Acts – Paul the Apostle – Wayne Barber/Part 6
By: Dr. Wayne Barber
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1992|
|This is our sixth message on this first phrase. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” We have looked at Paul, the Man. Now we are looking at Paul, the Missionary. This is our fourth message on Paul, the Missionary.|
Paul: The Missionary – Part 5
Turn with me to Ephesians 1:1. We are going to stay there about two seconds just so you can get your mind on the fact that this is what we are introducing. It will take us a while. This is our sixth message on this first phrase. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” We have looked at Paul, the Man. Now we are looking at Paul, the Missionary. This is our fourth message on Paul, the Missionary.
Would you turn with me to our text today beginning in Acts 20. As you are turning there, let me just go over a couple of things that might be helpful as we get into this message. You and I are not apostles. But, like Paul, when we are surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ, things begin to happen. Let me tell you first of all what happens when you get saved. Now I know you’ve seen this over and over again, but I am telling you, some of us haven’t yet learned it.
This is my fish mitten named Ethel. Her husband, Edgar, went on to the great lake in the sky, I think. I can’t find him. Our life is sort of like Ethel when we don’t have Christ. I may say to Ethel, “Ethel, there is a lost world out there. Go reach it.” Without my hand inside of her, she can’t do a thing, can she? “Ethel, aren’t you burdened about people who are lost?” No. Ethel, what is going on in your life anyway? She’s just dead. There’s nothing in Ethel. Suppose I put my hand inside of Ethel. If Ethel ever received the Lord Jesus Christ by repentance and faith, something comes inside of Ethel. “Ethel! Are you concerned about others who are not saved? Ethel! Are you concerned about Christians that need to be encouraged?” You know, things start happening inside of Ethel. Is it because of Ethel? No. It’s because of the life that is in Ethel.
Now, I know that sounds a little dumb, but how would you explain it? I mean, how do you tell people the difference between religion and Christianity? Christianity is receiving the person of the Holy Spirit of God into your life. Christ’s Spirit comes into your life. Now, we are told to cooperate with that Spirit. It is said in Ephesians 5:18, “Be ye filled with the Spirit of God.” “Filled” means “on a consistent basis to be controlled by the Spirit that lives within you.” Only then do we become productive as far as God’s kingdom is concerned. Only then are we ministers, and only then are we missionaries. At the moment we surrender, God takes over and begins to do what He alone can do in and through us. It’s like a light being turned on inside of someone.
Well, what can you expect when that happens? This will really encourage your heart and make you want to go out singing. There are two things that you can expect. John 16:33 says you are going to have tribulation in this world. The word “tribulation” means “suffering.” Some of that is talked about in that verse. He is talking to the disciples there about the persecution that will come to them. We know that, just by being human beings and living under the curse of Adam which is still upon this earth, we are going to have sickness. We are going to have bad times. It is going to rain on the just, and it is going to rain on the unjust. The sun is going to shine on the just and on the unjust. I mean, these things are going to happen circumstantially in our lives. Also, 2 Timothy 3:12 it says those who seek to live godly lives in a world filled with tribulation and chaos can expect to be what? To be persecuted. That’s great to know, isn’t it? You see, the moment I start cooperating with the Spirit of God within me, the world around me, which is literally upside down, is going to come against me. You see, Christ in me has turned me right-side up. That is why I look so odd. That is why you look so odd. That is why we look so odd to a world that is upside down.
Now, at a recent Equip Conference, one man preached from the book of Colossians. He was talking about the ways in which the devil tries to get into your mind through false philosophies. He jumped to Romans 1, and he talked about how people of this world have suppressed the truth. The word “suppressed” means that they have put one layer of humanism on top of another layer of humanism on top of any other layer of humanism until finally nobody recognizes the truth any more. That is the kind of world we live in.
Who in the world would have ever thought about criticizing a man like Vice President Quayle because of the fact he took a pro-life stand? Who in the world has ever heard of anything like that? They are making him the laughing stock of television. I am telling you. The people who are doing that are upside down. When you are light, you are going to irritate the darkness which is around you. That is the world we live in. That’s what you can expect. You can expect it in your families. You can expect it in your job situations. You can expect it in your neighborhood when you start cooperating with the Spirit of God living inside of you. Automatically, people will hate you because they hate Him. They have rejected everything He has ever stood for.
We have seen this in Paul’s life. We don’t even have to go back over it. We have seen people from the point of taking him outside of the city and stoning him, to the people that followed him from place to place embittering people around him and trying to always cause chaos in the man’s life. If you wanted to find Paul on one of his journeys, go into the local city that he is supposed to be in. Look in the prison first. Usually he is in jail. If he is not in jail, listen for the mob, because there is usually a riot going on somewhere when Paul is present. If he is not there, then he is in between the two, because he is constantly in trouble. He is living in an upside down world. As a matter of fact, the people of that upside down world accused him and his brethren of turning the world upside down. No sir, they were trying to turn it right-side up. That is what light does. People don’t want light. They like their darkness. The light exposes the deeds of their darkness.
Well, that is what we can expect. So, tomorrow morning when you get up, say “Jesus, you be Jesus in me. I can’t. You never said I could. You can, and you always said you would.” What can I look forward to? I can look forward to people looking at me as if I am a quart low. They actually think I am ridiculous. I am an idiot. People who don’t know how to think don’t understand the believer living surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is something else you and I can expect. It is not all bad. As a matter of fact, there is a ton of it that is good. When we turn on to the Lord Jesus, and He is allowed to live and breathe and be who He is inside of us, we can expect that God will use us to bless people around us who are starving for what they don’t even understand. We can see the miracles that God will do through us.
We saw that when Paul was in Ephesus in Acts 19. This time we are going to move a step further. Everywhere Paul would go, God would use him to bring people the miracle of the new birth. God chose at Ephesus to do some extraordinary miracles. He doesn’t always do that. The word “extraordinary” means “rarely ever happens.” I don’t know why in the world people are building denominations on what rarely ever happens. God brings others to know Christ as a result of our living whether I actually lead them or whether I am planting and sowing by my lifestyle. God always gives the increase. We are a part of that whole process and plan.
Well, let’s move on to Macedonia. Now, Paul has been in Ephesus. This is the Third Missionary Journey of Paul. You should have a map attached to this study. Up on the right side is Paul’s Third Missionary Journey. That is where we are. Some of you have asked, “Where is Asia Minor? Where is Antioch of Syria? I don’t understand all these places.” Hopefully, this map will help you. Look over at the top right-hand corner of your map. Come straight down, and you will see a little place called Antioch. What is the big country right below it? Syria. Antioch of Syria was Paul’s home base. That is where the First Missionary Journey began and ended. That is where the Second Missionary Journey began and ended. That’s where the Third Missionary Journey begins, but it doesn’t end like the other two.
I want to show you now where Asia Minor is. Right down below Antioch sort of off to the left a little bit is Cyprus. That’s an island. On his first journey, Paul took a boat to Cyprus. Then he went up into Asia Minor. That’s the land right above Cyprus. You say, “Now wait a minute. Why did he take a boat? He could have gone by land to get into Asia Minor.” That’s right. Why did he go by boat? I don’t know. I’m going to have to ask Paul. He was under God’s leading, and that’s what God told him to do. There is Asia Minor. If you come all the way over, right in the middle of your map, you’ll see a little dot and a little city out beside it named Ephesus. That is the western coast of Asia Minor.
Now, if you go from Ephesus straight north you will come to Troas. Remember Troas? What happened at Troas? The Macedonian vision. What happens? He leaves there and crosses the water. See those little circles up there on your map. They are islands. He crosses from Troas, and then you see Philippi, Neapolis, Thessalonica, and Berea. All of that is Macedonia. Now, when you go straight down below Macedonia, you have Greece. I used to think Macedonia was Greece, but it’s not. Macedonia sits on top of Greece. That will help you as we go through this study.
Turn to Acts 20, and we will see now how Paul leaves Ephesus and goes to Macedonia. First of all, when you surrender to Christ, people are blessed by the miracles of God, the miracle of new birth and other things. Secondly, they are encouraged by the compassion of God. There are two things that will happen. We are going to see this in Macedonia. Look at verses 1 and 2 of chapter 20. “And after the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples and when he had exhorted them and taken his leave of them, he departed to go to Macedonia. And when he had gone through those districts and had given them much exhortation, he came to Greece.”
Now, don’t you wish we had a little bit more than that to go on regarding what happened in Macedonia. I do, but those are the only two verses we have. Why did he leave Ephesus? Let me go back and explain that to you. Over in chapter 19, we find that Paul ran into quite a few problems. The problems he ran into, specifically here, were mentioned in verses 23-41. I won’t make you read them, and I won’t read them for you. In that period of time a man by the name of Demetrius, a silversmith, was selling these little statues. You have seen these things. He was making a ton of money off of them. Several other business men were doing the same. The statue was of Artemis. Artemis and Diana are two names for the same pagan goddess of that area. I choose to use Artemis because my wife’s name is Diana. He was making these little silver statues of her. People would buy them, take them to their house and worship the goddess. This was a very lucrative business. Listen, folks, idolatry always makes money for somebody. It never glorifies God. They were making a ton of money off of this idolatry.
Well, Demetrius doesn’t like it because when Paul came along he was saying, “Listen, you can make anything with your hands. That’s no goddess. There is only one true God. That is the Lord Jesus Christ.” They began to lose business because people started getting saved. So Demetrius calls a meeting of all the businessmen in town. Of course, others joined in with them. In verses 26-28 he says, “And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all.” Go for it, Paul.
Look at verse 27: “And not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute [that was his real problem], but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship [he was actually thinking that all the world worships her; that is sort of an interesting thought] even be dethroned from her magnificence.” Verse 28 continues, “And when they heard this and were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’” Now, a whole riot breaks out. In verse 30 it says, “And when Paul wanted to go into the assembly, the disciples would not let him.” Look in Verse 29, “And the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia.”
I’ve been there. It was so wonderful. We were right there at that amphitheater. Now you have got to get the picture here. They all rushed into this amphitheater. It will hold 30,500 people. If you could go to the very top, have someone drop a pin down at the bottom, and you could hear that pin hit the ground. That is how good the acoustics of that place were. It would seat 30,500 people, and they flooded into that place.
Look what they do in verse 34: “But when they recognized that he was a Jew [there was a man by the name of Alexander who was trying to give a defense as to what was going on] a single outcry arose from them all as they shouted for about two hours, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’” Now, you can imagine the sound inside that amphitheater. You can hear a pin drop when only one person is there; 30,500 people are inside this big arena. They won’t let Paul go in. That was probably a good thing because, knowing Paul, he would have probably outshouted them all as he preached the gospel. They are shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” for two solid hours! Well, the mayor of the city finally quiets them down and says, “Look, guys, you have to cool it because if you don’t, the Romans are going to take us to court for disorderly conduct.” So they have to quiet the mob down.
When the mob quiets down and things get a little more still around there Paul leaves Ephesus. You know, he just thought it better to get out of town at that particular point. He goes on into Macedonia. Now look on your map where Ephesus is. How did he get over to Macedonia? It doesn’t tell us. He probably went right up to Troas like he did before and cut over to Philippi. He had already been that route once, so that is probably the way he went. He gets over into Macedonia.
We only have two verses about this. Oh, but there is something hidden in verse 2 of chapter 20. Look again. “And when he had gone through those districts and had given them much exhortation, he came to Greece.” That word “exhortation” caught my attention. What does it mean, much exhortation? The word “exhortation” in the Greek is the word parakletos. It is the word that means “be called along side.” Para means “along side,” kletos means “to be called.” So we get “to be called along side.” It is the word that has to do with comforting someone or to encourage someone. Now, who do you think he is encouraging? Who do you think he is comforting? He goes back to where he has been before on his Second Missionary Journey. It took him into Macedonia because of that vision and because of the providence of God in his life. Obviously, these are the believers that he has led to Christ during that time.
Remember all the problems that they had in Thessalonica? Remember they went into Berea, and the Jews followed them. Everywhere he went there was hostility and tribulation, as we said earlier. At the same time, there were people who were receiving the miracle of the new birth. That was not Paul. It was someone inside of Paul that was causing all this to happen. You’ve got to understand that. If you don’t, you are going to think, “Well, I’m not Paul so that will never happen to me.” It was not Paul. It was Christ in Paul giving him a concern and a burden for believers who need to be comforted.
So he goes along side them, and he comforts those believers. The difference in exhortation and mercy, to me, is significant. When you say “exhortation,” it is always with words. When you say “mercy,” it is with deeds. It is exactly the same heart, it is exactly the same compassion. When somebody shows mercy, normally it is with what they do for the person. When somebody exhorts somebody or encourages them, it is what he says to them that comforts and encourages their hearts.
An example of that, when you get into the gifts of the Spirit, you get the gift of exhortation. You get the gift of mercy. My wife has more of the gift of mercy. I have more of the gift of exhortation. It’s the same heart, but they come out entirely different. We were in the hospital one day, and we walked in this little room, and there was this little lady. I caught it right off. She was feeling sorry for herself. I could tell it. When I walked inside, she started moaning and groaning and complaining. She was fine before we walked in the room. I said, “Look there. She wants everybody to feel sorry for her.” Well, my wife, with the mercy, probably sees the same thing, but she runs over and pats her pillow and fixes it up around her neck and pats her on the cheek and gets her a glass of water and makes sure she has got a straw in it and gets ice in the glass. I’m thinking, “Oh, that is just pampering that woman!” I ended up saying, “Listen, you know what Philippians 4:13 says, ‘You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.’” I started exhorting her with the Word. I started saying, “Hey, you need to be content in all circumstances.”
This is why I don’t come to see you in the hospitals. You don’t want me in your hospital room. I am not going to make you feel any better. One pastor I know down in Florida was told, “Don’t go to the hospitals anymore. You just study and teach the people. We’ll take care of the hospitals.” That’s the way I am. I am not going to feel sorry for you. “Quit complaining. Man, it could be worse. That guy down the hall is dying.” They are two different gifts. Exhortation is with words. Mercy is with deeds.
Paul exhorted them. He encouraged them. As a matter of fact, the text says, “with many words, he exhorted them.” He encouraged them. Personally, I think he used the Word of God. I don’t see why he would use anything else. However, that’s not necessarily true all the time. When you come along sometimes just put your arm around somebody and encourage them a little bit. Say, “Come on, man, you can make it.” Obviously the Word of God is the only thing solid that we can stand on, but there is something to the fact that the Christ inside of Paul, as he yielded to Him, burdened his heart. He burdened him not only for the lost, but for those believers who needed to be encouraged in the tribulations and the suffering that they were going through.
In our church we are doing everything we can possibly do to help you realize that Christianity is not some form. It is not coming to church and saying you paid your dues. Christianity is living in a vibrant relationship with the person of the Holy Spirit of God, which is Christ’s Spirit living within you. When you wake up on Monday morning, you have no idea what’s coming. Who cares? You just say, “Lord, I can’t. You never said I could. You can, and you always said you would. I am going to cooperate with you under the will and your Word today. Just do through me what only you can do.” You will see people come to know Christ because of your lifestyle. You are going to see believers who are going through tough times comforted. They need a friend to come alongside. It won’t be the same ones I’ll go to.
Listen, this is what happens so often in a body this large. You find somebody that is really hurting and get all upset because the staff hasn’t gone to see them. Did you go? Well, if you went, you took Christ. Who needs the staff? All of us are ministers. They don’t want me. They want Jesus. That is what they want. When you say yes to Jesus and you get to them, don’t worry about who else didn’t get there. As long as you took Jesus you took everything that person will ever need. That is the Holy Spirit of God working in your life. We are all ministers. We are all missionaries when we are surrendered to the Lordship of Christ. People are going to be comforted.
You know, you don’t see this here in Paul’s life. Look back in Acts 14. On his first journey, he has been persecuted and stoned by some unfriendly people. He turns right around and goes right back to the very same places for one purpose. Look at verses 21 and 22: “And after they had preached the gospel to that city[Derbe] and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra [What happened in Lystra? Well, they were also treated very hostile there.] and to Iconium and to Antioch.”
When Paul writes Timothy, he says, “You remember those three cities, Iconium and Antioch and Lystra?” He talks about how badly he was treated there. These were three areas that you wouldn’t want to turn right around and go back to. But what is the heart of Paul? He’s not thinking of himself. Christ is beating inside of him. There are believers in those three cities, so he backtracks and goes right back to the same place. Why? Verse 22 says, “strengthening the souls of the disciples [Look here], encouraging them [that’s the same exact word] to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.’”
Man, that just blesses my heart. Here is a man who has been beat up, but he turns right around and goes right back to those people. He goes back right in the midst of all that. He says, “Listen, guys, you stay in there. If you will stay in there, God is going to bless you. Through these tribulations, one day you will enter the kingdom of God.” He has a heart to comfort those who are hurting.
In Acts 16:40, on his Second Missionary Journey, he does the same thing in Philippi. He has just been in jail. I mean, everywhere he goes, he is in trouble, but his heart is not centered on what is going to happen to him. His heart is centered on what’s happening to them. Acts 16:40 says, “And they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia, and when they saw the brethren, they encouraged them [same word] and departed.” Paul had a heart to come along side of believers who were going through difficult times and encourage them with the word of God. He did that to get them back on their feet so they could continue to walk the journey that they were walking.
Every year I go to do the International Congress on Revival. We are going to be going over to Krakow, Poland and also to Saltzburg, Austria. We are bringing in those precious believers from all over those countries, just like we did back in Greece this summer. It’s just like we did in Vienna last February. If you want to see what it is like to come alongside a persecuted believer, put your arm around him and encourage him, I want you to pray about going with us. It will bless your life.
I remember the hotel we stayed in was fairly nice for that area. The people coming in from those countries walked around and put their hands on the walls and felt the walls. They kept saying, “You know, I don’t believe anything could be this nice.” They would go to the meals and have so much food on the tables and big stacks of rolls. Many of them would take food back to their room with them. They couldn’t believe all of that food was accessible and given to them. One of the ladies said, “You know, you could have used all this money to build churches in our country.” With tears streaming down her face, she said, “I thank God, you thought more of people than you did those buildings because nobody has ever treated us like this. This is just like a little piece of heaven to us.” They thanked us and thanked us. You wouldn’t believe the letters that have come back to the States from those folks. Why? Because we came alongside of them, put our arms around them and equipped them.
This is what missions is all about. It is not just seeing the lost come to know Christ. It is also encouraging the brethren, discipling them, comforting them and coming alongside. That is what happens when you start surrendering to Jesus. Sometimes that takes you out of the country and sometimes it takes you across the street. You don’t know where it is going to take you. That is what the Christian life is all about.
In other words, when I go out, I am no different than the apostles. Yes, I am in the sense of the office, but not as a person. If I am surrendered to Jesus, He’ll use me the same way. Do you want to be used that way? Then God will burden your heart to come alongside somebody and encourage them.
Thirdly, not only do we see people blessed by the miracles of God and encouraged by the compassion of God, but we see in Troas, the people instructed by the word of God. Now how in the world did Paul get from Macedonia, then to Greece? How did he get all the way up to Troas? Let’s look at that in Acts 20:3. This is quite an interesting story. It says, “And there he spent three months,” in Greece. We don’t know where he was in Greece, whether it was Athens or Corinth. We don’t know where he was. It doesn’t tell us. It says, “and when a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria.” Now, why would he be going to Syria? That is his home base, Antioch. Paul was ready to go home, but God changed him again. I love this. In our walk with God, you never know what tomorrow will hold. He says, “and when a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he determined to return through Macedonia.”
That word “determined” is an important Greek word to understand. It is the word that means he had discernment. God gave him the proper judgment to subvert their plan and go a different way. God gave him the wisdom to know what was going on and changed his whole plan. Well, what does he do? He is down here in Greece. Look on your map again. Greece is on the left side of the map on the top part of the page. You see Acaia? You see Corinth? You see Athens? That’s Greece. He was probably in Athens if he was going to sail all the way around to Antioch. When he found out there was a plot against him, God gave him the wisdom to go straight north. He goes up to Philippi, back up into Macedonia, and cuts across to Troas. This is quite an interesting departure from the journey he was about to take.
Well, let’s go ahead and read it. It’ll tell the story. Verse 4 says, “And he was accompanied by Sopater of Berea [all of these people it mentions here are those he had led to Christ and disciple], the son of Pyrrhus; and by Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. But these had gone on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas.”
Now there’s just a little technicality here we need to deal with. Who is the “us”? If these were his companions, who had gone ahead? Look at verse 6. “And we sailed.” Now, wait a minute. I thought his companions had gone ahead. Who wrote the book of Acts? Can anybody tell me? Luke. I tell you what. It has got to be Luke that was still with Paul. Why would Luke still be with Paul? Because Luke was a a physician. If anybody needed a physician, Paul did. So everybody else went ahead. He kept Luke with him. He didn’t know what would happen to him between the time he left Greece and the time he got to Troas.
Well, he set sail from Philippi “after the days of Unleavened Bread and came to them at Troas within five days.” It took them five days on the water to get from Philippi to Troas, “and there we stayed seven days.” Now watch what happens. Here he is in Troas. It took five days to get there. It was an unplanned trip. He was going over to Antioch of Syria. Now he has rerouted himself, and he comes over and spends seven days with these folks. What does he do during that time? Well, verse 7 says, “And on the first day of the week [Sunday] when we were gathered together to break bread [the Lord’s Supper], Paul began talking to them, intending to depart the next day.” Now watch this, “and he prolonged his message until midnight.”
I love that. I don’t know, it just sort of encouraged me. You know, we are always on this little track. I am watching the watch. It is funny what I see when I am preaching. Some people, about 12:00 just start popping out of the service. It’s kind of like, “If the Holy Spirit does not work by 12:00, forget it. I am going to lunch.” It wasn’t quite that way in Troas. He had already been to Troas once. These were believers who were really hungry for the Word of God. It was not like America where you can turn on Christian radio anytime you want. They didn’t have it. They didn’t have anything. Buddy, they loved it when Paul was with them.
So he just extended his message until midnight and watch what happens. In verse 8 it says, “And there were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered together.” Now, wait a minute. Lamps. They didn’t have electricity! That’s right. When you think of lamps, you think of our kind of lamps. What kind of lamps do you think of? Those kind that are very bright and wake you up and make you able to see. They didn’t have lamps like that. They were torches, basically. A torch usually is fueled by oil of some kind, usually olive oil. That oil has a smell to it and a little smoke tint. By the way, how many of you have been out in the country and used one of those old kerosene lamps? Personally I like that kind of thing. I don’t want to live that way. You know, once every ten years is all right. It has a very low light. You don’t have bright lights that are fueled by oil. It is always a low light.
Many times I have been camping, and I am just sitting around. It is not even hardly dark. At home you are up for five more hours. I am sitting around, and those little lamps are burning and that smoke just starts drifting around. It is low light. Your eyes just get heavy. You just feel like you’ve got cement blocks on them, and they are just falling down. Now, you have got to understand that, because look at the next verse. I am just trying to encourage you all that get sleepy during the message. You are not the first ones. Don’t think you are going to hell because of it.
Look in verse 9. “And there was a certain young man named Eutychus.” Now what’s wrong here? How come the young people can’t stay awake? I don’t know. I guess we just inherited that down through the generations. His name is Eutychus. I guess they brought their kids, and they were all sitting in the windows. They were on the third floor, “sitting on the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep.” The word there means progressively it is getting worse and worse. You know, the guy starts in the morning and preaches all the way to midnight. That’s a little long. The boy is hungry, and the lights have been turned on. There is oil in the room, and it goes on to say, “as Paul kept on talking, he was overcome by sleep.” I mean, he just drops off, “and fell down from the third floor, and was picked up dead.” I mean, folks. It killed him. You see, don’t go to sleep in the service. That’s a principle we’ve learned. Don’t go to sleep or you’ll die! He fell down.
Verse 10 continues, “But Paul went down and fell upon him.” The word epipipto means “he just fell on him.” I mean, he fell on him bodily, full length on top of him. That is exactly what it was, “and after embracing him.” In other words, he just got right around him and embraced him. I don’t know exactly what all takes place here. There are a lot of people who make a big deal out of this, but it just doesn’t tell us. It says, “after embracing him, he said, ‘Do not be troubled, for his spirit is in him.’”
Go back up to verse 9 where it says he was picked up dead. Actually the Greek is “as if dead.” We don’t know for a fact that he was dead, but certainly everybody there had drawn the conclusion that he was dead. Maybe when Paul jumped on him, it knocked the breath back into him. I don’t know. Whatever happened to him, he probably didn’t go to sleep in a service for a long time. Paul jumped on him.
Now watch how much concern they have for him in verse 11. “And when he had gone back up, and had broken the bread [they started the Lord’s Supper] and eaten, he talked with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed.” That’s a long church service, quite spectacular. Verse 12 says, “And they took away the boy alive, and were greatly comforted.”
Well, the thing I wanted to show you here is, we are not looking so much at what happened to Paul, but at what happened as a result of the obedience of Paul. We have seen encouragement by the compassion of God. We have seen instruction now by the word of God. There is a hunger out there. When you let the Word of God be rich and real in you and let it abide and dwell in your heart, you can’t help but share that with somebody else. I don’t care who you are. Is that Paul? No, that’s not Paul. That’s Jesus in the life of Paul. The burden in the heart of God is to get the Word of God into people’s hearts so they can be trained and equipped and grown up. These are the things you are going to see start happening in your life when you start surrendering to Him, getting into His word, and letting His will infiltrate your life. People are going to be saved at your office. People are going to be touched by the light that is in you. Hostility, yes; tribulation, yes. But you are going to see Christians comforted and encouraged. You are also going to see the brethren instructed by the Word of God.
Recently members of the Hauna tribe of Papua New Guinea visited our church and needed $17,000. I’ll tell you something. The heart of people who are surrendered to Christ came alongside them and encouraged them beyond whatever you could imagine. $25,000 came in from our people. They only needed $17,000. Another $5,000 came in for the Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf. $30,000 was taken up in one offering. You see, that is one of the reasons I don’t tell you that you had better give. Why? Because it is going to fall on deaf ears unless you are surrendered to Jesus Christ. If you are surrendered, you are going to give because you are going to recognize need. You are going to be sensitive to it. You are going to do what God tells you to do. Only when a person is surrendered to the life of Jesus in him, will He ever hear you when you say you have a need. It falls on deaf ears because the first thing about a person who is a lover of self is the fact that he is a lover of money. He has a nerve to his pocketbook. Don’t touch it. The moment he gets surrendered, what he have is yours. Let’s all make sure the needs of the brethren are met.