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Acts 20:1-12 - Homiletics

"In labors more abundant."

The rapid succession and the unbroken continuance of St. Paul's labors is truly marvelous. Rest or recreation seem to be things unknown to him. The tension of spirit caused by imminent and pressing danger seems not to have produced in him, as it does in most men, the need of breathing-time to recover their usual tone. His one idea of the use of life, and of the various faculties of mind and body with which his life was equipped, was apparently to preach Jesus Christ to those who knew him not, and to confirm and establish those who knew him in the faith of the gospel. His energy never flagged and his courage never quailed. Most men's nerves would have been shaken by the terrible riot at Ephesus, when he had been "pressed out of measure, above strength," and had despaired of life. But no sooner was the uproar ceased than St. Paul started upon a new course of labor and danger. He went back to Philippi, where he had been before shamefully entreated, stripped, scourged, cast into a dungeon, and made fast in the stocks; to the other cities of Macedonia, from whence he had been forced to escape by night for fear of the violence of the Jews; to Corinth, where he had been dragged before the judgment-seat of Gallio, and where the bigotry of the Jews was ready to commence fresh plots against his life. And wherever he went, heart and mind, tongue and pen, were kept at full stretch in preaching and teaching the things concerning Jesus Christ. Such activity of mind and body is indeed wonderful. We see the same untiring spirit, the same inexhaustible love for souls, in the midnight preaching at Troas. Other men, on the eve of a long journey, would have sought repose. Not so St. Paul. The comfort and stability of the Church at Troas, the growth in grace and knowledge of the disciples there, were his one consideration, Here was an opportunity of preaching Christ to them, of advancing their spiritual life, of imparting to them more of the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ—an opportunity that might never recur, anti so he would make the most of it. Hence the whole night given to prayer and preaching and breaking of bread, to communion with God and fellowship with his saints. Such an example ought to be studied by every minister of the Word of God, with a view to following the apostle as he followed Christ. Indolence, self-indulgence, and indifference to the growth of the Church of God, must surely be put to shame in the presence of such abundance of labor. And every man's faith must be strengthened, and his love for Christ and for souls kindled into a flame, as he catches the warmth of the glowing love of this mighty worker in the kingdom of God.

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