Saturday, March 04, 2023

2023.03.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 19:8–20

Read Acts 19:8–20

Questions from the Scripture text: Where did Paul go in Acts 19:8? What did he do there? For how long? Concerning what? But what happened to some (Acts 19:9)? What didn’t they do? But what did they do before whom? Where did Paul go? Whom did he withdraw? Where did he reason? How often? How long did this continue (Acts 19:10)? With what result? Who did what by what means (Acts 19:11)? What are some examples of this (Acts 19:12)? Who tried to do the same (Acts 19:13)? Who were an instance of this (Acts 19:14)? How did the spirit answer (Acts 19:15)? And what did it do, with what result (Acts 19:16)? Who found out about this (Acts 19:17)? With what result to them? And what result to Jesus’s Name? What did many of whom do in Acts 19:18? And what did many others do in Acts 19:19? With what total value? And what ultimate outcome (Acts 19:20)?

What is the means by which God has appointed to do powerful spiritual work? Acts 19:8–20 looks forward to the morning sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God has appointed to do powerful spiritual work by means of His Word. 

This passage is an account of the establishing and growth of one of the great churches of the first century, and indeed of the first few centuries. In it, we see the means by which the Lord powerfully worked in it and through it, and the means by which the Lord attested to the power of His working.

Persistence in evangelistic wordsActs 19:8. Having had a favorable reception previously (cf. Acts 18:19–20), and having seen the Spirit inaugurate the church in Ephesus (Acts 19:7), Paul now  persists in the synagogue for three more months of speaking boldly, reasoning, and persuading (Acts 19:8). The kingdom of God is the kingdom of Christ, and he wishes to see all of these Jews bow the knee to the Son of David, Who is the Son of God. 

Persistence in discipling wordsActs 19:9-10. Although there are many disciples in the synagogue now, things become contentious when some of those who have been resistant go on the offensive and speak evil of “the Way” (Acts 19:9, cf. Acts 18:25, Acts 18:26; Acts 9:2). So the apostle separated the disciples out and used the hall of Tyrannus every day for more than two years to continue reasoning with them. The Western Greek texts add that he did this from 11am to 4pm, five hours every day! All in all, he ministered this way among them for three years (cf. Acts 20:31). 

The results are remarkable. These Christians he is persisting in discipling become like their teacher in their persistence in evangelism. “All who dwelt in Asia heard the Word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” All believers should desire to “fit” as much receiving of discipling instruction into their lives as possible.

God’s powerful attestation to the preaching, Acts 19:11–17. God attested to the truth of Paul’s words by displays of His own power. The miracles in Acts 19:11–12 remind us of what God did earlier, to attest the other apostles’ ministry (cf. Acts 5:12, Acts 5:15–16; cp. Mark 16:20; Acts 14:3; Hebrews 2:3–4). The Scripture plainly tells us that the healings were the Lord’s own attestation to His apostles and their preaching. This was well known even in the spiritual realm, with evil spirits suffering much defeat before Jesus and Paul (cf. Acts 19:15). And, as a true sign, it was not employable by others (Acts 19:13-14Acts 19:16); indeed, the failure of the sons of Sceva seems to have been a primary way by which “the Name of the Lord Jesus was magnified” (Acts 19:17)!

God’s powerful attestation to the hearingActs 19:18-20. Still, the true power was not merely the power by which God caused His Word to be preached, but also the power by which God caused His Word to be heard. There was real repentance of sin (Acts 19:18). Specific confessing and telling of specific sins, and the public abandoning of that sin, even at great cost (fifty thousand pieces of silver!, Acts 19:19).

God’s powerful attestation of the preaching today is its conformity to the whole counsel of God, which is now set down in the Scriptures (cf. Acts 20:20Acts 20:27). There is no longer need of those miraculous signs, only a need to continue heeding that which the apostles spoke and wrote (cf. Hebrews 2:1–4). The miraculous demonstration of hearing, however, continues. Those who are saved by grace through faith demonstrate that they are new creatures by walking in good works (cf. Ephesians 2:1–10). All believers should desire to give such evidence of the Lord’s work in them, unto the praise of their Lord and His grace.

What advantage are you taking of opportunity to be instructed in the Word? Whom are you telling the truth about Jesus? What evidence is there in your own life of a powerful work of the Lord?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your Spirit’s working powerfully in us by Your Word. Forgive us for not attending upon Your Word as much as we should or as eagerly as we should. Forgive us for the smallness of our desire to see Your work glorified in our repentance. Grant that we would, indeed, repent greatly, so that others may see that You have worked greatly, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH426 “How Vast the Benefits Divine”

No comments:

Post a Comment