Acts 20* Paul's journeys. (1-6) Eutychus restored to life. (7-12) Paultravels towards Jerusalem. (13-16) Paul's discourse to theelders of Ephesus. (17-27) Their farewell. (28-38)1-6 Tumults or opposition may constrain a Christian to removefrom his station or alter his purpose, but his work and hispleasure will be the same, wherever he goes. Paul thought itworth while to bestow five days in going to Troas, though it wasbut for seven days' stay there; but he knew, and so should we,how to redeem even journeying time, and to make it turn to somegood account. 7-12 Though the disciples read, and meditated, and prayed, andsung apart, and thereby kept up communion with God, yet theycame together to worship God, and so kept up their communionwith one another. They came together on the first day of theweek, the Lord's day. It is to be religiously observed by alldisciples of Christ. In the breaking of the bread, not only thebreaking of Christ's body for us, to be a sacrifice for oursins, is remembered, but the breaking of Christ's body to us, tobe food and a feast for our souls, is signified. In the earlytimes it was the custom to receive the Lord's supper everyLord's day, thus celebrating the memorial of Christ's death. Inthis assembly Paul preached. The preaching of the gospel oughtto go with the sacraments. They were willing to hear, he sawthey were so, and continued his speech till midnight. Sleepingwhen hearing the word, is an evil thing, a sign of low esteem ofthe word of God. We must do what we can to prevent being sleepy;not put ourselves to sleep, but get our hearts affected with theword we hear, so as to drive sleep far away. Infirmity requirestenderness; but contempt requires severity. It interrupted theapostle's preaching; but was made to confirm his preaching.Eutychus was brought to life again. And as they knew not whenthey should have Paul's company again, they made the best use ofit they could, and reckoned a night's sleep well lost for thatpurpose. How seldom are hours of repose broken for the purposesof devotion! but how often for mere amusement or sinful revelry!So hard is it for spiritual life to thrive in the heart of man!so naturally do carnal practices flourish there! 13-16 Paul hastened to Jerusalem, but tried to do good by theway, when going from place to place, as every good man shoulddo. In doing God's work, our own wills and those of our friendsmust often be crossed; we must not spend time with them whenduty calls us another way. 17-27 The elders knew that Paul was no designing, self-seekingman. Those who would in any office serve the Lord acceptably,and profitably to others, must do it with humility. He was aplain preacher, one that spoke his message so as to beunderstood. He was a powerful preacher; he preached the gospelas a testimony to them if they received it; but as a testimonyagainst them if they rejected it. He was a profitable preacher;one that aimed to inform their judgments, and reform theirhearts and lives. He was a painful preacher, very industrious inhis work. He was a faithful preacher; he did not keep backreproofs when necessary, nor keep back the preaching of thecross. He was a truly Christian, evangelical preacher; he didnot preach notions or doubtful matters; nor affairs of state orthe civil government; but he preached faith and repentance. Abetter summary of these things, without which there is nosalvation, cannot be given: even repentance towards God, andfaith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, with their fruits andeffects. Without these no sinner can escape, and with these nonewill come short of eternal life. Let them not think that Paulleft Asia for fear of persecution; he was in full expectation oftrouble, yet resolved to go on, well assured that it was byDivine direction. Thanks be to God that we know not the thingswhich shall befall us during the year, the week, the day whichhas begun. It is enough for the child of God to know that hisstrength shall be equal to his day. He knows not, he would notknow, what the day before him shall bring forth. The powerfulinfluences of the Holy Spirit bind the true Christian to hisduty. Even when he expects persecution and affliction, the loveof Christ constrains him to proceed. None of these things movedPaul from his work; they did not deprive him of his comfort. Itis the business of our life to provide for a joyful death.Believing that this was the last time they should see him, heappeals concerning his integrity. He had preached to them thewhole counsel of God. As he had preached to them the gospelpurely, so he had preached it to them entire; he faithfully didhis work, whether men would bear or forbear. 28-38 If the Holy Ghost has made ministers overseers of theflock, that is, shepherds, they must be true to their trust. Letthem consider their Master's concern for the flock committed totheir charge. It is the church He has purchased with his ownblood. The blood was his as Man; yet so close is the unionbetween the Divine and human nature, that it is there called theblood of God, for it was the blood of Him who is God. This putsuch dignity and worth into it, as to ransom believers from allevil, and purchase all good. Paul spake about their souls withaffection and concern. They were full of care what would becomeof them. Paul directs them to look up to God with faith, andcommends them to the word of God's grace, not only as thefoundation of their hope and the fountain of their joy, but asthe rule of their walking. The most advanced Christians arecapable of growing, and will find the word of grace help theirgrowth. As those cannot be welcome guests to the holy God whoare unsanctified; so heaven would be no heaven to them; but toall who are born again, and on whom the image of God is renewed,it is sure, as almighty power and eternal truth make it so. Herecommends himself to them as an example of not caring as tothings of the present world; this they would find help forwardtheir comfortable passage through it. It might seem a hardsaying, therefore Paul adds to it a saying of their Master's,which he would have them always remember; "It is more blessed togive than to receive:" it seems they were words often used tohis disciples. The opinion of the children of this world, iscontrary to this; they are afraid of giving, unless in hope ofgetting. Clear gain, is with them the most blessed thing thatcan be; but Christ tell us what is more blessed, more excellent.It makes us more like to God, who gives to all, and receivesfrom none; and to the Lord Jesus, who went about doing good.This mind was in Christ Jesus, may it be in us also. It is goodfor friends, when they part, to part with prayer. Those whoexhort and pray for one another, may have many weeping seasonsand painful separations, but they will meet before the throne ofGod, to part no more. It was a comfort to all, that the presenceof Christ both went with him and stayed with them.
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