W.A.R. Bible Study – Acts 20

Dr. Oscar T. Moses

MHMBC W.A.R. Bible Study

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Holy Spirit Empowers The Saints To Completion

Acts 20:1-36

The Big Picture: The Holy Spirit gives grace for the long haul and leaves lasting impressions!

Chapter 19 concluded with Ephesus in an uproar because the introduction of Christ to the people of Ephesus caused them to abandon their superstitious beliefs and those who stood to prophet from their bondage incited a riot. In Chapter 20 things had settled down in Ephesus and Paul continued to encourage the saints to continue the work. Paul left for Macedonia and ended up in Greece for three months and discovered there was a plot to kill him. The Jews were waiting for Paul so he changed his travel route. He wanted to be in Jerusalem for the Passover, now the best he could hope for was Pentecost. The six men mentioned that accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea were Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Timotheus, Tychicus and Trophimus. They carried funds (the collection to the poor saints at Rome); 3 were from Macedonia and 3 were from Asia Minor. They met in Troas.

Verse 7 is the clearest verse indicated in the New Testament that the normal meeting day of the Apostolic Church was Sunday. The scriptures do not indicate what time Paul began his sermon but he preached past midnight. It was late and no doubt some were begininng to get sleepy as evident in verses 9 and 10. As Paul preached, a young man named Eutychus fell from a third story window and died. Paul embraced Eutychus and the young man came alive. They participated in the Lord’s Supper and fellowshipped until the morning. Paul stayed in Troas longer than he anticipated so he sent others on ahead of him. He avoided a stop in Ephesus because he wanted to get to Jerusalem by the day of Pentecost.

In Verse 18 to verse 35, Paul begins a farewell sermon to the leaders of the church. Paul’s sermon has three parts: 1. His Past. 2. His Present. 3. His Future and Their Responsibility.

His Past

Paul reminded the church how he sacrificed his life for the furtherance of the gospel. In the face of constant opposition he didn’t quit. In verse 20 Paul said, “I kept back nothing!” He gave them every truth and encouragement he could to make a difference in their lives. He had a proven track record of trying to persuade people to live for Jesus Christ.

His Present

Paul told the church that at the present the Holy Spirit pressed him to go to Jerusalem. He did not know what was ahead. The Holy Spirit warned him that hard times and imprisonment were awaiting him. He is at a point in his ministry where “none of these things” move him. What matters most is finishing what God started through him. The job the Master Jesus gave him was “testifying of the Gospel of Grace” (The good news of salvation). Paul gave them his final good-bye and placed emphasis on the fact that they will not see him again.

His Future and their Responsibility

Paul warned the church that as soon as he was gone there would be constant attacks on the church. Leaders had the responsibility of guarding the church and defending the faith of the church that Jesus “purchased with His own blood.” Paul reminded them that for three years he had tried to warn them (with tears). He wanted to guard the truth so much that he was moved with compassion when he thought about false doctrine being taught. Now the responsibility was in their hands, he is commending them to the grace of God. Paul said that grace will do for them what it did for him; build them up, and give them an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. He reminded them that he was low maintenance and he made it with the skills he had. He tried to demonstrate how necessary it is to work on behalf of the weak and not exploit them and then he gave them a final parting word of wisdom, “It is better to give then to receive.” Then Paul went down on his knees, all of them kneeling with him, and prayed. There were many parting tears. With tears they bravely walked him down to the ship for departure.

How can we apply this lesson?

There is always something sentimental about departures: the shedding of tears, the embracing of bodies and the words that are shared. Paul left a lasting impression on the saints in Ephesus and he gave a strong farewell that left them encouraged. Notice a few things about Paul that we should compare to ourselves. He is…

Experiencing His Fate

There are some things that will happen to you in life because God has ordained them.

Encouraging His Friends

Paul encouraged others at a discouraging time.

Enduring His Foes

God gave him grace to endure opposition.

Embracing His Future

Paul is in the dark about the savage decapitation that awaits him. What matters to him most is that he finishes the work he started.

Why does the Holy Spirit give us grace for the long haul?

To complete ministry and leave a model that builds up others.

Text Questions

  1. What did Paul do after the uproar in Ephesus was over?
  2. Where did Paul stay for 3 months?
  3. How was Paul’s plan to sail to Syria frustrated?
  4. When did the Christians meet to break bread?
  5. What happened when Eutychus fell asleep?
  6. Why were the people comforted when they took Eutychus home?
  7. Why was Paul in a hurry to get to Jerusaem?
  8. Why did Paul expect trouble in Jerusalem?
  9. What mattered most to Paul? (Verse 24)
  10. What did Paul remind the congregation that he had not failed at?
  11. What were the future responsibilities of the Ephesian elders?
  12. How did the elders display their deep love for Paul?
  13. What saddened the group most?

 Thought: One day we will all be a memory. We have a responsibility to leave a good impression.

Group Discussion Questions

  1. How do you want to be remembered?
  2. Will you be a good memory?
  3. Who have you trained to carry on your ministry?
  4. How many times have you quit?
  5. How do you keep from quitting?
  6. Can you continue to be faithful even when you know harm lies ahead?
  7. How has false doctrine entered the church?
  8. Why do you feel so many accept what the bible does not confirm?

None of these things!!!!

Dr. Oscar T. Moses




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