Passage: Acts 19
v1-10 - Paul returns to Ephesus just as fellow apostle Apollos had left. Paul meets a dozen new believers and asks them a question that seems odd to us: "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed (v2)"? Although it's true that a person can't believe without the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life, we also must distinguish between two steps of conversion. These dozen disciples had completed the first step: they'd repented of their sins (which is what John the Baptist preached). But they'd not yet completed the second step. Repenting is often compared to "putting of one's old self," but the next step is the "putting on the new self," that is, living in a way that's filled with the Holy Spirit. Notice in v8-10 how Paul helps these Ephesians: although for some people this is an instant process, for most it takes time and hard work: three months of 'bold speaking' in the synagogue and daily discussions in the lecture hall. We get some insight as to what Paul taught them about the old & new self in Ephesians 4:22-24.
v11-20 - This passage tells of miraculous healings and exorcisms, including one that didn't go so well for seven brothers.
v21-41 - When "the Way (v23)" began to deflate the massively lucrative sorcery and idolatry business (the scrolls burned in v19 were worth $5M+), the business community whips the ever pliable crowd into a frenzy.
Old Testament Reference -
Psalm 143 nicely demonstrates the two steps of conversion: putting off our old selves and putting on our new selves in the Spirit.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions. For every comment or reply you post, you will receive an entry for this month's prize: Gift certificate from Seed & Stem 12:27
How does v32 describe the world we live in today?
How is the hard work of 'putting on your new self' described in v8-10 so different from what most people expect it to be?
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our great and sovereign Lord, whose greatness exceeds our knowledge
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will strengthen and equip you to do the hard work of putting on your new self in His Spirit (v8-10)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
We're looking forward to celebrating Communion on Feb 7 at Worthington Christian Reformed Church. As you prepare, consider these words from theologian Herman Bavinck:
First we are to consider by ourselves our sins and the curse due unto them, to the end that we may humble ourselves before God...
Secondly, we are to examine our own hearts to see whether we believe this faithful promise of God:
that all our sins are forgiven us,
only for the sake of the passion and death of Jesus Christ
and that the perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed [put into us] and freely given unto us as our own.
Finally, we are to examine our own conscience whether we desire to show true thankfulness to God in our whole life, and to walk uprightly before him.