Summary: In order to follow Christ requires serving others.
Loving Your Neighborhood
Text: Acts 19:13-38
1. Illustration: In the book, The Externally Focused Church, it says, "People need exercise for physical health and service for spiritual health. We learn from the Scriptures, but we grow by serving others" (Chp. 4).
2. It's simple, really, when we stop serving we stop growing. When we stop growing we die!
3. For years the church has made the mistake, including us, that outreach involved convincing people to come to us. But outreach by its very definition means us going to them.
4. Paul shows us what it means to serve others by giving us...
A. An Example Of Humility
B. An Example Of Commitment
C. An Example Of Compassion
5. Let's stand together as we read Acts 19:13-38.
Proposition: In order to follow Christ requires serving others.
Transition: First Paul gives us...
I. An Example Of Humility (16-21).
A. Done The Lord's Work Humbly
1. Paul concludes his third missionary journey and heads for Jerusalem. He knows that he is leaving Asia for very last time, for he knows that what awaits him in Jerusalem is imprisonment and most likely death.
2. In vv. 16-17 we read, "Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn’t want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. 17 But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him."
A. Paul did not want to take too much time in the province of Asia.
B. He had indeed settled it with God, and now he was "in a hurry to reach Jerusalem" by the next great pilgrimage feast, the Day of Pentecost (in May), if possible.
C. This would be a time when the Jewish believers in Palestine would be together and the offering from Greece and Macedonia would be most helpful (Horton, 337).
D. Paul did not bypass Ephesus because he lacked concern for the church there.
E. In fact, he "sent... for the elders of the church" to meet him at Miletus.
F. These would be the presidents of local congregations meeting in house churches.
G. This was a very serious occasion for Paul because he believed it would be the last time he would ever see them.
H. His farewell address to them "is the only example in Acts of an address by Paul to a believing audience" (Horton, 337).
I. His talk to this group follows the form of farewell speeches familiar at that time.
J. The language of this speech is more like Paul's than Luke's.
K. Keener observes that "because presumably Luke had little access to Paul's letters (they were not collected from various churches until long after Paul's death), he must have learned Paul's style from direct contact with him" (Fernando, NIV Application Commentary, The – Acts, 531).
3. When they arrive he tells them, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now 19 I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews."
A. He began, therefore, by reminding them how all the time he was with them he served the Lord "with great humility."
B. Paul often called himself the Lord's slave.
C. This noun, normally translated as “humbleness, lowliness,” does not occur in classical Greek, being found only in the early centuries after the birth of Christ.
D. When it does appear it denotes something “poor, weak,” something “groveling” and “submissive.” Outside of Biblical writings it always has a negative connotation.
E. This “humility,” however, has nothing to do with “groveling” or “weakness.”
F. It describes a humility that naturally evolves out of a heart of love for the exalted Lord.
G. It is the attitude of the Christian servant, first exemplified by Jesus.
H. In fact, it is only in an attitude of humility, a contrite heart, that the spiritual life can prosper (The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Sigma-Omega)
I. He served also "with tears" because of his love for people he wanted to see saved, and with testings brought on "by the plots of the [unbelieving] Jews"(Horton, 338).
4. Then Paul continues his speech by saying, "I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. 21 I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus."
A. At the same time, Paul did not let danger cause him to shrink from telling them anything that was beneficial, teaching them both publicly and in their homes.