Paul’s Legacy (2)
Pray Psalm 47.1-4.
Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples!
Shout to God with the voice of triumph!
For the LORD Most High is awesome;
He is a great King over all the earth.
He will subdue the peoples under us,
And the nations under our feet.
He will choose our inheritance for us,
The excellence of Jacob whom He loves.
Sing Psalm 47.1-4.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
O clap your hands, you peoples all, with joy to God your songs intone!
Shout out to Him, and on Him call, He is the mighty, sovereign One!
High is the Lord, O, fear His Name! He rules, a King o’er all the earth.
Nations and peoples He has tamed, the heritage of His holy worth.
Read Acts 20.1-16; meditate on verses 7-16.
1. What happened to Eutychus?
2. Why did Paul not want to stop at Ephesus?
As the disciples in Troas gathered on the first day of the week for worship in Troas – here referred to as breaking bread (v. 7) – Paul met with them and taught them. He had a lot to say and spoke a long time, but people understood his words were important, so we don’t find any of them tapping their watches or looking around. Paul obviously believed in the strengthening power of sound teaching.
Eutychus made the mistake, in a room filling with warm and somewhat noxious air, of sitting on a window ledge (vv. 8, 9). When he fell, Paul rushed to aid him, interrupting his teaching to care for this young man, and thus reminding the people of Troas that the Gospel is a ministry of words and deeds. We must always be ready to care for those in our midst whose needs come to our attention (vv. 10-12).
Paul departed Troas, heading for Jerusalem and ultimately, so he supposed, Antioch. Paul walked the brief distance from Troas to Assos, there to board the ship the others had taken (v. 13). Either he needed some time to think, was trying to avoid enemies, or wanted to encourage any believers he might have encountered along the way. He stayed away from Ephesus because returning there might delay him (vv. 13-16) – and perhaps rekindle old hostilities? – but he would minister to the elders of the churches, having been away from them now for more than three months (v. 3).
Paul was a ready witness to the Gospel – ready to teach or ready to serve as the situation required. True disciples are people of words (Eph. 4.14) and deeds (Tit. 3.1, 8, 14), and all for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10.31).
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Eutychus. His name means fortunate.
Was he fortunate that he slept through Paul’s preaching? Or was it because he didn’t die from his treacherous fall? Was he fortunate because he was a believer? He was certainly fortunate to be remembered throughout history for his ill-fated nap. Here we are still reading about him two thousand years after the tumble (Acts 20.7-12). He was assuredly more fortunate than the fictious Humpty Dumpty who could not be put back together again.
Bible stories are so rich and full of humanity; with their focus on our foibles and strengths. We are all invited to put ourselves in the place of each of these characters and imagine what we would do, or how we would respond. Nobody was perfect. But the believers were certainly dedicated and sincere.
Paul, on this occasion, didn’t panic over Eutychus’ fall, but dealt with him in the power of the Holy Spirit. He was full of confidence and control over the circumstances. He was trusting the Lord completely.
I am so thankful for all of our brothers and sisters in Scripture, who give us something to think about; something to avoid, perhaps, and something to emulate:
“By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain…” (Heb. 11.4).
“By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death…he pleased God” (Heb. 11.5).
“By faith Noah…moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household…” (Heb. 11.7).
“By faith Abraham obeyed…and he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11.8, 10).
“By faith Sarah…judged Him faithful who had promised” (Heb. 11.11).
“By faith Isaac…Jacob…Joseph…Moses…Joshua…Rahab…Gideon…Barak…Samson…Jonathan…
David…Samuel” (Heb. 11.20-32).
“Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment” (Heb. 11.36).
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him…” (Heb. 12.1-3).
And Eutychus. And Paul. And all the others who have gone before us, fallibly, but faithfully following Jesus.
And may our words and deeds be found as good and as pleasing to the Lord.
1. Who is a Bible character whose example encourages and challenges you? Why?
2. Should we strive to be an example of faithfulness to the people in our Personal Mission Field? What would that entail?
3. Would you describe yourself as a “ready witness” like Paul? Explain.
Paul hastened to Jerusalem, but tried to do good by the way, when going from place to place, as every good man should do. In doing God’s work, our own wills and those of our friends must often be crossed; we must not spend time with them when duty calls us another way. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 20.13-16
Pray Psalm 47.5-9.
Meditate on Jesus, exalted in glory and ruling over His Kingdom throughout the earth. Praise Him for giving you new life from the dead, and ask Him to cause His Kingdom to advance in and through you today.
Sing Psalm 47.5-9.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
God has ascended with a shout, the Lord with sound of trumpet bold!
Sing praise to Him, let praise ring out! Let praise through all the world be told!
God is the King of all the earth, sing praise to Him with glorious psalms!
He rules the nations by His worth, and on His throne receives their alms.
Princes of peoples gather all to Abraham and to our God.
Exalt the Lord, and on Him call – the earth is His, so praise our God!
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.