Acts 20

This is part of a Daily Devotional Orwell Bible Church prepares each week. You can get a copy from our Downloads and Literature page.

This chapter relates events that occurred at the end of Paul’s third missionary journey. He began traveling back to Jerusalem, with his various travels and stops detailed here. Verses 7-12 gives our only window into a first-century meeting of a church. They met during the evening of the first day of the week (not the Sabbath), probably after a busy day of work. This was a meeting of disciples, of Christians. Truth was taught (vv. 7, 9, 11) and the Lord’s Supper was observed by the church at Troas and Paul—believers who had been baptized and were members of their respective churches.

After Paul traveled by Ephesus (v. 16), he then had the Ephesian church leadership come to him at Miletus (v. 17). These leaders are here called “elders” (v. 17) and “overseers” (v. 28) who “shepherd” (pastor, v. 28) the church. Note that these three descriptions/titles are interchangeably used of the same men. Through his own personal example and direct teaching Paul exhorted these pastors that in Christ’s blood-bought church they must have a God-controlled life and ministry (vv. 18-36). He warned against the danger of pride, self-preservation, uncaring professionalism, a self-centered, self-oriented ministry, greed, and savage wolves, urging them to “take heed to themselves and to all the flock” (v. 28).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. The church is made up of baptized believers who gather regularly for worship, instruction, fellowship, and the Lord’s Table. Such gatherings (we call them services today) are for the edification of and worship by the church. Such services are for believers and should be simple in organization yet reverent and understandable. The Scriptures must be read and taught, prayers offered, hymns sung by the church, the Lord’s Table observed, and finances gladly given.
  2. The church needs godly pastors who sacrificially give of themselves for those for whom Christ died. Pastors must live godly lives, care for their families, serve sacrificially and joyfully, remembering they will give an account to Christ (Heb 13:17). Pray for your pastor(s)!
  3. Christians need the church and their pastor(s). Today there are so many different sources for everything, but no “pastor” of the radio, TV, podcast, online service, or newspaper will sacrifice for and weep with you! They don’t know you and you don’t know them in their day-to-day life.
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