Pray Psalm 46.1-3.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
Sing Psalm 46.1-3.
(St. Chrysostom: We Have not Known Thee As We Ought)
God is our refuge and our strength; He is our help in times of need.
Thus though the earth beneath us should change, the sea consume the mountain range.
Waters may roar with raging speed; yet God will rescue us at length.
Read and meditate on Acts 20.1-6.
1. Who accompanied Paul?
2. Where were these men from?
Paul headed off to Macedonia and Greece (vv. 1, 2). His old enemies had not forgotten him, however, and seemed resolute in their determination to be done with him once and for all (v. 3), but he escaped the Jews’ plot. As he began his return to Antioch, we see joining him men whose names we will hear again in various of his epistles. Despite danger and uncertainty, Paul worked to strengthen churches, recruiting and developing leaders to ensure the continuity of the ongoing work of Christ after he and his generation were gone. In addition to Luke, seven men from three different regions were now on Paul’s team. A company of disciples awaited them in Troas; and church leaders would gather to him from Ephesus.
This is Paul’s legacy, precisely as he planned (2 Tim. 2.2). Following the example and command of Jesus, Paul didn’t just preach and teach and counsel and whatever. He made disciples. And those disciples made disciples. And all those disciples gave up everything – including, in many instances, their lives – for the sake of the Gospel. By the time Paul began to wrap up his final missionary journey, scores of churches had been launched and thousands of believers were established in cities all over Asia Minor and Greece. And strong leaders were in place to continue the ongoing work of Christ.
Again, just as Paul had planned.
Disciples don’t just happen. You can’t wish them into existence. Disciples don’t respond to fun and games, subtle cajoling, or handsome facilities and interesting programs. Disciples respond to vision, the promise of many trials and tribulations, feeding from sound doctrine and the whole counsel of God in His Word, clear callings and meaningful work, and the example of other disciples who understand the primacy of the Kingdom and glory of Jesus Christ in everything.
Such disciples are what the Church needs today.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Let’s look at Paul’s legacy life plan.
His disciple Timothy received the plan in writing. We also are blessed, teachable, and accountable recipients of the same:
“You therefore, my son/daughter (fill your name in here):
1. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2. The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful people (in your Personal Mission Field) who will be able to teach others also.
3. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
5. If anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
6. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.
7. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.
8. Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel.
9. For saying this, I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained.
10. Therefore, I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2 Tim. 2.1-10)
“Disciples don’t just happen.”
But most truly, “Such disciples are what the Church needs today.”
1. What did Paul, echoing Jesus, mean by “discipleship”?
2. Can we be disciples without following Jesus, like Paul did (Mk. 10.42-45; 1 Cor. 11.1)? Explain.
3. What are some areas of your own discipleship that need strengthening?
It is not for nothing that Luke mentions such devoted companionship for Paul. First, he tacitly commends the clemency of God, because although Paul had many false friends and true enemies, still God endowed him with many sincere friends and brothers, from whose intimacy he found some consolation in his adverse situations. Second, he indicates with how much concern the churches of Christ attended to Paul. For these companions seem to have accompanied Paul under the name and support of their own church. Johannes Brenz (1499-1570), Homily 94 on Acts 20.7
Pray Psalm 46.4-11.
Rejoice in the sovereign power and rule of King Jesus. Lay your burdens at His feet. Intercede for those whose lives are ravaged by war, oppression, famine, or plague; and give thanks that Jesus does all things well and works all things together for good to those who love Him.
Sing Psalm 46.4-11.
(St. Chrysostom: We Have not Known Thee As We Ought)
God’s everlasting, joyous grace gladdens the city where He dwells.
Safely in Him, we will not be moved; when morning dawns, His love will be proved.
Fears and distresses Jesus dispels for His beloved, chosen race.
Kingdoms arise and rage and roar, threat’ning the earth with sore distress.
Nations may fall, earth melt away, His Word is yet our hope and stay.
God is among us, ever to bless; He is our stronghold evermore.
Come see the works of God’s Right Hand! He breaks the nations of the earth,
shatters their foolish weapons and pride, sets all their sinful strength aside.
Them He will show His infinite worth as they before His judgment stand.
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.