SESSION 32 — “Being the Church,” a Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video.

A review of our sessions thus far can be found in my previous posts on my blog,

Acts 20:1-16

If I were to give this a title, it would be, “The Dead Are Raised!”

Verse 1 — After the riot in Ephesus had ceased, Paul sent for the Ephesian disciples. He greeted them — that is, he enfolded them, took them into his arms and embraced them. (NOTE: I have no idea why the NASB indicates that he exhorted them.) Then he left and went to Macedonia, as noted in 19:21.

Verses 2-3— Paul greatly exhorted (beseeched, implored, appealed to, and earnestly urged) the churches in Macedonia (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, and the rest). What did he say? You will see it in his epistles!

When he finished there, he came to Greece (which was part of the Roman province of Achaia in those days). He stayed three months, and then the Jews began persecuting him. A plot was formed as he was about to sail for Syria, so he returned again through Macedonia.

Why did the Jews hate Paul with such intensity? First of all, he had been one of them, persecuting the church, arresting Christians and jailing them, and, in doing so, sending them to their deaths.

Philippians 3:4  . . . although  I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5  circumcised the eighth day, of the  nation of Israel, of the  tribe of Benjamin, a  Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law,  a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal,  a persecutor of the church; as to the  righteousness which is in the Law, found  blameless.

And he did as the Jews wanted, as he testifies before King Agrippa —

Acts 26:9   “So then,  I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to  the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 “And this is  just what I  did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the  saints in prisons, having  received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I  cast my vote against them. 11 “And  as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being  furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them  even to  foreign cities.

But what does Paul now say???

Philippians 3:7   But  whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss  in view of the surpassing value of   knowing  Christ Jesus my Lord,  for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having  a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ,  the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may  know Him and  the power of His resurrection and   the fellowship of His sufferings, being  conformed to His death; 11  in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

And so, as he testifies to King Agrippa —

Acts 26:4   “So then, all Jews know  my manner of life from my youth up, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation and at Jerusalem; 5 since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as Pharisee  according to the strictest  sect of our religion. 6 “And now I am  standing trial  for the hope of  the promise made by God to our fathers; 7 the promise  to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this  hope, O King, I am being  accused by Jews.

He was an especially great threat to the Jews, because he knew the Scriptures backwards and forwards, and on the Road to Damascus, saw Jesus in a vision, and knew that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ. And so he proclaimed Jesus Christ with great power and fervor, suffering just as Christ told him he would suffer —

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to him (Ananias), “Go, for  he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and  kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for  I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

Verses 4-6 — Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundas, Gaius Timothy, Tychicus and Trophimus accompanied Paul on his journey to Jerusalem. They were his representatives from all the areas where he had ministered. They went ahead and were waiting for Paul and Luke at Troas. Luke was with him, also (note the “us” and “we” in Verses 5 and 6).

Paul wasn’t able to get to Jerusalem before the Passover, so he celebrated the feast of Unleavened Bread at Philippi. But now, he was determined to get to Jersualem before Pentecost (see Verse 16). So he and Sopater and the rest sailed from Philippi. Five days later, they arrived at Troas, and stayed there seven days.

Verses 7-8 — On Sunday, at Troas, they all gathered in an upper room to break bread (the Lord’s Supper). And Paul spoke to them, intending to leave the next day. It was a long message — he was still speaking at midnight! So, many lamps were lit in the upper room where they all had gathered.

Verse 9 — Because of the late hour, a young man named Eutycus, who was sitting on the window sill, sank into a deep sleep and fell down from the third floor. He was picked up dead (literally, as a corpse). Three stories is a deadly fall!

Verse 10 — So did Paul go down and mourn for him? No! Paul went down and fell upon the dead young man (literally, he seized him, or laid down on him). And he embraced the corpse. And he said, Do not be troubled for his life is in him. Glory!

NOTE: Many misinterpret this passage, saying it was a sexual encounter (!!!) or that Paul performed CPR on the young man (!!!). Those who teach such things do not have the light of dawn, beloved (see Isaiah 8:20)!

You must know that resurrection from the dead was done in this way by both Elijah and Elisha —

1Kings 17:19 He (Elijah) said to her, “Give me your son.” Then he took him from her bosom and carried him up to the upper room where he was living, and laid him on his own bed. 20 He called to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, have You also brought calamity to the widow with whom I am  staying, by causing her son to die?”

21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and called to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, I pray You, let this child’s life return  to him.” 22 The Lord heard the voice of Elijah,  and the life of the child returned  to him and he revived.

2Kings 4:32   When Elisha came into the house, behold the lad was dead and laid on his bed. 33 So he entered and  shut the door behind them both and prayed to the Lord. 34 And  he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth and his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands, and he stretched himself on him; and the flesh of the child became warm. 35 Then he returned and walked in the house once back and forth, and went up and  stretched himself on him; and the lad sneezed seven times and the lad opened his eyes.

Verse 11 — Then he went back to the upper room and broke bread and ate (this would be the Lord’s Supper), he talked with them some more — even until daybreak — and then left! He knew he would not see the church at Troas again, for he knew he was going to Jerusalem, and must go to Rome.

Verse 12 — And they took away the boy alive, and ALL were greatly comforted!

One commentator says, “There is no hint that Paul took the incident as a rebuke for long-windedness. Nor were the people troubled by the meeting’s length. They were eager to learn and only had Paul with them a short time. It was an evening of great significance for the church at Troas: Paul had taught them, they had had fellowship in the Lord’s Supper, and they had witnessed a dramatic sign of God’s presence and power.” (SOURCE: Expositor’s Bible Commentary.)

Verses 13-15 — Now, Paul traveled on toward Jerusalem. Sopater, Luke, and the others set sail on a vessel that traveled the coastline. They were headed for Assos, where they planned to pick up Paul. He had arranged to meet them there, intending to go by land until he reached Assos. And when he met them at Assos, they took him on board the ship, and they traveled to Mitylene. They sailed on to Chios, crossed over to Samos, and on the following day, they all arrived at Miletus.

Verse 16 — Paul decided to sail past Ephesus (he called the elders of the church to him upon arriving in Miletus, per Verse 17). Why? He did not want to spend time in Asia Minor because he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. They still had to sail across the Mediterranean Sea and then travel by land from Caesarea to Jerusalem.

Why did Paul want to hurry to Jerusalem by Pentecost? Certainly, it was a Jewish feast that all Jews were required to attend. But the Old Testament Pentecost speaks of the new —

Exodus 23:16 “Also you shall observe  the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year  when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field.

Truly, at the Pentecost celebrated in Acts 2, fifty days after the Passover feast, the promise of the Father came, and the harvest has been mighty, ever since —

Romans 8:23  And not only this, but also we ourselves, having  the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves  groan within ourselves,  waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons,  the redemption of our body.

And so, Pentecost had become an important time of celebration and remembrance in the church. It was a holy day for the church, a reminder that God sent the first fruits of His Holy Spirit on that day, solving the heart condition of all of us, purifying the hearts of each one who stays and waits, and empowering us to walk as Jesus walked, doing His works and being examples of His heart work!

Acts 1:8 “. . . but you will receive power  when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be  My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and  Samaria, and even to  the remotest part of the earth.”

Those who are filled are sent out as workers in His harvest fields for this spiritual harvest  —

Matthew 9:37 Then He said to His disciples, “ The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

Amen! Let it be so, Lord Jesus!