Acts 20: 1-12

Written by kathleen on Dec 06, 2015 in - No Comments

Acts 20:1-12

Falling out of church

THE TRIP

1 After the uproar had ceased, Paul called the disciples to himself, embraced them, and departed to go to Macedonia. 2 Now when he had gone over that region and encouraged them with many words, he came to Greece 3 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.

Paul had spent his time working with the churches he had already established; and realizing it was time to get moving, so he headed westward across the Aegean Sea to Macedonia in northern Greece, where he would gather money from the Macedonian believers to share with the famine-stricken church in Jerusalem.

As he was ready to board the ship to cross the Mediterranean Sea, Paul caught wind of the plot of certain Jews who intended to toss him into the ocean once his ship set sail. Consequently, he returned to Macedonia, to eventually go south to Jerusalem.

4 And Sopater of Berea accompanied him to Asia — also Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. 5 These men, going ahead, waited for us at Troas

After returning to Macedonia, Paul gathered a group of men to accompany him including Luke.

These traveling companions were probably representatives from the churches Paul had founded among the Gentiles who had sent money with Paul for the church in Jerusalem; and to possibly vouch for Paul’s stewardship in regard to the collection destined for Jerusalem. So for the purpose of safety as well as of accountability they made the journey together.

Luke continues to tell us; 6 But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days.

Paul has now sailed back across the Aegean Sea, eastward towards the Roman province of Asia Minor and meeting the group in Troas

 THE FALL

7 Now 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.

This is the first certain example we have of Christians making a practice to gather together on the first day of the week for fellowship and the word – though here, it seems they gathered in the evening, because Sunday was a normal working day for them.

Paul knowing he might never see these particular Christians again – he preached to them for at least six hours!

8 There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. 9 And in a window sat 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.

The name “Eutychus” means “fortunate, good luck”

The reason there were many lights in the room was because of the rumors circulating throughout the community concerning the early church.

Christians were accused of sexual promiscuity because they always talked about agape love.

They were accused of cannibalism because they talked about eating the body of Jesus and drinking His blood in Communion.

Consequently, when the early church met together, they lit their meeting halls very brightly in order that anyone walking by could clearly see what was going on.

So Eutychus was in this room with a bunch of people; He was up on the third loft; and of course the higher you get the hotter it is.

You’ve got all of the torches that are lighting the place; the oxygen supply is decreasing as the temperature is rising; he probably worked all day; his food is digesting, it is no wonder he was nodding out.

There are times in our own lives when we should look at our own situations and see how close to the ledge we are.

A good way to tell is; if the only time we’re letting our light shine, and the only time we’re singing praise or proclaiming our testimony, is in a place where there’s lots of light and a bunch of Christians, it won’t be long before you will become spiritually drowsy.

If church is the only place you express your belief in Jesus Christ, and the only place you seriously think about the Word of God, you will begin to nod off or even fall out.

On the other hand, if you knew today that you would be expected tomorrow to share this passage we’re looking at now; with somebody at work, your family, or friends at your school, it would be a good idea if you would have pencil and paper in hand, an alert mind, and an eager heart listening with ears to hear!

You would probably be thinking, “If I’m going to give this out, I better get it now!”

But so often, we say instead, there are lots of Christians here; I’ll just sit on this ledge here in the back row and nod a little; after all Sunday is a day of rest!

If this is the case it’s no wonder you’ll feel lethargic because spiritual drowsiness is exactly proportionate to our failure to give out what we take in.

In Israel, there are two major bodies of water, both fed by the Jordan River: the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea.

The Sea of Galilee is full of life, but not even a single-celled being can survive in the Dead Sea.

Although the Jordan River flows into both, it only flows out of the Sea of Galilee. Therefore the Dead Sea is void of life because there’s input but no outflow.

You and I will either be like the Sea of Galilee, giving out the Word, and filled with life as a result—or we will be like the Dead Sea, taking in but, because we don’t give out!

The Recovery

10 But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.” 11 Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. 12 And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.

Now, it is possible that Eutychus may have moved to the back row and sat near the window in order to stay awake.

Over the years, I’ve seen many people who at one time were in the front row and excited about Bible study; then they start moving toward the back and gradually lose all interest in the things of the Lord.

Believers are like automobiles. When we start to miss, we eventually stop running altogether.

When people start pulling away from Bible study, from prayer, from Communion, from corporate fellowship, they weaken their walk without exception.

This is why it says in Hebrews 10:25 “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together,”

Those who do so are in danger of experiencing what happened to Eutychus: By moving toward the back, then falling out altogether.

Perhaps you know someone like Eutychus who is spiritually drowsy, or even spiritually dead. It might be your spouse, your son or daughter, your next-door neighbor or friend.

This person, who was once on fire, is now like Eutychus. They’ve   moved to the back, fell off the ledge, and now they’re dead spiritually speaking.

How are you to minister to them? This text gives the answer.

We read that Paul didn’t come down on Eutychus, but went down to Eutychus.

The account in 2 Kings Chapter 4:8 sheds light on the reason Paul may have done this.…  (cf. 1 Kings 17:17-24

Because Elisha the prophet had been taken care of by a wealthy Shunammite woman who had prepared a room in her house for him to stay whenever he passed through the area,

Elisha promised her that, although she was barren and her husband was old, she would bear a son.

She conceived and gave birth to a son. A few years later, while working with his dad in the field, the child fell down holding his head.

The father ordered servants to take the boy to his mother, but, although she comforted him, he died.

The Shunammite woman then took her son’s body into a room to prepare him not for burial, but for a miracle. She then ordered her servants to “Saddle up the donkey we’re going to get Elisha.”

Finding the prophet at Mount Carmel, she grabbed him and said, “You deceived me, Elisha. You allowed this son to come into our family, and now he’s dead.”

Elisha responded by ordering his servant, Gehazi, to take his staff and lay it upon the boy.

But that wasn’t good enough for the Shunammite woman.

She said, “Elisha I’m not going back until you come with me.” So while Gehazi took the staff and went quickly, Elisha and the Shunammite woman followed a little behind.

When Gehazi reached the woman’s home, he laid the staff on the boy, but nothing happened.

When Elisha finally arrived, he layed himself on the boy—mouth to mouth, eye to eye, hand to hand. And as he did so, Elisha felt warmth in the boy’s body.

This is the key to ministering to the Euyticus that has come into your life—when someone has fallen off the ledge because of his or her own spiritual nodding or apathy, the tendency is to say,

“Let’s call the church and get the staff on the job,” or, “Let’s preach at him.”

But, as Gehazi found, neither of these approaches would bring life.

 The key is for us to take the example of Elisha

Come to that person and go hand to hand, mouth to mouth, eye to eye—to do what Paul did: to embrace the person and say, “I love you unconditionally. I care about you. I’m here for you. I will stand by you.”

 It’s love not delegation or doctrine that will bring about resurrection!

We need to go hand to hand, mouth to mouth, eye to eye with those who have fallen.

When you do like Elisha, you’ll feel some warmth, sense a stirring, maybe hear some sniffling, then see an eye opening—and finally they will sit up.

There are many scriptures that support this principle such as:

Gal 6:1-2 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Col 4:5-6 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

One day you may find a Eutychuses one who was once doing well, but who moved to the back and fell off the ledge

That’s your opportunity to come down not on them, but to them.

The Bible says it is His love that motivates us to love others

You see there is One,” “who came and pressed in to you in a way we cannot even begin to understand.

God Himself came down not on you, but came down to you in the Person of Jesus Christ.

His hands were pressed to the Cross for you and me.

His mouth cried out; Father forgive them they don’t know what they are doing!

His blood, His broken body, with much sweat, and tear-filled eyes said, “I love you.” As he gave His life for you!

May our prayer be: God grant us the grace to be ministers of reconciliation You’ve called us to be! May You give us opportunity to touch lives this week!