Welcome to our study of Acts. Paul was within a few days of completing a mission trip and getting to Jerusalem. But old friends, new friends, and trusted brothers and sisters in Christ warned him not to continue: “Something bad will happen to you.” They broke Paul’s heart. But he went anyway. They all relented, “May the Lord’s will be done.” Could God’s will be unpleasant for you? Who prays for that? You do, every time you pray, “Your will be done.” We pray the third petition of the Lord’s Prayer so often, it might become trite. Far from trite, this little request is at times upsetting, at other times hard, but at all times how you get in touch with God. We’re glad you’re with us today to pray for yourself and for each other, “Your will be done.”
Blest be the ties that bind - so goes the old hymn. The author may have been recalling the ties the apostle Paul enjoyed with people everywhere he went. From our study of Acts, we know people opposed Paul wherever he went. But others wept to see him leave. The reason? The Word of grace not only unites us with God but also with each other. We’re glad you’re with us today to learn from Paul’s farewell to the Ephesians in Acts 20:13-38 and get a sense of the joy of “the ties that bind.”
The Bible is a funny book. Of course, no book is more serious than the Bible, but read it and you'll find humor. You won’t find knock-knock jokes, but you’ll find plenty to make you smile. When Luke described a night the Apostle Paul preached in Troas, he included a touch of physician's humor. Falling asleep in church isn’t as perilous in our day as it was for Eutychus. We’re less concerned with falling out of windows and more concerned with staying in the fellowship of believers. To that end, may the Holy Spirit bless you through the gospel today. And maybe keep you awake, too.
On one astounding day, God led 3,000 people to be baptized. What happened next, though, was more than astounding. It was preposterous and scandalous. It was generous and beautiful. It is, to our ears, almost incomprehensible. Most of all? It was Christian. Let’s take a look at the godly decision to have “everything in common.”