by Steve Hulshizer
Eutychus is certainly not a name that is often thought of when names are being considered
for a new son. Neither is he an individual that is often discussed at the mid-week Bible
study. There are no books written of his life, and seldom do we hear a sermon concerning
We only read of this young man in one verse of Scripture. In Act 20:9 we read, “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.”In the following verse we are told that Paul embraced him and
he was revived.
While this brief incident is the only mention of Eutychus in Scripture, there is a very
important and practical truth that is illustrated by this story.
In order to learn this truth we might begin by asking ourselves the question, “Why
did Eutychus fall from the window?” Our immediate answer would be, “Because he
fell asleep.” More often than not, when this story is considered the blame is placed
on the preacher. He was sleepy and Paul’s “long preaching” caused him to sink
into deep sleep and he fell.
It is not uncommon today among the saints to hear comments such as; the message was too
long, the message was boring, the message was irrelevant, etc. Unfortunately in some cases
that may be a problem. However, I doubt whether the Apostle Paul was boring, or that the
message was irrelevant. The blame for Eutychus’ fall could not be placed on the preacher.
In reality the reason he fell from the window was not because he fell asleep, nor because
of Paul’s preaching. He fell from the window because he was sitting on the edge! If he had
not been sitting on the window edge he would not have fallen from it. It was his position
that led to his “downfall.” If he had been seated among the saints his sleep
would not have caused the fall.
From this simple story we can see why saints “fall” back into the world. Many
times it is because they are living on the edge! Too often believers will attempt to live
as close as possible to the world without being a part of it. They attempt to walk a fine
line between Christianity and the world. In this position, it only takes a little sleep
and one finds himself falling right back into the world.
How close are you walking to the world? Is it your practice as a Christian to get as close
to the world as possible without being spotted (James 1:27)? Is your music like the
world’s, but with different labels? Do you attend the same movie theaters as they would,
but only go to the movies that “aren’t bad”? Do you dress like the world, but
just a little less revealing or suggestive? Are your priorities similar to those of the
world? Does your career take priority over Biblical principles? Are your friends also
those who live near the edge of the world (Prov. 13:20)? Is your attendance at the
assembly similar to the world’s attendance at “church?’ Do you read worldly
magazines? Is you language “close” to the world’s? Do you laugh at the world’s
off-colored jokes? Is your “thinking” like that of the unsaved world? Are the
world’s standards your standards (James 4:4)?
One of the easiest ways of determining if you are living on the edge of the world is to
consider this question. ‘On what basis do you determine if you should go to a certain
place, do a certain activity, or listen to certain music, etc.?” If you find yourself
saying, “There is nothing wrong with this,” then you are most likely walking
very close to, if not in the world.
In Philippians 1:9-10 we read Paul’s prayer for the saints. “And this I pray, that
your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement; that ye may
approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day
Paul prayed that the saints’ love would grow in knowledge and discernment. Love that
overflows these two boundaries can be as harmful as a river that overflows its banks. His
desire is that they “approve,” test and go in for, those things that are
excellent, or “better.” (1 Thess. 5:21) All of this is in view of the Judgment
Seat of Christ (Day of Christ), at which each saint will need to give an account for the
deeds done in the body. (2 Cor. 5: 10)
As believers we should be “testing” things in light of the Judgment Seat of
Christ, and going in for those things which are “better.” Our test is not,
“Is there anything wrong with this?” Our test should be, “Is this the
best?” Is this the best book I can read? Is this movie the best thing I can watch? Is
this the best place to go? Is this better for me than being at the assembly? Is this the
best friend with respect to my spiritual growth? Is this the best bathing suit to wear? Is
this the best language I can use? It is not only a question of whether the Lord will be
“displeased,” but whether He will be displeased.” (I Thess 4: lb) If we
evaluate our activities from this perspective we will find ourselves moving further away
from the edge.
It may be helpful to distinguish between “worldliness” and “sin.” A
sin, as we know, is an act that is contrary to the will of God. On the other hand,
worldliness could be defined as an attitude toward the things of the world (Phil. 3:19; 1
John 2:15). The Lord not only wants the believer to be righteous, but also to be
“holy” (I Pet. 1: 15-16). We are to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. Our
thinking is not to be “conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of
our minds” (Rom. 12:2).
Going back to the story of Eutychus we can see that living on the edge is very dangerous.
One need not slip very far to suffer great harm. Scripture over and over again exhorts the
saints to be awake and alert. Those who are often “sleepy” live on the edge.
Those who are alert and aware of the danger “approve things that are better.”
How close are you to the edge?