Acts 20 Lesson


In the Great Commission, Jesus said:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Mathew 28:19-20.

He commanded us to make disciples of all nations. But how do we do that?

Clearly taking the gospel to ALL nations is a task too large for any individual. Yet, that is what Jesus asked us to do. So where should we start?

One of the most important takeaways we can learn from the book of Acts is to, “Fish where the fish are.” In other words, we are to evangelize where people are most receptive to the message.

Sadly, many people are not going to be receptive to hearing the Gospel. Jesus talked about this in His Sermon on the Mount:

And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and  as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.He who has ears, let him hear.” – Mathew 13:3-9.

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he]falls away.And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” – Mathew 13:19:23.

For more on what the Bible has to say about planting seeds, click on the link below.

Virtual Bible Study's Discussion Forum on Planting Seeds

When people are not receptive to the message, we have two choices:

  1. Try to force the issue by continuing to evangelize to an unreceptive audience.
  2. Move on to another audience in the hopes they will be more receptive.

Paul’s example, and Jesus’ own words, teach us that option #2 is the right decision to make.

When Paul and the other disciples met up with unreceptive audiences, they moved on in search of more receptive people.

“But they shook off the dust of their feet  in protest  against them and went to Iconium. ” – Acts 13:51.

Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. ” – Mathew 10:14.

Conversely, when Paul met up with receptive audiences, he would invest more time with them. In Acts 20, Paul prolonged his message until midnight. 

“On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.” – Acts 20:7. 

It is interesting to see the flexibility that Paul had depending on the situation.  He “Fished where the fish are,” and moved on from places where the message was not received.

Sometimes, we can spend too much time pursuing something that God is not blessing.  Reading Acts gives us pause to stop and think if our time may be better spent elsewhere.

As we take the message of Jesus to the world, we need to pay attention and make sure that we are, “Fishing where the fish are.”

Thank you for studying with us today!  Please join us again tomorrow as we look at Acts 21.  We will be studying about being strong and courageous, like Paul. May God’s blessings be upon you until then.  Amen



It is very helpful to see that Paul did not keep planting seeds in un-receptive soil. There are only so many hours in a day. If our time and energy serves God better elsewhere, we too might consider moving on to more fertile soil.


I think the best way to let our light shine and glorify God is through our actions. People notice what we do, what we don't do, as well as what we say and what we don't say. As the old saying goes, "I'd rather see a sermon than here one anyday."