ACTS - CHAPTER 20 - Paul's Goodbye tothe Ephesian Church (2022)



ACTS – CHAPTER 20 –Paul’s Goodbye to the Ephesian Church (2022)

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

July 5, 2022, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


We finished chapter 19 with the city clerk in Ephesus putting down the riot started by Demetrius, the Silversmith.  We prayed and took authority over that spirit manifesting in the United States under the Soros’ bullies.


Acts 20:1:  After the uproar had ceased, Paul called the disciples to himself, embraced them, and departed to go to Macedonia.


Paul’s work in Ephesus was done.  When we get to verses 17-35, Paul reveals his heart for the church and his ministry there.


In the letters to the Corinthians written from Ephesus, the apostle was often in danger from Jewish plots and under constant threat.  Besides the suffering, he carried the tremendous burden of the anti-Pauline party in the Corinthian church which hurt him deeply.  The Ephesian period is a great success story, but the hero was also a martyr.


2 Co. 1: 8-11: We do not want you to be ignorant, brethren of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.  Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves; that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us; you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.


20:2-3: When he had gone over that region and encouraged them with many words, he came to Greece and stayed three months.  And when the Jews plotted against him as he was about to sail to Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia.


Romans 15:19 tell us that Illyricum was evangelized at this time, which means Paul or one of his disciples got as far west as the Adriatic Sea.


Ro. 15:19:  In mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum (Macedonia), I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.


He stayed in Greece three months.  Apparently, his letters to Corinth had resolved most of the church’s problems before he got there.  It was at this time Paul found time to write his epistle to the Romans, perhaps his greatest work.


Because of a plot of the Jews against him, he detours and spends Passover in his beloved Philippi.  His entourage of friends described in verse 4 would be a representative from each of the churches where he had been collecting offerings for Jerusalem.  They would be sent to protect Paul from the threats against him as well as protect the offering.  Paul wisely wrote ahead that the offerings be collected before he arrived in each city and invited a representative to travel with him.  These were seven mighty men in the LORD.


  1. Sopater of Berea- is probably the same person mentioned in Ro. 16:21 in Paul’s greeting to the Romans.  He is considered to be one of the seventy apostles, and a relative of Paul.  Timothy, my fellow worker, Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you (Ro. 16:21).
  2. Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians – Aristarch accompanied Paul on his journey to Rome.  Along with Gaius, Aristarchus was seized by the mob at Ephesus and taken into the theater (Ch. 19).  We can say that he and Gaius went to jail to cover for Paul.  Later he returned with Paul from Greece to Asia.  At Caesarea, he embarked with Paul on a ship from Edremit bound for Myra in Lycia.  He is described as Paul’s “fellow prisoner” and “fellow laborer” in Col. 4:10 and Philemon 1:24.
  3. Gaius of Derbe (Galatia). He is mentioned by John in 3 John 1:1 as the well beloved, whom John loved in the truth.
  4. Timotheus is Timothy.
  5. Tychicus and Trophimus – from Asia.  Acts 21:28 refers to him as Trophimus an Ephesian whom they supposed Paul had brought into the temple.  The Jews raised a tumult which resulted in Paul’s imprisonment.  In writing to Timothy, the apostle comments that he left Trophimus sick at Mileturn (2 Ti. 4:20).   Tychicus is mentioned five times in the New Testament.  In Eph. 6:21, Paul calls him a “dear brother and faithful servant of the Lord.”  In Colossians he says he is “a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.”  In both Ephesians and Colossians, Paul indicates he is sending Tychicus to the Christians to whom he is writing.  Titus 3:12 and to Timothy show that Tychicus was with Paul after the appeal to the emperor which resulted in the apostle regaining his freedom.  Paul sends him to Crete to relieve Titus so Titus would be free to come be with the apostle at Nicopolis.  Last in 2 Timothy, which was written in Rome no long before Paul’s execution.  To the last, Tychicus was serviceable as ever.  He sent Tychicus to relieve Timothy so he could rejoin Paul at Rome. 


Acts 20: 5-12:  These men, going ahead, waited for us at Troas.  We sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days. On the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.  There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together.  In a window set a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep.  He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking; he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.  But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.”  When Paul came up, he broke bread and ate.  Paul talked a long while even till daybreak.  Then he departed.  They brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.


When I taught this passage in 2000, my notes show I did a mini-study on the “first day of the week when the disciples came together.”  I am not sure why I felt it necessary at that time unless there was a dispute between the Christian first day of the week and the Jewish first day of the week.  I don’t consider it an issue to be addressed with this group, so I will save that teaching for a future day.


A church had been formed at Troas.  Paul’s sermon described in verse seven is the longest sermon on record.  He apparently spoke for at least ten hours.  There are some cultures in other nations where preachers will preach for hours.  However, Paul only had that one evening to impart to the Troas congregation the revelation of the New Testament Church. 


The resurrection of Eutychus is an action by Paul which validates the authority of the New Testament Church to raise the dead just as Elijah and Elisha did in the Old Testament and of course Jesus did during His earthly ministry.  The heavenly ministry of Jesus is no less powerful, because He defeated death.  As Paul stated, he has faced death many times.  Therefore, death has no power over him until the LORD calls him home.


Dr. Luke who had rejoined the party at Philipps (note the ‘we” in verse 6) wrote in verse 9, “He was dead!”  After Paul fell on him and embraced him, he said, “His life is in him.”  It is a testimony to the church of the 21st century of how calmly Paul returns to the upper room, not to comment on the accident or the miracle.  In similar circumstances, many ministers would use this to build their fame.  He continued ministering until day break, then departed.


Paul chooses to walk the twenty miles over land.  He did this after preaching all night.  The little ship went island hopping. 


20: 13-16:  Then we went ahead to the ship and sailed to Assos (N.W. Asia Minor), there intending to take Paul on board; for so he had given orders, intending himself to go on foot.  When he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene (Greek Island of Lesbos).  We sailed from there, and the next day came opposite Chios (Greece).  The following day we arrived at Samos (Greek island) and stayed at Trogyllium.  The next day we came to Miletus.  Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.


10:17:  From Miletus, he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. I call Paul’s sermon in verses 18-41, The Cost of Greatness:


The message is not so much an exhortation from an apostle to elders, but a presentation of Great pastoral service.  Paul sees the future.  He foresees the trends which will develop in the Ephesian church.  From his experiences in Corinth and Galatia, he knows that unscrupulous men will invade the church after his departure.  They will be false teachers who will seduce the disciples in order to build a following.  But, even worse, there will be internal enemies as well.  From within the bosom of the church, will also come heretical teachers who will mercilessly devastate the flock.


His predictions were true.  These things did occur.  From Paul’s letters, we gather there was a wide-spread revolt against Paul’s teaching throughout the province of Asia.  From Rev. 2:4, we see Ephesus did indeed forsake her first love.  Jesus in the parable of the Good Shepherd picture the true pastors as shepherds; and false teachers as wolves.


Paul is transparent before the leaders and us, succeeding generations.  We hear first hand the agony and extasy of his pastoral service to the Ephesians.  The cost of pastoring is here laid before us.


20: 18-35:  When they had come to him, he said to them: “You know from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you.  Serving the Lord with all humility, and with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.  See, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.  None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself; so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.  Indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.  Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.  For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.  Therefore, take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.  For I know this, that after my departure, savage will come in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also, from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore, watch, and remember that for three years, I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.  So, now brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.  I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.  Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak.  Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”


Paul was bent over to win the Jews, his tears, his trials.  He is vulnerable to speak and declare all of the revealed truth he has received from the LORD which is a reformation from Judaism to Christianity.  His message is without partiality to all.  He states he is bound in the spirit to go to Jerusalem.  He knows persecution and possible imprisonment awaits him by the hand of the Jews. 


The Holy Spirit has revealed what Paul will face: chains and tribulation.  He could have retired, but he chose to finish his race.  The Lord Jesus gave him the choice.  He will always give us a choice to accept our calling. 


He is not longer moved by fear of pain, rejection, persecution, physical violence or prison.  “It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives within me.”   He knows he will never see them again.  This is goodbye.  Perhaps the twenty-mile hike to Assos was the finality of the time he needed alone with the LORD.  He put the others on the ship.  The past ten-years of his life has been intense in glory, miracles, soul winning and establishing churches.  Now, he must go forward toward the final call and finish the race.


Job 22:21-30:  Acquaint now yourself with Him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come to you.  Receive, I pray the law from His mouth, and lay up His words in your heart.  If you return to the Almighty, you shall be built up, you shall put away iniquity far from your tabernacles.  Then shall you lay up gold as dust, and the Gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.  Yea, the almighty shall be your defense, and you shall have plenty of silver.  For then shall you have your delight in the Almighty, and shall lift up your face to God.  You shall make your prayer to Him, and he shall hear you, and you shall pay your vows.  You shall also decree a thing, and it shall be established to you; and the light shall shine upon your ways.  When men are cast down, then you shall say, “There is lifting up; and He shall save the humble person.  He shall deliver the island of the innocent; and it is delivered by the pureness of your hands.”


Dignity calls for duty.  We must walk circumspectly.  The Lord spoke to me once, “Carolyn walk before me circumspectly.”  Many eyes are on pastors.  Some to follow the example to do good; others to quarrel and look for fault.  To all whether they seek good or to do evil, walk circumspectly to the Word of God.


In verse 35, Paul quotes the Lord Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”   This is not written in the Gospels.  However, Paul says, “the Lord said it.”  The Lord spoke to him personally and gave him the revelation of the gospel of His Kingdom.  “{There is a reported writing of ‘The Sayings of Jesus,’ which were not included in the Canonical gospels” (F.F. Bruce – page 1303).


Wouldn’t we all rather be a bountiful giver than a needy taker.  The children of the world system are afraid of giving out of their need.  Their hope is in the receiving.  God gives to all.  Pastors and Fathers will do good to the ungrateful.  This is honor.  It is pleasant to do good to the grateful, but to the ungrateful, then God becomes our paymaster.





20: 36-38:  When Paul had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.  Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more.  They accompanied him to the ship.


A demonstration of love between pastor and people.  There is no record of Paul ever seeing these people again.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

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