Saturday, September 15, 2012



Our text today will come from Acts 20.

25 years after Jesus was crucified, the Apostle Paul was nearing the end of his third missionary journey. It was about the year AD 56/57.

Acts 20:6  But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days.

That year Paul spent Passover in Philippi and left almost immediately afterwards and sailed to Troas, a city bordering the Aegean Sea on the extreme Northwestern coastline of modern day Turkey, the land then  known as Asia Minor. Troas was a well favored port city only perhaps 4 to 5 miles south of the ancient city of Troy.

Acts 16
8  So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
9  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."

Troas is the same city where only a few years earlier Paul and Silas received a visionary call to take the Gospel to Europe. Now he only had a little time and was quickly passing through Troas on his way to Jerusalem to attend the Feast of Pentecost. Since there are only 7 weeks between Passover and Pentecost, and 1 week had already passed, Paul felt himself on somewhat of a tight schedule. However, he did not want to miss this opportunity to speak to the Church he loved in Troas.

Acts 15:41  And he went … confirming the churches.
Acts 18:23  … strengthening all the disciples.

Paul was wholly given to planting Churches in every city and maintaining relationship in hopes of returning to confirm the Churches and strengthen the disciples gathered in those Churches. As the commissioning Apostle of these Churches, no one else warranted such honor and authority among the works as did he. Paul was undeniably their Father in the faith.

“I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service in journeys often in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often … besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.”  (2 Corinthians 11)

At some points when necessity dictated, Paul would remind the Churches and their leaders how he had labored, the price he personally paid and even how he had taken wages of others to help them, and travailed in prayer like one giving birth, so that Christ might be formed in them.

Now at this point, headed to Jerusalem for Pentecost and knowing that the Holy Spirit had witnessed that he would never again be allowed to visit these Churches in person, Paul spent a whole week, 7 precious days in earnest petition, and endeavoring to give his best to this Church he loved.

Acts 20:6  But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days.

The major reason why Paul stayed 7 days in Troas is because the journey from Philippi took perhaps 3 days longer than expected. Evidently Paul arrived in Troas either very late on Sunday night or at some point on Monday. Whichever, Paul did not make it to Church and he was unwilling to leave Troas without first attending Church the following Sunday. He wanted to take the occasion to speak to the whole congregation at once.   

Now we come to our text --- have you found Acts 20 in your Bibles or on your Smart Phones, iPads, computers or in your scrolls perhaps? If not, you can read along on the screens behind me as we begin reading with verse 7. I will give commentary along the way so, “Life Shape” disciples, keep your pen and notebook ready … you don’t want to fall asleep.

Remember, the title of our message this morning is, “Fortunate”.

Acts 20
7  Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
·        Confirms Sunday was Church day for New Testament Believers
·        Eucharist – the Lord’s Supper – Communion, taken by these disciples – perhaps after a congregational meal which was often observed by many Churches in those days.
·        Midnight - shows Paul had much to say but that he waited until Church to say it … corporate teaching is the NT model.
·        Troas is situated 40 degrees N latitude - during May sunset is at about 7pm and sunrise at 5 – they were 10hrs in Church
8  There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together.
·        It is still important that the things of the Church are not done in darkness or secret as was often reported … but out in the open for all to see and know
9  And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.
·        Young man – Youth – could be between 8 and 28, “child”
·        The lamps made it very hot in that 3rd story upper room
·        The window offered visibility, comfort, and perhaps distraction
·        The sentence structure suggest progression of this sleepiness  – “carried away with” – he must have wrestled with his tiredness, then began to sink deeper and deeper and was finally overpowered by it.
·        God does not stop just because someone gets tired …
·        Don’t be too hard on the boy, after all, it was normal sleep time --- but sometimes we have go beyond normal to get what God is ready to give us – or at least to not distract others from getting what God has for them …
·        Realize - it is Luke, the Gentile Believer and companion of Paul who was also much loved and well respected Physician who is giving this account and who reasonably would have declared this boy dead.
·        The young boys name is Eutychus … which means: “Fortunate”
·        How can this boy be fortunate? … because -
10  But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, "Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him."
·        Fortune may not always lie in your own doing but rather in the fact that there is someone else who knows God and who has compassion on you even though you might have been sleeping when you should have been listening.
·        Not only did Paul go down and throw himself on his dead body, as did prophets before him, Paul also ministered to the lamenting crowd of friends and family who needed to hear words of comfort as he told them not to make too much about this … no doubt he spoke in faith.
11  Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed.
·        Although there was a tragedy in the midst of a very important season in which there was not enough time as it was … Paul did not allow this event to distract him from his mission and his normal needs of life.
·        After prayer and some words of comfort, Paul let somebody else take care of the young man and he went back to his primary objective – teaching and strengthening the congregation with the time he had left.
12  And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.
·        As Paul was departing they brought the boy back upstairs and into the Church meeting alive.
·        His healthy return brought great comfort to the whole Church.

So, what can we learn from these scriptures which we can readily apply to our lives today?
1.  It is not always best to seek your own comfort, even in Church.
2.  Recognize the progression of disconnection before you fall asleep.
3.  Thank God if you are fortunate enough to have someone who is connected with God who also cares about you and your family. (Thank God for those who connect with Him on our behalf.)