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ACTS CHAPTER 20

KJV    NAS

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1-10 After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and when he had exhorted them and taken his leave of them, he left to go to Macedonia. 2 When he had gone through those districts and had given them much exhortation, he came to Greece. 3 And there he spent three months, and when a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. 4 And he was accompanied by Sopater of Berea, the son of Pyrrhus, and by Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. 5 But these had gone on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas. 6 We sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at Troas within five days; and there we stayed seven days. 7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered together. 9 And there was a young man named Eutychus sitting on the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep; and as Paul kept on talking, he was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor and was picked up dead. 10 But Paul went down and fell upon him, and after embracing him, he said, "Do not be troubled, for his life is in him." 

 

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” in the Bible is not often used anywhere else, because its meaning doesn’t really apply in many other cases, and for that reason it is as it were 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, but exhortation is a word that means to go beyond our current status and increase our commitment to the faith, so we are better prepared for whatever comes our way. In Paul’s day, believing in Jesus meant there was a possibility that they would have to forfeit their lives for the cause of faith, because persecution was strong, 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 society; persecution has for the most part subsided. Some people make negative remarks and may even become physical with some Christians because of their faith, but the government itself supports freedom of religion, so legally if somebody persecutes us, he can be charged with crimes against our freedom to practice religion. 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 Jesus spoke about the sower and the seed that fell on rocky soil that fell away, because they were not steadfastly rooted in the rich soil of God’s word. Christians in the book of Acts are not the same caliber of Christian that we have in the Church 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. On his way he encountered many experiences and led many people to the Lord. Now he is in Greece, and he spent three months there. We should not concern ourselves so much with our goals as much as the journeys we take to get there. The narrow way that God has prepared for each of us represents our journey. If we don’t take this road that God had called us to walk, this trail of good works, 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 anything or smelling the roses along the way. They just rush headlong into what they consider their best options, and until they reach their destinations life hasn’t started. For these people life that God has prepared for them will never start, because life is experienced along the trail of good works, on the road that God has prepared for us. Our goal is never as meaningful as the way there; it is usually anticlimactic.

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), that they would most certainly be kept and preserved for generations after him to read. Paul was so 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 the purpose of God that he lost an entire night 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, who fell off the balcony, hence putting the exclamation mark on everything he said that night.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

11-16 When he had gone back up and had broken the bread and eaten, he talked with them a long while until daybreak, and then left. 12 They took away the boy alive, and were greatly comforted. 13 But we, going ahead to the ship, set sail for Assos, intending from there to take Paul on board; for so he had arranged it, intending himself to go by land. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene. 15 Sailing from there, we arrived the following day opposite Chios; and the next day we crossed over to Samos; and the day following 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 in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. 

 

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 breaking bread implies spiritual fellowship. Breaking bread corresponds with sitting at the table with food and drink, not having dinner together, but combining three aspects of the body: remembering the sacrifice of Jesus flesh, the bread nurtures our physical health and the wine nurtures the spiritual health of the body of Christ. People couldn’t seem to get enough of Christianity back in the early days of the Church. Where is the excitement nowadays to stay up all night and talk about Jesus? The church needs revival like no other time. The church’s faith has regressed to nothing more than a lot of rituals. We are no better than Israel that fudged the old covenant before they were captured and taken to Babylon. The Jews hardly believe in anything anymore and it is nearly accurate to say nor do we, especially when we separate false doctrine from our faith, not much is left. Maybe false doctrine is the reason we don’t believe, because it isn’t a match like faith works hand-in-glove with truth. How can we expect God to bless our lack of enthusiasm? We think God should be pleased with us because we went to church, yet we weren’t strengthened and we didn’t strengthen anyone. We socialized but we didn’t actually talk about Jesus; we talked about other things, so how do 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 was avoiding Ephesus, being where the big commotion occurred in the theater (Act 19,23-34), for he was earnestly desiring to reach Jerusalem by 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 of spiritual knowledge and anointings from the brethren, that he might bask in their glory. They have devoted their lives to maintaining and developing and nurturing the spiritual unction, expending all their time and energy to fueling God's fire. It’s not something that just happens on its own, but requires our input, and 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 this spiritual unction will bless others. Paul wanted to see for himself how God was working in the Church through the apostles and elders.

(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 for going there that were far more important. The Scriptures give no basis for believing that God led Paul to Jerusalem, though He does have a way of causing “all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8-28). Since Paul’s interest in going to Jerusalem didn’t conflict with God's will for Paul—the only place God called him was Macedonia (Act 16-9), and he preached the gospel to those in that region, so afterward he wanted to go to Jerusalem, which resulted in a long journey that would essentially lead him through the rest of his life. He probably suspected it would happen this way. Celebrating Pentecost 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 if he shows his face in Jerusalem it would not go well with him, so there must have been a bigger reason than Pentecost. Most likely, God was leading him on the sly, meaning Paul didn’t tell his companions the real reason he was going; his true motives were not even clear in Scripture. That is how it seems to us when God works his miracles 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. Sometimes there is a composite of God’s will and our will. Paul remained locked in prison for years where he wrote most of his epistles, being a direct result of his stint in Jerusalem. This is the first known prison sentence that Paul faced, so basically half the New Testament resulted from this decision to go to Jerusalem. It is now sounding like it was indeed the will of God that Paul went to Jerusalem. 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 and had him write the epistles, for Paul 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, the Church probably would have never lasted these 2000 years. See further commentary at Act 24,1-9.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church.

 

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 Paul, 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. Paul was not like the pilot of an airplane; he was like the airplane itself, and the pilot was Jesus. Within the parameters of obedience, Paul had no choice but to go to Jerusalem. Paul’s attitude toward God was that 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. What makes this confusing, when we keep looking into the book of Acts and learn about Paul going to Jerusalem and being captured by the Jews, it was the will of God (Act 23-11). Paul spent years in prison for doing this; 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 and testify to the opponents of the gospel than to save those who would believe.

(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 maintaining a clear conscience and a blameless reputation. He reminded them of his zealous commitment to the people; he was unwilling to let anyone intimidate him from fulfilling his ministry and preaching the full message of the gospel. People instinctively look up to their spiritual leaders, and if the gospel required them to give up their lives, they should 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 zeal; it is the acid test of terrorists these days too, and it should be the acid test for Christians, only not to kill people but to save them. 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 was admonishing the elders to take care of his investment in the saints and protect the gospel from falling into disrepute by zealously pursuing the knowledge of God so they don’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, whereas “zeal” is reserved for topics of religion. On the other hand, the biblical use of the word “zeal” has a positive connotation. “Zeal for thy house has consumed Me,” Psalm 69-9 says about Jesus. 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 rest of the believers to embrace. If anyone rejects the teachings of the 144,000, they simply will not be able to 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 to most believers, and the vast majority of the Church today will reject their teaching and will reject the revival and will reject God’s purpose for themselves, just as they have been doing throughout their lives as Christians. They never did the will of God, but were only interested in believing in doctrines that appealed to their flesh, the doctrines that disavowed them of any responsibility for their own behavior.

(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

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

18-21 And when they had come to him, he said to them, "You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, 21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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 what Paul’s thorn in the flesh might have been, and so I cast my vote that it was Jewish persecution that followed him from town to town, who constantly ridiculed him and got him in trouble with the authorities; he was whipped and beaten, and he was 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 teaching the Scriptures. Those who stand behind modern-day church pulpits must have authority to teach and preach the word of God. This is to protect the assembly from nefarious heretics who would like to introduce their toxic doctrines into the Church’s belief system. 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 role within Jewish synagogues, where in contrast 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, effectively unveiling gifted people among the hearers. Home Bible studies are the closest relative to the Jewish synagogue with two exceptions, those who attend must first know a Bible study is held at that house and he must also be invited. In other words, unlike Jewish synagogues home Bible studies are a private setting usually held at someone’s residence. 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 add guilt to it, so when we feel guilty for sinning they say that is a sin too. Therefore, when they talk about guilt, they are referring to false guilt, guilt about nothing, but what the Bible means is actual guilt about sins they have committed that are not under repentance, that they hope the grace of God will cover. The bible teaches that if it is not under repentance, it is not under the blood. In truth, guilt pertains to conscience, and conscience is how we communicate with God after we have sinned, so we can repent of it and reaffirm our connection with the Holy Spirit, which is how God communicates with us. Many Christians nowadays live by a guilty conscience from unrepented sin in their lives, sins they intend to commit again, and they are hoping that it is okay with God, but the Bible says there must be balance in our understanding of God's grace. The person who is truly seeking God does not abuse His grace even when he sins.

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, but repenting toward God is another. Repenting toward others essentially pertains to confessing our sins. James advised us to do this in order that we might be healed (Jm 5-16). Only within certain parameters should we confess our sins to others; we don’t want to tell all, because we can’t trust people with that kind of information about us, but we can tell God everything; in fact if we don’t, we’re not really repentant in his sight. God is not a prude; he can take our sins; He’s not going to gasp in horror at what we have said and done; He already knows anyway; He needs to hear us say it and promise Him that we will stop doing it with His help. Even if we fall back into sin, it is not the end of our relationship with God; we just repent again and continue serving Him. God desires us to be free from bondage, but He knows we cannot be totally free from sin until we enter heaven. That is life in the flesh. It is the best we can offer Him, and He is pleased with us.

(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 repentance-based grace according to James who 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 says that if we can’t provide evidence for our faith so our neighbor can see it, then God is not inclined to believe it either. Faith and repentance are shown together throughout the New Testament. John the Baptist taught it; Paul taught it; 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, because this is what we want to believe. 

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 

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

22-27 "And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. 24 "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. 25 "And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. 26 "Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 "For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.

 

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 fire >> 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

(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 in 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 better incorporated 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 are missing 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.

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

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

28 "Be on guard for yourselves and for 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.

 

Act 20,28-35

(5m) Responsibility >> Jesus’ yoke of obedience >> Our obligation to shepherd the flock – Paul is admonishing his future pastors to strive to model their ministries after him, knowing that one day he would take his leave of them and they would take his place in caring for God’s sheep. He needed to develop a people who had a heart to fulfill their purpose and calling from God for the sake of the Church. He wanted to build in the leaders in which he spent considerable time and effort discipling and training, 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. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.” He warned them to be on guard for themselves and for the flock of God; in other words not to trust themselves, but to vigilantly question their motives and continually monitoring their own hearts, making sure they are serving the Lord and not themselves. It is easy for us to get sidetracked and turn our ministry of the saints inwardly to make it about ourselves instead. When it is no longer for their sake, then neither is it for God’s sake; we are no longer serving God but ourselves.

(7h) Responsibility >> Defend God’s cause >> Protecting the Church – The church, the grace of God and genuine faith in Jesus Christ are like a flower, very delicate, very beautiful and easily crushed; they require nurturing through true knowledge of how to treat a flower. People think the Church is robust, and it is still here after 2000 years, and that the grace of God is robust; people are still being saved and forgiven 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, in the name Jesus Christ, which is a robust ceremony, something that has been replicated in billions 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. All we have is the symbolism without the substance. God will never 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 of God, “admonishing each one with tears.” 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), 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, but in a world that is unreceptive to the truth, placing the standard out of reach is easy to do. Pastors get paid relatively well for their services, whereas in Paul’s day they didn’t get paid any more than widows and orphans, funded by the Church as a means of merely surviving. Pastors nowadays have it pretty good often compared to people in his church; this is a great evil. Instead, the pastor should live at or below the standard of the average member of his church; if he lives higher than that, then it should be defined as abuse. It is all the result of being unwilling to make sacrifices for the sake of the gospel. If we were willing to make sacrifices for the sake of future generations, who will ultimately hang their souls on the version of the gospel we hand to them, we wouldn’t have these problems. We should be walking in the fear of God, knowing about His love and forgiveness, not to distort these facts. As it is, 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 within the Church walls.

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 – People in the Church have forgotten the promises of God that come to us as we bear the fruit of the Spirit. There are things that God offers that far outweigh anything the world can offer, such as a peace of mind and a clear conscience. These things mean almost nothing to people anymore. The scope of the problem becomes clear when we realize that the will of God is something we must all pursue together. 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 and would tell the next generation that they could do the same, until the Church falls into disrepute. Paul was in Miletus and sent a messenger to call for the elders of the Church at Ephesus to come, 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 with lengthy periods spent in jail, where he would write many of his epistles that we now read in the New Testament.

(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; both are tied to the teachings of endtimes. Spiritual alertness comes through prayer, and so Paul is commanding us to stay in prayer. we are to keep our spirits sharp and our hearing ear fine-tuned to the Spirit of God, so we are not left in the dark and having to learn the truth from people who would lie to us. We have the Spirit of God dwelling in us; we can hear Him for ourselves, but the only way we can do that is to stay alert in prayer.

(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, and the fulfillment of that prophecy was none other than the Catholic Church. It formed about 300 years after Christ, which was approximately 200 years after Paul, suggesting that it took approximately three generations for the Church to almost completely forget everything that the early church knew and experienced. Hence, for Paul to give them a good sendoff hoping it would make a difference was like pointing a toy ship toward 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 morphed into benefiting themselves. Shepherding the flock of God slowly turned from a ministry to a business, an opportunity to make money, and to achieve this new goal, abuse was introduced as the new norm. When people live and think and walk in the flesh, they always arrive at the same conclusions, that 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? Carnal living and easy-believism equal grace minus repentance; they equal faith minus the anointing, the religion of apostasy. Paul knew apostasy was coming, but he didn’t want it to happen on his watch or even among those he was training. By training them so thoroughly he was hoping they would train others to perpetuate obedience that God demands of His people, and so delay the inevitable. Church leaders need to be able to teach these things and be a concrete example of the Christian walk. We can be an eloquent teacher and a lousy example, and no one will ever learn anything from us. However, we can’t be ignorant of God’s word and be a good example, because part of being a good example is being a student of His word. Paul’s example came complete with tears, and he wanted the leaders he was admonishing as his replacements to be just like him, to have his heart and have his ambitions and desires and longing and zeal, but Paul 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 was already present in the Church. Now here we are at the end of the age and find the Church devoid of the Holy Spirit, leading only rituals, ceremonies, programs and buildings, but there is no substance to any of these things because the people would not have it. This is iconic to Israel prior to being captured and carried away to Babylon.

(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 to those who obeyed Jesus Christ, so the fruit of the Spirit was all they saw in him, but to scoundrels Paul was the watchdog of the Church. 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 evangelizing and going on all his missionary journeys, yet no converts were made, it would have been pointless; conversely, 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 and die right on the vine. According to this passage, Paul blames the leaders for the Church going astray, just like any sensible person would blame the shepherd for his sheep going astray. The church needs strong leadership, but strong leadership does not mean to be heavy handed on the sheep; on the contrary it means to be heavy handed on himself. It means setting a good example for the flock. Paul set that example, and he tried to create examples of his leaders, who would not only teach the people, but also show them how to live and walk and obey the Lord. He knew that others who did not have a heart for God would one day replace those in whom he was investing himself, who had a heart trained in greed. Paul wanted to make sure that none of the people he knew and loved would ever turn against the Lord and pursue their own personal interests.

(177g) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> False doctrine >> Doctrines of demons – They can grieve and weep and cry all they want, but it will not change the fact that some elders among themselves may have already made plans to subvert the gospel of Christ. Wolves intended to arise against the flock and speak perverse things to draw away the disciple after them, perhaps some physically present at Paul’s farewell address with crocodile tears waving goodbye to him. The gospel was corrupted even before the Catholic Church was formed in AD 300; otherwise, how did Catholicism get a foothold? Just as there was a devil among the twelve disciples of Jesus, so there was probably a devil among the elders at Ephesus and elsewhere who sensed freedom to work his carnage into the Church, and the next generation added to the gospel (or subtracted from it) to make themselves appear as though they had special knowledge from God, to draw away the disciples after them. The very first aspect of the gospel that was 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 potential for spiritual unction. At some point, further corruption of the gospel came with the loss of personal responsibility for our own behavior. For the most part it has been truncated from the doctrines of the Church, replaced by irresponsible teachings on grace. We found a way to shove the responsibility God gave us back on Him, so all we have to do is believe a set of doctrines to get to heaven. We all sin, but then we take that fact and turn it into a license to sin. ‘Nobody’s perfect,’ says we are not even trying to serve the Lord or discover His will.

(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 in Ephesus was to warn them that if they did not invest everything into the gospel of Christ, the Church would suffer. Paul warned them that, “from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them.” So, apostasy starts within the leadership and trickles down to the congregation. Sheep instinctively flock together, but they can get caught in fencerows; they can be caught on barbed wire and can be eaten by wolves. They can be led to unproductive pastures; they can become diseased, and in that case the shepherd should separate the diseased ones from the healthy ones. All these things are the shepherd’s responsibility. No matter how vigilant the shepherd, wolves eat a few sheep, but when an entire flock is whittled down by predation, that is a problem. Perhaps the shepherd himself is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. There are things that can be done, hunt the wolves, set traps for them or set out poison, whatever it takes to protect the flock.

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 – Note that Paul said it was the holy Spirit who made them overseers of the Church; they were not given their position based on a theology degree at seminary school. God in the new covenant does everything by His Spirit, who dwells in us. He has caused us to be born-again; he leads us into the will of Christ and 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 Holy Spirit nowadays? We hardly hear about Him anymore. This is to do with the very kind of people whom Paul is exposing in this passage, who have exploited the Church centuries ago, and because of them, what largely has been handed down to us is doctrines of demons that appeal to our flesh, that do not instruct us to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness (1Tim 4-7). These are the doctrines of easy-believism.

(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 to us. 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, to die to his sinful nature, to all the things that his flesh loves, and to embrace something that he hates in his flesh. However, since we have the Holy Spirit dwelling is us, we possess something that loves God, and by that we can do his will. It goes back to the leaders whether these things ever happen. We can’t blame the sheep if there are lousy Christians in our church, for the analogy of sheep is an accurate one. Sheep need a shepherd; otherwise they are just 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. Sheep are useful for their wool and their flesh, but the wolf seeks only to serve himself. He will shear the sheep and sell the wool and gluttonously eat their flesh. There is a Good Shepherd, and all the pastors and ministers of God’s church are stewards of the one Good Shepherd, and they are called by God to lead His people, not for their own purposes, but for the purpose of the Good Shepherd.

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

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29 "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;

 

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 the people of God. He told them that he worked with his hands to supply his own needs. Although Paul did receive help on many occasions, yet the vast majority of revenue collected he invested right back into the ministry, taking hardly anything for himself. The reason Paul was so concerned about people abusing the gospel of Christ and using it for their own personal gain was that the thing to ultimately suffer would be the doctrines of the Church. Greed creates an environment for heresy, because 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 give when they hear that giving is their only requirement. The most popular doctrine of easy-believism is an overuse of the teachings of God’s grace. We have people talking about the grace of God as though Jesus were the candy man. Many doctrines of this evil and perverse generation teach that we can live any way we want; so long as we believe a certain set of doctrines, we are guaranteed a place in heaven. This is how the gospel is taught nowadays in most cases in contradiction to the Scriptures, as though when we meet God, He will give us a theological exam. Quite to the contrary, He will not test us on our theology, but will judge us according to our works! This is not what we are being taught in our churches, though. This overemphasis on the grace of God in the Church today is the result of pastors taking advantage of the flock and using them 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’s attitude determines our 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 the believe things that are easy to believe, tantalizing the flesh, but do not correspond with the truth, and once they have hooked us, they will reel us in like fish. This suggests there were probably men in attendance at that pastor’s meeting who may have known people who were devils in disguise or may have been one themselves, 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 of replacing the true doctrines of godliness with godless heresy. Who knows what glorious truth we lost during that time. 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 and expose the heresies. Virtually all heresy centers around easy-believism and masochism, a type of penance, which is demonic by its very nature.

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30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

 

Act 20-30

(22l) Sin >> Pride glorifies self >> Seeking the glory of man – History tells the story that Constantine, the emperor of Rome around 312 AD just before he was 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 being the emperor’s religion of choice giving it precedence among the others, grew to become the new religion of Rome. Viciously persecuted during the first couple centuries of its inception, the Christians gladly conceded as an institution of Roman society rather than continue being bludgeoned by it. This marked the beginning of the Church integrating into the world and is an entity of it to this day. God wanted His church to remain a distinct entity from the world. Prior to these days, the saints refused to participate in the world, calling it evil and bringing on much persecution, they had no way to defend themselves as though sheep going to slaughter. They were getting tired of poverty, constantly mistreated, in fear of their lives and on the run. 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 fulfilled in its proper time. People within the Church who had the gift of gab but not the gift of eternal life, took charge of the Church and began walking away from the true faith in preparation to receive Constantine’s offer when it came.

(161k) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Satan’s attitude determines our direction >> Carried Away >> Carried away by religion – Satan was after the anointing when he attacked the early church, because it represents the spiritual manifestation of God’s kingdom, based on the foundation of obedience to the Holy Spirit. When the Church carries an anointing by walking in the Spirit Satan has no power over the Church, yet it wasn’t long before this anointing became a thing of the past and has been all but erased from church history. Paul said that in order for Satan to get rid of the anointing, false teachers had to infiltrate the Church and the things these demon-controlled people would have to say in order to butcher the anointing were in Paul’s view perverse. They would say that the word of God did not belong to the people but to the leaders of the Church, essentially the message of Catholicism, and that the working of miracles was a dispensation that has ended, basically stripping the Church of the power of God. Paul said this was perverse, not just wrong and false! Even more perverted was the doctrines these false teachers put in place of the truth. Their message became something like this, ‘Since the power of God is no longer available to us, we have almost no choice but to sin.’ Of course these false teachers said this reflecting their own lack of relationship with God. Since then, the only thing Christians can do is ask God to forgive their sins, but according to theology they have no power to stop sinning, hence the apostasy that we see today. These are some of the things false teachers taught the Church 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 the Kingdom of God 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.

(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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31&32 "Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one 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 who are sanctified.

 

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 and 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 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 eventually it would be the will of God that Paul gave his life for his faith and for His God, and he 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 would truncate the word, commending them just to His grace. People are not very strong in the word of God anymore. They don’t see a need for it. They say, ‘I’m a Christian, I believe in Jesus, I don’t need to be a Bible scholar to be saved; I just need to know about salvation; I only want to know enough to get saved and go to heaven.’ This was not Paul’s heart, and Peter was more adamant than Paul about this, exhorting 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? Therefore, if it takes His word to be introduced to the grace of God, then how much more do we need His word to grow in that grace and in the true knowledge of Jesus Christ? Grace and knowledge go hand in hand, for all things happen through knowledge, whether it be from God or from man. If God instills something in us, He will do it through His word, for His word is involved in everything God does. The Bible contains His word, and what God wants is 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 God.

(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 ways was the most spiritual book in the entire New Testament. 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 that found their way into the Bible. How long would it take somebody to mature a people to the level of the Ephesians today, twenty, thirty years? Would that even be enough time? 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 them, which makes it seem that they are a mature people, but understanding God’s word on a cognitive level and understanding it on a spiritual level are two different things. If we are going to understand God’s word on a spiritual level, we will need to incorporate obedience into our belief system, for that is how God gives the revelation, and this is what sets the Ephesians apart from most churches today. Paul talked about the things that the Ephesians understood by revelation; by contrast, the Church mostly doesn’t even understand the meaning of “revelation knowledge.”

(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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33&34 "I have coveted no one's silver or gold or clothes. 34 "You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. 

 

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 generosity and 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 that we can prove we are the children of God, to 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 that 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. 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 are not, then it is questionable if 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 someone whom we think deserves it, that is not so hard, but what about giving to someone whom we don’t think deserves it or maybe we don’t even know who will receive our gift or what they will do with it? Maybe they will spend it on drugs and cigarettes. God has not called us to throw away our resources on people who will only use them to finance their addictions. Anybody who gives in this way does not trust the Lord. The church is an established system that gives to those in need, though the system is in place, people are still disconnected from each other, so we don’t know how our resources are being spent, and this tends to hinder our giving. 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 people so rigorously, they are in no way open 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.

(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 will 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

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

35-38 "In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" 36 When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And they began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him, 38 grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they were accompanying him to the ship.

 

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 devise 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. He desires giving to be in our hearts and to continue giving. In this way all our needs will be assured, for then our needs will be continuously replenished.

(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, 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. Actually, 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 heart in giving. God is such a big giver that He has literally delegated every aspect of His kingdom to His creation. He has even given us His throne, though He will pass judgment on each of us. His throne is a throne of judgment; we will act as judges in eternity, only the final authority belongs to the Father. Therefore, if God is such a giving person, we should be too, for we are His children and receive His faith. We are not constrained to believe in mere facts and information; that would be penance; rather, we understand God by revelation of the Holy Spirit. This is the very definition of faith, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11-1).

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 at the very end 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 martyred with the rest of the apostles (except John) and so many other great men of His day. When we think of the deep emotional relationship 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 the depth of their emotions 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 emotions Paul and his friends had for each other. There are entire religions that teach we shouldn’t allow ourselves to feel emotions, because they have a tendency to lead us astray, but that teaching itself is a astray. 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. When we think of the fact that faith is based on knowledge, it is something we must maintain regardless of the circumstances, even if it causes our death as martyrs. There are not a lot of good feelings in that, but 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 them 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 loved each other. 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 (Vs 29,30). 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 always write him a letter and tell him what 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 steal the sheep one fleshly doctrine piled upon another. Over the centuries, like steps walking away from the truth, the Church has become completely lost, fractured into tiny parts. Now we can hardly talk to anybody about Jesus without it turning into an argument or equating Jesus with politics.

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