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Acts Chapter 20: Foundational Truths


As we have seen through the Book of Acts, there are many important lessons and principles found in this book of the Bible. We must note while the church may never exactly function the way it did in the Book of Acts, we still have many principles to apply from this book.

Acts 20:1-3: In It for Personal Gain?

In the first three verses of chapter twenty, we see Paul travels from Macedonia to Greece. He stays in Greece for three months and then the Jews plot against him. Paul then goes back through Macedonia. We must realize that the Apostle Paul faced much persecution, trials, and tribulations in his life. His life was by no means ‘his best life now’. 1 Corinthians 4:11-13 (KNJV) tells us, “To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.”. This Scripture tells us that as Christians we are not promised a problem-free life on earth. We will face tribulation, trials, and persecution. The Bible does not guarantee us a luxurious lifestyle on Earth. I really will never understand the basis of the people who get behind the pulpit and believe God for private jets. These ministers are false prophets because they want to use the Gospel as a means for a luxurious lifestyle for their gain. Paul also told us in 2 Corinthians 2:15-17 (NKJV), “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.”. The words ‘many, peddling’ in this Scripture means false prophet. This Scripture is talking about false prophets who are only in the business for their gain. This just gives us a warning as to how the Gospel has become so Americanized.

Acts 20:4-12

In verse four through twelve Paul’s traveling companions meet him and they sail from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread. After the feast, they end up in Troas and it was the first day of the week and they broke bread together. While Paul was gathered with disciples on the third floor of a building a man falls from the third story and dies. Paul then goes and prays over the man and goes back with the disciples to break bread. We then see the man who was dead rises back up. Paul and the disciples did not let this situation stop them from breaking bread.  

Acts 20:13-24: Not to Be Moved by Tribulation

In the next few verses, we see Paul travel from Troas to Miletus. Paul then wants to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. As Paul goes to Ephesus, he speaks to the church elders and tells them how he served the Lord in humility and with many tears. Oh, how if the church today could get back to the call of anguish. There is a great teaching by David Wilkerson on anguish. We also see how Paul talks about how he faced tribulation in many cities he went to, but he was not moved by it. How come we become so easily moved by the situations in our lives or the world? We must not be moved as Paul tells us in verse twenty-four. Additionally, Paul says that his life on earth is worth nothing, he has this mentality because he is completely and fully surrendered to Jesus Christ. We must be like this, we should not want our lives, we should only focus on glorifying God more and more every single day. We must strive to finish what God has called us to do with our lives for His Glory alone.

Acts 20:25-31: Importance of Overseers

In verses, twenty-five through thirty-one Paul talks about the importance of overseers in the church and warns of false prophets. Paul warned us about false prophets because we will be in great danger if we believe a false gospel. In verse thirty-one he tells us he “did not cease to warn every one night and day with tears”. Here we go again it should hurt us inside when we see people falling false doctrines and false prophets. We need to see things the way Jesus sees them. Paul tells us to be watchful in this passage and 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NKJV) “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”. He also tells us to be vigilant in Colossians 4:2 (NKJV), “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving”.

Acts 20:32-36: Scripture and Grace Alone (5 Solas)

In the last few verses, we see the importance of the Word of God and Grace. We are complete in Christ as it is written in Colossians 2:10 (NKJV), “and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”. Additionally, we are complete with Scripture also. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) tells us, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”. It is very important to take this concept home of being made complete with Scripture and with Grace through Jesus Christ. Sadly, today many people will take a ‘prophecy’ spoken over them more seriously than the Word of God. Many people today will make it more of a priority to seek physical healing over true Salvation. I have seen too many healing services where nothing on the correct Gospel was taught. Sermons must all have a foundation of the Gospel and then built upon from there. Don’t get me wrong I believe our God is willing and able to do miraculous things far beyond our imaginations, while at the same time focusing on the foundation of the Gospel is our number one priority. In verse thirty-six we see before Paul departed that he knelt and prayed with the disciples. He didn’t have any prayer line, he knelt and prayed with them. Oh, how greatly we need to kneel in church services more and more and learn to give God reverence.

Final Thoughts

There were so many things I covered in this post, and I encourage you to go through this chapter on your own time and study it for yourself and meditate on it. I feel today we as a church need to get back to the foundation of the Gospel because there is so much distortion. We need to learn to take diligent time to meditate on Scripture, worship our God as a church and individually, and rely on the Holy Spirit in our prayer life.