Alexander Whyte, the great preacher of Biblical character notes: “This Eutychus is the father of all such as fall asleep during sermons.” Eutychus will become the focus of Luke’s Easter service. If you are a preacher reading this, be encouraged. They fell asleep even under Paul’s preaching.
From our last study, we learned that because of the resurrection of Christ the people of God made the monumental change from worshiping on Saturday to Sunday. So when we meet on Sundays because of the Resurrection of Jesus what do we do?
1. We take offerings. This is Paul’s instruction in 1 Cor 16:1-5. He writes 1 Corinthians while at Ephesus. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-5, Paul refers to the church meeting on “the first day of the week” and receiving a love offering for the poor suffering believers at Jerusalem and of his plans to visit the Corinthians when he travels to Macedonian.
Jesus gave His life for us on the cross, and as Paul will elaborated on in 2 Cor 8-9, if we have received that unspeakable gift, we give when we come to church because we love God.
2. We worship God and Christ. The early church probably observed the church ordinances more often that we do according to 1 Cor. 11:24-26. This was a major reason these believers met on this Lord’s day according to Acts 20:7: They met “to break bread.” We practice the ordinances because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
a) The Lord’s Supper celebrates again what Easter is all about, Jesus dying for our sins. The broken bread symbolizes Jesus’ broken body on the tree. The fruit of the vine symbolizes His shed blood for the remission of sins.
b) Baptism by immersion reminds that after His resurrection. He was buried and three days later, He arose. Baptism by immersion pictures the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
3. We preach God’s Word. Luke really puts his narration in slow motion here. Now Luke doesn’t just focus on one Easter church service but on one church member at this Easter service. If you have watched a televised church service, the cameraman zooms in occasionally on one person in the congregation. The cameraman tries to focus on someone really listening to the preacher. Had this service at Troas been televised, the cameraman would not have drawn attention to the character Luke is about to focus on.
Notice, Paul preached until 12 o’clock midnight not 12 o’clock midday. The reason is because Sunday was not a holiday as it is today. The pagan Roman Empire did not allow believers off on Sunday to go to church. Believers, like all other Roman citizens had to work on Sunday. So probably all the people at this Easter service had put in a hard days work before coming to the evening service at 6 or 7 pm.
They did not have an Easter sunrise service they had an Easter sunset service. Again, so much for church tradition.
The one believer that Luke focuses on was named Eutychus. This was a common name for a slave. Eutychus had evidently put in a full day’s labor as a slave and rushed home, cleaned up and hurried to church.
Luke informs us about the atmosphere of this Easter service. Because it was late at night, torches were burning to supply light. But torches also suck up the oxygen. So it is midnight, Eutychus is tried from literally slaving all day at work, it is hot and stuffy in the service. He is sitting in the open window to feel a breeze and get some fresh air. He is fighting sleep. Luke records Eutychus’s battle in Acts 20:9: “Eutychus being fallen into a deep sleep, and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep.”
He is fighting, but Eutychus loses the battle and also his balance and falls three stories to his death. Dr. Luke gives his professional medical report in Acts 20:9: “dead.”
Paul rushes down three flights of stairs and much like Elijah in 1 Kings 17:21 with the dead son of the widow of Zarephath, Paul falls on Eutychus and embraces him. With this action, Paul raises Eutychus back to life from the dead in Acts 20:10.
Charles Spurgeon in a sermon on this Easter incident warned, “Remember, if we go to sleep during the sermon and die there are no apostles to restore us.”
When we preach God’s Word today an even greater resurrection can take place, a resurrection from spiritual death. Paul describes every unsaved person as “dead in trespasses and sins” in Ephesians 2:1. When we hear the Word of God which is living and powerful and receive Christ as our Savior, God quickens us or makes us alive.
Listen to the promise of Jesus in John 14:19: “Because I live, you shall live also.”
After raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus proclaimed, “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).
1. Eutychus fell from the third floor and died. You and I fell in Adam and also died. “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).
2. Eutychus needed life but could do nothing to get life. Dead people cannot produce life. God gives us eternal life when we trust Christ as our Savior. “I give unto them eternal life” Jesus said.
3. Eutychus raised back to life lived his new life for Christ. Acts 20:11 says they “talked” until the break of day. This is the same word used to describe the conversation Jesus had with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus where they talked of Jesus’ death and resurrection and the entire Old Testament. This must have been a great time of fellowship that Paul had with Eutychus and all the believers that evening.
I got saved on a Sunday evening. And the next several evenings I met with believers who were in that blessed service and all we talked about was how God blessed us with salvation. God changed our vocabulary and the subject of our conversation.
When we trust Christ, we walk in newness of life. There will be living proof of the resurrection for others to see in us.