Summary: This sermon is about waking up the church to knowing Jesus, to sowing, and to growing.
I want you all to turn in your Bibles to Acts chapter 20 this morning. And we’re going to begin reading this morning with verse 7. “On the first day of the week, when we had met to break bread, Paul, who was going away the next morning, was preaching to them, and prolonged his discourse till midnight. Now there were a good many lamps in the room upstairs where we all were, and a youth of the name of Eutychus was sitting at the window. This lad, gradually sinking into deep sleep while Paul preached at unusual length, overcome at last by sleep, fell from the second floor and was taken up dead.
Paul, however, went down, threw himself upon him, and folding him in his arms said, “Do not be alarmed; his life is still in him.” Then he went upstairs again, broke bread, and took some food; and after a long conversation, which was continued till daybreak, at last he parted from them. They had taken the lad home alive, and were greatly comforted.”
What we have here is the first time in the Bible where anyone falls asleep in church. But you know what? I don’t for one moment believe that it was going to be the last.
You see what we find in this passage is that Paul is preaching. The people know that it’s going to be Paul’s last day in town and they’ve gathered up in the uppermost room of a house. Some theologians believe that this must have been the house of a rich man and that this room may have even been as high as the third floor. And here is everyone for miles around gathered to listen to Paul speak.
I mean this is Paul after all. This guy is out bringing a new message to people. He’s out telling as many people as he can about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He’s out sharing that there is forgiveness for sins and a way for mankind to be with God. What’s more, when Paul spoke people seemed to want to listen.
And he’d been speaking for a long time this day. The scripture tells us that the lamps had been brought out and that he spoke well past midnight.
Then along comes Eutychus. Here’s a young man that wants to here what Paul has to say. Now in the original language the name Eutychus means fortunate. And he certainly was fortunate. He’d found the perfect spot to hear Paul speak. He’d found an open window, where he could sit peacefully on the windowsill. From here he can see over the people and he can look directly at Paul.
But the day has grown longer and Paul has continued and continued to talk and now it’s the middle of the night. It’s hot. The room is stuffy with all the people that are in it. Maybe every now and then there’s a soft breeze that blows in. And Eutychus begins to fall asleep.
And we don’t know what exactly what happens next. Maybe something startles him. Maybe he’s sitting there and suddenly realizes that he’s asleep and jerks himself awake. You know like some people do when they’re listening to someone drone on and on. But Eutychus sudden falls backwards out the window.
Then he’s gone. Everyone in that upper room knows that Eutychus is dead. I mean he’s got to be. He just fell out the window and dropped three stories.
Paul runs down and he holds this man to him and Eutychus comes back to life. He really does live up to his name. He’s fortunate. And Paul goes back upstairs and we’re told that he continues to preach even until the daylight comes the next morning.
But you want to know what strikes me most about this story?
It’s the fact that Eutychus isn’t the last person to fall asleep in church. You see, he’s had thousands and thousands of followers ever since. You would think that the story off a young man falling out a window to his death would deter people from falling asleep in church. But it doesn’t. People still fall asleep in church on a weekly basis.
In fact, one of my very first preaching experiences went south because of people sleeping in church. I had spent hours and hours working on and writing the perfect sermon. (OK. Some of you have heard me preach before and maybe it wasn’t the perfect sermon. But there was a lot of work involved.) This sermon was timed out to about 30 minutes. I had four points that I wanted to get to. I had these great illustrations. I even had a humorous story thrown in and I’m not normally good at telling humorous stories. I mean this was the sermon that I was going to preach and people were going to hear it.