November 20, 2007
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After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.
And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.
And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:
For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.
And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat,
Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.
And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you:
But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.
And he drave them from the judgment seat.
Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.
And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.
And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.
When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not;
But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.
And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.
And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.
And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.
This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:
For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
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And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
And all the men were about twelve.
And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.
Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.
So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.
And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.
For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;
Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.
Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:
So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.
And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.
And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.
And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.
Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.
But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?
Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.
For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.
Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.
But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.
For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.
And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.
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And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.
And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece,
And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.
And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.
These going before tarried for us at Troas.
And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.
And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.
And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.
And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.
When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.
And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.
And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot.
And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene.
And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus.
For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.
And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,
Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,
Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.
Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.
Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.
And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him,
Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.
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Thought for the day:
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The second half of Acts 20 contains Paul's parting words to the leaders of the church at Ephesus. He had spent three years there teaching and preaching, and his hands-on ministry with them was now over. There are several things that we can learn about Paul's work from this passage.
First of all, let's look at how Paul conducted his labors in Ephesus. In verse 18 we see that Paul was diligent. He told the elders that he had been consistent in his efforts in all seasons from the first day that he arrived. What good teaching this is for us! So often we put off doing what we should until the circumstances are more conducive, and then once we start we can be very negligent in our daily commitment to the work. Paul started immediately and he kept it up consistently. In verse 19 we see the attitudes that he possessed. He first of all had humility of mind. He did not pass himself off as some great person, or as someone who should be "worshipped", but rather he was humble, not only in his speech and actions, but down in his heart. He wasn't pretending to be modest; he was modest. Secondly, he reminds them that he served the Lord with many tears. Some of these tears were undoubtedly shed over the difficulties that he faced. We know from verses 29-30 that there were false teachers both outside and inside the church who were desirous of destroying the work that Paul lad begun. Others were shed because of the great love that he had for the people and his burden that they would do what God wanted them to. Verse 31 reminds them that he had spent three years warning them "with tears" on a daily basis. Both show the tenderness of his heart and the compassion that he had for those he was ministering to. The final thing that is mentioned in verse 19 is that he suffered many temptations. Since they were caused by the "lying in wait of the Jews", I am sure that many of them involved the sin of quitting. The Jews were rejecting and persecuting him, and there can be no question that the pressure was great. Yet he stayed strong and fulfilled that which God had called him to do.
Verse 20 tells of Paul's teaching ministry. First, Paul informed the Ephesians that he "kept back nothing that was profitable" for them. Those of us in pulpit and teaching positions should pay close attention to this. Paul taught the whole counsel of God (27), since he states in II Timothy 3 that all Scripture is profitable. Apparently he did not hold back out of fear of the response of the hearers. He did not change his message so that he wouldn't offend someone. Reproofs, rebukes, and exhortations are all profitable, and Paul gave them all. His avenues of teaching are also revealed in this verse. He taught publicly, which would imply a pulpit ministry in the church, and perhaps some public preaching outside of the assembly as well. In addition, he went from house to house. This probably involved two types of teaching. The first would be what we would refer to as door-to-door soul-winning. I believe this is the case because verse 21 says that while doing this he was
"testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
This sounds like he was making contact with unbelievers. However, I also think that he was visiting in the homes of the Christians and teaching them there, because verse 20 seems to be speaking about his ministry with the church people.
We should make a quick note of Paul's salvation message as well. Verse 21 says that he told the unbelievers that they needed to have repentance and faith. He did not tell them to just "say a prayer". He told them that they needed to have a change of mind about their sin, themselves, and the Savior. Then they needed to choose to receive Christ personally by faith.
Paul's work can be replicated in ours. We need to be busy and faithful. We need to teach the totality of the Word of God in spite of opposition and inconvenience. We need to have public and private ministries, both to the saved and the lost. We need to be humble about ourselves, and burdened about others. If we will do this, perhaps the Lord will allow us to have some measure of the ministry that he gave to Paul.
Pastor Mark J Montgomery