Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Acts 18:23 - 21:15

Acts 18:23-19:10 – Teachable  

How much access does God have to your heart?  Paul gave God full access to his heart, mind and life.  He had a heart for evangelism and discipleship.  He began his third missionary journey to Galatia and Phrygia.  His goal was to strengthen all the disciples.  Who do you need to strengthen?  While there a Jew named Apollos came to Ephesus.  Apollos was very knowledgeable of scriptures and spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, although he knew only the baptism of John.  Priscilla and Aquila heard him and invited him to their home.  There they explained to him the way of God more adequately.  Being inspired and encouraged by them, Apollos went to Achaia to help prove the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:1-12; 3:4-6, 16:2 tell there was a division in the church.  Apollos was so good at convincing people that he developed a following.  Some followed Apollos, some Paul, and some Peter – instead of Jesus.  Paul warns the Corinthians and appeals to them that they all agree and be united in Christ.

Paul went to Ephesus and saw something was missing with some of the disciples.  They didn’t know the rest of story about Jesus.  They had not been born-again and baptized by the Holy Spirit.  Paul re-baptized them.  The Holy Spirit comes one time only and never leaves us.  Baptism is just an outward sign of an inward conversion.

God’s word transforms a teachable heart.

How teachable are you? They were open to new truths about God.  The Bible is timeless truth.  We can’t help others go any further in their faith, if we haven’t gone further.  Are you willing to invest in someone else?  Maybe they know a little, but need to know more.  It could change the course of their life.

Acts 19:11-41 – Sacrificial

Paul taught in Ephesus boldly in the synagogue for three months.  Some refused to believe so he left and went to Asia.  Paul was empowered to heal and performed miracles in the name of Jesus.  When the people in Ephesus heard, many then believed.

Some of the Jews tried to drive out evil spirits in the name of Jesus.  One was Sceva, a Jewish chief priest.  An evil spirit said to him, “Jesus I know and I know Paul, but who are you?”  Then the man with the evil spirits jumped on them all and gave them a beating. This shows us that we should not mess around with evil or the occult.  We can’t drive out evil spirits without Jesus. 
Only Jesus has the power to drive out demons.  Paul demonstrated God’s power right in the middle of Satan’s mists.  Satan’s uses counterfeit acts and he knows the unsaved don’t know the difference.  When this became known in Ephesus, the people were fearful and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.  Many who believed and confessed their evil deeds openly.

What do you have that you need to confess?

A silversmith named Demetrius who made idols called the other silversmiths together.  He was concerned that Paul’s teachings would convince people to not worship the idols they made and of course they would lose money.  He told them that Paul said they were no gods at all and that Artemis, Greek goddess of fertility would be discredited and people would be robbed of her divine majesty.  Most of the people assembled together didn’t even know why they were there (Acts 19:32).  When they heard this, there was a riot.  People even today like getting involved in protests.  It’s entertaining and it’s something to do.

A teachable heart will sacrificially obey God’s word.

When evil clashes with good, God always wins.  What do you need to sacrificially do to live up to God’s word?  God knows your secrets and so does Satan.  Sometimes it’s not easy to recognize idols today.  They could be an idea, an organization, pleasure, work, ministry, family, etc.  It’s anything you focus and count on instead of God.  If you need to be secretive about it, it’s an idol.  A teachable heart will obey God even at a great sacrifice.

Acts 20:1-12 – Attentive

Paul traveled to Troas where he preached and taught up into the night.  A man named Eutychus was on the 3rd floor window seat listening to Paul and fell sound asleep and fell to the ground dead.  Paul rushed to him and God allowed him to resurrect Eutychus.  Eutychus means fortunate.  The people probably thought now Paul is for real and trusted him.  This solidified Paul’s authority. 

 A teachable heart lives attentive to God’s people and God’s word.

Paul was attentive to God’s people.  How are you to people around you who are hurting - to their hearts?  How prepared are you to hear God’s voice or Word?  What will you do to make time with your creator?  What are you ready to put aside – cell phone, computer, household chores?    You know what needs to be removed so you can concentrate when spending time in His Word. 

Where do you sit in church? 
Do you sit in the back so you can get out quickly or up front so you won’t be distracted? 

Acts 20:13-21:15   Compelled

Paul describes his ministry and told he served the Lord with great humility and with tears.  He knew hard days were ahead, but he walked toward them.   The Holy Spirit warned him of the hardships to come.  He knew he may not ever see them again so he gives instructions and warnings to the elders.  They are responsible to keep watch over the church and be on guard.  A pastor’s roll is to fed the flock and teach the scripture.  If not people won’t change.  So many have been taught by savage wolves.  These wolves get started in the church.  People don’t know it’s not the truth.  So stay alert and remember God’s Word.  God’s Word is our tool to live by. They are to work hard and help the weak.  “It it more blessed to give than to receive.”(Acts 20:35)

Paul was compelled to go back to Jerusalem.  Remember Jerusalem is where Stephen was stoned and Paul was there helping stone him.  Now here is Paul back there again.

A teachable heart lives compelled by God’s Spirit and truth for His purposes.  

We get courage by getting in the game not sitting on the bench.  Paul was compelled by God’s Spirit and gave Him complete access.  Are you living compelled by this world or God’s Spirit?  Paul’s school of suffering has changed many lives.

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