Chapter Twenty — Part Four: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 09/18/2022

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 20:13-21

1. Miletus.
a. Acts 20:13 NKJV — Then we went ahead to the ship and sailed to Assos, there intending to take Paul on board; for so he had given orders, intending himself to go on foot.
b. Paul gave them orders to sail from Troas to Assos, while he went on foot, a walk of approximately 20 miles.
c. It might have been a shorter way, but it was not the easier way to go.
d. Homer, and others of the ancient world, recorded it as being a very rough and challenging route to walk.
e. Luke does not specify why Paul chose to walk there.
f. Acts 20:14 NKJV — And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene.
g. At Assos, he boarded the ship and sailed with them to Mitylene.
h. Acts 20:15 NKJV — We sailed from there, and the next day came opposite Chios. The following day we arrived at Samos and stayed at Trogyllium. The next day we came to Miletus.
i. Chios and Samos are places of note among Greek writers—historians and poets.
j. They stayed, probably just overnight, at Trogyllium—the seaport next to Samos.
k. And the next day they sailed to Miletus, a seaport that lay about 30 miles south of Ephesus.
l. Acts 20:16 NKJV — For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.
m. Paul had a deadline—he wanted to be in Jerusalem by Pentecost.
n. He chose to sail around Ephesus, rather than going through it.
o. Perhaps he was hoping to avoid being delayed by any potential riots stirred up by his enemies again.
p. Also, if he had gone into Ephesus, the brethren there may have desired that he remain with them for a while, which would have further delayed him.
q. He was not trying to avoid them—if he had time to spare, no doubt he would have been happy to be with them for a while.

2. Exhortation to the Ephesian Elders.
a. Acts 20:17 NKJV — From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.
b. He called for the elders of the Ephesian Church so that he could exhort and encourage them—possibly for the last time this side of Heaven.
c. Acts 20:18 NKJV — And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you,
d. From the first day Paul came to Asia, he was ministering to the people by his words and his example.
e. In fact, it was his godly lifestyle that proved the veracity of his message.
f. He was showing them how to live, how to serve God (with all your heart), and how to minister to and serve others.
g. We cannot preach one thing and live another—if we expect to be a help and a blessing to others.
h. As Paul told the Philippians, “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:9)

3. Endurance.
a. Acts 20:19 NKJV — serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews;
b. Humility (Greek tapeinophrosynē) — modesty; humility; humbleness or lowliness of mind; having a humble opinion of oneself.
c. Paul served the Lord with humility, submitted to the will of the Father and willing to endure whatever came his way, to fulfill his call and commission.
d. He shed many tears and went through many afflictions and trials because of the plots and attacks of the unbelieving Jews; not to mention the many other perils that he faced.
e. 2 Corinthians 11:26 AMPC — Many times on journeys, [exposed to] perils from rivers, perils from bandits, perils from [my own] nation, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the desert places, perils in the sea, perils from those posing as believers [but destitute of Christian knowledge and piety];
f. Jesus told us that we would have persecution for the Word’s sake and trials and tribulations in the world (Greek kosmos – the system of this world).
g. John 16:33 AMPC — I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
h. The world may persecute Christians, and even kill them, but they cannot take from us the eternal life that we have received from our Lord and Savior.
i. Fear God—for your life is in His hands—and do not fear what man can do to you.
j. Luke 12:4-5 NKJV — “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!

4. Testify.
a. Acts 20:21 NKJV — testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
b. Paul endured every hardship with God’s grace, for the sake of the Gospel and the eternal destiny of those to whom he was sent.