Acts 20:17-38 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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A Man of Gospel Mission
Comments for Study 23

Acts 20:17-38
Memory Verse: 24


I. Repentance toward God and Faith in Jesus (17-21)

>1. How did the Ephesian Church start? (19:1-7)

* Acts 19:1-7 "While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?" "John's baptism," they replied. Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all."

* Apollos had been in Ephesus. He correctly taught the word of God. Yet he only knew the baptism of John. He did not know Jesus nor that there was a Holy Spirit. Many listened to him.

* Paul, Aquila and Priscilla had stopped by there while Paul was returning to Antioch on Paul's second missionary journey. (52 A.D.) Paul left promising to return if the Lord willed it. Aquila and Priscilla stayed and began witnessing to people including Apollos. Apollos accepted the gospel and was saved. Shortly after this Apollos went to Corinth.

* Paul returned during his third missionary journey. (53 A.D.) He stayed there for several years. Many people were brought to the Lord. Many disciples were raised up. Paul left to visit the congregations he had went to on his second missionary trip.

* Paul was now returning to Jerusalem with a gift that was collected for the poor and needy in Jerusalem. (57 A.D.) This is a record of his stop there before sailing onto Jerusalem.

* Paul's speech to the elders of Ephesus has much to think about. I am looking at two items. First, verses 22 and 23, "And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing... the Holy Spirit warns me..."

Compelled means force or oblige someone to do something. Much of the time I envision the Holy Spirit as a gentle dove in a stream of light that shines from heaven. Yet here the Spirit is forcing Paul to steadfast move to an unknown harm while warning Paul in every city that prison and hardship are facing him in Jerusalem. It seems to me Paul didn't want to go. The Spirit forced him to go. Who can resist the will for God? In a way the warning was to prepare Paul's heart and mind, instead of comforting him.

I so want the Spirit to compelled my every move. It takes away my need for decision. So that makes my motive impure.

The truth is being compelled by the Spirit naturally means He is forcing me to where I do not want to go. I don't remember if the Holy Spirit has ever compelled me in the past. Now the thought of Spirit compulsion is frightening.

Secondly, Paul tells them that internal and external wolves were going to enter the flock (29-31). Jesus taught many times that his people are like sheep; weak, vulnerable, unaware of dangers, fearful, and unintelligent. Wolves are strong, resistant, aware, bold, and cunning. They kill, steal, and maim. They only want to draw disciples that will serve them.

Paul's direction was to warn them and commit them to God and to the word of his grace (32). Jesus taught that his word is life. His word is spiritual food. His word is daily bread. His word is a defense against the wolves.

>What was Apostle Paul's relationship with the Ephesian elders? (19:8-10)

* Acts 19:8-10 "Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord."

* Paul had a very close relationship with all the body of Christ at Ephesus.

>How did God bless Paul's Ephesian ministry? (19:10-20)

* Acts 19:10-20 "This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power."

* Ephesus became the main gospel spreading city for the rest of Asia Minor.

* Paul left Ephesus for several reasons:
    1) To visit the congregations he had pioneered on his second missionary journey.
    2) To collect from them a gift for the needy in Judea.
    3) Paul hoped that the gift would smooth over any rifts that existed between the different cultures.
    4) When the problem arose concerning the tradesman Paul thought that it would be best for the congregation if he left.

>2. Why did Apostle Paul meet the Ephesian elders at Miletus? (20:1-5; 13-16)

* Acts 20:1-5 "When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said good-by and set out for Macedonia. He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece, where he stayed three months. Because the Jews made a plot against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia. He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas."

* Acts 20:13-16 "We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot. When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Kios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost."

* While traveling to the other congregations the Jews there tried to kill him. There was also the threat of his life in Ephesus. So he meet them in the seaport town of Miletus.

* "he was going there on foot" -Paul wanted some quiet personal time with Jesus. He walked alone. Jesus often separated himself from everyone including his disciples in order to have quiet time with his Father. We all need personal quiet time with Jesus.

elders and deacons

>What did the Ephesian elders know about Paul? (17-18)

* Acts 20:17-18 "From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. When they arrived, he said to them: "You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia."

* "Miletus" -An ancient city on the west coast of Asia Minor. Miletus had four natural harbors. It served as the port for Ephesus.

* "church" -The word for church in Greek means congregation and assembly.

* "the elders of the church" -1 Timothy 5:17-20 states, "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages." Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning." And Titus 1:5-9 says, "The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless--not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it."

* Paul did not live a secret life. His life was public for all to know.

* Paul had personal love relationship with the people of the congregation. He reached out to unbelievers, sharing the gospel publicly.

* Paul was a good example to them and to us.

>3. How did Apostle Paul serve the Lord in Ephesus? (19a)

* Acts 20:19 "I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews."

* "with great humility" -Humility before God and God's people.

* "with tears" -He suffered physically and mentally.

* "tested" -His faith and sincerity was tested through being given a bad name, through murder threats, and jail time. The tests were not planned by God alone. God allowed his suffering to happen to test him. God tested Abraham similarly.

>Why with great humility and with tears? (19a, 20)

* Acts 20:19-20 "I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house."

* "have not hesitated to preach" -He could have hesitated out of fear for his health and out of fear of losing those he taught.

* "helpful to you" -Paul's teaching was not to promote himself, the elders, the congregation or one. He preached what would be helpful to them.

* "publicly" -This includes in the streets and in buildings with open doors so anyone could walk in.

* "house to house" -Paul visited both the congregation and done house to house witnessing. All believers in Jesus should engage in a "house to house" ministry.

>What was the objective of his preaching? (21)

* Acts 20:21 "I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus."

* "I have declared" -meaning witnessing without shame; rather boldly.

* "to both Jews and Greeks" -meaning everyone. Paul was a Jew. Unlike most Jews Paul did not stay with his own kind. Rather he reached out to people who were not like him in speech, appearance, and culture. Paul was indiscriminate when it came to witnessing.

* "turn to God in repentance" -Repentance involves acknowledging one weak sinful state and inability to stop sinning, admitting sin, turning away from sin and a self centered life to holiness and a God centered life, and asking for forgiveness and help.

* "have faith in the Lord Jesus" -After repentance a person must believe that Jesus came in the flesh, died to take away their sins, and rise physically from the dead as the first fruit of those who will rise with him.

>In what sense did Apostle Paul learn from Jesus? (Mark 1:38; Mark 2:17; John 18:37)

* Mark 1:38 "Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.""

* Mark 2:17 "On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.""

* John 18:37 ""You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.""

* Jesus' main mission was preaching the good news of the kingdom of God.

* You should ask, "Why do I do what I do?" "Why does this ministry exist?" "Why am I with this group of people?" "Is my goal, the goal of this ministry, the goal of the congregation I am in to preach the gospel?"

* One could ask, "How can I convince someone like Paul did?" This is the wrong questions to ask. Our mission is to preach. We do not convince anyone. The Holy Spirit is the one who convinces.

II. If Only I May Complete the Task (22-27)

>4. Why was Paul going to Jerusalem? (22)

* Acts 20:22 ""And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there."

* "compelled by the Spirit" -How can we know that we are following the Spirit? All Christians are given the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. Having the Spirit and being full of the Spirit are two different things. To be full of the Spirit we need to study the Bible every day, pray, fast, and live by faith and obedience to Jesus. Then we will be open to the direction of the Holy Spirit.

* "not knowing what will happen there" -Paul had received resistance from both Jew and Gentiles. Yet, the greatest resistance to the gospel came from the Jews. Paul was now going to the place where Jesus himself told Paul they would reject his message. (22:18)

>What did he expect there? (23)

* Acts 20:23 "I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me."

* "every city" -Paul had visited a lot of congregations in the last few months.

* "the Holy Spirit warns me" -Through people in the cities that he had just been with.

* Why did the Holy Spirit tell Paul? So Paul would not be surprised and to strengthen and encourage his faith. The Holy Spirit was saying indirectly that Paul should go. This was important because Jesus had years earlier told him to leave Jerusalem. (22:18)

* Paul had been warmed by the Holy Spirit through people of what awaited him. Paul did not take their possible advice to stay away.

>5. What do you learn about Apostle Paul's sense of mission? (24)

* Acts 20:24 "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."

* "I consider my life worth nothing to me" -Paul did not think of himself and his welfare. He kept to his mission. Paul was not selfish. He did the work of God as personal cost to himself. He did not get rich off of the work of God. Many preachers and teachers today get rich off of the work of God.

* "finish the race" -Paul often used the analogy of running a race to describe the life of faith. (See Hebrews 2:1 and 2 Timothy 4:6-8)

* "testifying the gospel of God's grace" -Paul's life mission statement.

* Paul had the right priority. To Paul the mission was more important than the missionary, himself. He wanted to be like Jesus, a man of sorrow and familiar with suffering, not that he sought it, but that he knew preaching the gospel would bring it.

>In what sense was this a real farewell address to the elders? (25)

* Acts 20:25 ""Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again."

* How did Paul know this? First of all the Holy Spirit had testified to him. Secondly, he did not plan to come back no matter what happened to him. Paul always wanted to preach where the gospel had not been preached. (see earlier study.)

>6. What does it mean when he said, "I am innocent of the blood of all men"? (26, Ezekiel 3:16-21)

* Acts 20:26 "Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men."

* Ezekiel 3:16-21 "At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself."

* Jesus commanded us to preach the gospel. Every one who calls Jesus Lord and Savior is to preach the good news. Jesus said, "If you love me you will obey my commands." Failure to witness to others for whatever reason shows that our faith is not genuine. In this way our faith is displayed in our actions, we are saving ourselves by declaring our faith to others. We are not forgiven by works, but faith without works is dead. (See James' letter.)

>How did Apostle Paul preach the gospel? (27, and 1 Cor. 2:1-5)

* Acts 20:27 "For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God."

* 1 Cor. 2:1-5 "When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power."

* "hesitated" -Fear will make a person hesitate. Paul knew from experience that preaching the gospel would bring persecution. He did not want to go through hardship. Yet, his faith caused him to overcome fear and obey Jesus' world mission command.

III. Be Shepherds of the Church of God (28-31)

>7. What is the first and foremost duty of shepherds (pastors in Latin) and Bible teachers? (28a; 1 Cor. 9:27)

* Acts 20:28a "Keep watch over yourselves..."

* 1 Cor. 9:27 "No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

* "overseers" -another word for elder.

* "keep watch" -Do not sin and do what is right. Pay attention. Pray and know the Bible. Teach the word in love.

* "flock" -The Bible often describes God's people as sheep. (Psalm 23, 28, 78, 80) Jesus called himself the good shepherd. (John 10) Jesus instructed Peter to feed God's sheep. (John 21)

* The elders are shepherds who ensure that the flock is well feed and watered, that no wild beast take them away, and that they do not wander away from the word of God.

>8. Who appoints shepherds? (28a)

* Acts 20:28a "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers."

* "the Holy Spirit has made you" -not Paul or any other apostle, not the Jerusalem elders, not another congregation, not the government, not the populous, not their peers, not a family, not by secret vote, not be fixed votes, not by a closed ballet, only by the Holy Spirit.

>How do God's people come into the church of God? (28b)

* Acts 20:28b "Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood."

* Jesus, the bridegroom, became the Lamb of God that shed his pure blood so that the sins of Adam and Eve's race could be done away with and so they would be restored. (Rom. 5:9)

* Jesus was jailed, beaten, and scourged. A whip made of short leather straps that were impregnated with bone and sharp pieces of metal was lashed onto his body thirty-nine times. His pure blood and pieces of flesh that were ripped from his side splattered on the ground. A crown of thorns was thrust into his head as streams of pure blood and sweat ran down his head. A robe was placed on him and he was given a stick that was made to be a staff while evil men ridiculed him. They spit on him, mocked him, and beat him. (Luke 22:47-71)

* Those overseeing Jesus' crucifixion drove a shaft into his side to ensure that his body had stopped functioning. The white and red blood cells in his heart separated and poured out of his heart when the shaft sliced through his body. (John 19:35) The separation only happens when the blood stops flowing for one is heavier than the other, so they separate. His body was buried and lay in a grave for three days so his bride's body could be raised from the grave. (Rom. 7:4, 8:11)

* Jesus is the perfect sacrifice because he alone is of the seed of God. His blood alone in the entire human race is and was pure. As Paul says he is the second (last) Adam. (1 Cor. 15:22, 45) Leviticus 17:11-12a states, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life." Hebrews 9:22b states, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”

* In his book, The Chemistry of the Blood, M. R. DeHann, M.D. explains the origin of blood: “The blood which flows in an unborn babe's arteries and veins is not derived from the mother but is produced within the body of the fetus It is only after the sperm has entered the ovum and a fetus begins to develop that blood appears. As a very simple illustration of this, think of the egg of a hen. An non-fertilized egg is simply an ovum on a much larger scale than the human ovum. You may incubate this non-fertilized hen's egg, but it will never develop. It will dry up completely but no chick will result. But let that egg be fertilized by the introduction of the male sperm and incubation will bring to light the presence of life in an embryo. After a few hours it visibly develops. In a little while red streaks occur, denoting the presence of blood According to scientists from the time of conception to the time of birth not ONE SINGLE DROP OF BLOOD ever passes from mother to child The mother contributes no blood at all.”

* Jesus' pure blood was not conveyed by his mother, the daughter of sinful Adam. Rather, it was conveyed by the pure seed of his Heavenly Father!

* Centrioles are supplied by the father's sperm. A centriole is the center of a centrosome and is a minute protoplasmic body. Plasma is the fluid part of blood and protoplasm is organized living matter, the fluid complex of the living nucleus that is often designated the physical basis of life. The basis of life is in the father's protoplasmic seed: a seed made of fluid and plasma – water and blood. Jesus came by just such a seed. John tells us there is “one who came by water and blood – Jesus Christ (1 John 5:6) John also tells us that when Jesus died he saw the blood and water come out of Jesus side separately, thus marking his death.

* The above is from the manuscript The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires.

>9. What did Apostle Paul expect after his departure? (29)

* Acts 20:29 "I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock."

* "savage wolves" -Wolves eat up sheep.

* "not spare the flock" -Wolves only have one purpose upon entering the flock. By nature they kill and eat. Jesus used birds in the parable of mustard seed plant to illustrate the same thing.

>Where do the wolves come from and what is the main objective of all they do? (30)

* Acts 20:30 "Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them."

* "from your own number" -meaning the congregation.

* "men will arise" -Now they lie in waiting as a ordinary member, perhaps not even knowing themselves. They will arise to power and influence, perhaps even becoming an elder or the lead pastor. If Jesus' ministry had Judas, consider important because he kept the purse, then we should not be surprise when important people in our congregations fall away and do evil.

* "distort the truth" -They will be Bible teachers and preachers. They will use the Bible incorrectly.

* "draw away disciples after them" -The goal whether acknowledged or not is to draw praise, honor, and a high position in the church. The sheep are not the problem. Rather wolves in sheep clothing are the problem. Matthew 7:15 records Jesus saying, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." And Matthew 10:16 records Jesus saying, "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."

>10. So what should shepherds do? (31a)

* Acts 20:31a "So be on your guard!"

* "Guard" -our hearts and minds. See verse 28 again.

* The elders are shepherds who ensure that the flock is well feed and watered, that no wild beast take them away, and that they do not wander away from the word of God.

* "Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father." (John 10:7-18)

>How did Apostle Paul prepare them to deal with the wolves? (31b)

* Acts 20:31b "Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears."

* Paul knew this would happen because Jesus said it would happen in many congregations. Paul learned from Jesus. He did not want to see the Ephesian believers to be lead astray so he warned them continually. We to are to keep watch. In a ministry I was once in, the local congregation was set into turmoil by a chain of sudden events that eventually lead to a change in leadership. The new leader had secretly betrayed not only the original leader with lies and misinformation, but the congregation did not know it. As time went on new lies were told so that slowly many left him. At the time of turmoil few knew of the true nature of his heart until much destruction had been done. In the end the flock was slowly scattered because he didn't like or trust many. Liars do not trust well. He Honged his horn and the true sheep scattered. Ap. Paul warned Ephesus of this kind of wolf, one that comes from within and takes a place of leadership.

IV. It Is More Blessed to Give Than to Receive (32-38)

>11. In spite of difficulties that would arise in the Church, who and what does Paul trust? (32a)

* Acts 20:32a ""Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace,..."

* God is with his people. Though wolves come in he protects his flock. If the wolf is in a leadership position he takes his sheep to another flock.

* "word of grace" -The word of God makes us wise unto salvation and thus we will eventually be able to tell a wolf though he be in sheep clothing.

>Why? (32b)

* Acts 20:32b "...which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified."

* "build you up" -With study of the Bible the Holy Spirit can teach us.

* "give you an inheritance" -Jesus often told us we would get an inheritance. An inheritance is obtained when someone dies. In his will he lives parts of his wealth to those he loves. Jesus died and gives his people parts of his inheritance. Jesus owns the entire universe. He will give those he loves a piece of what he owns.

* "among those who are sanctified" -Jesus loved so greatly that he offered his life for the sanctification of those he loves.

* God will reveal these things as we study the Bible. That is why Paul could commit the Ephesians to God and the Bible.

* If Paul could trust God with the flock, so should all shepherds.

>12. What was Paul's attitude toward materials? (33; 1 Sam. 12:2-3)

* Acts 20:33 "I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing."

* 1 Samuel 12:2-3 "Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day. Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these, I will make it right."

>Why did he live as a self-supporting tent-maker missionary? (33-35a; 1 Cor. 9:7-1; Acts 18:2-3; and 2 Cor. 11:7-9)

* Acts 20:33-35a "I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak,..."

* 1 Cor. 9:7-18 "Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn't the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast. Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it."

* Acts 18:2-3 "There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them."

* 2 Cor. 11:7-9 "Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so."

* Though the ox should receive his portion of hay Paul supported himself through tent making. I have followed this course. I never received one cent from any congregation for all the hard sweat producing and blood dripping labor for the Lord and his people. Many times I worked twelve hour days, even while working on this web site. Yet, I supported myself and now my family through jobs. I live in hope of a heavenly reward. While wolves I once knew are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and a few died millionaires. They have received there hay and more so in this life. What reward awaits them?

>What was the underlying principle for his practical mission life? (35b; John 3:16; Luke 6:38)

* Acts 35b "...remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

* John 3:16 ""For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

* Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured to you."

* Jesus could say this because he knew he would pass out rewards when he comes from his people. The manuscript I wrote called The Believer's Future - Hope That Inspires was written because God reminded me when attack came the reason I've been living by faith and sacrificing so much. If you are wondering that now, please read it. It is meant to encourage believers.

>13. How did they depart? (36)

* Acts 20:36 "When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed."

* "knelt down" -in reverence and respect to God.

>What do you learn about their love relationship?

* They prayed together.


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