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September 17, 2020 8:00 am
How would you like to be remembered in Scripture as the guy who fell asleep during one of Paul's long talks if only Utica's having fallen out of the window.
He was sitting in would never have heard of them, as it is, he's a hero to every long-suffering pew Center. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act quickly you next 20 Paul is getting ready to leave Ephesus and head home. But his trip gets delayed a week and he ends up spending an extra Sunday, worshiping and talking with the Ephesian believers. Let's listen as Dr. Boyce tells us what happened.
It's not always possible to say with the kind of neatness are accuracy. We would like that new section lacks begins in a particular chapter, there are transition chapters saw earlier that it's even difficult to distinguish between the close of the second and the beginning of the third missionary journey splats because Luke's purpose in writing this is not strictly historical, but theological as well and sometimes those concerns intrude, sometimes even his historical concerns. Don't conform as neatly the kind of organization we perform as we might like, I say that because when we come to this 20th chapter we have in many ways a new beginning. And yet at the same time we have a closer wrap up of things that we have had before.
Certainly we can say that there is a shift in Paul's ministry noticeable at the beginning of this chapter, and much more noticeable as we move on later in the book up to this point, Paul has largely been engaging in pioneer missionary activity going into new areas and he has been founding churches here in these verses, he visits churches that he has already found it.
Then as he moves on to Jerusalem as we know he is arrested and then at least in the remainder of the book doesn't have that kind of freedom that he had had previously was a change of their what we see in the verses were about to look up and study that is the first 12 verses of chapter 20 is a wrap up of his missionary work in this particular area of the world's not to say that he didn't do anything new. Probably he did.
I want to indicate that or even after the book of acts in the city didn't have opportunity to do further pioneer missionary work. There is the theory that perhaps the was released from his Roman imprisonment. He went on to Spain as he had planned to do it if he did that he certainly found the churches there so far as the book of acts is concerned with seeing them now in these missionary journeys traveling throughout Asia and Macedonia and Greece founding churches in here for the last time in the book goes back over the territory visits these churches get some final words of teaching counsel and then moves on the wrong or something else that happens as well a different focus. It doesn't come in is clearly here as it does later but it's happening here at this period of his life. He was in the midst of a plan to achieve possible a reconciliation or harmony between the Gentile churches that he had been instrumental in establishing the Jewish church, which had its great focal points in Jerusalem. Now we know it didn't work very well.
It's interesting here was a noble ideal. Certainly one that was truly spiritual harmony of the Jewish and the Gentile branches of the Christian church. Yet it didn't go very well, but that's what Paul was concerned about. So as I said, we see a shift in activity as Luke writes about this. We notice another kind of shift. Up to this point we have had a focus on the cities, the places where Paul is visited. What happened there really was historical in that sense now beginning here seems to be a greater emphasis upon what we would call Paul's speeches was very chapter were going to find them important farewell words to the elders of the church at Ephesus later this ball is called before one secular authority after the other, we find them giving great speeches before these authorities in defense. Both of himself and of the Christian faith are the result of this, as we saw was Paul's imprisonment. This change was arrested in Jerusalem. He was imprisoned first in Caesarea for two years and he appealed.
The Emperor sent around shipwrecked on the way. When he arrived in Rome he was imprisoned two years.
Their long years of imprisonment. Yet during these years. We also find new opportunities for Paul because although always bound the gospel was not bound in God continue to bless his ministry even during those years of incarceration. How these verses as I said are verses that give details of what I guess we would call Paul's final tour of the missionary field goes back over churches of Macedonia and some in Asia about strengthening them, teaching them dealing with problems training the leadership establishing them in order that they might go on and prosper even when he himself was withdrawn from their midst. Now it begins by telling us that the left Ephesus, where he has been leaving temporarily and that he went to Macedonia, Paul is doing this. According to Luke in the very quick way doesn't give us much in the way of detail when we read what Paul himself is written in his letters, we find that this was a period of great personal agony and concern on Paul's part cheat thing on his heart.
At this time was his concern for the church at Corinth. It written his first letter to Corinth from Ephesus.
Somewhere along the line during that two-year period of ministry there in Ephesus.
Word had come to him of various problems in the Corinthian church, the kind of problems that are reflected particularly in the second letter were factions in the church somewhere claiming to be followers of Apollo, so they had in the Paula's party somewhere, aiming to be followers of Peter Peter party and some were claiming to be followers of Paul.
They were all Paul party and in the word spiritual ones and said we don't follow any earthly leaders.
We are followers of Christ. And so with is a Christ party was separate.
All of these factions were going off in different ways resume rowdy in the church disorder in the church, the communion service was not very well observed. All of these things came to trouble Paul because after all we have already seen that he spent a good deal of his time in the previous missionary journey there incorrectly spent a year and 1/2 and God told him that he had many people in that city and so he poured his time and his energies into establishing a church in this great cosmopolitan center. This economic crossroads of the ancient world and he was very anxious after he had written his first letter to deal with these problems to find out how the church in Corinth was really doing. You left Titus in Corinth. Titus was given the task of dealing with the problem and then reporting back to Paul. I was supposed to meet Titus of Croats, so Paul is the left. Ephesus now traveled north the direction of the strakes would lead them across the Macedonia waited for a time of trouble as and when Titus didn't come Paul as he says later in his second letter to the Corinthians trouble within went on over the strakes where fortunately he did it last meet this great coworker and hear the word came to him that what he had been concerned about was necessary because after it written his first letter, an adult with these problems. The Corinthians that respondent responded well and many of the problems were dealt with. They were reconciled to one another and with Paul and dealt with the immorality in their midst and ball as he says, was greatly comforted in the coming of Titus and then after having written.
He made his way on them Corinth, where he spent the winter. That would mean months of December January and February when the seas were too rough for boats to travel and he had made up his mind that if possible.
He was going to get back to Jerusalem for Passover in the spring. I was turned out he didn't get there when he was a bout leave sale for Jerusalem word came that the Jews of Corinth who were very start up against him had a plot to take his life is not a great deal said about this, but it's not hard to imagine what was involved. Jews going to Jerusalem would've gone on what we would call a Pilgrim ship would be a ship carrying cargo but they would take aboard as many passengers as possible. It would be crowded order to keep affairs law and it would be quite possible in a crowded condition like that on a Pilgrim ship for someone who had been commissioned by those were Paul's fierce enemies simply to kill him during the course of some dark night. See, perhaps strangling them or killing with a knife or push them overboard. He be lost at sea.
While the Lord came to Paul, that was a foot so he decided rather than going by C return Overland for Macedonia to visit those churches once again and then later in from another poor kid make his way on to Jerusalem were told at this point about this team that joined him there and which together went up to Jerusalem is a rather impressive group of people in the occasion was itself impressive on a great deal is said about it here, but we know from Paul's letters that he had been traveling through these Gentile areas and among the churches he had founded in order to take up an offering, which he was going to bring with this company to Jerusalem to help out the Jerusalem saints time of famine and poverty income. The church in Jerusalem, and undoubtedly all doesn't always say it in so many words, but undoubtedly what Paul had in mind was that I this changeable active concern for the Jewish Christians of Jerusalem he would bridge the gap which he certainly saw developing between the Jewish and the Gentile branches of the church and perhaps he would even be able to demonstrate something of the love of the Gentile churches to the Jews in Jerusalem at large, so that seeing this love and compassion that is true social concern of the people they might be on the Jesus Christ. We got a little heavy-handed about it at times.
Some people think almost as it were ordering a number of the Gentile churches to give but they did give the money was collected and it was in the company of these man that it was sent first for the chapter introduces us to this company says that always accompanied on this occasion by soap butter was a son of Paris Maria Aristarchus and Secunda's from Thessalonica and guidance from Derby and Timothy was from a stroke doesn't mention the word and from the province of Asia, where Ephesus was situated to trick us and trophy mess he's been books as went on ahead and waited for us at Croats. Now there's that plural again and it indicates that at this point. Luke himself joined the company is worth reflecting on these men a little bit there was Maria Maria, was that town you know where we are told they were more noble, even those of Thessalonica because they diligently search the Scriptures to see whether the things Paul was teaching them from the Old Testament concerning Jesus of Nazareth were true or real Bible students and that's to be expected to happen about a group of people like that a strong church was established, and then they add an elder leader is manslaughter who they sent along Thessalonica. That church in Macedonia, but on the coasts. The site that is today known as Salonika variation of the word that place produced Aristarchus and Secunda's. I don't know if this is intentional but that is a very interesting combination of names Aristarchus and Secunda's Aristarchus is a name that means literally very much like what it seems to mean an English aristocracy. The first part of it is a Greek word meaning the best and the second part is the word meaning rule, so aristocracy is form of government in which rule is by the best possible people. Of course I generally means by those who are in positions of power and regard themselves as the best, not necessarily the case that they are at any rate, if the name has any kind of literal meaning it would seem to suggest that this man was from what we would call the upper crust of society least it would be a most unusual name to give a child. If you were poor or you were in a level of society that had very little influence in law you can see a rich man, an influential man naming his son, Aristarchus is the first seconds is exactly the opposite. Secunda's word mean second that the Latin word and say why would anybody be named second or number two.
While these were kind of names were often given to slaves. Sometimes the slaves didn't have a name and and prosperous Latin or Greek household.
You have a slave who was the number one slave in charge of all the other slaves and he would be called treatments number one and then you would have his understudy, the one who worked for him and actually carried out all the things that the number one had to do in this man was number two was called Secunda's. We don't know that for sure. We don't know for certain that Aristarchus was from the aristocracy and we don't know that Secunda's was a slave, but it would seem that this is the case, probably a freed slave because if he was still a slave unless he was a slave of the Christian master was willing to let them go on the journey would be unlikely that he would be allowed to go. Probably a man from that background.
See Thessalonica's great church and Macedonia said let's send men along with Paul representing us bearing this offering up to the church in Jerusalem who are representative of our congregation and send someone who represents the nobility because we have a few like that here and let's and Secunda student represents those who are the majority. Because most of us are not people of very high estate and so those two were sent along dais went from Derby Timothy we know about P traveled with Paul it was his understudy, a member of the province of Asia there was to trick us and trophy mess. People look at this and who understand it in terms of the geography raise the question which you yourself a raise if you think about it carefully enough.
If these are to be representatives from the great Gentile churches where in this list are the representatives from Philippi. One of the great strong churches in Macedonia and where in this list is a representative from Corinth itself, where Paul spent a year and six months. The question is have Derby represented Westra those times. In Galatia you have Thessalonica represented for Macedonia and Berea from the lower portions of Greece but where is Philippi and where is Corinth. While it may be we reflect on this since at this point Lou begins to indicate that he's present.
By referring to the company as we rather than lay Luke himself represented Philippi would be characteristic of Luke seems to be characteristic of Luke, not to mention himself added that is the case, well then one of those cities is covered one about Corinth, one of the commentators suggests that here we have a clue that things have not worked out well accordance Corinth was divided and was alienated from Paul. Paul had written to them and his letters about this offering that he was trying to take. Perhaps they had resisted his suggestions that they take up an offering for the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem Brabson were alienated from Paul when the time came to send a representative with the offering. They just had no offering and I had no one to send her some grounds for thinking that was possible yet to judge from Paul's letters of encouragement that he had been that church. It is quite possible that something else happened when Paul got back there.
That winter and was ministering among them in the months of December, January and February. The time came for them to leave and they had the offering. They might've said something like this. I might've said Paul, you're such a beloved pastor here among us that we would really like you to represent our church. Why don't you go and be one of the party and you we trusted. Why don't you carry the offering up from the church year in Corinth. We don't know the answer to that but at any rate, here was this great company that set out before they actually believe we have a little insight into a day of worship in this town of Croats all was delayed there seven days doesn't say why, but probably because the winds were unfavorable or the ship was taking on cargo and couldn't go any rate was a delay during the passage of those seven days. The first day of the week, the Lord's day are Sunday rolled around on the Christians got together. I find here not only a glimpse in the worship of the people in the city but also an indication of the elements that are generally present and should be present in Christian worship.
First of all it significance that this first day of the week is mentioned.
Sunday you know of course that it had been the tradition of the Jews and continues to be the tradition of the Jews, even our own time to worship on the seventh day of the week of the Sabbath. This is prescribed in the Old Testament as part of the Decalogue is what you would expect Old Testament individuals to do those who follow from it. When we come into the New Testament we find almost automatically, and it would seem almost without any thought that the Christians most of whom in the early days were Jews who were used to worshiping at least once a week just automatically switch their natural day of worship from the Sabbath seventh day of the week Sunday for the first day of the week.
That's interesting. First of all, it is quite clearly a result of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which happened on the first day of the week saying that almost instinctively, the Christians recognize that here was a new beginning when Christ rose from the dead old things really had changed and passed away in a new era had begun and so they began to worship God on the old day, the Sabbath, but on the Lord's day, which is what they called it. So this change in worship is worship on the first day of the week was a result of the resurrection cycling we notice about this particular Lord's day, or Sunday is the teaching that they had in this case teaching by the apostle Paul would be what we would call the equivalents of the sermon or the exposition of the word of God from the very beginning. You see this has had a prime part in Christian services, not everybody can talk as long as Paul talks we don't know when he began I guess it would be after the work day everybody got together there. This upper room of the house. Maybe 7 o'clock at night may be little later 730 everybody got finished and arrived there, but that any radiation started in the evening and he was still going strong teaching, preaching a sermon at midnight. Now course, he had a lot of practice about an emphasis we know from the marginal note of the text therapeutics is a valid reference that he began teaching in the hall that he had rented a tent in the morning and he went before the afternoon so he was used to doing about six hours of good lecture every day here in this occasion, occasion, which he understood to be probably the last time that he would be with these Christians.
He took off long, long time to teach them.
Never Christian worship, Christian community shift from that emphasis whenever they begin to think of worship as chiefly entertainments whenever they begin to think that what this accomplished in worship is essentially an emotional response that can be worked out by the singing of a certain kind of him accordance whenever they think that is important is a series of testimonies to get people to tell moving stories of how they were lost in sin with a great deal of emphasis upon the sand and how they were brought out of that by grace of God in Jesus Christ with a substitute that there worship well the church begins to be weakened and sometimes even to die because you say the power of God is not in our emotions, and it's not in our experience the power of God does work in us and experiences result the power of God is in the word of God is what God has chosen the blessed. That's why in Christian services.
We emphasize it. The eloquence of the preacher either. It's not even the authority of the preacher, but it's the word of God, and that's what God blesses and he does blessed so you had that spiritual as is also in observance of the Lord's supper does you see that's what they stipulate in the evening.
Paul preached first Presbyterian church great emphasis is placed upon that is not to be the observance of the Lord's supper without preaching! Of it is in the teaching of the gospel in the work that's to be the basis, but there was Lord's supper and they observed that and then finally 1/4 thing I've talked about it being the Lord's day the first day of the week and the teaching of the Lord's supper. The final thing you notice toward the end of this is that Paul in verse 11 continued even after the observance of the Lord's supper. Talking with them in and informal way until daylight word that is used therefore talking is a different work on the word that is used earlier for his speaking to the Lord is talking to them. The earlier instance verse seven is words indicate formal teaching dialogue is one of the words we are word dialogue from it and it is a very sustained reason. Careful kind of teaching situation, but toward the end word changes.
It means informal talking and undoubtedly was connected with informal fellowship offered to be true, it's not always true in the kind of church services.
We have but when I have spoken in other places, especially if I been there for a particular teaching ministry.
I have gone on for a long period of time afterwards will have a time of fellowship and it frequently falls out, the people have a variety of questions and then things take place on less formal but nevertheless very helpful level and that's what went on here recently emphasize all this is that if you remember back toward the beginning of the book of acts we have almost the same thing early on in the second chapter toward the end of the second chapter after Pentecost when the church was established in Jerusalem asked to verse 42 we read they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship of the breaking of bread and to prayer is precisely what we find here the only one of the four elements as mentioned in acts 242 is not mentioned in acts 20 us in prayer and undoubtedly that's to be understood or overtaxed to its formal to the prayers refers they are to formal worship in this meeting that they had had its own formal aspect so that was involved to the other things are all involved to see the apostles teaching and the fellowship in the breaking of bread was seen with the that is natural Christian people wherever you go wherever the gospel is penetrated wherever churches have been established there Christians naturally come together to hear the word of God expounded worship around the communion table eating of the bread and partaking of the wind represent the broken body in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and then fellowship going with one another, sharing with one another. The things that they hold in common than the God is doing in their lives. While I'm sure you're wondering how I could have talked about these 12 verses of acts 20 all this time and still not mentioned Utica's everybody thinks about Utica's, especially people who were sitting in the church service or the preacher is going on and on. On a hot summer evening with the lights flickering the air stale and who are falling asleep. Glad the story is told because it indicates that sometimes even people fell asleep. When Paul was preaching.
I'm sure Paul wasn't born after the ball is not irrelevant. I'm sure that Paul did not turn people off with the simplicity of the kind of things he was trying to teach them from the work of Paul taught well all thought deeply, but sometimes you're now in spite of the best teaching/is weak even though the spirit is willing, that's what happened to this poor fellow Utica's.
He was sitting on a window ledge about the third story where they were meeting. The lights were flickering is an interesting detail that move brings in whites were flickering about the air was heavy there was a hot spring moving in the summer bytes. This bad Utica's got drowsy or drowsy or and finally fell was Utica's dead different opinions on that says in verse nine he was picked up dead ball when he got to him said don't be alarmed is still alive and people have said well they thought he was dead. But when Paul got to him. Paul assured them he was alive.
Other people say he was dead.
But when Paul got to him.
There was a resurrection artwork through Paul and he was alive. I suppose that is a question we can entirely resolve Luke was presidency was a position. Luke is writing this in the Luke says it was dead.
I'm willing to believe that he was dead, but not a great deal was made but maybe that's merely a way of saying that they thought he was at any rate, he looked dead. Things were good and there was after Paul came to admit he revived and was taken home and they were comforted. I don't know the significance of all about the blessed God with a little chuckle just stuck it in there to encourage creatures like me when people say I almost fell asleep this morning are almost fell asleep last night, but it may be that the significance of it is something like this. Paul is not going to see them again.
This is a scene of farewell there observing the Lord's supper at his last time they're going to observe the Lord's supper together until they observed together in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ and before that happens, there all going to die going to die. After that there's the resurrection, and they will be together again in glory. Maybe this all of Utica since his apparent resurrection is a picture that that is the picture from which we can take heart, were together now on, God willing, we may be together for a long long time. Death does intervene, comes to us one by one and it is gone the moment when we find it necessary to say goodbye to one another in this life this life are all there is. That would be a scene of unredeemable blue but it's not Christians there's a resurrection of there's comfort in the resurrection, and we look forward to the day when these churches which have begun here below will be perfected in heaven. All of the diverse personalities, opinions, and characters will all be made one and perfect in Jesus Christ. I find that encouraging. We know because we know the end of the story that the apostle Paul is going to go on from here to Jerusalem and in Jerusalem was going to be attack arrested and beaten and imprisoned.
Yet that wasn't the end all he was going to lose his life role was going to be beheaded, but even that was not the end all himself, said we must enter the kingdom of God through many tribulations as life has the letter are many sufferings. Many things we go through many disappointments. Many particles babies when he said goodbyes is not the average God, who has begun a good work in you here will keep on perfecting its on the day of Jesus Christ of the time is coming when we will be with him. There spray father was the study to our hearts were not. Paul, we don't preach as he did. We haven't achieved what he achieved what you've given us the task of ministering to others, and it is our joy to know that those whom you call to Jesus Christ through our witness will buy your power one day be with us in heaven.
As we once the redeemed from all the agents bow down before the throne of Jesus Christ and give him the glory for all he has done. Praise to his name. Now I never, amen and amen.
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