An Apostolic Understanding – Part Fifty-Eight

We are looking at the regional apostolic center in the city of Ephesus…

As we look at Acts 19, there are several things we need to notice

1> Paul began with those who were hungry

Acts 19:1-6 as we saw earlier …

Paul located some disciples of John and brought them into the fullness of the Gospel of of the Kingdom. They went from hungry for truth and seekers to born again, baptized in the Holy Spirit, empowered believers. From pagans to prophesying in one afternoon. These men would then form Paul’s prayer and financial base for the work he was called to do there as well as the initial “workers in the harvest field”

2> We see that Paul then continued his work in the synagogue

Acts 19:8 states, “He entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the Kingdom of God.”

Again, he went to the place where people might be open to the Gospel. In the synagogue he would find Jewish people who believed in the Living God and who might be open to hearing the Good News that the long awaited Messiah had come. It was a very practical place to share his message as in the synagogue he would find people who already had some knowledge of the true God

The pagan Greeks had no idea what God was like. They did not know that there was a holy, righteous, all-powerful God who created the universe. Greek gods were more like human beings with superpowers, and many of them were morally depraved. If you went up to a Greek pagan and started talking about God, their first question would be, “Which one?”

But God had spent 2000 years teaching the Jews what He was like. They were prepared to receive the good news. When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming, he didn’t have to spend two hours explaining who the Messiah was and what His sacrifice would mean. He just said, “Behold the Lamb of God.”. The crowd knew what he meant. Because of this, Paul established his new work in the synagogue as soon as possible. For three months he talked with them and many responded

The Church in Ephesus was established

3> Next, Paul started a training center

In Jerusalem the apostles had begun with a season of intensive training and teaching. The same thing happened in the city of Antioch

“Acts 11:25-26 “So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.”

In Acts 19, we see that pattern again.

For a period of two years, Paul taught the disciples daily at the School of Tyranus (Acts 19:9-10). As the saints were discipled, trained, and equipped they were able to move out and minister in power. Average, ordinary, Christians began doing the works of Jesus as Jesus said they would (John 14:12)

Acts 19:11 says, “God was performing extraordinary miracles.” Not just “ordinary miracles” but super, extraordinary miracles of note!

Then an even took place that shook the city of Ephesus

The magicians of Ephesus heard that people were finding deliverance from demonic oppression through the church, and decided to check it out. They observed that Christians used the Name of Jesus to heal and deliver, so some of the famous Ephesian magicians tried to use Jesus’ name as an incantation to drive out a demon. “In the Name of Jesus whom Paul preached, I command you to come out.” The evil spirit, speaking through the demonized man replied, “I recognize Jesus, and I know who Paul is, but who are you?” Then the demonized man leaped on them and overpowered them. They fled from the house naked and wounded. We are told that word of this incident quickly spread through the city

Acts 19:17 tells us, “Great fear came upon them all.”

The result was that, “Many who practiced magic brought their books and began burning them in the sight of everyone” (Acts 19:19)

What was happening?

The Ephesian magicians saw that the Christians in Ephesus had something more powerful than anything they possessed, so they repented and turned from their magic

As a result, “The Word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.”

In other words, the Gospel went viral

“Going viral” is a phrase used in internet marketing. When people get excited about a product today, they share with their friends through social media. Those friends then share it with their friends, who share it with their friends. When this takes place, huge numbers of people can be affected in a very short time.