In our last visit we began what I call a chapter study of the Bible, focusing on Acts 20. To start with I identified a chapter title: A Faithful Ministry. Key verse: verse 20. Significant truth: When we have done all we can do there is always more work still to be done. We must learn to delegate that to others and depend upon God and His Word to finish the task. Cross-references: Ezekiel 3:18-21, 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12. Difficulties: Should Paul have gone on to Jerusalem when the Spirit had been warning him of the difficulties he would encounter?
An outline of Acts 20 might look like this: Title: Paul, An Example of Faithful Ministry. 1. He encouraged believers in various cities (v. 1-12).
2. He enlightened both non-believers and believers as he had opportunity. (v. 13-27).
3. He equipped leaders to shepherd the church (v. 28-38).
To summarize and apply what has been learned you might write something like this: Paul exemplified what he wanted others to experience. He helped believers press on even when the going got rough. He shared the truth of God any time, any place and with sincerity.
While in Ephesus he shared everything that would be helpful to them. To be sure what he started in Ephesus would be carried forward he met with the leaders one final time to challenge them regarding the task and the goal towards which they should move.
The work of God will be done effectively by those who are more concerned with giving than they are about receiving. In the end it would require trusting God to fulfill His Word for the church to become all He wanted it to be.