Remembering the Gospel: Acts 20.1-38

There’s been good progress at our house of late. Earlier this week, Amanda and I were able to attend, for two days, a pastors’ conference in the area. While we met with others from outside the area, we heard from local friends that business had continued like normal at our house—where the kids went on like normal, but without us. Only now, it was our seventeen-year-old daughter trekking back and forth between Rib Lake and Westboro—piano lessons, school, work. She and the kids did great, and that’s a happy thing.

It wasn’t always so happy, though. About a year ago there was the time when we turned over the keys, kinda nervous, if I remember. What did we want our daughter to remember as she started up the Honda van and drove those icy, Wisconsin highways? Well, to use the headlights, the wipers, the ice-scraper. To remember license, registration, and insurance papers. And, to remember that SNOW MEANS SLOW! We needn’t have worried, but it was hard at the time.

In our passage this week, there’s a kind of turning over of the keys. Paul is headed for Rome, and he makes one last pass through the churches he’s planted in Macedonia, Greece, and Asia Minor. What does he want these believers to remember, since he will soon pass off the scene? For them, remembering Paul will mean remembering God’s people, remembering God’s power, and remembering Paul’s example, especially in the future when things are uncertain for the new drivers of the church of Jesus.

How about us? We’re removed in time from that beech in what is today western Turkey, where Paul knelt and prayed with the Ephesian elders. But, we’re not removed in importance. And, the future is, likewise for us, unclear.

When the future is unclear, remember the gospel of the grace of God. 

That’s the message we need to remember. And that’s what we each need to remember as the Lord entrusts different ones of us with responsibility in His church, till He comes.

Here’s a few questions for consideration with others:

  1. Why do you think we’re given Paul’s travel plans in verses 1-6, along with the litany (the list) of names?
  2. Why do you think we’re given the account of Eutychus (or “Lucky”)? This account seems out of place, unless …
  3. Paul’s speech to the Ephesian elders (:17-38) is the only speech of Paul’s we have in Acts that is given to fellow Christians, and it reveals his heart. In it he looks to the past (:18b-21), present (:22-27), and future (:28-35). What do we learn in these sections about the person who remembers the gospel of the grace of God?

See you Sunday at Woodland!

JESUS Changes Things: Acts 19.21-41

Is Jesus a threat to you? … Well, maybe you’ll know what I mean, once you’ve joined me in working through Luke’s account of Paul in Ephesus, found in Acts 19.21-41.

In this passage, the Spirit is stirring up Paul to go to Rome. It’s been a nice season in Ephesus—daily work and teaching. We get the summary in 19.20: So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. Then, we’re told that Paul “resolved in the Spirit” to go to Rome. How will God accomplish Paul’s passage to Rome? Well, God will begin by showing Paul what it looks like when Jesus changes things: Paul’s plans, for starters, then places (like Ephesus), and, finally, peoples’ hearts. In the face of the rulers of the day and the cultures of power, Paul will sometimes be in chains. Other times Paul will be a spectator as JESUS actively changes things through the power of His gospel. Paul’s part is to be faithful.

And, in our passage for this week, JESUS will start with a riot. Probably not something Paul planned on!

Have a read through Acts 19.21-41. Join us at Woodland on Sunday. And, then, have a talk through these questions with others.

Questions to discuss with others:

    1. Jesus and the gospel, preached by Paul, pose a threat to the established order in Ephesus. What did Jesus threaten in Ephesus? What does Jesus threaten in our society when people trust in Him?
    2. What can we gather about Paul’s strategy for change in Ephesian society? How can we relate this to the way God uses individual Christians and churches to bring about change in our society?
    3. How does the first point of the message (about Paul’s plans) and the second point of the message (about the reaction in Ephesus) relate? How does the scene in Ephesus foreshadow the way God will protect Paul and accomplish His purpose as the gospel goes to Rome?

See you Sunday, at Woodland!