And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called to him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.…
Among the many things to be learned from Paul's journeys, not the least are the intimations respecting the methods and usages of the apostolic Church. Look at the more prominent of these which appear in this narrative.
I. EVANGELISTIC WORK WAS PROSECUTED BY A NUMBER, WHO WERE ASSOCIATED FOR THE SERVICE (ver. 4). After Churches were organised, regular pastors were placed over them; but the preparatory work called for special effort, and in this a number were wisely enjoyed. Thus early was recognised the distinction between evangelists and pastors; and no doubt the Churches which became centres of Christian influence in Asia were the result of God's blessing, not alone on Paul's preaching, but also on the labours of the believers who with Paul carried the gospel unto the regions beyond.
II. THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH.
1. Was the first day of the week (ver. 7). This mention of the day is significant because it is casual, and the inference is that they habitually assembled then; and the instance becomes authority when the great apostle gave his sanction to this transfer of holy time from the Sabbath to the Lord's Day. It is sometimes said that had God purposed such a change He would have distinctly commanded it. Yet an oft-repeated statement that the Church did observe the first in place of the seventh day may be taken as evidence that they were instructed so to do; and the sanction of the change by the inspired apostles, who had been in personal conference with the Lord, confirms and continues the usage. The argument is the same as that which establishes the unity of the Church, the substitution of baptism for circumcision, the membership of women in the Church, or any other accepted feature of the Christian dispensation which had become so universal and so undisputed that no doubt was suggested concerning it.
2. Was observed chiefly as a day of worship. A number of hours were spent in devotional exercises. There was no complaint because the meeting was protracted, nor did any present consult their watches to learn how much more than half an hour Paul was preaching. Notice of this has special value to us because of the disposition manifested to devote it largely to work rather than to worship. Other days may give opportunity for this, but the Lord's Day is appointed especially for that renewal of strength which is gained by those who wait on the Lord. Experience makes known the wisdom of the early Christians in this particular, and it is possible that the most constant work may make us feeble, that the most ardent zeal may become religious dissipation.
III. THE PURPOSE OF THE EUCHARIST. In the first place, the occasion was one —
1. Of high spiritual enjoyment. The visit of Paul must have awakened delight, and excited gratitude.
2. Of special Christian communion.
3. Of special stimulus and cheer. In these circumstances we find them celebrating the Eucharist; and for us it should be a time of spiritual joy, not of depression; of inspiring, whole-souled communion; of cheer and confidence which will make us certain of success.
IV. THE MANNER OF CONDUCTING PUBLIC WORSHIP. The assembly does not seem to have been governed by any special habits beyond those which would secure comfort and decorum. The room was probably in some private house. The preaching of Paul was not according to any prescribed standard, but was probably simple and expository and adapted to the audience. The necessity that he should care for Eutychus did not so much disturb the apostle's sense of propriety that he was unable to go on with his discourse, and it is likely that the incident added to the interest and practical character of his remarks. An upper room, an all-night service, the simplest observance of the Lord's Supper, the possible disturbances which would drive away all sanctity from some modern, more aesthetic Christian assemblies — all these were features of worship led by the most prominent of the apostles.
V. THE PREDOMINANCE OF THE MISSIONARY SPIRIT IN ALL THE CHURCHES (ver. 4). Here we have the secret of the success of the gospel in those days. Those who accepted it considered themselves as trustees of the blessed treasure for those who had it not. As soon as a Church was established, it assumed obligation respecting the outlying region, and thus other centres of evangelising power were formed. And so it should be today.
(J. E. Ells, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.