Love Seeks the Care of Others Acts 20:1-12

Love Seeks the Care of Others

Acts 20:1-12

Introduction

Throughout Paul’s ministry and on every mission trip his focus was centered on Christ and the Gospel and on the building up and the encouragement of the new believers.

Last week we saw the heart of Paul, as he desired greatly to go back through Macedonia and Achaia to strengthen the churches and to collect money to take to the saints in Jerusalem who were suffering greatly. Here’s something you may not have considered but when Paul went back through those areas, he was collecting money from Gentile Christians to help Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. Through these efforts, all were given encouragement.

The thrust of this section is the encouragement from the Gospel. Three times we’ll see the Greek word that is translated encouragement…parakalesas (Literally, to come along side with help).

We get the word paraclete from this Greek word. Paraclete is the title given to the Holy Spirit. He is the One who comes along side of believers with help. Prior to the Holy Spirit coming to us to lend aid, we had Jesus Christ. He was the first Paraclete.

John 14:15-17 (ESV)
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Jesus was our first Helper and then when He returned to the Father He sent on the Day of Pentecost, the second Paraclete…the Holy Spirit.

I want us to look at how God is our Helper who comes alongside of us with divine aid, then see how the Apostle Paul literally models similar aid to believers in the churches and then see how we too can engage in a ministry of encouragement and comfort.

This type of aid specifically, is helping with truth. The aid needed is truth. What we lack and what we need most in this life is God’s Word. We are helped literally made to partake of help when we are saved. God has come to our aid as He brings us to life spiritually and makes us partakers of divine salvation. Our need for help doesn’t stop there. He also comes to our aid through the work of the Holy Spirit. What believers most often need are words of truth. We need reminded of the promises of God, and we need reminded of God’s commands.

How does the Holy Spirit come to our aid?
John 15:26 (ESV)
26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
The Holy Spirit points us to Jesus Christ by bearing witness to Him.
The Holy Spirit guides believers with truth and in truth…
John 16:13 (ESV)
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
How does He accomplish this task… through the Scriptures. We find strength as we read them and meditate on them. Sometimes, we need reminded of them. This is the ministry Paul is executing now. He is coming alongside of believers who need help and leading them to truth as he preaches and teaches God’s Word. Then the Holy Spirit takes that truth and plants it within the heart of those believers. This is still going on today.

There is one other point before we start. When the Scriptures speak of encouragement they do NOT mean making someone feel better. Our world has corrupted this word. God is not out to make us feel better but to lend aid and strengthen us. That’s the true meaning of encouragement.

Barnabas was called the son of encouragement. He was not the son of making people feel good. He knew how desperately the lost needed Christ. So, his mission was to help them see that and to bring Paul and others into their lives with the Gospel which was the help they needed.

We’re NOT talking about making someone feel better but bringing God centered aid to help their deepest need.

TT- As believers we must seek to encourage others with love, truth, and care
Human need met by text

As fallen sinners we have the tendency to think only about ourselves. We are selfish people. We come to a saving knowledge of Christ and we are still selfish. It takes God to work over a period of time to cause us to think of others first.

This is a wonderful example of a man saved by grace who no loves others more than he loves himself. Paul loves the church. He thinks of her first.

We too must love others and care for others over ourselves.

Acts 20:1-16 (ESV)
1 After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia.
2 When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece.
3 There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia.
4 Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus.
5 These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas,
6 but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.
7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.
8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered.
9 And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.
10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.”
11 And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed.
12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.
1. Ministry of Encouragement

1 After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia.
2 When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece.
First, after the major riot in Ephesus, Paul gathered the disciples together to strengthen their faith. They were, no doubt afraid and timid now. They desperately needed to be reminded of the Gospel and of God’s promises to them through Christ.

Notice how focused Paul was on the welfare of others.   He cared more for them than he did for himself. I’m sure he too was slightly rattled after this riot where every Christian’s life was in danger. He too had some level of fear, but did not allow fear to win. So, his focus went immediately to the care of the believers in Ephesus.

I wonder what he told them as they were gathered together? He engaged in the same guiding into truth that Jesus did and that now the Holy Spirit does through God’s Word. He pointed them to Christ and he reminded them of Christ’s promises. He no doubt told them about the importance of remaining steadfast in the midst of trials and persecution. This is how He encouraged the disciples.

Then he leaves and begins traveling to the region of Macedonia and Achaia doing the same thing there…
2 When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece.
His mission was to strengthen the churches as he visited them.

Beloved, there is a wonderful principle here that we see in Paul’s life. As we seek to help and strengthen others and as we care for them, not only are they helped be we find our faith stronger as well.

2. The Encouragement of Companions

3 There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia.
4 Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus.
5 These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas,
6 but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.
Luke takes time here to mention seven of Paul’s most trusted companions. These have Greek names and no doubt were some of the many converts led to Christ by Paul.

Not only does Luke list many of Paul’s friends but also indicates that he is now back with Paul.

We noted in an earlier sermon how when Paul was weary, tired and discouraged, God sent him Priscilla and Aquila as companions.

What Paul was doing took a team effort. Anytime the Gospel is being proclaimed it takes many prayers, and much effort by many to find success. This is exactly what we see in this passage. Some travel with Paul and some go on ahead.

5 These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas,
6 but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.
3. The Church is Greatly Encouraged

7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.
8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered.
9 And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.
10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.”
11 And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed.
12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.
One thing we must notice here is that even though Paul still observed many Jewish holidays, the Church worshipped Jesus on the first day of the week. They were gathered together. The early church met on the first day of the week because Jesus rose on the first day of the week. Worshipping on the resurrection day became the consistent practice of the church.

They met shared a meal, probably an evening meal and Paul began to preach. The sermon lasted well into the night.

In this small introduction to the sermon, Luke tells us that it was the first day of the week and the church at Troas gathered together. There are those today who would argue that, “Well, you don’t need to gather and go to church on Sunday, you can read your Bible at home or turn on the radio or a cd at home and worship.” Now, it is true that we are to be worshipping at home and reading our Bibles and listening to Hymns but we also must come together on the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day for worship and fellowship.

This is exactly what they were doing. In those days, they met in the morning and often stayed all day. Luke doesn’t mention when they met but he does tell us that they broke bread together. When the ancient church “broke bread” they literally shared a meal and had within that meal a time for the Lord’s Supper or communion. That’s why when Paul was correcting the Corinthians concerning the Lord’s Supper he says…
1 Corinthians 11:17-22 (ESV)
17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.
18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part,
19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.
20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.
21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk.
22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

The point is that some were eating all the food and drinking all the wine so that there was none for the poor Christians. His point is if you’re just coming here to eat and drink, you can do that at home.

After the meal, Paul began his teaching…

In the last year or two there has been a book published on preaching called Saving Eutychus. It’s thesis is along the lines of a remedy for boring sermons. I don’t think that Paul’s preaching was remotely boring. I don’t think that is what’s going on here.

Eutychus was a common name for first century slaves. Most slaves didn’t get days off. Probably Eutychus had worked all day long when he finally was given leave he headed straight to where Paul was speaking…Just think a chance to hear Paul himself, no doubt was in his mind.

Paul had such a love for the church that he gave himself continually. He had a very long journey ahead of him the next day but he made himself available for those beloved Christians in Troas.

7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.

The church was gathered together listening to Paul until midnight…then something terrible happens.

9 And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.
10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.”

Perhaps it was the length of the sermon or the flickering lamps in the nighttime air. Whatever it was, the young man fell out of the window to his death.

Like the OT prophets Elijah and Elisha in similar situations, Paul, more literally, places himself onto the dead body.  God mercifully returns the boy’s life to him.

Notice, the believers at Troas were greatly encouraged and Paul continued his speech until morning. This was literally an all-nightlong sermon with a resurrection in the middle.

The issue was that the church loved truth. The believers at Troas soaked it in and couldn’t get enough. No one hade to bolt the doors shut or stand guard to keep the people in. Even after Paul raised Eutychus from the dead, they went right back in and he preached some more…until daybreak. Eutychus became a real and living example of what Paul was preaching. The resurrection of Eutychus pointed to the fact that we all will someday be raised. I’d be willing to bet that the next point of the sermon had to do with the resurrection of Jesus.

I wonder how hungry we are for God’s Word? Is hunger for the Word and indication of sincere faith?

Additional Application

What can we learn from this narrative? We see just how much Paul loved the Church…Immediately following the riot, he gathers the disciples together to encourage them with the promises of God. He sets out on a journey to encourage the churches that had been planted in various regions surrounding Macedonia. He’s the visiting evangelist who isn’t raising money for himself as so many do but he’s raising money for the poor saints in Jerusalem. Paul loves the church. Now he finds himself in Troas and those there will not have another opportunity to hear Paul preach and teach so he stays with them seven days and ends with an all night sermon. When the young boy falls out of the window to his death, Paul is there to help.

Paul was not some ivory tower theologian that no one could speak to or approach. He loved those who his Lord loved.

He acted as a paraclete to those whom Christ loved. He came along side of the churches and gave them the aid they needed. He taught them the truth and cared for them physically. Raising Eutycus , gathering money, preaching and teaching the Gospel of Christ.

How can we too be involved in this type of ministry?

First, like Paul we must have a deep love for the people here in our church. We pray for them stay in contact with them. When they need help, we are there for them.

I want to share briefly that whatever the physical need might be that someone has there is always a spiritual component as well. If someone is ill, it is so good to take them a meal or help them with something but never leave out God’s Word. Your actions for them will encourage but nothing will strengthen them like reading Scripture to them. Often times when we are ill physically we are also weak spiritually. Never forget to address their souls.

Eutychus had no choice but to come to the worship service tired. We must prepare to worship. We must make plans to be ready to hear God’s Word. We should be rested and alert.

As they met together, they observed the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week. The Lord’s Day is a special day in the life of the church. It was then and it still is for us today.

 

Lord’s Supper

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