Read Acts 20:17-36
Paul’s Farewell To The Ephesian Elders
In Paul’s farewell address to the elders of the church in Ephesus, he reminded them how he himself had behaved during their time together. He worked and lived “in all humility” (Acts 20:19), evidenced by his willingness to support himself financially.
As a teacher, he employed different methods to reach potential converts to Christ, teaching both “publicly and from house to house” (Acts 20:20), and reaching both “Jews, and also to Greeks” (Acts 20:21). No one should be excluded from the saving message of the gospel.
He also taught the necessity of “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). A person who proclaims faith in Jesus but does not change his sinful behaviors is a walking contradiction. If you truly believe that Jesus will punish the sinful, you will repent!
Paul reminded the elders of their great responsibility to the church. He said, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock” (Acts 20:28). They needed to watch out for each other and for every Christian under their care. Christians need to remember they have a responsibility toward their elders as well. “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).
Dangerous times lay ahead; Paul warned that “savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29) and that “from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things” (Acts 20:30). False doctrine is dangerous, and the elders were warned to be vigilant against it.
Paul also taught the value of the church. Many people today do not place any value on the church, but God “purchased (the church) with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). When is the last time you bought something so valuable that it cost you your blood?
I. His work in Ephesus
A. As a humble servant of the Lord (Acts 20:18-19, 33-34)
B. His manner of teaching (Acts 20:20-21)
1. He kept back nothing that was helpful (Ephesians 4:15; 2 Timothy 4:2)
2. He adapted his teaching methods (public and private)
3. He did not shut anyone out (Ephesians 2:2:12; Romans 1:16)
4. He taught repentance and belief
C. The foundation laid for the church (Acts 20:22-24) – the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:25-27; Ezekiel 3:16-19)
II. His charge to the elders
A. The value of the church (Acts 20:28)
B. The warning of apostasy (Acts 20:29-31; Revelation 2:2-5)
C. Their love for each other and for the church (Acts 20:32-38)
I. Lessons for the hearers
A. Everyone participates (even if not leading)
B. Reasons (and excuses) for sleepiness
II. Lessons for preachers (and teachers)
A. Are long sermons appropriate? (Acts 20:7)
B. The important task of preachers and teachers (2 Timothy 4:2)
III. Lessons about the worship environment (Acts 20:8)
IV. Eutychus was pronounced dead, but came back to life (Acts 20:9-12)
A. The joy of the people when he was revived
B. There should be even more joy when one who was spiritually dead is made alive once again in the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:30; Romans 13:11-14; Ephesians 5:8-14)
I. How do we know this was the Lord’s Supper?
A. Context matters (Acts 20:7, 11; 2:42, 46)
B. The purpose: to remember the Lord’s death, not to satisfy physical hunger (1 Corinthians 11:20-29)
II. The day and frequency
A. Why Sunday? (Mark 16:9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-20; John 20:19)
B. Why not the Sabbath? (Exodus 16:23-30; 20:8; 31:17; Colossians 2:17)
C. Why every Sunday? (Acts 20:7)
Day 44/260: Read Acts 20
False teachers have always been a part of the religious world. It is just as true today as it was in the first century.
Paul warned the elders in Ephesus that after he left, “Savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.” He is not talking about literal wolves here, but men who would come in and tear the church apart by false teaching. “Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”
Paul spent much time preparing them for these attacks. He taught privately and publicly, and he did not hold anything back. “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.”
People generally do not like “the whole counsel of God.” They want to hear about His love and grace and mercy, but the wrath of God is every bit as real as His love. If we don’t know about His wrath, we don’t know “the whole counsel of God.”
Don’t gloss over the warnings of hell. Don’t be deceived by those who preach tolerance toward sin. Stand faithfully with the Word of God.
Memory (Fill in the blanks)
Acts 20:28. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy _______________ has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of _______________ which He purchased with His own _______________.
Pray for wisdom to discern right from wrong using the inspired Scriptures. Pray for those misled by false teachers.