Summary: Exposition on Acts 20:1-16 regarding the ministry of encouragement and edification that Paul had to the early church
Text: Acts 20:1-16, Title: Why Not to Sleep in Church, Date/Place: NRBC, 2/1/09, AM
A. Opening illustration: Just in case your boss catches you asleep at your desk, be ready to blurt out one of these excuses: *They told me at the blood bank that this might happen. *This is just a 15-minute power nap like they raved about in that time management course you sent me to. *I was working smarter - not harder. *Whew! I must have left the top off the whiteout. *I wasn’t sleeping! I was meditating on the mission statement and envisioning a new paradigm! *This is one of the seven habits of highly effective people! *I was testing the keyboard for drool resistance. *I’m in the management training program. *I’m actually doing a Stress Level Elimination Exercise Plan (SLEEP). I learned at the last mandatory seminar you made me attend. *This is in exchange for the six hours last night when I dreamed about work! *Darn! Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out a solution to our biggest problem. *The coffee machine is broken .... *Someone must have put decaf in the wrong pot. *Boy, that cold medicine I took last night just won’t wear off. *Ah, the unique and unpredictable circadian rhythms of the workaholic! *I wasn’t sleeping. I was trying to pick up my contact lens without my hands. *The mail courier flipped out and pulled a gun so I was playing dead to avoid getting shot. *Gosh, I thought you (the boss) were gone for the day. *Amen!
B. Background to passage: our text today comes on the heels of a riot in Ephesus on his third missionary journey. Paul is about to head for Macedonia and Acacia before going to Jerusalem and on to Rome then to Spain. His intention is to take a offering for the struggling church in Jerusalem then to evangelize the Latin world having preached and planted churches in most of the Greek world. But one of the overlooked components in Paul’s ministry is his pastoral concern for the churches. And so he makes an effort to revisit and stay with a few of the churches already established, and be assured that they are continuing in the faith. Just like Paul we should have a concern for encouraging others, and his ministry serves as a model.
C. Main thought: In this text we will see three ways that Paul had a ministry of encouragement, 3X, meaning
A. In presence
1. The first thing that he did after the riot in Ephesus was get back together with the disciples. Then he left and went to the troubled church at Corinth, and there he stayed three months. It was wintertime, so it was probably a necessary stay. And he probably did some evangelism in Illyricum during this time, but primarily, he just spent time with them. Then while in Troas, he joined the church in worship on Sunday (go into some of the other things that we can learn about the early church), and taught/preached until midnight. Then the little interruption of a young boy falling out of the window, dying, and being revived. Then he still stayed up and continued the worship and teaching until daybreak.