When we drive in an unfamiliar area, and we see boarded up windows and derelict cars, we usually try to drive right on past as quickly as possible.
When Paul found such places, he had no such concerns. He realized that good men are often found in the worst of situations. Instead of running away, Paul found his strength in the Lord.
We can observe three confirmations of Paul’s dependence on God in Acts 20.
In Ephesus, Paul had been unjustly condemned. When brought before the city’s leadership, the townclerk determined Paul had not defamed the goddess Diana of Ephesus, nor had he robbed any of the local churches. Unless he had done something that broke the law, he should be set free.
Acts 20:1 tells us that after the uproar ceased, Paul called the other disciples, hugged them, and departed for Macedonia.
As Jesus had instructed in Matthew 10:14, Paul could have shaken the dust from his feet, and told those in Ephesus that their fate would be worse than that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Instead, he headed out to continue his ministry.
When the devil attacks us, we should take it as our assurance that we are on the right track for Jesus.
A great miracle occurred as Paul taught far into the night. A young man, Eutychus, fell into a deep sleep and slipped from the third floor to his death. Paul embraced him, and he was once again alive. The next morning Paul decided to walk to Assos (20 miles) rather than sail with his expedition (40 miles around Cape Electum).
In Acts 20:13 the other disciples sailed away, hoping to find Paul in Assos when they arrived.
Even after performing a great miracle, that of raising a young man from the dead, Paul still faced the mental and spiritual oppression brought on by the wiles of the devil. He could have sailed with his companions, but he chose the harder route, to go alone. It gave him time to converse with the Lord.
There are occasions when only time in seclusion with the Father can give us the conviction that he is still at our side.
When the Elders of the Church at Ephesus came to Paul at his request, he told them of all the good things that had blossomed from his relationship with them. He also shared the constant plots of the Jews who wished to destroy him, leaving nothing out. He then told them he was to go unto the Greeks as well as unto the Jews.
Acts 20:22 reveals his next move, for the Holy Spirit had directed him to Jerusalem. He knew he would face opposition, although he had not been told just what form it would take.
Paul had been given every justification for abandoning Ephesus. Yet, he knew there were good men there who still needed his guidance. When our passion for Christ enables us to navigate the most difficult waters without hesitation, others will see the confirmation of our Risen Lord living within us.
People around us are watching our lives. When they see us live for Jesus, they will know Jesus lives in us.
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