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Acts 20_13-38 - Paul's Farewell Address

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Paul’s Farewell to the Pastors of Ephesus

Acts 20:13-18


1.       Paul walked twenty miles from Troas to Assos.

2.       Paul was in a hurry because he wanted to be in Jerusalem by Pentacost.

3.       Paul called for the elders of the church of Ephesus.

Paul’s Farewell Message

1.      A Review of the Past (18-21)

a.       Manner (18-19)

                                                               i.      First day

                                                             ii.      All seasons

                                                            iii.      Humility of mind

                                                           iv.      Tears

                                                             v.      Temptations

b.      Motive (19)

                                                               i.      Serving the Lord

c.       Method (20)

                                                               i.      Kept back nothing profitable (doctrines & duties; privileges & responsibilities)

                                                             ii.      Showed and taught publically (not a secret society; not a closet Christian)

                                                            iii.      House to house

d.      Message (21)

                                                               i.      Testifying to both Jews and Greeks

                                                             ii.      Repentance towards God (Acts 17:29-30 "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:")

                                                            iii.      Faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:30-31 "And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.")

2.      A Testimony of the Present (22-27)

a.       Prisoner of Jesus Christ (22-23)

                                                               i.      Not of man

b.      Accountant (24)

                                                               i.      He knew how to take inventory and what true values are

c.       Runner (24)

                                                               i.      He wanted to finish with joy

                                                             ii.      Philippians 3:12-14 "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

                                                            iii.      2 Timothy 4:8 "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

d.      Steward (24)

                                                               i.      The ministry…which I received of the Lord Jesus

                                                             ii.      Stewards possess, but do not own

                                                            iii.      Stewards must give an account and seek to please their master

e.      Witness (24)

                                                               i.      “testify the gospel of the grace of God”

                                                             ii.      Testify = solemnly, earnestly give witness

1.       Zealously and sincerely

2.       declare to be correct, true, or genuine

                                                            iii.      2 Corinthians 2:15-16 "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?"

f.        Herald (25)

                                                               i.      Preach: “to declare a  message as the herald of the king”

                                                             ii.      Proclaim: speak up so someone can hear you

                                                            iii.      Witness tells what happened to him

                                                           iv.      Herald tells what the King tells him to declare

                                                             v.      He is commissioned and sent with a message, and must not change the message in anyway.

                                                           vi.      Since the message is from the king, people had better give heed.

g.       Watchman (26-27)

                                                               i.      Ezekiel 3:17-21 "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul."

                                                             ii.      Other: Ezekiel 33:1-9

                                                            iii.      Watchman: stay alert and ready

1.       He must be faithful, not fearful (because the safety of many depended on him)

2.       Acts 20:31 "Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."

                                                           iv.      Unfortunately many today are more concerned about themselves

1.       Isaiah 56:10-12 "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant."

2.       A group of servicemen asked their new chaplain if he believed in a real hell for lost sinners, and he smiled and told them that he did not. “Then you are wasting your time,” the men replied. “If there is no hell, we don’t need you; and if there is a hell, you are leading us astray. Either way, we’re better off without you!”

                                                             v.      The whole counsel of God

3.      A Warning about the Future (28-38)

a.       Take heed unto yourselves (28)

                                                               i.      Carelessness (31)

1.       Watch, and remember (31)

2.       Remembering the price that has been paid

3.       Serious and sober

4.       On alert

                                                             ii.      Shallowness (32)

1.       Prayer: “I commend you to God”

2.       Word: “the word of his grace, which is able to build you up”

3.       The word builds you up and makes you stronger.

4.       We cannot really please God by trying to serve in the power and wisdom of the flesh.

5.       Feed the flock, you must first feed yourself.

Airplane: Oxygen masks

6.       There is an inheritance.

7.       Do, know, be

                                                            iii.      Covetousness (33)

1.       Covet: a consuming or controlling desire for what others have or for more of what we ourselves already have.

2.       Trying to keep up with the Jones and then the Jones refinanced.

3.       Thou shalt not covet is the last commandment, but breaking this will lead to breaking the rest.

4.       James 4:1-3 "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."

5.       1 John 2:15 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

6.       Politics: People choose money over morals, money over country and money over children

7.       Religious: Balaam

8.       Jude 11 "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core."

9.       2 Peter 2:13-16 "And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet."

                                                           iv.      Laziness (34)

1.       There are bums out there in the ministry.

2.       Proverbs 24:30-34 "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man."

3.       Proverbs 6:6-11 "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man." 

4.       Luke 10:7 "And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire."

5.       1 Timothy 5:18 "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."

                                                             v.      Selfishness (35)

1.       True ministry is giving, not getting

2.       Matthew 20:28 "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."

3.       “It is more blessed to give than to receive”

4.       Blessing does not come from accumulating wealth, but by sharing it

5.       2 Corinthians 8:9 "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

6.       Romans 15:1-7 "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God."

b.      Take heed to all the flock (28)

                                                               i.      Guard: the Holy Ghost had made them overseers

1.       Hebrews 13:7 "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation."

2.       Hebrews 13:17 "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."

3.       Sheep are vulnerable without a shepherd. A good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.

                                                             ii.      Feed The Flock

1.       “to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood”

2.       Serious matter to care for those who were purchased at such a high price.

3.       Paul here was feeding them!

4.       He was shepherding the shepherds (36-38)

c.       Take heed for wolves (29-31)

                                                               i.      Who? Grievous wolves enter in among you

                                                             ii.      Not sparing the flock

1.       Exploiting the flock for personal gain

2.       2 Peter 2:1-3 "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."

                                                            iii.      “Of your own selves” (30)

                                                           iv.      What? “Speaking perverse things”: misinterpret; distort; corrupt

                                                             v.      Why? “To draw away disciples after them

1.       Greedy of money; position; power

2.       3 John 9-11 "I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God."


1.       The tears of God’s people have dried up and so have the churches.

a.       A Christian businessman from America who was traveling to various mission fields of the world.

b.      One day he found himself in northern India near a leprosarium. Outside of the walls of this leprosarium he saw an unusual sight: a lovely young missionary nurse who was attending the desperate needs of a filthy, wretched, leprous Indian beggar.

c.       There is nothing more distressing than that kind of a sight.

d.      Tenderly this young lady was ministering to this leprous beggar before he was admitted into the leprosarium.

e.      The businessman had his camera strung around his neck, but he couldn’t shoot any film.

f.        He paused at the sight, then withdrew a few feet. Tears filled his eyes, and he said to the young nurse, “Young lady, I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars.”

g.       Quickly she turned to him and said, “Sir, neither would I.”

2.       Psalm 126:5-6 "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."

3.       Luke 7:44 "And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head."

4.       John 11:35 "Jesus wept."

5.       Luke 19:41-44 "And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."

6.       Acts 20:19 "Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:"

7.       Acts 20:31 "Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."

8.       Acts 20:37 "And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him,"

9.       2 Corinthians 2:4 "For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you."

10.   Philippians 3:18 "(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:"

11.   2 Timothy 1:4 "Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;"

12.   Luke 6:21 "Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh."

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