecution

Act 20,19-24

(76j) Thy kingdom come >> Desires of your heart >> Desiring to do the will of God -- These verses go with verse 31

Act 20-19

(77i) Thy kingdom come >> Tapping into the power of God through humility >> The most humble are the greatest servants -- This verse goes with verse 31

(128e) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Gentleness >> Be gentle in all your ways >> Put gentleness in your character -- This verse goes with verse 31

Act 20,20-24

(148a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Solemnly testify about the grace of God – The grace teaching nowadays is very shrewd; they say that if we feel guilty for sinning, that is a sin too. Therefore, when they talk about guilt, they are referring to false guilt, but the Bible teaches that guilt is real. Guilt pertains to conscience, and conscience is how we communicate with God after we have sinned, so we can repent and reaffirm our connection with Him, which is also how God communicates with us. Many Christians nowadays live by a guilty conscience from unrepentant sin that they intend to commit again, and they are hoping that God is okay with it, but the person who is truly seeking God lives under repentance, not under sin.

Act 20-20,21

(85l) Thy kingdom come >> Belief >> Treating the knowledge of God as fact >> Believing the Son by obeying the Father >> Obeying the law by faith in the cross >> Obedience represents our faith – Repenting toward others is one thing, and repenting toward God is another. Repenting toward others means to confess our sins. James advised this in order that we might be healed (Jm 5-16), though we should be careful when confessing our sins to others, since it is a trust issue and not everyone can be trusted, but we can tell God anything, since He already knows. God is not a prude; He is not going to gasp in horror at what we have said and done; in fact, we are more likely to gasp over our own confession. He wants to hear us repent out loud as the first step in eradicating the sin. Even if we fall back into it again, it is not the end of our relationship with God; we just keep repenting and continue serving Him. God desires us to be free from bondage, but He knows we cannot be totally free until we are finally rid of this body of sin. Striving to be sinless is not a reasonable goal, but freedom through repentance is reasonable and expected.

(193c) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Repent >> Turn from your evil ways >> Turn to God – Paul did not shrink from declaring to both Jews and Greeks the repentance that leads to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, but what is left of our gospel today but a giant blood bath of Christ’s flesh splattered on the big screen sacrificed for man’s forgiveness, leaving no room for a biblical repentance-based grace. James said, “faith without works is dead.” Repentance doesn’t carry the weight today that it did in Paul’s day, and it shows in our churches and in the present condition of the world today. Many Christians have become comfortable with their lives, believing Jesus will forgive them, and He will, but the Bible says also, “If we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries” (Heb 10-26,27). So, there is a balance that Christianity has lost. Although grace is good, being that it is the very means by which we will enter the gates of heaven, yet if our faith in His grace is not accompanied by repentance, there is no proof that we actually believe. The Bible teaches that if we can’t prove our faith so our neighbor can see it, then how do we know it is real? Faith and repentance are shown together throughout the New Testament. John the Baptist taught it; Paul taught it here; Peter, James and John all taught it; even Jesus taught repentance. Every writer of the New Testament taught repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but in today’s age of easy-believism repentance toward God is silenced and faith in Jesus is extolled.

Act 20-20

(124g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Acts of love >> Love cherishes discipline

(139g) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> We build the temple through Christ -- This verse goes with verses 28-32 

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Act 20,22-31

(189g) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Martyr >> Martyrs witness to the life of God

Act 20,22-27

(188c) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Suffering >> Growing pains >> Growing outwardly

Act 20,22-25

(213e) Sovereignty >> God is infinite >> Jesus owns you >> We are his instruments >> We are tools in the hand of God >> We are transmitters of His kingdom

Act 20,22-24

(95i) Thy kingdom come >> Attitude >> Having an obedient attitude >> Attitude of a servant

(105la) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Led by the Spirit into the wilderness >> Wilderness of pain

(106i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Means of hearing from God >> Through prophets

(192b) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Gain by losing >> Life for life >> Losing your life to gain God’s purpose

(216f) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> Compelled by the Spirit >> God forces His bond-servants to do His will – Paul had a very earnest desire to save the Jews, though he was called to the gentiles. He was a Jew himself, a Pharisee of Pharisees, one of the colleagues of the very people he went to Jerusalem to save, who relentlessly persecuted him. The religious establishment of Israel was so stubborn, hard-hearted and close-minded that when Saul saw the light on the road to Damascus and went into town to recover from his experience and then started preaching Jesus to the people who lived in Damascus, they wanted to kill him the very first week of his conversion. These were the kind of people who had Jesus crucified. When we look at Paul’s life and his walk with God, it was clear that he was compelled by the Spirit in everything he did, meaning that he was not in control of his own life. In other words, he was a bondservant of Christ Jesus. There are many Christians in the Church but few bondservants. They don’t recognize having a will of their own, but have entirely given themselves to Christ and have become available to Him, prepared to do whatever He wants. However, we cannot say that God forces bondservants to do His will, except by His love. This means that if they didn’t do His will, their relationship with Him would suffer, and they couldn’t take that. They could take more abundant labors, prison, “stripes above measure, and in deaths often. Five times I received forty stripes minus one from the Jews. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I suffered shipwreck. I have been a night and a day in the deep. I have been in travels often, perils of rivers, perils of robbers, perils from my countrymen, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils among false brothers; in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, and in cold and nakedness (2Cor 11,23-27). Paul could take all that, but he couldn’t take Christ stepping away from him because of sin. Just like drug addicts follow their pushers and seek ways of securing money any way they can to buy their drug of choice. They are willing to sacrifice every relationship, every family member, their wives and children, their homes and careers for the next high. Bondservants are the same with the Holy Spirit, only opposite. God doesn’t normally lead them to sacrifice their families; rather, He leads them to do things that bring people together, mending and establishing relationships, but they don’t come easily. Some kind of proof needs to be presented before trust can solidify and bonds form, and for Christians their proof is faith.

(227i) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> Dependence on Jesus >> Depending on Jesus to impart His gifts into us >> He gives us what we give to the world

Act 20-22

(251b) Priorities >> God’s prerequisites >> Making plans >> Making plans according to the will of God >> Making plans according to the counsel of His will

Act 20,24-27

(42e) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Be like Jesus >> Innocent before God

(117h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Eyes of your spirit >> Vision >> Real-eyes God’s purpose >> Understand God’s purpose for your life – Paul’s straightforward motives for wanting to go to Jerusalem were many. He wanted to celebrate his Jewish heritage, which he had neglected for years in fear of his fellow countrymen; last time he was in Jerusalem they almost killed him (Act 9-29). Also, he had friends in Jerusalem, the elders, many consisting of the original apostles who managed the Church. He also wanted to worship in the temple, plus he had an earnest desire to see the Jews saved, though he determined to speak to no one while visiting the temple. Before the end of his life, he wanted to see the Jews receive the gospel of Christ. He was afraid the Jews would ultimately reject the gospel, which essentially they did, so Paul’s fears were realized. He knew that if the Jews accepted Christ as their Messiah, they would better manage the gospel and incorporate the Old Testament to show the gospel’s history. The Jews would have done a better job creating a culture of believing in Jesus through the Old Testament. Instead, the gentiles don’t believe in Jesus through the Old Testament; we believe in Him through the New. We have neglected the premise of the gospel. Another thing that the Church lost by the Jews rejecting the gospel is the Jewish zeal. Nobody is more zealous for their faith than the Jewish people. See also: Israel rejected the gospel; 1The 2,14-16; 24i

Act 20-24

(32b) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Grace >> Word of His grace

(71j) Authority >> Ordained by God >> God ordains us through His commandments -- This verse goes with verse 28

(93c) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way >> You will find your ministry along the narrow way

(115d) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through your ministry >> Through your calling >> In preaching the gospel

(219j) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Predestination >> God’s calling is our destiny

Act 20-26

(250d) Priorities >> God’s prerequisites >> Sequence of priorities >> In all things ... >> Be innocent of all Evil

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Act 20,28-35

(5m) Responsibility >> Jesus’ yoke of obedience >> Our obligation to shepherd the flock – Paul admonished his future pastors that they should model their ministries after him, knowing one day he would take his leave of them and they would take his place in caring for the Church. He needed to develop a people who had a heart to fulfill their calling. He wanted to build leaders with whom he spent considerable time and effort training them, instilling a will to serve God by serving the people. In contrast, Phi 2-20,21 says, “For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. [He couldn't find them, so he had to make them] For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.” He warned them to be on their guard for the flock. It is much easier to protect the flock from intruders than it is to protect them from ourselves. For this reason Paul advised his leaders not to trust themselves, but to vigilantly question their motives and continually monitor their hearts, making sure they were serving Him and not themselves. We have a strong tendency to follow our sinful nature and get sidetracked, turning our ministry inwardly and making it about ourselves instead of serving Christ.

(7h) Responsibility >> Defend God’s cause >> Protecting the Church – The Church, the grace of God and faith in Jesus are like a flower; they are very delicate, beautiful and easily crushed. People think the Church is robust; it is still here after 2000 years, and people are still being saved and destined for heaven, but unity, which is a product of grace is very fragile. We can baptize someone in water, in repentance, in the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ, which is has been replicated in millions of people over thousands of years, but the anointing that is supposed to result from this ceremony has been crushed and is all but dead. God will not reveal Himself in those who don’t want to know Him.

(44l) Judgment >> Transformation process >> Fulfill your ministry >> Make sacrifices – Paul made sacrifices in his ministry, that he might edify the people. He taught them with tears in his eyes, because he knew that some of them would turn against the saints like wolves and seek personal gain from the gospel. Although Paul said in 1Cor 9-14, “The Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel,” and Jesus said in Lk 10-7, “The laborer is worthy of his wages” (see also 1Tim 5-18), yet there is a point when this becomes abuse, and that point is when the pastor has a higher standard of living than his parishioners. Actually the point is long before that. Pastors get paid relatively well for their services, whereas in Paul’s day they didn’t get paid any more than widows and orphans. Pastors nowadays have it pretty good often compared to people in his church; this is a great evil. The pastor should live at or below the standard of the average member of his church, and if they won't, it indicates that people are unwilling to make sacrifices for the sake of their faith in the gospel. Future generations will ultimately hang their souls on the version of the gospel we hand to them; therefore, we should be walking in the fear of the Lord. As it is, though, easy-believism has invited all sorts of people to our congregations, many who don’t have the slightest interest in serving God. The result is they have diluted the true believers in a cesspool of unbelief, and the true Christians are hemorrhaging from the Church, concentrating unbelief between the Church walls all the more.

Act 20,28-32

(139g) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> We build the temple through Christ -- These verses go with verse 20

Act 20,28-31

(46g) Judgment >> Spiritual warfare >> Fall of Satan >> Removing Satan’s obstructions

(49d) Judgment >> Those who are unfruitful in His kingdom are destroyed – The Church has forgotten the promises of God, for there are things He offers that far outweigh anything the world can offer, such as peace of mind and a clear conscience. The scope of the problem becomes clear when we realize that the will of God is something we must all pursue together, and the Church is fragmented. Individuals can seek the Lord and achieve minor victories in their personal lives, but hardly change the world, for the true power of God is found in unity according to Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer.

(79c) Thy kingdom come >> Renewing your mind >> Compromising your convictions – Paul wasn’t just saying farewell to the people he loved; he called them together primarily to hold them responsible for the Church, saying they were about to lose their leader and they would need to fill the gaping hole that he would leave. The leaders of the Church had been riding on the coattails of Paul’s zeal and love for God possibly without even knowing it, and they were about to lose him, and for them to serve God with a lesser commitment would open the door for wolves, like ringing the dinner bell for the next generation of hirelings to take up positions of leadership, causing the Church to fall into disrepute. Paul was in Miletus and sent a messenger to call for the elders of the Church at Ephesus, where he would deliver a farewell message to them. He was headed for Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost, and the Jews would capture him there, beginning a long journey that would lead him to Rome. See also: Wolves; 204d

(83m) Thy kingdom come >> Be on the alert >> Remain on duty >> Be on guard – The number one thing we should do as Christians is stay on the alert, which is something Jesus mentioned perhaps more often than anything else, except maybe developing the hearing ear, and both are tied to the teaching of endtimes. We have the Spirit of God dwelling in us; we can hear Him for ourselves, but to do that we must stay alert in prayer. We are to keep our hearing ear sharp, so we are not left in the dark, having to learn the truth from people who would lie to us.

(204d) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Back-slider >> Practicing sin >> The apostasy – Paul was prophesying that the Church would fall away from the faith soon after his departure, not thousands of years later but shortly after his demise, the fulfillment of that prophecy being none other than the Catholic Church. It formed about 200 years after Paul, suggesting that it took approximately three generations for the Church to almost completely forget everything the early church learned and taught. Hence, for Paul to give them a good sendoff hoping it would make a difference was like pointing a toy ship toward the open ocean and giving it a push, hoping it will reach the other side. The church fell into apostasy through a lack of diligence. Church leaders stopped monitoring their hearts, and God’s purpose slowly drifted into uncharted waters. Shepherding the flock of God evolved from a ministry to a business, and to achieve this new goal, spiritual abuse was introduced as the norm. When people live and walk in the flesh, they always arrive at the same conclusions; human pride takes precedence over every other concern, and in their selfish pride they strive for fame and fortune. How can the grace of God operate in an environment like that? Easy-believism disposes of repentance, which is the religion of apostasy. Paul knew apostasy was coming, but it wouldn't happen on his watch or even among those he personally trained. He hoped they would train others to perpetuate obedience and faithfulness, and so delay the inevitable. Paul wanted his replacements to be just like him, to have his heart, longing and zeal, but he also knew there would always be a lack from generation to generation and they would not fully commit to the grace of God, hence the seed of apostasy spouted. Now here we are at the end of the age with the Church devoid of the Spirit, embracing only rituals, ceremonies, programs and buildings, iconic to Israel prior to being captured and carried away in bondage to Babylon. See also: Catholicism; Act 20,28-30; 177g / Wolves; Act 20,28-30; 177g

(247d) Priorities >> God’s priorities >> God’s interests >> Concern >> Caring about the body of Christ – Paul was very blatant about his position with Christ as an apostle; he was beyond proud of it, beyond boastful. He would stand in anybody’s face and proclaim his place with God; he had a level of confidence and boldness that bordered on arrogance. Many people in fact viewed him as arrogant, but his humility of heart tempered his boldness and nullified his arrogance, so the fruit of the Spirit was all they saw, but to scoundrels Paul was a watchdog. He was a wolverine among wolves. We know what a pack of wolves can do, but a wolverine will attack a bear and send him on his way. No animal wants anything to do with a wolverine; it could kill a wolf without much trouble, and they are bold enough to take on a whole pack of wolves. Paul was a protector of the Church from the wolves of his day, and they knew better than to tamper with the Church while Paul was alive, because he would get wind of it. If he met them face-to-face, he would rip them to shreds with the sword of his mouth, as Jesus tore into the Pharisees.

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Act 20,28-30

(16g) Sin >> Man’s willingness to be evil >> Instinctively acting against righteousness

(25i) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Thief >> Someone stealing from you

(172c) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Tares among the wheat >> Devils among the saints >> Wolves among the sheep – Had Paul risked his life going on all his missionary journeys, yet had he made no converts, it would have been pointless. Likewise, had he made converts but none of them obeyed the Lord, his efforts would still have been in vain. He even said this was one of his greatest fears, that he would go through all this trouble and the Church would simply fall away from the faith. Paul blamed the leaders of the Church for the sheep going astray. The church needs strong leadership, but strong leadership does not mean heavy handed, except on themselves, setting good examples. Paul set that example, and he trained men to be good examples, who would not only teach the people, but also show them how to live and walk and obey the Lord, but he also knew others who have a heart trained in greed would one day replace those he personally trained.

(177g) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> False doctrine >> Doctrines of demons – Wolves intended to rise against the flock and speak perverse things to draw away the disciple after them from the beginning; perhaps some were present at Paul’s farewell address. The gospel was corrupted even before the Catholic Church was formed in AD 300; otherwise, how could Catholicism have gotten a foothold? Just as there was a devil among Jesus' twelve disciples, so there were devils among the elders at Ephesus and elsewhere who sensed freedom to work their carnage into the Church, and the next generation added more carnage to the gospel to draw away the disciples after them. The very first aspect of the gospel they lost was the anointing. The grace God gives for us to rise above our fleshly maladies is the same grace we use to perform His will, the more besetting weaknesses, the more spiritual unction, but eventually the anointing was truncated from the doctrines of the Church and replaced with irresponsible teachings that make up the many denominations we have today. Man found a way to shove the responsibility of our own behavior back on God, so all we have to do is believe a set of doctrines to get to heaven. See also: Catholicism; Act 20-30; 22l / Wolves; Act 20-29,30; 180f

(197k) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Man withers when he is in control >> Unfaithfulness >> Unfaithful to the brethren – The gospel of the kingdom minus faithfulness equals mental ascent, like James said, “faith without works is dead” (Jm 2-17). Paul’s core message to the elders that day warned that if they did not invest everything into the gospel of Christ, the Church would suffer, suggesting that apostasy starts within the leadership and trickles down to the congregation.

Act 20-28

(37g) Judgment >> Redemption of man >> His blood is the gift of His grace

(43d) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Conform to the ministry of Christ’s church -- This verse goes with verse 31

(71j) Authority >> Ordained by God >> God ordains us through His commandments -- This verse goes with verse 24

(105j) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Led by the Spirit into the truth >> Led into the mind of Christ Paul said that the holy Spirit made them overseers of the Church; they did not receive their leadership role based on a theology degree at seminary school. God of the new covenant does everything by His Spirit, who dwells in us. He has caused us to be born-again and leads us into our ministries. This was true even of the old covenant, as Zechariah 4-6 testifies, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.” Where is the teaching of the Holy Spirit today? Disproportionate Bible teaching is about all we know in these last days, preached by the very kind of people whom Paul exposed in his farewell address, who have exploited the Church starting almost immediately after Paul boarded the ship and have continued to take advantage of the people of God to this day. Thanks to false prophets who lie and heretics who spread their lies, doctrines have survived for centuries that flatter us but do not instruct us to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness (1Tim 4-7).

(213k) Sovereignty >> God is infinite >> Jesus owns you >> His will becomes our will >> We are bought with a price – What the Church needs more than ever is the true knowledge that only God can reveal. We need to possess something from heaven, for to live a godly life is nothing less than miraculous. Man in his sinful flesh has been called to repent from all the things that his flesh loves, and to embrace many things that his flesh hates. Since we have the Holy Spirit dwelling is us, we possess something that loves God, and by that we can do his will, and it is dependent on the leaders of the Church whether these things ever happen. Sheep need a shepherd, otherwise they are lost. They don’t know what to do; they don’t know where to go. Sheep are domesticated animals, creatures made by the hand of God, but tempered by man to follow a shepherd. There is a Good Shepherd, and all the pastors and ministers of God’s church are stewards of the One, and they are called to lead His people, not for their own purposes, but for His.

(240b) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Pastor (Shepherd) >> Pastor has a shepherd’s heart

(253ec) Trinity >> Relationship between Father and Son >> Jesus is equal with the Father >> Jesus has all the internal qualities of the Father >> Jesus is God in heaven

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Act 20,29-31

(184g) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Abusing the grace of God >> Spending His grace on your pleasures >> Abusing your position – Paul knew that wolves were coming to savagely tear into the saints as he talked to the pastoral staff with tears in his eyes about how to manage God's people. He told them that he worked with his hands to supply his own needs as a tent maker. Although Paul did receive help on many occasions, yet the vast majority of revenue collected he invested right back into the ministry, taking only what he needed for himself. Paul was concerned about people abusing the gospel and using it for personal gain because he knew the doctrines of the Church would ultimately suffer. Greed creates an environment for heresy, in that the pastor now must invent a reason for profiting from the gospel. Unquestionably, the most common and destructive heresies have been introduced into the Church as a result of seeking the unrighteous mammon. The doctrines of easy-believism were spawned from the love of money by the simple fact that it is easier to make people willing to become members of their churches and give their money when they hear that giving is their only requirement. The most popular doctrine of easy-believism is an overuse of the teaching of God’s grace. We have people talking about Jesus as though He were the candy man. Many of these doctrines teach that we can live any way we want, so long as we believe a certain set of doctrines that guarantee us a place in heaven. This is how the gospel is taught nowadays: when we meet God, He will give us a theological exam. Quite to the contrary, He will not test our theology but will judge our works! This is not what we are being taught in our churches, though. This overemphasis on grace is the result of pastors taking advantage of the flock and using people as a means of profit, just like Jesus taught in His parable of the unrighteous steward (Lk 16,1-13).

Act 20-29,30

(76b) Thy kingdom come >> Motives >> Seeking authority for security >> Motives based on desire for power

(160d) Works of the devil >> Satan determines the world's direction >> Led by the devil to suppress the word of God >>  Suppressing the truth with false doctrine

(163l) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Entertaining demons >> The church entertains demons

(180f) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Wolves steal, kill and destroy >> Killing the sheep – Paul was talking in what amounts to a pastor’s conference, admonishing them to shepherd the flock of God and to be on the lookout for worthless men who would not spare the saints, “speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.” We too are to be on guard for these same kind of people, because they speak flattering words, tempting us to believe things that are easy to believe, tantalizing the flesh, but contradicting the Scriptures. Once they have hooked us, they just reel us in like fish. This suggests there were probably men in attendance at Paul's farewell address who may have known someone who was a devil in disguise, who intended to taint the gospel of Christ with false doctrine. This translates to corruption in the first and second century; the process had already begun replacing the true doctrines of the faith with godless heresy. If they whom the apostles hand-picked and trained cannot be trusted, who can we trust in our day after the gospel has been splintered into overt denominationalism and cultic practices? We have the Bible right in front of us and still we can’t seem to read it for what it says. See wolves: Act 20,28-31; 79c

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Act 20-30

(22l) Sin >> Pride glorifies self >> Seeking the glory of man – History tells that Constantine, the emperor of Rome around 312 AD just before going to war with Maxentius, attributed his wartime victory to a vision he had of a cross accompanied by the words, “With this sign, you will conquer.” From that point Constantine invited the Church to rank among the idols and collective Roman gods. Christianity became the emperor’s religion of choice, preferring it over the others, and it grew to become the official religion of Rome. Viciously persecuted during the first couple centuries of its inception, the Christianity conceded to Rome, becoming an entity of the state, rather than continue being bludgeoned, but God wanted His church to remain distinct from the world. Prior to these days, the saints refused to participate in the world, bringing on much persecution, and they had no way of defending themselves. They were truly sheep going to slaughter, and they were getting tired of poverty, mistreatment, being in fear of their lives and constantly on the run. When Paul said, “From among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them,” this was a pre-Constantine prophecy that was ultimately fulfilled by him and his ilk. People within the Church who had the gift of gab but not the gift of eternal life, took charge of the Church and walked away from the true faith. See also: Catholicism (Constantine); 161k / Rom 1-8; 172e

(161k) Works of the devil >> Satan determines the world's direction >> Carried Away >> Carried away by religion – Satan was after the anointing when he attacked the early church, being the spiritual manifestation of God’s kingdom, founded on obedience to the Holy Spirit. When the Church walks in the Spirit, Satan has no power over it, yet it wasn’t long before this anointing was erased from church history but not from the Scriptures. Paul said that in order for Satan to get rid of the anointing, false teachers had to infiltrate the Church and the things they had to say to butcher the anointing were in his view perverse. They said that the word of God did not belong to the people but to the leaders of the Church, being essentially the message of Catholicism, and Paul said this was perverse, not just false! Even more perverted was the doctrines they put in place of the truth. Their message became something like this: ‘Since the anointing is no longer available, we have almost no choice but to sin.’ Of course these false teachers said this exposing their own lack of relationship with God, but the Church had already regressed to a point that they could not dispute it. These are some of the tactics that false teachers used before the Roman emperor, Constantine, assimilated the Church into Roman culture. After the Church had given up the nucleus of Christianity, the prospect of persecution seemed unbearable, because without the anointing, which acts as the mortar between the bricks of the Church establishing unity, there is no real reason to endure it. If they could experience God in a way that established His Kingdom in the physical realm, they could deal with persecution, but after the anointing was excavated, suffering became a theological conundrum. How were they supposed to bear under sorrow when there was no incentive to do it? For this reason the Church surrendered to Catholicism. See also: Catholicism; Act 20,28-31; 204d

(179i) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Unworthy servant >> Unworthy because of unfaithfulness

(198e) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Ordained by man >> Men place themselves in positions of authority >> Men raising up men

(199f) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Rejecting Christ >> Throwing God away >> Rejecting Christ to steal His glory

(204b) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Back-slider >> Practicing sin >> Going astray

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Act 20,31-38

(123j) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Being in love with the body of Christ >> Weeping in the Spirit – There are those in the Church today who have a grievance against Paul; they make negative comments about him that he was heavy-handed, an authoritarian and that he had bad attitudes about women, etc., but the people who knew him best loved him most. 2000 years later we think we know him better than those who lived in his time, who heard his voice and repeatedly kissed him and wept over the words that they would never see his face again. Paul was spiritually in love with God and His people, and they trusted him implicitly. Every corner of Paul’s heart was filled with encouragement for them and giving. They needed Paul and loved him, and if they could keep him from boarding that ship they would have done it, just so they could have him a little longer, but they knew he would eventually be taken from them.

(142i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Having a reputable ministry >> A reputation of ministry in the word -- These verses go with verses 18-21

(234d) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the glory of God >> Seeking the glory of the body of Christ

Act 20-31,32

(11m) Servant >> Paul’s example of love for the Church

Act 20-31

(43d) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Conform to the ministry of Christ’s church -- This verse goes with verse 28

(76j) Thy kingdom come >> Desires of your heart >> Desiring to do the will of God -- This verse goes with verses 19-24

(77i) Thy kingdom come >> Tapping into the power of God through humility >> The most humble are the greatest servants -- This verse goes with verse 19

(128e) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Gentleness >> Be gentle in all your ways >> Put gentleness in your character -- This verse goes with verse 19

(129l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Being in one accord >> Single minded >> Going to any limit to fulfill God’s will -- This verse goes with verses 18-24

Act 20-32

(30f) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Favor with God through His word

(32b) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Grace >> Word of His grace

(36j) Gift of God >> Inheritance >> We are heirs through sanctification

(72c) Authority >> Transferring authority >> Men delegate authority by obeying the word

(115e) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through your ministry >> By the word of God – Paul commended them to the word of his grace. In today’s church they truncate "word", commending them only to His grace. People are not very strong in the word of God anymore. They say, ‘I only want to know enough to get saved and go to heaven.’ This was not Paul’s heart, and Peter exhorted us in 2Pet 3-18 to “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” People are losing interest in the Bible and want only His grace, but they don’t know that it is by the word of God that they know about His grace in the first place! Grace and knowledge go hand in hand, for all things happen through knowledge. God involves His word in everything He does. The Bible contains God's word who wants to lift the words off the pages of the Bible and place them in our hearts (2Cor 3-3), so we have a spiritual understanding of Him. See also: Revelation knowledge; 138a / Lost knowledge of the Scriptures; Rom 15-15,16; 191l

(138a) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Maturity >> Maturing by the word of God – Paul was committed to the saints at Ephesus; he spent three years with them, and as a result the Ephesian Church was mature enough to receive the epistle of Ephesians, which in many respects is the most spiritual book in the entire Bible. Paul talked about predestination and the grace of God that He lavished on us, and he talked about the spiritual war that we are battling. He didn’t say these things to every church in his letters. How long would it take to mature a people to the level of the Ephesians today, twenty, thirty years? Would they ever become mature enough to talk about some of the things Paul wrote in the book of Ephesians? No doubt many pastors quote passages from the book of Ephesians in their sermons, and the congregation seems to understand him, which makes it seem they are a mature people, but understanding God’s word on a cognitive level and on a spiritual level are two different levels. If we want to spiritually understand God’s word, we will need to incorporate obedience into our belief system, for that is how God gives the revelation, and this is what set the Ephesians apart from most churches today. Paul talked about the things that the Ephesians understood by revelation because they lived it; by contrast, the Church today doesn’t even understand the meaning of “revelation knowledge.” See also: Revelation knowledge; 115e

(191k) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Set apart >> Set apart by faith in the truth

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Act 20,33-35

(2j) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> get out of His way >> Do not touch the apple of His eye >> Take advantage of no one – Paul so devoted himself to meeting the needs of others that he simply had no time or energy left to take advantage of anyone. This is how we avoid taking advantage of people: we strive to meet their needs instead. If they take advantage of our kindness, at least we are not taking advantage of them, and the Bible says this is what matters. This is the significance of giving: it literally defines us as the people of God. It is important to demonstrate this quality in our character, so we can prove we are the children of God and remove any doubt in the minds of others that our destiny is heaven. God has given us the ability to endure abuse through His grace, being more than enough to sustain us in every situation, so if we are abused in the process of meeting other people’s needs, God will make it up to us, giving back sevenfold what people have taken from us. If we all strive to give more than we receive, no one will suffer lack among His people and the Church will flourish. Those who seek to receive without reciprocating are a drag on the Church. They do not follow after the principles of God. We should question their salvation and expect evil from them instead of good, and we should not trust them. If they are not maturing as Christians, there are reasons for this and none of them are good. Christians are giving people, and if they don't fit this description, then it is questionable they are Christians.

(11k) Servant >> Paul’s example of God’s standard

(100d) Thy kingdom come >> Diligence >> Diligence in your service to others – If we give to people without knowing how they will use our gift, perhaps on drugs and cigarettes, this tends to hinder our giving. God has not called us to throw away our resources on those who will only use us to finance their addictions. The church is an established system that gives to those in need. We could give food, but they could actually sell it for pennies on the dollar to buy drugs; this actually happens! One of the only solutions is to make them meals and have them sit down and watch them eat it, but if we must monitor them so closely, how much in need are they really, and how open are they to the gospel? We should not allow our resources to be so misappropriated. We are simply not called to finance people’s addictions. Rather, we are called to be good stewards of that which God has given us. See also: Hate the addiction before kicking the habit; Jn 12,23-26; 129e

(119g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Debt free

(120j) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Contentment >> Content with your standard of living >> Content with the means God gives you

(124b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Acts of love >> Love takes from the rich and gives to the poor >> love is the act of giving to the poor – This statement was never recorded in the gospels, “It is better to give than to receive.” Helping the weak and unfortunate is how we exercise our faith. It is the very crux of the gospel; it is the very purpose of our knowledge of God; we study the Scriptures so we can learn to be servants. To those who know very little about the Bible it may come as a surprise to learn that God is the servant of all. To know God is to be a servant. God in Christ placed Himself in the lowest position because that is the nature of God, then He was exalted to the highest position because that too is the nature of God. He is both the least and the greatest at the same time, the first and the last, and if we want to know Him, then we must model our lives after Him, and we do that by helping those in need.

(235e) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Tithing >> Offerings >> Help your weaker neighbor (alms)

Act 20-33

(22e) Sin >> Greed takes without consideration for others >> Covetousness

(248i) Priorities >> God’ s preeminence >> Values >> Valuing God >> Do not value things that devalue God

(249b) Priorities >> God’ s preeminence >> Wealth >> True perception of wealth >> Do not trust the carnal perception of wealth >> Do not pursue wealth

Act 20-34,35

(9j) Responsibility >> Strengthen one another >> Bear one another’s burdens

(101j) Thy kingdom come >> Ambition >> Be an ambitious businessman for God >> Ambitious in the business world of this life

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Act 20-35

(58b) Paradox >> Opposites >> It is more blessed to give than to receive – Christianity is all about giving, and for this reason we work in order to have something to share. Hence, the antithesis of Christianity is takers. The last thing Paul wanted was to see people taking from one another without giving in return. If everyone had the attitude of giving, there would always be enough, but there must be this teaching, otherwise people will gravitate instead to shortcuts and let someone else do all the work. Paul wanted them to know that the one who is blessed is the giver. If the taker feels he is more blessed, it only means his mind is twisted to make a mockery of those who obey Christ. Through their fleshly reasoning they logically deduce that doing nothing to help anyone but themselves is their best choice, since there are others working for them. This mentality is born of the devil, being the opposite of God, who only gives. In this way all our needs will be assured, for people will see our giving heart and want to share with us when it is our turn to be in need.

(80f) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word to learn the ways of God >> Understanding His will – Giving should define Christians, because God is a giving person, and we are His sons and daughters. He wants us to exemplify His attributes in our behavior. Although we are highly limited in our resources compared to Him, He still wants us to give, suggesting that we belong to Him because we emulate His giving character. This was Jesus’ way of describing the gospel, and the apostle John taught in much the same way, but Paul had His own way of conveying the gospel, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10-9). There is no greater attribute of God than His enormous, giving heart. God is such a giver that He has literally delegated every aspect of His kingdom to His creation. He has even given us His throne. His throne is a throne of judgment; we will act as judges in eternity, but the final authority belongs to the Father. Therefore, since God is a giving person, we should be too, for we have received His faith.

Act 20,36-38

(83c) Thy kingdom come >> Results of prayer >> Prayer unites the body

(131l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Having soul ties – Paul told his friends that His life was about to change and for this reason they would never see him again. He would spend the rest of his life in prison, except when he finally came to Rome. He ministered the gospel there for a couple years, and after that the biblical record of Paul’s life falls silent, though according to Church history he was brought before Caesar and then martyred with the rest of the apostles (except John) and many other great men of faith. When we think of the deep emotional ties between Paul and His friends, their relationship with God was at the center of it, for if they hadn’t been Christians, they wouldn’t have known each other, suggesting that their depth of emotion was in direct proportion to their faith. In today’s world we have many social friendships, and a lot of them come with emotional ties, yet it is fair to say that few of us really know the depth of emotion that Paul and his friends had for each other. How Paul and his friends felt about each other is not something we can fully understand without living under submission to Christ as they did. Their soul ties went far beyond the social affection we know in our time. If faith means that much to us, it will surely generate emotions that percolate within us from a place in our souls that we rarely visit.

(156d) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of salvation >> Loving your fellow man is evidence of salvation >> Love the brethren Paul was doing everything in His power to represent Jesus Christ on the earth, and he succeeded in large extent, and for this reason the sadness that welled inside he and his friends was almost too much for them to bear. It was like losing a family member. Knowing they would see him in heaven was not consoling, because they had a life here on earth, and they had a mission and a purpose, and they needed him. They weren’t too happy about persecution which was prevalent at the time, but there was a community of saints who were very tight-knit, and Paul was their leader; he is the one who made it all possible, and once he left there would be no one to replace him, and they knew this would result in the degradation of Christianity.

(208k) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Personal relationship >> Being married to God >> Emotional relationship – When the saints heard from Paul that they were going to lose him, they knew it would affect the entire Church. They loved their lives in the faith, and they were rightfully afraid that change would prove negative for the Christian Church. They were not only losing a mentor and a father figure and a pastor and apostle, they were also losing their watchdog (Vs29,30). Any predator wolf that came to snatch away the saints, espousing false doctrine to beguile the people, baiting them with fleshly teachings, would have to go through Paul first. He was not always with them, but they could write him a letter and tell him what was happening, and he would write back and tell them the truth. He occasionally visited them, and when he arrived, he would look-up that person, and by the time he was finished with him, he wished he had never been born. People like this are not saved, and probably beyond hope of salvation, who would try to harm the sheep.

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