NTB-5-ACTS-6 - The Gospel to the World (part 3)
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“Acts: Lesson 6”
Introduction by narrator accompanied by a cappella singing:
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. Spreading the soul-saving message of Jesus. And now,
To the elders in Ephesus the apostle Paul says, “So now brethren, I
commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build
you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified,”
We welcome you to our study of Paul's message to the elders at
Ephesus and the continuation of the spread of the gospel in Acts chapters
20 through 22. We hope you'll get your Bible and that you will stay tuned as
we study this section together.
In Acts chapter 20 we now are going to see Paul taking of the Lord's
Supper with Christians in the first century. I want you to notice what a
powerful aspect in teaching this is about the Lord's Supper. One of the
things we specifically learn is, in the midst of discouragement and
temptation Christians have got to keep pressing forward with their
faithfulness to the Lord. Notice Acts chapter 20. I want you to notice the
context beginning in about verse number 1. The Bible says “After the
uproar,” that's in chapter 19 in Ephesus. “After the uproar had ceased, Paul
called the disciples to himself, embraced them, and departed to go to
Macedonia. Now when he'd gone over that region and encouraged them
with many words, he came to Greece and stayed three months. When the
Jews plotted against him, as he was about to sail to Syria, he decided to
return through Macedonia. Sopater of Berea accompanied him to Asia, also
Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derby and
Timothy and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. These men going ahead
waiting for us at Troas,” and watch this, “When we sailed away from
Philippi after the days of unleavened bread and in five days joined them at
Troas, Troas where we stayed seven days.” Now verse 7, “Now on the first
day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul
ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message
Here we've got Christians assembling together on the first day of the
week, on Sunday, to remember the Lord's death and to worship Almighty
God. Friend we often think about the Lord's Supper and we know that is
such a significant event. Jesus instituted it in Matthew chapter 26. At the
Passover Jesus brought into effect and taught about the upcoming of the
Lord's Supper which would be in the kingdom, 1 Corinthians chapter 11,
and Matthew chapter 26. In preparation for that, Jesus trained and taught
His disciples how to do that acceptably with the proper elements. Jesus
taught them about the unleavened bread which He said you know “This is
my body of the new covenant it is shed for you.” He talked about His blood
which represented the new covenant as well, and which would be given for
the forgiveness of sins, and how those elements were to be done in
remembrance of Him. Paul mentions that in 1 Corinthians chapter 11.
But one of the questions that often arises is how often do Christians
partake of the Lord's Supper? Friend we need to look no further than the
teaching of the New Testament in the book of Acts. In Acts chapter 20:7 we
are again told on the first day of the week, the disciples came together to
break bread. Their part of the major purpose in them coming together was
to remember the Lord's death through the Lord's Supper. When did they do
On the first day the week. Now friend what particular week was in
mind here? There is no specific unique week in mind.
Well here's another question. Why did they do it on the first day of the
week? Well Jesus arose on the first day of the week. The first day of the
week is significant. It's found here in Scripture as authorized.
How many weeks, how many weeks have a first day? Well what's
going on here? Are they doing this once a month? Are they doing this on
Christmas and Easter, as sometimes we see in our world today?
Listen carefully, every week has a first day. They came together on
the first day of the week to break bread.
Friend, let me think about this with you for just a moment. In 1
Corinthians 16:1-2 if we can find out how often Christians assembled on
the first day of the week, and if we can see some other language that's
used relative to this in the New Testament, it will help us also to understand
this. Let me give another example. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 the Bible says that
they came together on the first day of the week and their purpose here is to
give. But they came together every first day of the week; the word katan
there used representative of every first day of the week. They were to lay
by in-store. Now Christians came together every first day of the week, Acts
20:7. A big part of that was to break bread, and so you've got Christians
coming together every first day of the week that is part of, to partake of, the
Lord's Supper. Friend why is it that sometimes people just take the Lord's
Supper once a month? Christmas and Easter? That that's not what you find
in the Bible.
In the Scriptures Christians came together on the first day of every
week. In Acts 20:7 we learn part of that was to break bread.
Now let me use us some familiar language in the Bible, Old
Testament, that I think will help us to understand this. In Exodus 20:8 God
is here commanding about the Sabbath. I know we're not we're not under
the Sabbath day. The old law has been nailed to the cross, Ephesians
2:14-15 and Colossians 2:14-15. But here's some similar language that will
help us to understand the command of Acts 20:7. In Exodus 20:8 God said
this “Remember the Sabbath. Keep it holy.” How did the Jews interpret
that? Well the Sabbath was Saturday. Are we talking about one Saturday
out of the year God? Are you talking about a special Saturday here and
there? First Saturday of the month? How did they understand that phrase
“Remember the Sabbath”?
Here's how: every Saturday that rolled around, every Sabbath that
came, they remembered it as holy.
Now you parallel that with the language of Acts 20:7. On the first day
the week, what first day of the week? Every. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2,
Christians are to remember and partake of the Lord's Supper every first
day the week. That's the biblical pattern.
Friend there's no authority in the Scripture for taking it once a month
or taking it on Christmas and Easter. The pattern that we see in Acts 20:7
is they came together on the first day the week to break bread. If that's
what they did, friend isn't that what Christians today should do as well?
Let's also remember this part of Paul's work as a gospel preacher
was to give people the full teaching of God's word and to never hold back
the whole counsel of Almighty God. I want you to notice Acts 20:20 the
Scripture records this, Paul speaking in Ephesus to the elders says, “You
know how I kept back nothing that was helpful for you but proclaimed it to
you and taught you publicly and from house to house.” Now notice verse
number 28. Paul says, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the
flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to Shepherd
the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Part of their
work was to spread that message. Then verse 27 Paul says “I've not
shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.”
Friend just because it may not be popular, just because it may not
always fit people's lifestyles, or it might rub people the wrong way doesn't
mean we can hold back preaching the gospel. Paul said to the evangelist
Timothy, in 2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word. Be instant in season and out of
season. Reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.”
Why? “Because time will come and they'll not endure sound doctrine.
They'll take up for themselves teachers who will, tickle their ears in
essence,” Paul would say. “But you continue in it.”
We've got to stand foursquare, preach the word of God, and stand for
the truth as we find it in the Bible. You see Paul said this is how you
become innocent of the blood of all men. Paul said “I'm innocent of the
blood of all men.” How Paul? “I've not shunned to declare to you the whole
counsel of God.” Friend if that if preaching the whole counsel makes us
innocent of the blood of all men, what's preaching part of it do? What are
just bits and pieces? Makes us guilty. Does it not? Ezekiel chapter 3
Ezekiel 33 we see the enemy coming. We don't sound the trumpet. We
don't tell. We play the silent partner in essence. God says ‘I'm going to
require his blood at your hand.’ Now if we teach the whole gospel, if we
teach what God says, and people die in their sins- God says you're not
guilty of their blood. Our responsibility is to teach the whole truth and
nothing but the truth of God's word.
Now let's make another practical application and this specifically
relates to elders in the Lord's church today. God has designed for there to
be elders in every congregation, Acts 20:17 and Titus 1:5. God wants
elders to be the spiritual leaders in the congregation, shepherds under
Christ who are trying to fulfill the ultimate will of God. Qualifications are
given in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus chapter 1. But a big part of their work is this:
shepherds must heed to the word of God, stay closely in line with the
teaching of the Bible. They must feed the flock the word of God. They must
make sure that God's word is taught, and they got a lead them in that
I want you to notice again Acts 20:28. Look at how Paul says this this
to the elders. Paul says “Therefore,” to the elders in Ephesus “take heed to
yourselves and all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you
overseers to Shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His
own blood.” The work of an elder is a very serious responsibility. They are
watching out for people's souls, Hebrews 13:7 and verse 17. They have a
responsibility to God for how they do that. They've got to take heed to
themselves, make sure first and foremost they're qualified, and they're
living right. They've got to feed the flock, and they've got to try to lead them
in the direction that Almighty God wants them to go.
A big part of what Paul puts the emphasis on, in Paul's address to
these elders, is the word of God. I want you to look at what he says to the
elders in verse number 32. Paul says “So now brethren,” again talking to
the elders, “I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is
able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are
sanctified.” How do we get built up spiritually today? How was Paul going to
encourage these elders to be built up in the faith and to build others up?
Friend it's not from our own thinking. It's not from philosophy. It's not
from the cute ideas or funny stories or anecdotes of men today. How are
we built up spiritually? “So now brethren, I commend you to God and to the
word of His grace.” How do we make sure that we receive that that
heavenly inheritance? “Which is able to build you up.” The word of God.
“And give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
Do we see again the emphasis upon the power of God's word? “I'm
not ashamed of the gospel,” Paul would say. “It is the power of God unto
salvation that that word of God is living and powerful,” Hebrews 4:12. It's
that that that sword. It's that hammer. It's that rock described in the Old
Testament prophets, Jeremiah 22:29. James said “We receive with
meekness the implanted word which is able to save our soul,” James 1:21.
In the Lord's church, and in our lives as Christians, we want to give
the word of God top priority. We want it to build us up, to encourage us,
and we want to live by it to make sure that we indeed do have that
I think too many times if we're not careful, we can put the emphasis
on human wisdom, on the thinking of men, and maybe some of the writing
of men in books, and maybe what's popular today, maybe what people
would like to do. Friend, let's realize God's word has the power to save us.
It's still relevant today, Hebrews 4:12. It is the book we need to follow that
is verbally inspired by Almighty God, 2 Timothy 3:16.
Now another powerful principle that we need to realize is that one of
things as we study about the gospel, as we study about the life of Christ,
sometimes we get a in another letter. We may get a glimpse into something
that Jesus said that maybe isn't recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and
John. That is so powerful.
In Acts 20:35 we get a unique glimpse into one of those statements. I
want you to notice something that Paul mentions, the Lord is saying that.
We find unique to this passage, Paul says in verse number 35, as he
speaks with these elders he says, “I've shown you in every way by laboring
like this that you must support the weak.” Watch this now, “and remember
the words of the Lord Jesus that He said ‘it's more blessed to give than to
receive.’” This is a unique statement of Jesus recorded right here in Acts
20:35. Our Lord said “It's more blessed to give than it is to receive.” When
did He say that? I don't know exactly when He said it, but I know when He
Now let me illustrate that sounds a little contradictory, but here's what
we mean by that. I don't know when it came out of His mouth, but friend His
whole life said it! Did it not? Did not Jesus life emphatically say ‘it's more
blessed to give than to receive’? You look at His life. It was all about giving.
He gave up heaven to come here, 2 Corinthians 8:9. He gave up the things
in this life that He might could have called His own- didn't even have a
place to lay His head. He was mocked. He was laughed at. He was claimed
to be working. People said ‘He's got a demon,’ in Mark chapter 2 and 3.
They ultimately spit on Him. They beat Him. They took Him to a cross, and
He hung there in agony and gave His life as a sacrifice for us.
Listen to John 3:16, “God so loved the world He gave His only
begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have
everlasting life.” We know Jesus said it. Paul said He did by His life speaks
volumes to that idea itself. ‘It's more blessed to give than it is to receive.’
Friend what's that mean to our lives today? Life cannot be just about
the individual. Life cannot be just about me and my selfish interest. If it's
more blessed to give, to help others, to do good than it is to take it in
yourself- then we need to be givers in this life and not takers. Paul
illustrates this in Galatians 2:20. Paul said “I've been crucified with Christ.
No longer I who lives, Christ lives in me. The life which I now live in the
flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for
Let's now take just a moment to turn our attention to some of Paul's
statements in Acts chapter 21 and 22. One of the ones that really stand out
in Acts chapter 21 is Paul's statement in verse number 14. As Paul is
recounting some of things that have happened, as he knows there's going
to be persecution that's upcoming, and as that is even prophesied about-
how does Paul deal with that? Look in Acts 21:14. Paul says these words
so when he would not be persuaded. That's Paul they see saying “The will
of the Lord be done.” It it's prophesied. Persecution's coming. Don't go up
here. Bad things are going to happen. Paul says ‘Wait a minute now. I've
been called to preach the gospel. Don't try to stop me from doing that. I'm
not going to stop preaching the gospel just because persecution might
come.’ They gave up. They said “The will of the Lord be done.”
It reminds us a lot of James chapter 4 and the problem that’s going
on in verses 13 through 17. Some are not saying ‘The Lord's will.’ They're
going about making plans, making business ventures, preparing for the
future, none of that in and of itself is wrong. But they have not said ‘If it's
the Lord's will.’ These Christians say even in the face of persecution, ‘May
the Lord's will be done.’ Friend that's how our life, this is such a practical
principle, because that's how my life and yours needs to be lived each and
every day- especially in the face of adversity and difficulty and challenges.
Listen to Jesus in the garden. Matthew 26, Jesus is overwhelmed no
doubt with His impending suffering and persecution and death that's going
to come. He's in the garden praying. His prayer is this “Father if it's possible
let this cup pass from me,” now watch this, “not my will but thine be done.”
Friend in this life, let's realize we're servants of God, Mark 10:45.
We've been called by the gospel, 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, to live a life of
service and sacrifice to God, Romans 12:1-2. If that's the case, that which
needs to preface everything that goes in our life is: “May the Lord's will be
done.” But do we often factor that in? You know we factor our will. We
factor other's will. We factor what we want. We factor what others want. We
factor what would make people around us happy. What about the Lord's
will? That's the most significant thing in this life! And so, may we strive
every day to put the Lord's will as a top priority in our life.
Now moving on to Acts chapter 22, I want you to hear as Paul is
going to recount his conversion, what Saul of Tarsus had to do, to get from
being outside of Christ and lost in sin to being in Christ where his sins were
washed away. Notice the words of Acts 22:16. The Bible records this
“Ananias came to Saul,” and here's what he said, “and now why are you
waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins calling on the
name of the Lord.”
Friend there are about three important things we want to emphasize
from this text.
The first is the great question asked: Why are you waiting? Saul why
are you waiting? Why are you waiting? Why am I waiting? Is there a danger
to waiting? You bet there is! The Bible says we're not promised tomorrow.
“What's your life? It's but a vapor here for a little while then it vanishes
away,” James 4:14. We don't have promise of tomorrow. We need to say
‘Today is the day of salvation,’ 2 Corinthians 6:1-2. Don't put off till
tomorrow what we can do today.
Secondly, let's realize exactly when in time and when in obedience to
the gospel Paul's sins were washed away. “Why are you waiting? Arise and
be baptized and wash away your sins.”
Friend listen carefully, all of us realize that sin is what separates us
from God. Right? Isaiah 59:1-2 “The Lord's ear's not heavy that He cannot
hear. His arm's not shortened that it cannot save, but your sins and your
iniquities have separated you from your God.” Sin separates a man from
If I can know exactly when sin is removed in the plan of conversion,
plan of salvation, I can know exactly when a person's saved. Right? “Arise
and be baptized, wash away your sins.”
Friend listen carefully, baptism is the point in conversion when I
contact the blood of Jesus that saves. Hebrews 9:22, without the shedding
of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:28 Jesus said “This is
my blood of the new covenant, shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
When do we risk contact the blood of Jesus and when do we receive that
for the remission of sins? “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the
name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” The old idea that's made
up by men that baptism isn't essential and isn't necessary to be saved is
foreign to the teaching of the Bible.
Then a third principle is this: Often times I will hear people, who have
the idea that all you've got do to be saved is believe, use this misuse this
passage. Something like maybe Acts 2:21. They'll say the Bible says
‘Whoever calls on name of the Lord will be saved.’ Well friend there's no
doubt the Bible says that. Let's let the Bible define that for us. Listen again
Acts 22:16. Biblically what does it mean to call on the name of the Lord?
“Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins having called on the name
of the Lord.”
How do you call on the name of the Lord? By getting up and doing
what the Lord says to be saved. What does the Lord say? Arise and be
baptized wash away your sins.” 1 Peter 3:21 says is this way, “Baptism
does now also save, save us not the removal of the filth the flesh but the
answer of a good conscience toward God.” Friend if baptism is when sins
are washed away, and listen to it again. “Baptism,” said the Bible says,
“Baptism now saves us.”
How can anybody say baptism isn't essential to salvation? Listen to
the clarity with which Jesus spoke. Jesus said it so plainly. “He that
believes and is baptized will be saved. He that does not believe shall be
condemned,” Mark 16:60. Did Jesus say he that believes and is baptized
will be saved? Sure what if I believe only? Nope, that isn't it. What if I'm
baptized? That won't do it. “Believe and be baptized to be saved.” Listen to
Jesus' words in John 3:5. “Unless a man is born of water and the spirit, he
cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
Is it essential to be baptized in water to enter into the kingdom of God
and to go to heaven? Friend the Bible says absolutely. I know that may be
foreign to what you've heard. I know that may be different than what others
We just encourage you today to study the Scriptures. See for yourself
if these things are true. Is it the case Paul had to be baptized, have his sins
washed away? Friend the Bible says he did.
Here's our plea to you today, just like in Ephesus, just like in Corinth,
just as Paul was preaching the gospel here to these people in Jerusalem,
and other places so our appeal to you is: Won't you obey the gospel plan of
Hear the word. Believe in it. Repent of your sins. Confess Jesus.
And friend, just as Paul did, won't you arise and be baptized and
have your sins washed away, calling on the name the Lord?
Our prayer and hope is that you will do exactly that.
Study Questions for: “Acts: Lesson 6”
1. According to Acts 20:7, when did they come together to break bread?
2. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, when did they come together?
3. What things were taught in Acts 20:20? And to who?
4. According to Acts 20:28, who purchased the church? With what?
5. In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul told Timothy to do what?
6. Who is Paul speaking to in Acts 20:28?
7. According to Acts 20:37, what can build us up spiritually?
8. What can give us an inheritance among the sanctified according to Acts
9. According to James 1:21, what is able to save our soul?
10. According to Paul in Acts 20:35, what did Jesus say?