Southern Christian University

Acts Class Session 9

James A. Turner

 

Hello students.  Please turn to Acts the eighteenth chapter.  This is where we begin this evening.  I believe the last thing that we talked about is verse six when the Jews in the synagogue opposed themselves and blasphemed.  "And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook out his raiment, and said unto them.  Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: From henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.”  We turned and read from Ezekiel chapter three, where God gave instruction to the prophet Ezekiel as to what he needed to do as his watchman over the people of Israel. Please write by Acts 18:6, Ezekiel 3: 16-21, 18:2-3, 18: 19-24. Ezekiel 3:16-21 shows what Paul meant by the statement, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean.”

 

 When our time was up we were reading from Ezekiel 18:24, and I believe we had almost completed that reference.  This is a good reference to show people that even under the Old Testament religion, salvation involved the free moral agency of man, that a person must continue to try to live according to the law of God.  If a man has served the Lord for sixty years and then turns away from the Lord and goes back to the world,  according to that reference it is stated, “None of his righteous deeds shall  be remembered: in his trespass that he hath trespassed and in sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.  Both the Old Testament and New Testament teach very plainly that spiritual salvation is conditional, therefore the popular doctrine, “Once a child of God always a child of God, and once saved, always saved is false. Galatians 5:4, reads, “Ye are severed from Christ, ye that would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace.”  Please read Hebrews 6:4-8; II Peter 2:15-22.

 

Now, there is real security in Christ.  I Corinthians 10:13 reads, "There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:  But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above that which ye are able; but will with temptation give a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it."  This is one of those “precious and exceeding great promises” that God has given Christians. If a child of God wants to live in that sensible way before the Lord, he can.  God will not allow him to be tempted above that which he is able to bear but this promise is given only to those who have applied the blood of Christ by their obedience to the gospel (Romans 8:5-9).  I Corinthians 10:13 should give us real confidence that we can serve the Lord properly. 

 

I like to use John 10:27-29, even though it is a much misused passage.  It reads, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."  Now, what do God's sheep do?  They hear the voice of Christ and they follow him.  "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them unto me is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand."  So there is absolutely real conditional security in Christ, but it is based on hearing the voice of Christ and continuing to follow him.  Just as long as a child of God hears the voice of Christ and obeys his commands and continues to follow him faithfully, then Satan does not have the power to snatch him out of Christ's hand and out of God's hand.  I can remember the day when those who teach, “once saved, always saved”, and they tried to uphold that doctrine, and they would go to the blackboard, and draw two circles on the blackboard, and say, “In order for you to take a child of God out of God's hand, you would first have to tear down the power of Christ, and then you would also have to tear down the power of the heavenly Father.”  And, of course, that is true, if, and there is the big difference, if a child of God continues to hear and follow Christ, but if he does not continue to hear and follow Christ, then he  will be severed from Christ.  Remember Galatians 5:4 that those people that were listening to the false teachers, and going back under the Old Testament law, and Paul said to them, “ye are severed from Christ.  Ye who would be justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace.  In order to be severed from Christ, they first had to be joined to Christ.  But they followed those false teachers, and were going back under the Old Testament law, and they had lost their salvation in Christ. 

 

Acts 18:7, "And he departed thence, and went into the house of a certain man named Titus Justus, one that worshipped God."  This man was probably a Gentile, but a worshiper of God.  "Whose house joined hard to the synagogue."  Does that mean that Paul started living in the house of Titus Justus, did he move from staying with Aquila and Priscilla at Corinth?  I doubt that that is the case.  He probably did here in the house of Justus, what he did in the school of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9-10).  He probably used that house as an evangelistic place where people could come, and he could teach them.  But notice that Paul did meet with some success while he was teaching in the synagogue.  Keep in mind that it was his pattern to stay in a Jewish synagogue as long as the people were hearing and receiving him properly, but when they opposed themselves and blasphemed, he left the synagogue, and we will find that he did that also at Ephesus.  But he did make some progress during the time that he taught in the synagogue Acts 18:8.  Crispus the ruler of the synagogue believed in the Lord with all of his house: and many of the Corinthians were hearing, believed, and were baptized.”  Again conversion for an alien sinner ends in him being baptized for the remission of his sins, as this book shows very plainly! 

 

Acts 18:9, "And the Lord said unto Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:  For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to harm thee:  For I have much people in this city."  Don’t you know that that was good news to the apostle Paul?  Do you remember on that first journey, how that he and Silas were cast out from Antioch of Pisidia, and they went over to Iconium and were doing a great work there, but the unbelieving Jews there stirred up the Gentiles, and they were planning to stone Paul, and he had to leave the city and went to Athens.  And then here on the second journey, we will see that those unbelieving Jews were ready to stir up trouble against him.  Look at 17:13, "But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was proclaimed of Paul at Berea, also they came thither, likewise stirring up and troubling the multitudes."  And Paul had to leave the city.  And then here at Corinth, those unbelieving Jews are giving trouble, and then this wonderful assurance that God gives Paul in a vision by night, "Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to harm thee:  For I have much people in this city." 

 

What does the latter part of verse ten mean, “For I have much people in this city”?  There were not many baptisms until after Silas and Timothy joined him in the work at Corinth (I Corinthians 1:14-16).  So it was not a matter of there being many Christians in the city at the time that Paul received this message, but it means that God knew that there were many sincere people in that wicked city of Corinth.  We spent a little time talking about how that  was a seaport city and a very wicked city as a whole, but Paul went there and preached the gospel, and the gospel is God's power to save (Romans 1:16).  The Lord knew that there were sincere people among all those idolaters and immoral people, and if Paul stayed there preaching, there would be many that would obey the gospel, and as a result of his work at Corinth, a great church was established.  I Corinthians shows that that church had many, many problems, and some of those problems, they had not told him about in that letter that they had written to him in which they asked him questions on a number of different subjects. 

 

Paul wrote I Corinthians giving them the instruction that it would take to solve the problems in that church.  And think of the wisdom of God in respect to that.  If God had handed out New Testaments on Pentecost, the people would probably have never learn what the instruction was all about.  But the Lord waited until there were problems, and then those apostles and inspired men were guided and given the solution to the problems that were in the churches, and that is the purpose of the New Testament Epistles.  We have like problems today, and when we then do according to the instruction of those epistles, then we can solve the problems that are in the church today.  Verse eleven, "He dwelt there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them."  Now we will be reading that he stayed at Ephesus for three years as he speaks of it in Acts 20:31.  Whether he stayed there completely three years, I am not sure.  It may be rounded off to three years, but next to Ephesus, Paul stayed at Corinth the longest period of time. 

 

There is an attempt by the unbelieving Jews to punish Paul Acts 18:12,  "But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul, and brought him before the judgment seat, saying, This man persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law."  Those would be unbelieving Jews, and they are talking about the Old Testament law.  "But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If indeed it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you:  But if there are questions about words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves:  I am not minded to be the judge of these matters.  And he drove them from the judgment seat.  And they all laid hold on Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat.  And Gallio cared for none of these things."  So it looks like Sosthenes had become the new leader of the synagogue.  Remember we read about Crispus in verse eight, the ruler of the synagogue believed in the Lord with all of his house.  Those unbelieving Jews would want a ruler that would agree with them and would try to uphold their continuing to try to worship by the Old Testament religion.  And so they are ready to bring a case against Paul before the Gentile judge, Gallio.  But Gallio would not have anything to do with hearing the case.  He dismissed the case.  And as stated in verse sixteen, he drove them from the judgment seat. 

 

There must have been a lot of people watching the court case, and they would have been nearly all Gentile people  because this is Gentile territory, and they decided that Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, needed a beating  himself, and they gave him one.  So he received his just reward.  But think about it, Gallio missed a wonderful opportunity to hear the apostle Paul.  If that had been king Agrippa, that we'll read about later in Chapter twenty-six, I think surely he would have heard their case.  Gallio could have learned the way of salvation if he had heard that case and heard Paul.  Verse eighteen, "And Paul having tarried after this many days, took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: For he had a vow."  Please look on your map and see that Cenchrea is close to Corinth, and then from there Paul sails to Ephesus.  It look like Paul was still living by some of the Old Testament customs.  To say the least of it, he had his hair shorn because he had been under a vow. There are numerous references  where all of the details are not given, and many of us would like to know more about some of those details, but we need to be reminded of the last verse of the last chapter of the gospel of John.  John says if all things were written about what Jesus did, he said I reckon the world would not contain the books.  And so we have those things that are sufficient and necessary for our salvation (II Peter 1:3). 

 

They came to Ephesus, and “he left them there”, Aquila and Priscilla.  Do you think this indicates that he continued to stay with them while they were at Corinth?  And when Paul leaves Corinth, they go with him, and they stay behind at Ephesus.  They came to Ephesus, and he left them there.  "But he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.  And when they asked him to bide a longer time, he consented not; but taking his leave of them, and saying, I will return again unto you, if God will.  And he set sail from Ephesus."  Please underscore or highlight, “if God will”.  I hope you are listening to me in regard to highlighting and writing notes in your Bible.  If you will do it, you will find that they will later be of great benefit to you. 

 

By Acts 18:5, make you a note that Paul wrote I and II Thessalonians from Corinth, on this second journey.  And this was the beginning of his writing of the New Testament epistles.  And the book of Acts is very important in respect to the study of the epistles of the New Testament.  It is not only a book that gives many things about people being converted, it asks and answers that question three times, what must I do to be saved, but it is also important from the study of the epistles, and especially the epistles of Paul.  Paul wrote we know definitely thirteen of the New Testament epistles, and if you count Hebrews, and I surely think it should be counted his epistle, that makes fourteen of the twenty-one New Testament epistles.  So you cannot do a lot of reading in the epistles without reading from the apostle Paul. 

 

Now in regard to the statement that I asked you to underline in verse twenty-one, “if God will.”  I have talked to brethren and I have read from others who somewhat make light of our using such an expression today.  Some say that it is a trite and unmeaningful expression.  Well, I grant you that it could be a trite and unmeaningful, but it should not be.  And on more than one occasion Paul said, if God will.  I would like for you to write down by verse twenty-one James 4:13-17.  Those Jewish brethren that James wrote to were making their plans for the future as though everything just turned on themselves, that whatever they planned they were able to do.  And he said, "Go to now, ye that say, to day or to morrow we will move into such a city and stay there a year, and buy and sell gain:  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little while, then vanisheth away.  And for that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and  do this, or that."  And so we are to keep God in our plans.  And he goes ahead and says, "Your boastings are evil.  And to him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."  Now, that statement carries across the board, that those who know to do good and do not as the Lord has commanded, “it is sin” that principle is involved.  But the particular thing here in the context of James 4:13-17 is that matter of keeping God in your plans and saying, "If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that."  Write down I Corinthians 4:13 and 16:7.  In the context of 4:13, Paul had changed his plans in regard to going to Corinth.  He had first planned to go to Corinth and then go up and revisit the churches of Macedonia, but he changed his plans, and some were puffed up as though he would not come.  But he told them in 4:13, if it was the Lord's will he would come, and in 16:7, he told them that he hoped he would tarry with them when he came to visit them.  He says, “if the Lord permit”.  Well, that would amount to the same thing as saying, if God will.  That kind of thing needs to be renewed in the church today!  We need to say with all sincerity “if things go well, if God will”, we will do.  And so Paul promises the people in the synagogue at Ephesus, if God will, I will return, and it was God's will that he would return, and he returned. 

 

Acts 18:22, "And when he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and saluted the church."  Look at your map and note where Caesarea is, “he went up and saluted the church,” it is usually considered that to be the church at Jerusalem.  And according to the elevation from Caesarea, it would be up.  And after he had visited the church at Jerusalem, he went down to Antioch.  Those that are familiar with the elevations say that Luke is very accurate in giving such things.  When he says they went up, it was up, and when he says they went down, according to the elevations, it was down.  Verse twenty-two is the end of the second journey, and you will do well to make a note of that, and verse twenty-three is  the beginning of the third journey.  "And having spent some time there. (Antioch of Syria)  he departed, and went through the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order,  establishing all of the disciples."  What does that mean?  It means that he went back and visited those churches that he and Barnabas had established on that first journey.  It looks like he may have gone by land to go back and revisit them, and if he went by land, the first church would have been Derbe and the second one Lystra, the third one Iconium, and the fourth one Antioch of Pisidia.  He revisits those churches, and then after he revisits those churches, he goes to the city of Ephesus.  Do you remember how that he wanted to go to Ephesus or wanted to go into Asia on the second journey?  He probably wanted to go to Ephesus then because it would be a radiating center for the gospel, but he was forbidden to go into Asia.  The Holy Spirit was directing him where he was to go.  He wanted to go into Bithynia, and he was forbidden by the Holy Spirit to go there.  Luke says, passing by Mysia, he came to Troas where “Paul received a vision in the night, a man was standing over him in Macedonia, saying, come over and help us.”  Luke joined the company, and they  went to Macedonia, European territory, for the first time and they establish those three churches, the church at Philippi, the church at Thessalonica, and the church at Berea.  From Berea, he went to Athens, and he was successful in establishing a small church there, and then he spent that year-and-a-half at Corinth. 

 

Now, I believe I have already mentioned this, but be sure that you try to remember that verses twenty-four through twenty-eight must be put in there by the inspired Luke, so that we would know why those disciples at Ephesus needed to be baptized again.  They were evidently baptized by Apollos, with John’s baptism after Pentecost when John's baptism was no longer valid.  Remember John's baptism was from heaven (Matthew 21:23-32) and it was for or unto remission of sins.  The same Greek word is used in Acts 2:38 as given in Mark 1:4 and in Luke 3:3.  And those who rejected John's baptism stayed in a lost condition.  For Luke 7:30 reads, "That the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of God."  So they rejected the counsel of God like those unbelieving Jews did in the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia.  Acts 18:24, "Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by race, an eloquent man (a great speaker) came to Ephesus.  And he was mighty in the scriptures."  That would mean the Old Testament scriptures.  He did not know about New Testament baptism, but he knew some of the things about Christ.  And he was teaching accurately those things that he knew.  "This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord."  And, of course, that would be the New Testament religion.  "And being fervent in spirit, he spake and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, knowing only the baptism of John." And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue.  "And when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more accurately."  Remember that it is right for women to teach in a private situation, but they are not to preach in the worship assemblies of the church (I Corinthians 14:33-34; II Timothy 2:12).  It may be that Priscilla was a better teacher than her husband, and there are a lot of women today that can do a better job teaching than their husbands can do, and like Priscilla, they can do a lot of private teaching. 

 

Apollos is a man who wants to know the right way of the Lord, and so they take him aside and teach him privately as stated here, “expounded unto him the way of God more accurately.”  It may be that they did not know that those converts that had been made by Apollos needed to be baptized again, but at least they taught Apollos so that he would have a better understanding.  Verse twenty-seven, "And when he was minded to pass unto Achaia." And the place that he went was Corinth.  In I Corinthians 3:6 Paul states, “I planted, Apollos' watered, but God gave the increase.”  And, of course, by planting, Paul means that he was the one that had preached the gospel there first and established the church.  And then Apollos came and further taught them that he speaks of watering, but it says that God gave the increase.  And the thing that really counts is that God gave the increase.  So when Apollos thought about going to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to receive him.  "And when he was come, he helped them much that had believed through grace; for he powerfully confuted the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ."  And, of course, like Paul used the Old Testament scriptures to show that Jesus is the Christ, Apollos must have been able to do a great job of that.  He was an eloquent speaker and mighty in the Old Testament scriptures, and so he did a great work at Corinth. 

Chapter Nineteen,

"And it came to pass, that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus."  So going back to verse twenty-three, he had revisited those churches of Galatia and Phrygia, those four churches, and then passed on through the upper country, and he came to Ephesus.  "And he found certain disciples.  He said unto them.  Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed?"  Does not verse six indicate that the reason why he asked that question was to see whether or not they had any miraculous gifts of the Spirit.  The apostles by the laying on of their hands could impart nine miraculous gifts to others as given in I Corinthians 12:4-11; and Acts 18:14-18. Philip had miraculous abilities that had been given him by the laying on of the apostles' hands (Acts 6:5-6, 8:5-8), but he  was not able to transfer those to others, and it was necessary for Peter and John to go down and lay their hands on them to give them  miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit.  I Corinthians 12:4-11 enumerates those nine miraculous gifts that the apostles could bestow on others by the laying on of their hands.  I doubt very seriously if any of those had all nine of them, but probably most of them, one or two of those gifts, by the laying on of the apostles' hands. 

 

Acts 19:2, "And they said unto him, Nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was given?"  Well, remember Acts 2:38, Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  So if they had been baptized under the law of Christ, the baptism of the great commission, they surely would have known something about the Holy Spirit.  And you remember how the apostles said in Acts 5:32 that God has given his Holy Spirit to them that obey him.  "And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized?"  Paul recognized immediately that they had not been baptized with the baptism of the great commission that was given on that first Pentecost after the resurrection and ascension of Christ.  "And they said into John's baptism.  Then Paul said, John baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him that should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus."  I can remember the day when quite a number of brethren in the church would say that John's baptism was just a baptism of repentance, that it was not for remission of sins, but I have called attention to the fact that the Bible teaches very plainly that John's baptism was for remission of sins (Matthew 21:23-32; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3). The Greek word for, for or unto in Mark 1:4 and Luke 3:3 is Eis, the same Greek word as used in Acts 2:38 and Matthew 26:28.

 

Further there is not a single example or any instruction about any of those that had been baptized by John or by Christ and his apostles or the seventy under that limited commission that were baptized again.  But rather in I Corinthians chapter fifteen, and I think it is verse five, Paul talks about Christ appearing during that forty-day period before his ascension to above five hundred brethren at once,  and most of them were still living at the time of the writing.  Jesus had instructed the apostles before his death on the cross, that on the third day he would be raised up, and he would go before them into Galilee.  And then after his resurrection, he told the women to go and tell the apostles that he was going before them into Galilee.  And so Paul must be talking about that meeting at Galilee, when he said he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once.  If you still think that all of those baptized by John and Christ and his apostles and the seventy during the limited commission needed to be baptized again then please answer two questions: Who baptized the apostles again? And who baptized all of the 500 plus brethren of I Corinthians 15:6.

 

These at Ephesus needed to be baptized because they had been baptized with the baptism of John after it was no longer  valid.  I hope all of you have given careful attention to the outline on the baptisms of the New Testament.  It is still instruction that needs to be given in every church today.  Verse five, "When they heard this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."  So you see he gave them miraculous gifts by the laying on of his hands, and two are mentioned. The gift of speaking in tongues was a gift of being able to speak a foreign language or languages that they had not learned. One of the primary purposes of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the apostles on Pentecost was to give them all of those miraculous abilities that would aid them in the giving and confirming of the New Testament (Hebrews 2:3-4; I Corinthians 1:7, 2:10-13, 9:1-2; II Corinthians 3: 3-6). "And they spake with tongues, and prophesied."  Prophesying was the gift that gave them the ability to teach.  A number of the books of the New Testament had not been written, plus there were only a few copies of those that had been written, and inspired teachers were needed in the churches. This miraculous period is spoken of as the childhood age of the church (I Corinthians 13:8-12; Ephesians 4:7-16). And we will close with verse seven, "And they were all about twelve men." Brief recess.

 

We are ready to begin with Acts 19:8, "And he entered into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, reasoning and persuading as to the things concerning the kingdom of God." And as usual he would be using the Old Testament scriptures, and proving by them that Christ is the fulfillment of these Old Testament scriptures, and you can be saved by becoming a member of the kingdom of God.  His kingdom has been established, and thus Paul is persuading things concerning the kingdom of God.  According to the premillennial doctrine the kingdom has not come yet, but we are just in the church age.  And the kingdom age will come when Christ returns and reigns on an earthly throne in Jerusalem.  So this is another reference that shows that that doctrine is false.  Why would he be reasoning concerning the kingdom of God if the kingdom of God was not present at that time?  Philip also taught the Samaritans things “concerning the kingdom of God in the name of Jesus Christ,  and they were baptized both men and women.” 

 

Acts 19:9, "But when some were hardened, and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way  before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus."  Those disciples must have been meeting in the synagogue of the Jews during this three month period, and surely there must have been many that were added by that time.  But Paul then separates them from the synagogue,  but he stays there until certain in the synagogue are hardened and started speaking evil of the Way and that means the way of Christ.  "And he separates the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus."  Now, Paul surely would have been qualified to have taught a lot of other subjects, but evidently he was teaching primarily, if not all together, the Bible to people while he was teaching in the school of Tyrannus.  And he taught there  for two years. 

 

Acts 19:10, "And this continued for the space for two years,  And notice the great results.  so that all that dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks."  Ephesus was a very important city, a city that the gospel would radiate from.  Do you not think those seven churches of Asia, that we read about in the first three chapters of the Revelation, must have been established during this period of time?  The people throughout all Asia heard the word of the Lord during that two-year period.  He taught three months in the synagogue, so this would make two years and three months down to verse eleven.  "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: insomuch that unto the sick were carried away from his body handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out."  Now, I think we see what Luke means by special miracles.  It was unusual to send things from his body, but they carried from his body handkerchiefs or aprons  to the sick and their diseases departed from them and their evil spirits went out.  This was much like what we read in Acts 5:15-16, “that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that as Peter came by, at least his shadow might overshadowed some of them ------ and they were healed everyone.”.  At least that indicates that God was doing what Luke refers to here as special miracles by the apostle Paul.  And notice that these strolling Jews that went  about claiming that they could cast out evil spirits, they attempt to do so through Jesus whom Paul was preaching.  And look what happened to them. 

 

Acts 19:13, "And certain also the strolling Jews, exorcists, took upon them to name over them that had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth."  Does not this indicate that they knew they were not actually able to cast out evil spirits,  but they went about claiming to have that power?  Strolling Jews”, going from place to place, and trying to convince the people that they could cast out evil spirits.  And I guess that a lot of the people thought that they had those evil spirits removed from them,  but those fakes knew the difference, so they tried to cast out evil spirits by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.  And notice what happened to them.  "And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, a chief priest, who did this.  And the evil spirit answered and said unto them, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?  And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and mastered both of them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of the house naked and wounded."  Don’t you know that that news carried in a hurry?  It was full proof that they did not have the power to cast out evil spirits! The man who they tried to cast the evil spirit out of leaped on them and overcame them so that they fled out of the house naked and wounded.  News like that would carried in a hurry, and it did.  "And this became known to all, both Jews and Greeks that dwelt at Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.  Many also of them that had believed came, and confessing, and declaring their deeds.  And not a few of them that practiced magical arts brought their books together, and burned them in the sight of all:  And they counted the price of them, and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver."  So they have a big book-burning at Ephesus.  Believers who had magical arts  recognized it was wrong, and they burned their magical art books. They had been  fooling the people as though they had miraculous powers. 

 

Remember the account of Simon in Acts 8:9-12, how that he had fooled the people, and they thought that he was someone great and had some divine power when he did not have any divine power!  This must have been what a number of them at Ephesus did, that they did their magical arts and performed such tricks that they would convince a lot of people that they had miraculous power.  But they recognized it was wrong, and don't you know that in the case of the men having to flee out of the house naked and wounded, and the attention that all that got, stressed the fact to them that they needed to get out of the magical art business.  And so they brought their books together and burned them.  "Burned them in the sight of all."  So they had a public book-burning, testifying that they had been involved in a wrong business.  "And they counted the price of them, and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver So mightily grew the word of the Lord and prevailed."  So a great work at Ephesus.  Paul was planning to spend another season at Ephesus.  Whether he stays as long as he had intended or purposed to stay, I doubt very seriously from the reading beginning with verse twenty-three.  But notice that after two years and three months, he sends some of those that were assisting him away from Ephesus, and  he had plans to go back to revisit the churches of Macedonia, and then the churches of Achaia then to go to Rome.  Paul, on his own, tried to make plans for the future, and for a long time in the future when you consider what is recorded here in verses twenty-one and twenty-two.  "Then after these things were ended."  The big book-burning, and the two years and the three months.  "Paul purposed in the spirit when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been three, I must also see Rome."  He had plans for the future to revisit those churches of Macedonia and Achaia.  Those churches would be Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea of Macedonia, and by this time, there may have been other churches in that area, and then Achaia or Greece, those three churches in Achaia or Greece were, Athens, Cenchrea, and Corinth.  Revisiting those churches, would have taken considerable time and then he planned to go to Jerusalem and then to go to Rome. 

 

Acts 19:22, "And having sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timothy and Erastus; he himself stayed in Asia for a while."  We have a lot of instruction given about Timothy, how that he was ready always, to do what Paul wanted him to do (Philippians 2:19-24; I Timothy 1:3-4).  So Timothy and Erastus have been assisting Paul at Ephesus, and he had more than Timothy and Erastus, and they were capable teachers, and when  others were taught at Ephesus, they could go out.  So you see how it would have been very easy for the seven churches of Asia to have been established during that period, two years and three months that we read about.  By verse twenty-three write down I Corinthians 16:8,  and say, Paul wrote I Corinthians during the latter part of his stay at Ephesus.  For I Corinthians 16:8 reads, "For I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.  For there is an open door and effectual and there are many adversaries."  This statement must have been made before the riot caused by Demetrius, and the silversmiths, and those of like trade.  But Paul recognized that there was an open door at Ephesus, and he wanted to stay there as long as he could in that open door.  Of course, that means a good opportunity to teach the gospel and convert men to Christ. 

 

Acts 19:23, "And after that time, there arose no small stir concerning the Way.  For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana."  They had a lucrative business before Paul’s preaching.  In regard to the idolaters, every idolater wanted his little idol god to go in his house.  So these men are in the business of making idol gods of silver.  They would have to be good silversmiths to make those gods, and they must have been of considerable value.  "For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines for Diana, brought no little business unto the craftsmen  whom he gathered together with the workmen of like occupation."  Wouldn't that be talking about what we call labor unions today?  There would be union labors of the silversmiths and of the like occupation.  "Whom he gathered together with the workers of like occupation and said, Sir, ye know that by this business we have our wealth.  And ye see and hear."  Now, their primary concern is that Paul is ruining our business, but they want to make it appear that the primary purpose of their meeting is we do not want our Greek goddess Diana to be despised. 

 

Verse twenty-six, "Ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all of Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that there are no gods that are made with hands."  And surely Paul was preaching that like he told the people of Athens that God made the heavens and the earth and all things therein, and he does not dwell in temples made with hands,   and he is not worshipped by your pattern of giving gifts to your god, “seeing that he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” So Paul was ruining their business.  Many of the people were turning to Christ and leaving idolatry, and it was really cutting down on the business of the silversmiths and those of like occupations.  And not only is there danger that this our trade come into repute."  They make out like it is primarily because of their religion, but  you see that their primary thing is Paul is ruining their business.  "But also that the temple of the Greek goddess Diana be made of no account, and that she should even be disposed of her magnificence, whom all Asia  and the world worshipeth."  Our goddess Diana is one of the greatest of all of the gods, and Paul is going to cause her to be “deposed of her magnificence”. 

 

Acts 19:28, "And when they heard this, they were filled with wrath."  And so you see a riot takes place.  "And cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.  And the city was filled with confusion:  And they rushed with one accord into the theater, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel.  And when Paul was minded to enter in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.  And certain of the Asiarchs sent unto him, and besought him not to adventure into the theater."  The footnote in my Bible for Asiarchs, says, “that is the officers having charge of festivals in the Roman  province of Asia.”  So you see these Asiarchs or officers in charge of public gatherings. They  knew the danger, and so they sent word to Paul.  "Certain also the Asiarcs being his friends sent unto him and besought him not to adventure into the theater."  Why?  They were afraid that he would be killed if he did, but you see that Paul was going to try to save Gaius and Aristarchus from being killed.  They were two more of his companions while at Ephesus aiding in the teaching and spread of the gospel into all Asia.  Gaius and Aristarchus were from Macedonia, and Paul was fearful for them, and evidently he wanted to go in and try to prevent them from being killed.  But the brethren, the disciples suffered him not to do so, they knew the danger.  By verses thirty and thirty-one, please write down II Corinthians 1:8-11, where Paul talks about the great danger they were in.  I do not think there is any doubt that this is what he is talking about. 

 

So reading from II Corinthians chapter one, beginning with verse eight, "For we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning our afflictions which befell us in Asia, we were weighted down exceedingly beyond our power, even as much as we despaired even of life.  Yea, we ourselves have had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in  ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead.  Who delivered us out of so great a death, and will deliver:  On whom we have set our hopes that he will also deliver us; ye also helping together on our behalf by your supplications for Paul, that for the gift bestowed upon us by means of many, thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf."  It might be that the prayers of those brethren at Corinth had made the difference in respect to Paul and those brethren not being killed.  At least Paul gives them credit that their prayers have been answered.  And sometimes after we have  prayed for something and it comes about, we may forget to thank God for it, but Paul reckoned that thanks would be given by many persons that had prayed for him when they learned that he was delivered, and that their prayers had been answered.  When he wrote the letter to Rome, he asked them to pray for him for specific things, and their prayers were answered (Romans 15:30-32). 

 

Acts 19:32, "Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: For the assembly was in confusion, and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together."  But it is a mob situation, "And they brought Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward.  And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made a defense unto the people.  But when they perceived that he was a Jew."  See, this is Gentile territory.  Jews must have been despised to some extent by Gentile people, and you know that Jews have despised Gentiles.  "All with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians."  You think of that, a multitude of people coming together, and for two hours they cry out great is Diana of the Ephesians, great is our god.  We would like to know just how they did that.  Did they cry out just over and over, great is Diana of the Ephesians, great is our God?  Probably somewhat on that order.  "And when the town clerk had quieted the multitude, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not the city of the Ephesians is a temple keeper of the great Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?"  So their god fell down from Jupiter according to their religion.  "Seeing then that these things cannot be gainsaying."  This town clerk at least had the ability to get their attention.  There was no  need to get excited about their god being despised.  People know how great our god is.  Our god Diana that fell down from Jupiter, is a great god, and people cannot get by with speaking against our god. 

 

Verse thirty-six, "Seeing then that these things cannot be gainsaying, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.  For we have brought hither these men, who are neither robbers of temples, nor blasphemers of our goddess."  Now, those brethren were teaching that God does not dwell in temples made with hands, and they were ruining the business of the silver smiths and those of like trades.   "Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen that are with him, have a matter against any man."  If these men have committed any crime against them.  "Then the courts are open, and there are  proconsuls, let them accuse one another."  And so let it be settled in a court, and surely he is appealing to them in a good way.  "But if ye seek anything about other matters, it should be settled in a regular assembly."  The town –clerk is saying, “This is not a regular assembly, according to Roman law, and if Demetrius  and the other craftsmen have a legal case, it must be settled in a regular assembly.  "For indeed we are in danger to be accused concerning this day's riot, there being no cause for it.  And as touching it we shall not be able to give account of this occasion.  And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly." 

Chapter Twenty

"And after the uproar ceased Paul, having sent for the disciples, and exhorted them, took leave of them and departed to go into Macedonia."  From verse one we learn that Paul left Ephesus after that riot caused by Demetrius and the silversmiths and like craftsmen.  Note that he exhorted the disciples, and then left to go to Macedonia which he had planned to do as given in Acts 19:21, and notice how brief Luke’s account is.  At some point, I will try to use the map again, and we will notice the great distance that Luke has Paul making there in two verses.  He carries Paul all the way from Ephesus, and revisiting the churches of Macedonia and Achaia or Greece, as it is stated in Acts 19:21.  "And when he had gone through those parts and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece.  And when he had spent three months there."  The probable place for most of that time, if  not all of that time would be at Corinth because that was the largest church in respect to numbers, and  Paul had stayed there a year-and-a-half.  He had intended to sail from Corinth to Jerusalem when he learned that a plot was made to kill him, and so he goes back through Macedonia.  Luke had been at Philippi ever since that church was established, which was about five years, and he joins Paul’s company again. He and the messengers of the church are carrying the bounty to Jerusalem. Paul had encouraged these churches among the Gentiles to make contribution for the poor in Jerusalem. 

 

Please find a space that you can write down these references.  Some Bibles have some notes about where the epistles are written from, and some are right and some are wrong. Some say that   II Corinthians was written from Philippi. Paul wrote II Corinthians from Macedonia, but Luke does not tell us which church in Macedonia he was at when he wrote II Corinthians. .  Now, let us turn to II Corinthians and read those references, and you can see with your own eyes that Paul wrote II Corinthians from somewhere in Macedonia, but Luke does not tell us which church he was at.  Write down by Acts 20:1-2 that II Corinthians was written from Macedonia, and the references are II Corinthians 2:12-13, 7: 5-6, 9:1-5.  These references show very definitely that Paul wrote II Corinthians from somewhere in Macedonia.  Reading from II Corinthians 2:12-13, "Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ."  Paul went up the seacoast from Ephesus to Troas,  and notice that there was an open door for him to preach there, but he was so concerned about how the church at Corinth had received that I Corinthian letter that he left that open door and went on into Macedonia.  He was expecting Titus to be at Troas, bringing him news from the Corinthian church, but he was not there, and Paul was so concerned about the church of Corinth that he left that open door and went on into Macedonia.  "Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ, and when a door was open unto me in the Lord, I had no relief for my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother:  But taking my leave of them, I went forth into Macedonia." 

 

So you see he leaves that open door at Troas and goes to Macedonia.  I heard some brethren say between fifty and sixty years ago that, “Everybody has the right to hear the gospel once before anybody hears it twice.”  Those brethren recognized that we were not doing enough evangelistic work, but they had more zeal than knowledge.  Paul was more concerned about the church at Corinth and rightly so.  We are not to go out and establish churches and then leave those churches to die for lack of instruction and encouragement, and the epistles of Paul surely show that.  In fact, that statement denies the second phase of the great commission that is given in Matthew's account.  Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus said, "All authority has been given me in heaven and on earth, go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the son and the Holy Spirit.  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the ends of the earth."  So it is not right to go out and preach the gospel, and only a few people are saved and leave those brethren without putting forth effort to see that they receive future teaching and encouragement.  Now, with all our ways of communicating to brethren today, we may be able to do that from a distance, but in those days  they did not have all of the wonderful things that we have.  Paul reasoned that he needed to go back to those churches, and you see his  great concern by revisiting those churches of Macedonia and Achaia, and his concern by revisiting those churches of Galatia, he revisited them  three times. 

 

Highlight II Corinthians 2:12-13, and then write down by it 7:5-6,and 9:1-5, and that will be sufficient to remind you to turn next to those.  Let us read, II Corinthians 7:5-6, "For even when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no relief, but we were afflicted on every side; without were fightings, and within were fears."  Part of that was Paul's great concern for the church at Corinth. For a while, he was even sorry that he had written that first Corinthian letter because he was afraid that they had not received it properly.  But the church as a whole received it in a good way, and they withdrew from the fornicator, as shown in chapter two, as Paul had told them to do.  And notice here in verse six, "Nevertheless he that comforteth the lowly, even God, comforteth us by the coming of Titus."  Titus had finally brought good news that the church as a whole had received that first Corinthian letter in a good way, but notice also verse seven there.  "And not by his coming only, but also by the comfort wherewith he was comforted in you, while he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced yet more."  Paul could see how that Titus was really built up by seeing the good spirit manifested by the church at Corinth. 

 

Chapters eight and nine of II Corinthians have to do with encouraging the church at Corinth to complete the bounty that they had started the year before.  In the latter part of chapter eight and the first part of chapter nine he tells them that he wants them to have that bounty ready.  That it  would be an embarrassing thing. if some should come with him from Macedonia to Corinth, and that church would not have finished getting together their bounty.  "For as touching the ministry to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:  For I know your readiness of which I glory on your behalf to them of Macedonia, that Achaia hath been prepared for a year past."  Notice how he speaks of Achaia when he's referring primarily to the church at Corinth.  "Hath been prepared for a year past.  And your zeal hath stirred up very many of them."  They had started that good work a year before, but they had not completed it.  So Paul gives real instruction and exhorts them to complete it and have it ready.  "But I have sent the brethren."  And that is referring to the latter verses of chapter eight.  "But I have sent the brethren that our glorying on your behalf, may not be made void in this respect, yet even as I said ye may be prepared." 

 

Notice that Paul told the churches of Macedonia about what Corinth had done, and it had encouraged those brethren of Macedonia to make up contributions for the poor in Jerusalem.  It was not limited to the saints (Acts 24:17; II Corinthians 9:12-15).  "But I have sent the brethren that our glorying on your behalf may not be made void in this respect, that even as I said, ye may be prepared; lest by any means if there come with me any of Macedonia and find you unprepared,  we that say not ye, should be put to shame in this confidence.  I thought it necessary therefore to entreat the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your afore bounty that the same might be ready as a matter of bounty, and not of extortion."  And so you see that Paul was expecting some of the brethren of Macedonia to go with him, and, of course, those would be the messengers of the churches.  Paul had stated in chapter eight that we take thought “for things honorable in the sight of all men,” and  he was not going to carry that bounty by himself.  And the messengers of the churches were chosen to go with him to carry all that bounty from all those Gentile churches to Jerusalem.  Do you see how brief Like’s account is in Acts 20:1-2?  We will go back to Acts 20:2 when we begin with the last part of this Class Session. 

 

Reading from Acts 20:2, "And when he had gone through those parts  (visiting those churches in Macedonia)  and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece."  Or Achaia, and those three churches were:  Athens, Cenchrea and Corinth.  But as we read from those references from II Corinthians, it looks like that Corinth marked the point of completing the taking up those bounties of the churches for the poor in Jerusalem.  "And when he had spent three months there and a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to sail for Syria, he determined to return through Macedonia.  And there accompanied him as far as Asia  These are the messengers of the churches, to carry that bounty to Jerusalem.  Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy and from Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.  But these had gone before and were waiting for us at Troas."  You need to highlight those last three words, us at Troas.  So Luke joins the company again.  So Luke had been several years at the church at Philippi.  The time is about 57 AD, when he joins the company again.  "And we sailed away from Philippi  after the days of unleavened bread,” That would be the feast of the Passover,  they kept the Passover feast, and then for seven days they were to eat unleavened bread, so it was called the feast of the Passover, and the feast of unleavened bread. It was the first of their three annual feasts (Exodus 12:13-20).  "And came unto them unto Troas in five days; where we tarried seven days." 

 

Now somewhere in these verses, you need to find room to write down Romans 15:22-25.  Paul wrote Romans right before he left with those messengers of the churches to carry the bounty to Jerusalem.  Turn to Romans chapter fifteen, and note that very definitely, and he wrote Romans from Corinth, and he probably wrote Galatians from Corinth at about the same time. 

 

Now we cannot be definite about the date of Galatians. A few writers date it in the forties, but in my judgment that is not logical.  The problem over circumcision did not come up until it came up in that first Gentile church at Antioch of Syria, and the time of that meeting at Jerusalem was about 50 AD, and Acts 15:1-33 and Galatians 2:1-10 are parallel accounts about the problem of circumcision.  The epistle of Paul to the Galatians deals with showing that those teachers were false teachers, and if they followed them, they would lose  their salvation in Christ.  And Paul had revisited those churches that Paul and Barnabas had established on that first journey.  On that first journey they turned around and revisited those churches that they had established, and then Paul  revisited them on that second journey and then again on the third journey, and there is no indication that there was a problem in those churches over the matter of circumcision either time that he revisited them.  So it must have been at a later date that those false teachers went to those churches of Galatia and started warding off their false teaching on the brethren at Galatia.  So very definitely Paul wrote Romans then from Corinth as they were ready to carry the bounty to Jerusalem on the latter part of the third journey.

 

Let us turn to Romans chapter fifteen and read that reference.  He talks about how that he had no longer any evangelistic territory in that area, and that he was planning to go to Rome after he had carried the bounty to Jerusalem.  Romans 15:23-25, "Wherefore also I was hindered many years from coming to you; but now having no more any place in these regions and having these many years a longing to come unto you; whensoever I come into Spain, I hope to see you in my journey, and be brought on my way thitherward by you."  Now notice again Paul's long-term planning.  First he is going to carry the bounty to Jerusalem, and then he plans to go from there to visit the church at Rome, and then he expects  the church at Rome to help him in evangelizing in Spain.  He says, "I hope to see you in my journey, and be brought on my way thitherward by you,  That means that he was expecting support from the brethren at Rome to carry on evangelistic activities in Spain,   if first in some measure I shall be satisfied with your company.  But now I say I go unto Jerusalem ministering unto the saints.  For it hath been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution,  for the poor among the saints that are at Jerusalem." 

 

And look at verse twenty-nine, "And I know when I come unto you, I shall come in the fullness and the blessings of Christ."  Well, I think that the scriptures teach that he went in the fullness and blessings of Christ, but he did not go as a free man as he was expecting to go, but he went as a prisoner to Rome.  I hope you are writing down these references in your Bible.  You can write down a lot of notes in your notebook, but you are not going to have that notebook with you when you need to be reminded.  Time will prove that references and notes written in your Bible will be your best notes. All of us soon forget some of those things that we have known, but if we have some references to remind us, then it comes back real quick.  So Paul wrote Romans just before he leaves with those messengers of the churches.  Acts 20:7, "And upon the first day of the week when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, intending to depart on the morrow, and prolonged his speech until midnight.  And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where we were gathered together.  And there sat in the window a certain man named Eutychus, born down with deep sleep:  And as Paul discoursed yet longer being born down by his sleep, he fell down from the third story, and was taken up dead.  And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Make ye no ado; for his life is in him.  And when he was gone up and had broken bread and had eaten, and had talked with them a long time, even till break of day, so he departed.  And they brought the lad alive, and were not a little comforted." 

 

Now, in regard to Acts 20:7, if you ask the average member of the church where is the authority for partaking of the Lord's Supper each first day of the week, they will probably give Acts 20:7.  Are you listening well?  Acts 20:7 does not by itself bind the partaking of the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week.  It is surely a good reference to call attention to.  It is an approved example for sure, but every approved example is not binding.  If every approved example is binding, then look at the rest of this reference that we have read.  A preacher would have to prolong his speech until midnight!  "And there were many lights in the upper chamber."  And so they would have to meet in an upper chamber on the third floor, and they would have to have a lot of lights.  We usually have those, but we do not usually meet in a building that has a third story, not for the assembly place of the whole church.  And if every example is binding, then somebody would need to fall out of a window and be taken up dead, and the preacher would have to have miraculous ability to restore him to life. We do not have any with miraculous powers today, and if man fell out today, and “taken up dead” he would just be dead. 

 

There must be a background command to bind an example!  You may be asking, “What references bind the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week?” Write down by verse seven, I Corinthians 16:1-2 and I Corinthians 11:33.   I Corinthians 16:1-2 reads, "As I gave orders unto the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.  Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."   Paul there was telling the brethren at Corinth about that bounty for the poor in Jerusalem.  Note that I Corinthians 16:1-2 shows that the churches of Galatia and the church at Corinth had a regular time to assemble for worship, and that time was the first day of the week.  Nearly all denominational preachers realize that people are to give on the first day of the week!  Why are they not able to understand that they are to partake of the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week?  But, anyway, the first day of the week is the day of worship. It is the day that Christ has made by his resurrection from the dead (Psalms 118:22-24), and let us, “rejoice and be glad in it.”

 

In I Corinthians 11:33, Paul gives instruction to the Corinthians, "When ye come together to eat, wait one for another."  I like the word in the King James, “tarry one for another”.  That was a slow day, and some of those early Christians were slaves, and it may be that they could not go just anytime they wanted to.  They may have waited for the time that the master gave them release, plus the pattern of life of that day, being very slow.  So he  tells them, "When you come together to eat, wait one for another."  He is talking about eating the Lord's Supper.  He had already told them to eat their meals at home because they had mixed up the matter of eating a physical meal with the Lord's Supper, and some of them were despising the church of God and putting some to shame by not sharing their meals with those who did not have anything to eat. Some were eating to glutton and drinking to drunkenness and not even dividing with those who did not have anything to eat (I Corinthians 11:20-22).  So he had already given instruction about they were to eat their meals at home, and 11:33 is their coming together to eat the Lord's Supper And then after you have called attention to I Corinthians 16:1-2 and 11:33, then go to Acts 20:7.  Paul and the messengers of the churches stayed with the brethren at Tyre for seven days. Acts 21:4, "And finding the disciples, we tarried there seven days."  Does that not that imply that they worshipped with those disciples probably two first days of the week. 

 

Back to Acts 20:13, "But we, going before to the ship, set sail for Assos, there intending to  take in Paul:  For so had he appointed, intending himself to go by land.  And when he met us at Assos, we took him in,  and came to Mitylene.  And sailing from thence, we came the following day over against Chios; and the next day we touched at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the day after we came to Miletus.  And Paul determining to sail past Ephesus, that he might not have to spend time in Asia:  For he was hastening, if it were possible, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost."  The day of Pentecost, as we have already talked about from Acts two, was that day of the second annual feast, which celebrated their small grain harvest. They were to number seven weeks when they started harvesting their grain crops.  Barley was harvested before wheat as we learned from the book of Ruth.  And then at the end of that seven week period, and the morrow after the seventh Sabbath, then this feast of the Pentecost came.  Pentecost in Acts 2:1-2 is from the Greek word meaning fiftieth (Leviticus 23:15-16). 

 

Paul wants to get to Jerusalem for the feast of the Pentecost, therefore he does not want to have to go by the church at Ephesus.  "And so from Miletus, he sent to Ephesus, and called to him the elders of the church."  The rest of chapter twenty deals with Paul speaking to the elders of the church and exhorting and admonishing them, and then after he had done that, “they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him.”  So the elders went from Ephesus to Miletus, and Paul exhorted them as set forth here.  Verse eighteen, "And when they were come to him, he said unto them, ye yourselves know from the first day that I set foot in Asia  (at Ephesus)  after what manner I was with you all the time, serving the Lord with all lowliness of mind, and with tears, and with trials, which befell me by the plots of the Jews,  Now, Luke did not give us a record of that, did he, of the plots that the Jews had set for him during that long stay at Ephesus?  But remember nearly everywhere he went, they tried to kill him or they would drive him out.  how I shrank not from declaring unto you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly, and from house to house."  So public teaching and private teaching, Paul did both.  "Testifying from house to house, and testifying both to Jews, and to Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.  And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem; not knowing the things that shall befall me there:  Save that the Holy Spirit testified unto me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me." 

 

So consider there in verse twenty-three, the Holy Spirit had been testifying to him, that if he went to Jerusalem, that he would be bound at Jerusalem  "Saying that bonds and afflictions abide me,"  but notice the wonderful attitude of Paul, "But I hold not my life of any account as dear unto myself, so that I may accomplish my course, and the ministry, which I have received from the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."  Remember that Christ had chosen him, especially as an apostle to the Gentiles.  "And now, behold, I know that ye all of among whom I went about preaching the kingdom shall see my face no more."  In verse twenty-five Paul must be speaking on the basis of what he thinks rather than what the Holy Spirit had told him in a definite way.  Now, the Holy Spirit had testified to him in the cities, that if he went to Jerusalem, that bonds and afflictions would abide him.  It looks like Paul had come to the conclusion that that meant that he would never be able to go back to visit the brethren at Ephesus.  But Paul's first epistle to Timothy shows very definitely that after he was released from that first Roman imprisonment, that he went back to the church at Ephesus, for he had left Timothy there to take care of problems that existed in the church at Ephesus.  Please turn to I Timothy.  "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and Christ Jesus, our hope; unto Timothy, my true child in faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.  As I exhorted thee (Timothy)  to tarry at Ephesus, when I was going into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine, neither to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questionings, rather than a dispensation of God, which is in faith:  So do I now."  Paul did not leave Timothy at Ephesus prior to that first Roman imprisonment, therefore this is after that first Roman imprisonment that he had left Timothy there to “charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine. 

 

It looks like what Paul told the Ephesian elders in this passage that we are reading from Acts, had already been partly fulfilled. There must have been those in the eldership that had already turned in the wrong way.  And they were trying to hold onto the Old Testament religion, verse seven, “desiring to be teachers of the law, though they  understand neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm.”  And then the fact that Paul gives Timothy the qualifications of elders and deacons in chapter three, further indicates that some of those elders that Paul speaks to here in this reference had already done the wrong thing.  Again, let me emphasize that he must be speaking according to his own judgment rather than what the Holy Spirit had definitely told him in verse twenty-five. "And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I went  about preaching the kingdom, shall see my face no more.  Wherefore I testify to you this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men."  You remember our turning and reading from Ezekiel chapter three, Paul would have been guilty of their blood if he had not put forth that real effort to teach them the way of the Lord.  But as stated, "I shrank not from declaring unto you anything that was profitable, teaching you publicly and from house to house." And so he was pure from the blood of all men because he had done that which the Lord wanted him to do, in preaching and teaching of the gospel.  Paul was a preacher who preached the whole counsel of God.  We have a few brethren in the church today that are afraid to teach on certain subjects because they know the brethren do not want to hear those subjects.  They need to listen to what Paul said for us to do.  He is telling us that we are to preach the whole counsel of God, and that includes our teaching on every basic subject of the Bible, to teach the whole counsel of God.  Then his exhortation to them, "Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." 

 

Now the footnote in my Bible for bishop says overseers.  You may be reading from a version that has overseers instead of bishop, but bishop means that they were overseers.  When the church at Antioch of Syria sent contributions to Jerusalem, as recorded in the latter part of Acts eleven, they sent it to the elders by the hands of Paul and Barnabas.  Elders oversee everything in regard to the church, including financial matters.  Some of the denominational churches count that the work of deacons, and from time to time, you will find brethren that think that the deacons are to oversee all the things that have to do with material things, but that is not the case.  Elders are the overseers, and the deacons are to assist them in the various ways that they think they can assist them.  "Feed the church the Lord, which he purchased with his own blood."  The Bible plainly teaches that Christ purchased the church with his blood, and it is by his redeeming blood that men are redeemed from sin.  (Romans 5:9; Ephesians 1:7 and Colossians 1:14. No sins are forgiven apart from the sinner applying the blood of Christ.  He purchased the church with his blood, and when Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, Matthew 26:28, he said when he took the cup, "And this is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for, (the King James Version) unto, (the American Standard) the remission of sins."  Please remember, and we have already discussed that, this is the same Greek word E-I-S as used in Acts 2:38.  And if that Greek word means because of, as so many people in America are being taught by their preachers, that it means because they were already saved in Acts 2:38, then Christ died in vain.  He died because their sins were already forgiven!  This is the blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the remission of sins.”  And you can see absolutely from that, that that word does not mean because of. 

 

Acts 20:29, "I know that after my departure grievious wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock."  So false teachers would come into the church at Ephesus, “not sparing the flock”.  They would be wolves in sheep's clothing, and they would be devouring God’s sheep.  "And from among your own selves  (the eldership)  "shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."  And according to church history, this was the way that the great falling away came that Paul speaks of in II Thessalonians 2:1-12, where he tells for them not to be excited about the second advent of Christ, that he would not come until there had been a great falling away, and until the man of sin had been revealed who is spoken of as, “setting himself forth as God.”  According to church history, the process began by elders choosing a chairman elder, and then it was not long until they had more than one church under an eldership, and then an chairman elder of that.  And that continued to increase from one departure to another and one innovation after another until finally the election of  a Pope and the hierarchy of the Catholic church, the great falling away. 

 

Acts 20:31, "Wherefore watch ye, remembering that by the space of three years, I ceased not to admonish every one night and day with tears."  So Paul speaks of it as three years, but it is possible that he could be rounding off.  We still do a lot of that, don't we?  He definitely stayed at Ephesus for two years and three months, and he had intended to stay in Asia for another season after that, and then the riot caused by the silver smiths.  "And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you the inheritance among all them that are sanctified."  So he is saying to the Ephesian elders, continue to give attention to the word of God's grace, and it will build you up.  The word of God received into the heart will do that for all Christians today, but many are suffering from malnutrition. We need to give more attention to the word of God's grace.  It will build us up and strengthen us spiritually!  And so Paul wanted the Ephesian elders to continue to study the word of the Lord, that it would build them up and give them that eternal inheritance.  "I coveted no man's silver or gold or apparel.  Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that are with me."  Do you suppose that he was holding up his hands when he said that? “these hands ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me."  All of those men like Timothy and Erastus and Gaius and all others who assisted him in that evangelistic work at Ephesus.  Paul was surely a workman who knew how to make a living.  Let me emphasize again that every preacher should be able to put up shop and make a living most anywhere he may go.  He may get in very difficult circumstances if he is not able to put up shop and make a living for his family while he is there.  "And in all things, I gave you an example that so laboring  So Paul labored at Ephesus.  He labored during the first part of his stay at Corinth, and he labored while he was at Thessalonica, as shown plainly by those two epistles to that church.  ye ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."  Now, that statement is not recorded, at least in those words anywhere else.  There are several passages in the gospels that teach that in principle, but it is not stated in those words, but Paul through inspiration must have known that Jesus gave that statement during his personal ministry that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”  I believe I have read from one version that reads, “it makes one happier to give than to receive.”  That is good reading.  Blessed means happy.  So if you want to have deep seated joy, learn to give cheerfully and liberally  to the church and to the needs of others.  It is more blessed to give than to receive.  And so Paul had worked during that period of time and had done a great job  of evangelizing through his efforts and those assisting him during that three year stay at Ephesus.  "And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.  And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him.  Sorrowing most of all for the words which he had spoken, that they should behold his face no more.  And they  brought him on his way unto the ship." 

Chapter Twenty-one

"And when it came to pass, that we were parted from them, and had set sail, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the next day unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara: And having found a ship crossing over to Phenicia, we went aboard and set sail.  And when we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left hand, we sailed unto Syria, and landed at Tyre:  For there the ship was to unlaid her burden.  And having foun the disciples,  Jesus during his ministry went for a short time to the Gentile territory of Tyre. we tarried there seven days:  And these said to Paul through the Spirit.  , So they had people in the church at Tyre then that had the gift of prophecy because, "Who said to Paul through the Spirit that he should not set foot in Jerusalem."  Paul had said to the Ephesian elders that the Holy Spirit was testifying to him in every city that  if he went to Jerusalem he would be bound.  And the brethren at Tyre gave him that instruction also.  Verse five, "And when it came to pass that we had accomplished the days."  This is strong indication that they must have met with those brethren for worship on two occasions. "We departed and went on our journey.  And they all with wives and children brought us on our way, till we were out of the city:  And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed and bade each other farewell, and went on board the ship, but they returned home again."  Our next Class Session should begin with Acts 21:7.  Thank you for your good attention.