In the previous passage the Ephesians had erupted into a riot because they feared Paul was damaging their business and religion. After three years in Ephesus Christianity was beginning to have a significant impact. But we know Paul wanted to return to the places he had visited on his 2MJ (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, and Corinth).
Read Acts 20:1-12
How many friends do you have? When your world is crashing down, who comes to your side? According to a recent study, the average person has over 150 Facebook friends, but they have only 4.1 in their “support clique”, which is defined as “friends on whom you would depend for emotional/social support in times of crisis.” They had 13.6 close friends in their “sympathy group”. I wonder what Paul’s survey results would have been?
Do You Love Fellowship (1-6)? Do You Love Worship (7-11)? And, Do You Have Comfort (12)?
Do You Love Fellowship? (1-6)
We see at least four aspects of fellowship in this passage:
- A willingness to stay (1)
- A willingness to encourage (2)
- A willingness to return (3)
- A willingness to accompany (4-6)
Do you have friends for whom you would drop everything to be with them during a time of need? Just as God created you for friendship, he created you for worship.
C.S. Lewis, in Four Loves, writes about his friendship with authors J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams. When Williams died suddenly, Lewis realized that part of his friendship with Tolkien also died. Even though there were fewer of them with the loss of Williams, they each had less of themselves to share. When Williams was present, he brought something out of Tolkien and Lewis that only he was capable of doing.
“Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend…In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious “nearness by resemblance” to heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each of us has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are crying “Holy, Holy, Holy” to one another (Isaiah 6:3).”
Christians who love people, long to worship with them.
Do You Love Worship? (7-11)
We see three aspects of worship in this passage:
- Planned gathering (7), NOT planned ambience (8).
- Preaching (7, 9, 11).
- The Lord’s Supper (7, 11).
We do learn something from what happened to Eutychus, but before we consider that I want to consider what follows. Look with me at vv.10-11.
What!? Did that really happen? Eutychus fell three stories to his death. It would have been an absolutely terrifying scene. There were screams and gasps of horror and shock. People would have been freaking out. Then Paul picks the boy up and brings him back to life. He probably hands the boy off to some others and heads back upstairs. “OK. Now, where was I…” Remarkable!
We are commanded to honor the Lord’s Day! Isa. 58:13-14 teaches us both how and why we ought to honor the Sabbath.
They enjoyed the blessing of friendship, fellowship, worship, and ministry. None of this was a burden. No one seems to have gathered out of a sense of obligation. They probably had other concerns that could have taken priority that day (sleep, errands, work). But they were right where they wanted to be.
When you can say that you come and stay at church because you want to be here – you can be assured that God is working in your life. He is causing you to enjoy and experience precisely what he created you to enjoy and experience!
Fellowship > Worship > Comfort
Do You Have Comfort? (12)
Warning: Don’t fall asleep in church! We’ve got the perfect setup to make a great illustration this morning. Matt will you be Eutychus? I’m going to need you to head up to my office and sit on the window ledge. We may need to move some chairs…
No, honestly, I’m impressed that after 5 hours of teaching only one person died. What’s even more remarkable is that Paul tells us what kind of speaker he was (1 Cor. 2:1-5). Paul may not have been eloquent but he preached a killer sermon that night didn’t he!
The Worship Service extending until day break provides a vision of heaven. It is complete with a real-life re-enactment of death and resurrection, the very things Paul was talking about.
The death and resurrection of Eutychus points to the only One worthy of dying and rising again on behalf of those He came to save. Jesus Christ’s death wasn’t an accident. He willingly laid down His life for the Church!
What was the source of their comfort? They were comforted because they just witnessed the resurrecting power of God. The incredible display of God’s victory over death gave them an increasing desire for more. “Paul, don’t stop!” And after taking the Lord’s Supper, and continuing to learn from Paul through “conversation”, their comfort was increased.
The purpose of Christian fellowship is to serve our chief end, which is worship.
Have you ever experienced such a satisfying Lord’s Day? A day you never wanted to end? Worship is the culmination of fellowship. The Worship Service is meant to be a taste of heavenly glory. Are you ready? How are you preparing for that day? Rev. 19:6-10
Do you love to worship God?
Fellowship climaxed in a Worship Service they wished would last forever. Have you experienced that? Prepare your heart for worship with the anticipation of meeting the Lord. Cultivate fellowship throughout the week finding ways to be an encouragement to others and accompanying them whenever you are able. You may have the privilege of “staying” with someone who is going through a particularly trying week.
And when you return for worship next week – may it be such a soul-satisfying encounter with God that you never want it to end!