Acts 19 – 20

Acts 19

John Baptist’s disciples are introduced to the teachings of Jesus Christ by the preaching of Apollos.  The issue here is that the disciples of John were baptized in repentance to the Mosaic Covenant, but were not baptized into the New Covenant. 

They had heard the message to repent of breaking the Mosaic Covenant from John Baptist, but had not heard the teachings about the New Covenant which includes the spirit and intent of the written law, or the way to salvation through the Lamb of God.

Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 19:3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.

19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The laying on of hands. 

Jesus did not lay hands on the eleven when he gave them the Holy Spirit, neither did the disciples have hands laid on them or anyone at Pentecost. 

However Mosaic and later New Testament examples show that it is appropriate to lay hands on and pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit whenever possible.

19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 19:7 And all the men were about twelve.

Paul teaches sincere repentance and Jesus Christ as the way into the Kingdom of God at Ephesus. 

The things to be preached about the Kingdom of God are obedience to its King God the Father,  and the foundation of that Kingdom; which is the writings of the prophets, and apostles which are inspired by Jesus Christ and God the Father.   

The Gospel of the Kingdom is the Gospel of Salvation!  The true Gospel is about the foundation of God’s Kingdom which is the whole Word of God!

Ephesians 2:18   For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 2:19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.

We become the temple of God with God dwelling within us, through the agency of the Holy Spirit.

2:20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [This refers to the Holy Scriptures and those who wrote them:  Not to some latter day self-appointed false apostle teaching contrary to scripture.], Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 

The foundation of the Kingdom of God is: The WHOLE Word of God!  

Acts 19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.

When Paul was resisted in the synagogue he taught the repentant elsewhere.

19:9 But when divers [some of the people] were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing [discussing] daily in the school of one Tyrannus.

For two years Paul taught godliness through Jesus Christ at Ephesus and many repentant people traveled from there over the area of modern coastal Turkey.

19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

Symbols of anointing were brought to the sick across Asia who could not travel to an elder, and they were healed for their faith in Christ through the preaching of Paul.

19:11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 19:12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

Some unrepentant Jews tried to use the power of God’s Spirit for their own personal gain

19:13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the LORD Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 19:14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests [at Ephesus], which did so.

Even the demons know who is repentant and zealous and filled with God’s Spirit and who is not.

19:15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 19:16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

19:17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 19:18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed [repented of sin] their deeds.

19:19 Many of them also which used curious [sorcery] arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

19:20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

Paul then decided to visit Macedonia before going to Jerusalem and then to Rome and sent Timothy and Erastus on ahead.

19:21 After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. 19:22 So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.

After more than two years in Ephesus making many converts; the industry of pagan idol production was adversely affected causing some commotion.

19:23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. 19:24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; 19:25 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. 19:26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: 19:27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.

The truth was tolerated as being only one religion among many; only as long as it did not affect the powerful or the income of the powerful.

19:28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 19:29 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.

19:30 And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. 19:31 And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.

This was a crowd aroused by a few men.

19:32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused: and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.

The disciple Alexander sought to give them an answer but the people shouted their confession that Diana was their goddess.

19:33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people. 19:34 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 

This statue of Diana also called Aphrodite or Astarte was the same as today’s American Statue of Liberty; a gift from the Masonic Lodge of France to the American Masons, which is held virtually sacred by most Americans today.

The town clerk calms the people by putting them in fear of Roman intervention

19:35 And when the town clerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? 19:36 Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.

Demetrius and the craftsmen are told to take the matter to law and sue for any losses

19:37 For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. 19:38 Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. 19:39 But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.

19:40 For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. 19:41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.


Acts 20

Paul proceeds to Macedonia.

Acts 20:1 And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.

Macedonia is to the immediate north of Greece.  Paul traveled to Macedonia and then worked his way down through Greece. 

Then as he readied to set sail from Greece some enemies laid wait for him so he proposed to go back up through Macedonia and sail to Syria from there.

20:2 And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, 20:3 And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.

These brethren went ahead and waited for Paul at Troas.

20:4 And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. 20:5 These going before tarried for us at Troas.

20:6 And we sailed away from Philippi [in Macedonia] after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.

Then Paul arrived and spoke with the Troas disciples through the night, as he was only staying until the next morning.

20:7 And upon the first day of the week [Sunday], when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow [Monday morning]; and continued his speech until midnight.

20:8 And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. 20:9 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. 20:10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. 20:11 When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.

I expect that this incident would have woken everyone up and that they were extra attentive after the dead was raised to life among them.

20:12 And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.

The disciples then went by ship around a large triangular point of land and picked up Paul on the other side, as Paul had cut across the point of land by foot.

20:13 And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot. 20:14 And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene. 20:15 And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus.

20:16 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost. 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

Paul addresses his dear friends at Ephesus about his future trial at Jerusalem and Rome.

20:18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, 20:19 Serving the LORD with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations [trials], which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: 20:20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul despises trials for the Beauty of the Gospel of Salvation and reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ; the true Gospel of God’s loving forgiveness for sincerely REPENTED sin!

20:22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 20:23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Paul preached about the way into the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ;  The true Gospel is much more than a simple proclamation that such a Kingdom is coming.

This is Paul’s farewell address to the repentant of Ephesus and the area of Paul’s ministry in Syria and Asia Minor.

20:25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.

Paul declares that he has warned all that he has seen to repent, and that those who have failed to do so have their own blood on their own heads.  This is a reference to Ezekiel 33.

20:26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

The commission of true elders of God

20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God [with the whole Word of God], which [flock] he [Jesus Christ] hath purchased with his own blood.

Today’s spiritual Ekklesia is filled with spiritual wolves in the highest of positions.

20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

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.

Paul gives the brethren over to the gospel of sincere repentance and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that is able to save, and build up a complete spiritual UNITY between the faithful and Christ and God the Father, and brings the resurrection to eternal life.

20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

Paul did not seek personal wealth or advantage and was willing to support himself if the need arose.

20:33 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. 20:34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.

20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Paul knew that he would be persecuted and attacked in Jerusalem and that he must go to Rome.  He knew by the Holy Spirit and by the prophets, as we shall shortly see.  

This was his last farewell to Ephesus the city of love for the gospel and for living by every Word of God. 

Ephesus was the city of those brethren who tested and rejected false apostles and remained steadfast to the teachings of Jesus Christ to live by every Word of God; yet over history this kind of brethren have lost their zeal and first love (Rev 2), having been deceived into thinking that a love and zeal for a corporate church is the same as love for godliness.

Brethren, ALL the attitudes of Revelation 2-3 existed simultaneously in the first century and they all exist together at this time today: The messages to the seven churches were for ALL of us today.  The self-righteous selecting of only the good and applying it to ourselves, while applying any criticism to others is self-justifying and a great self-deception.

Let us all remember our zeal for God to live by every Word of God and seek to regain a passionate enthusiasm for learning and applying all the things of God in our lives.

20:36 And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. 20:37 And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, 20:38 Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.


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