Aug 9, 2017
WOFCF Bible Explosion
Evangelism, Empowering and Equipping (Acts 19:1-10) – Part 2 of 2
On 26 July, we have discussed how Apostle Paul established the church in Ephesus. At that time, this city contained about 200,000 people and known as a center for magic arts. Ephesus also contained a temple that was the largest building in the world at that time and known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. God opened the door for Paul into this stronghold of Satan, so that the church was established and “the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing” (19:20). In fact, “all who lived in Asia [western Turkey] heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks” (19:10). There must be evangelizing, empowering, and equipping. The church must be preaching the gospel, it must be empowered through God’s Spirit, and spiritual leaders must be equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. All three were happening in Ephesus.
Point #1 Those who have received the Spirit through faith in Christ must learn to walk in the Spirit’s power
Walking in the Spirit’s power is not an automatic process. If it were, Paul would not have commanded us to walk in the Spirit () and be filled with the Spirit (). Sadly, there are many who profess to know Christ, but their daily lives are more characterized by the deeds of the flesh than by the fruit of the Spirit. We could well ask them Paul’s question here, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” If you did, why aren’t you walking in the power of the Spirit, so that He transforms your character and behavior to conform to Jesus Christ? Especially our families, but also those who know us, should be able to see evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. If they cannot, we need to make sure that we trust in Christ by faith, and we need to make it our priority to walk daily in the Spirit’s power.
Point #2 To establish and extend the church, there must be equipping
When Paul finally ran into stiff opposition in the synagogue, he withdrew with the disciples and reasoned daily in the school of Tyrannus. An early manuscript (probably not original) says that it was from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, when the city would have been taking a midday siesta (nap or sleep). The name Tyrannus means “tyrant,” and one commentator notes that since it is difficult (except in certain bleak moments of parenthood) to think of any parent naming his or her child “Tyrant,” this must have been a nickname given by the man’s students (Richard Longenecker, Expositor’s Bible Commentary). Paul would have worked at his trade in the morning hours () and then taught his students in this school building during the middle of the day. If he did teach for five hours every day for two years, it adds up to 1,500-1,800 hours of teaching, a substantial amount! The men who received the teaching went into the outlying areas and established churches, such as Epaphras did in Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis (). The result was that “all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord” ().
You can have evangelism and even empowering by God’s Spirit, but if there is no solid teaching, revival will go astray. Sound doctrine is the essential foundation for establishing solid churches. Paul later even warns these men, to whom he had declared the whole purpose of God, to be on guard against men from their own ranks who would speak perverse things, drawing away the disciples after them (20:27-30). In Paul’s final letters to the pastors, Timothy and Titus, he repeatedly emphasizes the need for sound doctrine (; -16, 23-26; 3:10, 14-17; 4:1-5, 15; -14; 2:1, 7-8, 15; 3:9).
In our day, doctrine is being set aside, and experience and emotions are exalted. But if experience and emotions are not rooted in sound doctrine, they will not be biblical and will not sustain us or keep us from serious error. To establish and extend the church so that it is a vital force in future generations, we must devote ourselves to the teaching of God’s Word.