Stay Alert (Acts 20:1-16)

“And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.” (Acts 20:9, AV)

I heard this story some time back. A young pastor one Sunday morning cut himself shaving. He preached the morning sermon and afterwards, while greeting people at the door, and elderly women asked him about the cut on his chin. The pastor replied, “I was so concentrating on my sermon that I accidentally cut myself shaving.” The woman responded, “Pastor, next week, concentrate on your shaving and cut the sermon!” The woman unfortunately expresses the sentiment of many churchgoers in churches today. Many do not understand the importance of preaching and teaching the Word of God to life.

Paul while in Troas, met with the church on their Sunday gathering, the first day of the week (v7). This meeting was probably in the evening for, in the biblical world, parishioners would meet for worship early in the morning, work all day as Sunday was a workday, and then re-gather in the evening for a meal, communion, and worship. Paul took this opportunity to teach and preach to the gathering. His speaking went on to midnight (v7) and beyond (v9). During this time, a young man named Eutychus, who was sitting in a window, fell out of the window asleep.

We can look at this incident metaphorically and in doing so, we have a warning. It is dangerous to fall asleep when the word of God is preached. Eutychus fell into a deep sleep as Paul spoke and this resulted in his fall out of a window which resulted in his death. We must wonder, how many so-called believers are dying spiritually because they distance themselves from solid preaching and teaching of the Word?

Many never hear the proclamation of God’s Word on Sunday morning, as they are perhaps conveniently serving in various church ministries that keep them from the time of the sermon. Others miss the proclamation of the Word due to a preoccupation with other things; they sit with their minds elsewhere, thinking about things outside of the church. Some are fiddling with their smart-phones and not paying attention. Others are too tired to hear or focus upon the message due to a lack of sleep. Still others take a hit or miss approach sitting under the preaching and teaching of the Bible. Such so-called believers are spiritually starving to death. They are falling out of the third story window to certain peril.

After Eutychus falls to his death, the Lord uses Paul to raise him up again (v10). After this, Paul continues to speak with the group, including Eutychus, until sunrise. I venture to say that no one else fell asleep. Similarly, God will by grace raise back up those who have distanced themselves from the teaching and preaching of the word of God. Those who have been out of the Word can always get back. What is required? Two things are necessary, confession and commitment. First, confess the sin of not hungering for the word of God and He will cleanse you from this unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Second, recommit yourself to Christ and His word, yielding afresh to the indwelling Spirit (Galatians 5:16). When you do, you will find the nourishment of God’s Word, which is vital for life. Realize that man does “not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; from Deuteronomy 8:3).

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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