Acts 20:1-16 The Church as a Priority, Christian Worship and Our Application

NOTE: Blogs written on Sunday are notes that go along with the preaching of our worship service. Not everything spoken appears in the notes and not everything in the notes will be said in the sermon. The notes are a guide, so use them to your benefit and enjoy.


Acts 20:1-16

The Church as A Priority, Christian Worship and Our Application


For the glory of God, we will disciple the nations by being and producing radical followers of Jesus Christ.


Our strategy of the “radical life” as a means to go after Jesus command to disciple the nations for his glory is the power station of our church.


Radical Life = Up — In — Out


Up – Walking with God is a living and thriving relationship as disciples of Jesus who hear and obey Jesus.

In – Community that images Trinitarian reality of love, equality, service to and lifting up each other that achieves Ephesian 4:1-16 in growing everyone in community up into Jesus, who is the head of his body the church, by the means of every member gifted by the Spirit to grow each other up into Christ.

Out – Disciples of Jesus who hear and obey who serve and grow each other up into Christ engage their domains of society to heal the domain itself and make disciples of those in their domain and by God’s grace one day we’ll learn to plant churches a lot easier and efficient in those domains than our current business models allow for. We need to learn from Scripture a “kingdom” model.


What produces this “radical life”, this connected to Jesus and growing out of Jesus into fruit bearing followers of Jesus is not something we have manufactured to build an empire. “Radical Life” are human words applied to biblical principles mined from Scripture to help us do what Jesus told us to do…disciple the nations for his glory.


KDSC is the DNA that gives manifestation to the “radical life”.


Kingdom – The gospel of the kingdom makes…

Disciples – Followers of Jesus taken from darkness to light and who hear and obey Jesus by engaging their…

Domains of Society – The created framework of God’s order that we are to multiply in, fill and subdue (Genesis 1:26-28) as the practice of disciple making and fulfilling our created roles in order to bring about the building of Jesus…

Church – The bride of Christ that is made up of disciples from all nations that Jesus died to secure and called to be his forever people.


Today, we are going to see our text highlight the priority of the church and it’s “in” component because our text puts on display the priority of the church and gives us a glimpse of its internal practice of “in”, fellowship, community.


What do we see? What does it mean?

We See that the Church is a Priority v. 1-6; 13-16

20:1-3a… “treats Paul’s leave-taking in Ephesus and his journey through Macedonia to Corinth in the most summary fashion. The account can be supplemented considerably from 2 Corinthians 1:1–11, where Paul discussed the events of the same period. There had been considerable tension with the Corinthian church during the final portion of Paul’s Ephesian ministry. Paul seems to have written a rather confrontive letter to that congregation during that period. He described the letter as “painful” and written “with many tears” (2 Corinthians 2:3f.). Strong opposition to Paul had arisen in the church, and there were attacks on his status as their apostle. In the letter Paul seems to have confronted the opposition directly and severely. The letter was sent by way of Titus, and Paul evidently wanted to hear Titus’s report back to him about “how it went” before proceeding himself to Corinth.”[1]


Evidently Paul wrote 2 Corinthians at this point and sent it on ahead of his own coming. Finally he went to Corinth himself. This was the visit referred to in Acts 20:2–3 as his three-month stay in “Greece.” It was his final visit to Corinth and probably took place in the winter of a.d. 55–56. During this time he wrote the Roman Epistle.[2]


We learn in Corinthians that Paul is gathering an offering for some fellow believers suffering from famine in the church at Jerusalem and Paul is eager to get himself and this offering he has collected from the churches to Jerusalem.


What do we see? What does it mean?

We See the “in” Elements of Early Christian Worship

This language used as our heading for this section is important because worship in the bible has less to do with singing songs and more to do with the totality of the life lived as a living sacrifice to Jesus (Romans 12:1-2).


The church met regularly with other believers on the first day of the week. v. 7

These guys came from work because the first day of the week was a work day. The Sabbath was Saturday.


This is one of the earliest references to Christians meeting for worship on Sunday, the first day of the week. Christians may have continued to observe the Jewish Sabbath as well, but eventually the Lord’s resurrection day became the sole day of worship for Christians.[3]


The church met to celebrate the Lord’s supper, perhaps, within the context of a larger meal together. v. 7, 11

Verse 7 indicates their purpose was to obey Jesus in his command to observe the Lord’s Supper and they did this within the context of a meal together.


This is not an unholy and profane dumbing down but an imitation of what Jesus did when within the Passover meal he took elements of that meal and gave them their full meaning. This is not Budweiser and Cheese-its. This is bread and wine within the larger gathering of the people of God.


The church met to hear the word and study it together. v. 7, 9, 11


The church experienced supernatural power v. 8-10, 12


The church practiced some form of Acts 2:42-47

  • Apostles teaching
  • The fellowship (referring to gathering as special and definitive for God’s people)
  • The breaking of bread (Lords Supper due to the definite article)
  • The prayers
  • Awe
  • Signs and wonders


Since this passage centers on the church in practice how about doing a little ecclesiology (the study of the church)?

The church is visible or put on display in 4 ways:

  1. The universal church unified Ephesians 1:22-23 “…gave him as head over all things to the church…”
  2. The city/local church 1 Corinthians 3:16 “…you (plural) are God’s temple and that the spirit dwells in you.” (to the church at Corinth)
  3. The cell/RL group 1 Corinthians 14:12, 23-26 (The church coming together to build up with the use of the gifts presumably in the smaller setting…all of the churches up until Constantine were house type churches that combined the local/cell function into a weekly gathering and other gatherings throughout the week. What we know as our current set up is a result of post-Constantine legalization of Christianity and the inheriting of larger facilities to gather in large gathering style settings thus creating the need for the setting in which person to person encouragement can better take place.)
  4. The personal body 1 Corinthians 6:15 “…your bodies are members of Christ…”


So, the church is all Christians globally…Christians come together in covenant locally…Christians covenanted locally together to serve each other with the gifts…us as individuals who follow Jesus as a member of Jesus (a follower of Jesus who is part of other followers of Jesus who serve the common purpose).


Therefore, the church and its function are clearly vital and are not to be overlooked.


How do we obey this at TRC?

  1. We are part of the global church and seek to serve the Kingdom globally. We seek to make this visible by serving the global church in discipling the nations.
  2. We are a local church who covenants with those who want to covenant with us to do kingdom work together.
  3. We are or should be gathering with covenant partners, who are individual members of Jesus, to use the gifts to build each other up into Christ.


What does this gathering with covenant partners look like? We call it a RL group. Where we practice UP/IN/OUT as the means of helping us disciple the nations.


Radical Life Group Gathering

  1. Apostolic (5 Minutes) – Build up!

Remind yourselves of the purpose. The apostles keep the mission front and center and push for keeping the mission in view.


What is the mission? Ephesians 4:1-16…Build everyone up into Jesus, who is the head.


  1. Prophetic (10 Minutes) – Worship!

Listen by taking a few minutes to pray and ask the Lord to be glorified in your time together.

Read a Psalm or two and give thanks to the Lord for all that he should be thanked for.

If you have someone gifted in music, sing one song.


  1. Teaching (20 Minutes) – Teach each other!

Colossians 3:16

Share insights from your bible reading.

Share insights and applications from the sermon.

Read and reflect on the Scriptures together.



  1. Pastor (10 Minutes…all week) – Take care of one another and serve one another’s needs.

Communicate regularly. Use texts, calls and emails.

Gather for one on one time over coffee.


  1. Evangelism (15 Minutes) – Pray for those who need to come to faith in Jesus.

Bring friends who need to know Jesus to be part.


1 Corinthians 14:24-25 (ESV) “But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.”


Expect to see and exercise these Spirit gifts together and those outside the kingdom may just fall down and worship God because they see that God is really among you.


Mission accomplished!



[1] This “epistle of tears” is most likely no longer extant, although many scholars feel that 2 Cor 10–13 is a portion of it.

John B. Polhill, Acts, vol. 26, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 414–415.

[2] Ibid. p. 415

[3]  Ibid. p. 418.


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