THIRD JOURNEY

 

Once again Paul starts out his is Journey from Antioch. This time he takes the journey by himself. He goes through Galatia and Phrygia strengthening the brethren. This is always important to do is to always strive to strengthen the brethren. Everyone needs encouragement from time to time to help keep them focused on God and his bidding.Paul works his way to Ephesus where he will end up doing work here for 3 years. This is the same area that the Holy Spirit had forbid him to go during the 2nd missionary journey but now the door is open for him to work freely.

 

When he arrives their he finds some disciples there that had only been baptized with Johns baptism. Acts 19:1-6. We learn from the section of scripture that not just any kind of baptism will do. One must understand what it is they are doing.

  1. You must have faith that Jesus is the son of God.
  2. You must realize that you are a sinner and turn away from you old life style this is repentence.
  3. You must confess Jesus as your Lord.
  4. You must be immersed in water knowing that your sins are being washed away and that you are being added to the body of Christ. So many today that are baptized donít do it for the right reason. Some do it to show that they are already saved while others do it to become a member of a certain named denomination. When we are baptized it is to be done in the name of Jesus Christ. This means by his authority when we submit ourselves to baptism we become the possession of Christ and we also come under his protection.

 

Since we are on the topic of baptism let us examine this topic some this morning.

 

Paul preached in the synagogues for 3 months and was persuading people to become Christians but the atmosphere changed and some of the Jews hardened their hearts and Paul left the synagogue and started teaching the word of God from the lecture hall in the school of Tyrannus for the next 2 years. One ancient manuscript suggest that Paulís classes were from 11:00am to 4 pm.

 

God worked special miracles through Paul so much so that people could take his apron or handkerchief to the sick and they would be healed and evil spirits would flee. This is where the modern day fake healers get the idea of sending someone a prayer cloth. (talk about your personal experience with prayer cloths.) Paul had made a big enough impression that these 7 men that claimed to be exorcist thought they would be able to cast out a demon by simply doing so using the name of Jesus. They found a man withan evil spirit and said We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches. Read 19:15-17. 7 ordinary men had no chance against 1 demon but no amount of demons could withstand the divine power of God. This event put the people in awe and God was glorified before the Jews and the Greek.

 

Ephesus was renowned for magical inscription but after witnessing these miracles the true power of God they brought their books together and burned them which would of taken a great deal of time. The value of these books would be about 35,000 in our time. I think that its significant that they destroyed these books instead of selling them so that others could use them. This shows how great an impact Christianity was having in Ephesus. Read 1Cor 16:8-9. Even though their were adversaries there church continued to gain strength and grow.

 

Sometime during this 3 year period Paul hears of problems in Corinth. 1Cor 1:11. Paul writes the letter we call 1Corinthians. He also sends Timothy there to remind them of the doctrine of Christ. 1Cor 4:17. Timothy returns back to Ephesus as some point while Paul is still there. In fact 1Cor 16:10-11 tells us that Paul and the brethren were waiting for his return. Paul was making plans to go into Macedonia then to Jerusalem then to Rome. In the meantime he sends Timothy and Erastus into Macedonia while he stays behind.

 

During this time a silversmith by the name Demetrius who made his living selling shrines of Diana didnít like what Paul was teaching. In fact let us read it in Acts 19:24-28. The temple of Diana or Artemis was one of the great wonders of the ancient world. Archeologist found the temple about 20 feet beneath the surface in the latter half of the 19th century. The temple stood on a platform that measured 239 feet wide by 418 feet long. It had 100 columns over 55 feet high and exceeding 6 feet in diameter. It had a sacred chamber that was 70 wide and was open to the sky. On the main altar stood the statue of the goddess Artemis. It is believed that Demetrius and his fellow workers sold miniature temples and they also probablysold miniature statues of Diana. Diana was supposedly a daughter of Zeus and she was a goddess of fertility.The bible once again is proven correct by archeologist as they discovered over 30 different places where she had been worshiped as we read in verse 27. So you can understand why Demetrius would see Pauls teaching as a threat to his pocket book. The more people he convinced that Gods are not made with hands would make this supposed goddess into a nothing. Demetrius and his fellow tradesmen stir up the crowds and theygather in the great theater that was there. It was 495 feet in diameter and could accommodate 25,000 people.

 

At thistimethe seized Paul traveling companions Gaius and Aristarchus. Paul wanted to go into the theater to talk to the people but the disciples there would not let him. This crowd was very confused and most of them had no idea why they were there. A Jew by the name of Alexander was brought forth to speak to the crowds but as soon as they figured out he was Jew they started screaming for the next 2 hours ďGreat is Diana of the Ephesians.ĒThe town clerk was finally able to calm the crowd down by assuring them that the reputation Artemis the goddess Diana is secure. He even suggest that these 2 men they had seized were not temple robbers nor had they verbally abused the goddess. In fact lets read the last verses in chapter 19 starting with verse 37. The real danger was the out of control mob it could it of jeopardized the city to lose it standing as free city under Roman law and could of faced many fines if it could not maintain law and order. After this Paul decided it was time to move on and he called the disciples to him and embraced them before departing for Macedonian. You can imagine it was a difficult departure after being around these disciples for such a long time.†††

 

 

Read Acts 20:1-2. We do not have very much detail here in acts of where Paul went on his way to Greece other than he went through Macedonia then to Greece. That is why it is important for us to use the whole word of God because we find out more about his journey in the other epistles. Read 2Cor 2:12-13. We find out that Paul had went to Troas and preached the gospel there and had hoped to meet up with Titus. This made Paul sad and he travels into Macedonia. It is believed that he would of went to Philip, Thessalonica, and Berea. At some point in one of these cities Paul meets up with Titus. Read 2 Cor 7:5-10. Titus had refreshing news for Paul. He finds out that they had responded well to his letter he wrote to them 1Corthians. Paul writes 2 Corinthians and sends the letter with Titus and another brother who was held in regard by the churches that is found in 2Cor 8:6-19.

 

Paul continued to evangelize and worked his way down into Greece where he stayed for 3 months. Most of his time was probably spent at Corinth. He pens the book of Romans during this time to prepare them for when he came to visit them. Acts 19:21, Rom 15:22-27. As Paul was preaching throughout Macedonia and Greece he was having these churches take up collections for the Jews in Judea. Read 1Cor 16:1-4. It was the Jews that had first sent the gospel to them now they had the opportunity to help the Jews out. The gentiles generosity towards the Jews would be another important step to increase the relationship between the Jews and Gentiles. After this 3 months period Paul was going to set sail for Syria but he found out that the Jews were plotting against him so headed back through Macedonian instead. We find out in Acts 20:4-5 that some brethren were there with him including Timothy and Luke. These men went ahead of Paul except for Luke and headed to Troas to wait for Paul. Paul and Luke set sail toward Troas but this time it took 5 days to get to Troas. On an earlier trip it had only take 2 days Acts 16:11-12 this would seem to indicate that they were having to deal with some strong head winds.

 

Even though Paul was anxious to get to Jerusalem by the day of Pentecost he stayed at Troas for 7 days. Why do you think he waited? Some have suggested that maybe a ship wasnít available yet for him to go to Syria. While that might be possible itsreasonable to believe that he just wanted to meet with the saints there on the Lords day, knowing that a regular assembly would take place then. Read Acts 20:7-12. All of thishappened at Troas and I want to take a some time to talk about these scriptures we just read because there seems to be some confusion found in regards to breaking bread. When we look at verse 7 we see that they were gathering together to break bread on the first day of the week which is our Sunday. Now there are several reason why it is that Christians assemble on the 1st day of the week.

 

1.Christ was raised on the 1st day of the week. Mt 28:1, Mk 16:1

2. The church was established and started on the first day of the week. Acts 2:1ff

3. We see that the church here as Troas was meeting on first day of the week to break bread Acts 20:7.

4.We are commanded to give of our finances as we have prospered on the first day of the week. 1Cor 16:1-2.

5 During the first several centuries of the church existence all the early writings unanimously state that Christians assembled on the first day of the week to break bread and to give of their means. The first day of the week became know as the Lords day. Rev 1:10.

 

We are not given one example of anyone partaken of the Lords Supper except on the 1st day of the week. We will talk more about the Lord Supper in just a minute but I want to show you where people get confused. Look at verse 11. Once again we see the term broke bread. Did these Christians here partake of the Lord Supper again on Monday? Sometimes the term break bread refers to a common meal while other times it refers to the Lords Supper we must look at the context to see which it referring to. In vrs 11 it referring to acommon meal for the following reasons.

 

1. The word eaten (literally tasted) is never used in regards to the Lords Supper but refers to eating a common meal out of hunger. Acts 10:10, Lk 14:24. Vines suggest that this word is sufficient reason to conclude that this was an ordinary meal.

 

2. In verse 7 we see the disciples met together to break bread but in vrs 11 was only Paul that broke bread. Perhaps Paul had not eaten earlier since he was preaching and he was taking this time to refresh himself.

 

3. If this was the communion they observed it on Monday and failed to observe the Lords Supper on the first day of the week as they had purposed to do. It seems clear to me that vrs 7 was the Lords Supper and vrs 11 was a common meal. (acts 2:42 refers to the Lords supper acts 2:46 refers to a common meal)

 

THE PURPOSE OF THE LORDS SUPPER.

The Lord's supper is not just a meaningless ritual, nor is it a "sacrament" whereby we obtain grace or forgiveness of sins. I want to break it down into 3 sections.

 

  1. Itís a memorial of Jesus death. So many good people die and we as man set up memorials to remember these people. For instance the Oklahoma City bombing had a memorial built in memory of all those that died and we will remember it and our kids will remember it, but after several generation have passed on the memorial of the OKC bombing will have little meaning to those future generations. This however does not hold true to the memorial of Jesus. Even after 2000 years his memorial has just as much meaning todayas it did in the 1st century. The Lords Supper was Jesus dying request. As he passed out the bread he said: "This is my body which is given for you.This do in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19; cf. 1 Cor. 11:24).Likewise, he said: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood.This do ... in remembrance of me" (1 Cor. 11:25).The Lord's Supper is therefore primarily a memorial of the sacrificial death of Jesus in which his body and blood were given.
  2. As we eat and drink and remember our Lord, the Lord's supper becomes a "communion" of the body and blood of Christ (1 Cor. 10:16).It is a spiritual participation in the death of our Lord, and Jesus is with us as we do it. Do you remember when he told his disciples that he would "drink it new" with them in the kingdom (Matt. 26:29; Mark 14:25).You see, as we drink literally the fruit of the vine, Jesus drinks spiritually -- in a "new" kind of way , and we commune or fellowship with one another.
  3. In our partaking of the Lord's supper we "proclaim the Lord's death" (1 Cor. 11:26). In doing so we are declaring our belief in the cross to each other and to any observers who might be present.It also shows our faith in the certainty of the Lord's return, for we are to partake of it "till he comes."

 

HOW SHOULD WEPARTAKE OF THE LORDS SUPPER.

 

Lets read Mat 26:26-27. Here we see by example of Christ that he blessed the bread and gave thanks for the cup. Blessing something and giving thanks are interchangeable. We following the example of Christ give thanks for the bread first and we distribute it out then we give thanks for the fruit of the vine and again distribute out.

 

Read 1Cor 11:27-29. Again, some get confused with the term unworthy. Some think that thisrefers to worth of the person but this is not the case. Instead it refers to the manner in which we partake of it. First we must examine ourselves to see if we are in the right state of mind. Are we thinking about something else or are we sincerely thinking about our Lord. Whether itís the Lords Supper or worship itself we need to be sincere in our thoughts and not allow ourselves to do it with out caring or thinking about it. If we have the wrong kind of attitudetoward or worship or partaken of the Lords supper it will be done in an unworthy manner. This is exactly what the Corinthians had done. 1Cor 11:20-21. To assemble with the saints in worship and to partake of the Lords supper is both an honor and a privilege and should not be taken lightly. Lets sum this up by reading John 4:23-24.

 

From Troas the brethren set sail to Assos but Paul went on foot and met them there at Assos. Paul gets on the ship and they set sail to Miletus passing by Mitylene, Chios, Samos and Trogyllium. We find out from Acts 20:16 that Paul skipped passed Ephesus so he would not be detained there by the brethren so he might make it to Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. Why was Paul in such a hurry to make it there by this time? 2 reasons come to mind. 1. There would be a large crowd there for him to preach Christ to. 2. If you remember he was taking the money he had collected from the gentilesto take to the Jews that were in need so it may have been easier to find all the brethren from the different cities in Judea to give the funds to.Whatever the reasons are we do know that he was in hurry to get there.

 

Paul calls for the elders of Ephesus to come to him and the come and he exhorts them. Now I could just move on from here but, this is one time I will not. I want you to turn to Acts 20:17. We are going to read several verses in this chapter because what Paul tells the elders is very important and not worth skipping over. First we are going to see Paul give a defense of his earlier work in Ephesus 17-21. Now he is going to tell them about his immediate plans for the future. 22ó27. Paul is going to warn the Bishops about false doctrine 28-31. Paul is now going to commend these elders and encourage them to continue in the faith.32-35. Paul will now bid them farewell 36-38.

 

From there they set sail to Cos, Rhodes, and then on to Patara. They change ships and set sail for Phoenicia. Iím sure as they passed by Cyprus Paul probably reflected back in time to his first missionary journey with Barnabas and Mark. They arrive at Tyre and find some brethren there and stay with them for 7 days. Tyre was an important commercial community famous for its glassware, metal and dyes. It was spoken of often in the bible 59 times to be exact and it was the focus of many biblical prophecies which spoke of its downfall. Isa 23, Jer 27, and Ezek 26-28. The brethren through the spirit warned Paul not to go to Jerusalem but when those 7 days were up Paul and his companions departed from that city to get back on the ship. These brethren walked with them to the outside of the city and they prayed. They set sail and stayed a Ptolemais for 1 day with the brethren there. They continue on to Caesarea and stay with Philip the evangelist. They stayed there many days when Agabus came to Paul from Judea. Read Acts 21:11-14. Comment on these verses in regards to Paulís faith in God.††