Persistence against all odds. That describes the Apostle Paul and what he’s gone through and has yet to encounter as he leaves his friends to follow the Holy Spirit’s calling. Moreover, he knows, because God told him, that he’ll have to go through suffering and imprisonment. Yet, he goes anyway. That’s faith. That’s obedience. That’s trust. We can learn a lot from Paul’s experience. Let’s dig in…
When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them. Then he said good-bye and left for Macedonia. 2 While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through. Then he traveled down to Greece, 3 where he stayed for three months. He was preparing to sail back to Syria when he discovered a plot by some Jews against his life, so he decided to return through Macedonia.
4 Several men were traveling with him. They were Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. 5 They went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. 6 After the Passover ended, we boarded a ship at Philippi in Macedonia and five days later joined them in Troas, where we stayed a week.
Paul’s Final Visit to Troas
7 On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight. 8 The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps. 9 As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below. 10 Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!” 11 Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper, and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left. 12 Meanwhile, the young man was taken home alive and well, and everyone was greatly relieved.
Have you ever fallen asleep in church? Does it happen to you often? Then why are you there? Is it because of some sense of obligation? Do you think that makes you a Christian?
If the sermon message isn’t getting to you, then you’re in the wrong church. If you go to church to be entertained, you’re in the wrong church. The sermon message should speak to you each time. You go to church to learn how to get closer to God and to fellowship (hang out) with other believers. To encourage each other.
Here in Troas, the believers sat all night long listening to Paul. Imagine that. Do you find yourself looking at at your watch during the sermon message? Then you’re in the wrong church.
These days, many churches have online services and videos so you can check out the preacher to see if the message touches your heart. Continuing…
Paul Meets the Ephesian Elders
13 Paul went by land to Assos, where he had arranged for us to join him, while we traveled by ship. 14 He joined us there, and we sailed together to Mitylene. 15 The next day we sailed past the island of Kios. The following day we crossed to the island of Samos, and a day later we arrived at Miletus.
16 Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn’t want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. 17 But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him.
18 When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now 19 I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. 20 I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. 21 I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.
22 “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, 23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. 24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
25 “And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. 26 I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, 27 for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.
28 “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders. 29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. 30 Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. 31 Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.
32 “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.
33 “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. 34 You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. 35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
36 When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. 37 They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. 38 They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship.Acts 20 NLT
Points to Ponder
- Paul never shied away from speaking the truth of the Good News of Jesus’ salvation no matter what he faced. That’s boldness.
- He always gave glory to God. That’s humility and respect.
- He knew what his mission was — to reach everyone possible with the Gospel — and he was bound to finish it. That’s determination and persistence.
- If someone hears the Gospel, yet refuses to believe it, it’s not the preacher’s fault, especially if he preached the truth. It’s the person’s fault for having a hard heart and a closed mind. I hope that’s not you.
- Satan’s main goal is to deceive Christians. Therefore, the devil sends out these charismatic false preachers with pretty, feel-good words that entrance you, but teach you nothing about the Gospel Truth. That’s the problem with many of today’s churches. I was in one for a very long time and I never heard the message of salvation. Being a good person does not get you into heaven! That’s the truth!
- Paul never coveted wealth. He worked hard with his hands as a tentmaker to support himself and his companions. That’s also humility as well as generosity.
If God told you to go somewhere, would you go?
How much do you trust God?
We don’t know what 2021 will bring. We can’t put our trust in a leader or a political party or a government or even a church. The only person we can trust is Jesus Christ. He is our only confident hope for salvation and eternal life.
Is Your Faith in Jesus Christ Only?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…