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Acts #70 (chapter 19:8-10)

The Book of Acts

The Power of the Word, Part 1

Acts 19:8-10

 

In the next section of Acts 19, we come across an interesting passage in that it is the only place in the New Testament where the Bible references exorcism. And it is important to understand what happens here and what it has to do with what Jesus came to earth to accomplish.

 

But before we get tot hat part of the text, there are some other things to see here in this chapter, and we'll look at those tonight and let them sort of set the stage for what we find in the latter part of the passage.

 

verses 8-10

 

Paul is now on his third missionary journey, and a part of that trip leads him, once again to Ephesus. And as we saw last week, it is there he engages with the disciples of John the Baptist, and sees them saved and baptized.

 

missionary tour and again returns to Ephesus. Verse 1 of 19, we saw this in our last study of this chapter. "He came to Ephesus and found certain disciples" and you remember they were disciples of John the Baptist. He led them to Christ, they were saved, the church nucleus was begun.

 

And even though Ephesus was a tremendous place, Scripturally speaking, and serves as Paul's ministry base, there is also a tremendous presence of evil there.

It was in Ephesus that Paul was really confronted with this tremendous power of evil that was assembled against the Gospel. In fact, it was to the Ephesians that Paul wrote, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers against the rulers of the darkness of this world against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places or high places."

 

Now, it is worth noting what we read in

 

chapter 19:20

 

The beginning of what prompted that statement is found in

 

verse 8

 

Nothing new there. This is the custom of Paul. He goes to the synagogue and preaches the kingdom of God. Everything he did revolved around and centered in the Word of God. And the reason the ministry in Ephesus was so dramatic and so dynamic and so tremendous was because of the Word. Great works are always built on the Word of God.

 

And just keep in mind, where the Word dominates, Satan is defeated. And so it was in Ephesus. Notice what happens, and to help us see it, I will follow five points that I'll share with you tonight and next week that center on the Power of the Word.

 

The first point is

 

1. Proclamation

 

 

The Word was effective in Ephesus because it was proclaimed. Isn't that simple? Most things that have to do with the Gospel are.

 

The Word is powerful, but only if it's shared. The Word can't do anything unless somebody gives it, so that's what Paul does. What does verse 8 tell us?

 

verse 8

 

Now for Paul to stay anywhere 3 months is unusual, but that's what he does. And during those three months, he went to the synagogue and "spoke boldly".

 

That's one word in the Greek, and what it's telling us is he shared a message that was straightforward and to the point. It's the same word used to describe the message of Apollos in verse 26 of chapter 18.

 

These men boldly preached the gospel of salvation in none other than Jesus Christ. which he was doing the same thing, speaking boldly.

 

Now that sounds great and wonderful and a characteristic to be admired. But generally speaking, it creates problems. It certainly did for the early disciples who very often were beaten and imprisoned for their preaching.

 

But for three months, Paul is just firing away down at the synagogue. And lest you think he was preaching some kind of milk-toast, watered down, ear tickling message, notice, verse 8 says he was "reasoning and persuading" concerning the things of God.

 

He is dialoguing and arguing. He was trying to prove the things concerning the kingdom of God, and in particular, what they teach concerning Christ.

 

To teach the kingdom of God is to teach the things concerning Jesus Christ. The only way a man will ever be in the kingdom of God, the only way a man ever has entrance is through Christ. So to teach the kingdom of God does not mean he's giving eschatological insights into the future messianic reign on earth. It simply means he's teaching all the features of Christ and who He is and what He does.

 

So Paul starts out by teaching the Word. The Word about Christ. Apologetics, defense of the faith, and presenting of Christ.

 

And sure enough, the inevitable happens.

 

verse 9

 

"some were hardened and did not believe." Paul is preaching and sharing and debating and reasoning for three months, but day after day,t heir hearts grew more and more hard. Therefore, they became more and more resistant, until finally, their hearts are like rocks.

 

And not only did they refuse to believe, they put that hardness into action. They began to publicly speak evil of the Way. Literally, they cursed the Way. That should be in quotes. The Way was the name that was given Christianity. Because the Christians were always saying we're the way to God, we're the way to God. Have you ever heard that argument?

 

Oh I can't have Christianity, you say, there's the only way to God. We do say that and we say it because it's true and we speak the truth. It does no good to tell people error just to make them feel good. It is true. Christianity is the way. Jesus said so! And Paul is boldly making that claim.

 

So these whose hearts are hardened, stand up in the public square and begin to curse Christianity. Now understand, these were Jews from the local synagogue.

 

Well Paul found it impossible to teach under those circumstances, so he departed from there and took the disciples and his argument to the school of a man named Tyrannus. How would you like to have a teacher named "The Tyrant"? I don't know if he was named by his mother or by his students.

 

So here was Tyrannus and whatever he was teaching, people were coming. But the school facility was available for some time during the day. Now let me add a note that's very interesting. There's an ancient Greek manuscript that adds the fact that Paul taught in this hall of Tyrannus from the 5th to the 10th hour. Now that would be from 11:00am to 4:00pm. That's five hours. And notice, the text says he did it every day.

 

And verse 10 says he did that for two years! So if the Greek manuscript is correct, Paul taught in the school of Tyrannus for five hours a day, every day, , seven days a week for two years!

 

Now cities like Ephesus had an interesting schedule. Everybody worked until 11 in the morning, then stopped and started again at four in the afternoon. That did that because of the oppressive mid-day heat. So from 11 to four was siesta time. In fact one historical writer says there were more people awake in Ephesus at 1:00 am then there are at 1:00 pm. Why? Because they'd go from 11, they'd try to go to sleep and sleep through the heat until four, get up and finish the work the rest of the day.

 

So chances are good that Tyrannus would teach in his school during the morning hours, take the customary rest, and perhaps teach a little in the evening and the time period that was available for Paul and the Christians was when everybody else was asleep from 11 to four.

 

So apparently Paul just moved in from 11 to four and gave 365 five hour sermons for two straight years! What does that tell us? Well, obviously, it tells us something about the commitment of Paul. Because anyone who's ever taught or preached, knows it's work if you do it right!

 

But it also says something for the tremendous commitment of the Christians. Can you imagine sacrificing sleep for five hour sermons? I know people who can't last for thirty minutes without sleep!

 

That was dedication, wasn't it? You think they were hungry to hear what he had to say? I often wonder to myself how difficult it is for some people to manage to get out one hour a week.

 

SHould not the people of God desire to study and learn and be involved in gathering with fellow believers to dig into God's Word?

It seems to me the primary problem of the modern church is a desire problem. They had such a hunger! And here was Paul, making tents 'til 11, teach 'til four, make tents 'til eight and teach 'til two. Or one in the morning or whatever. Night and day. Teaching, teaching, teaching. And it all totaled up for three years. No wonder when he got all done, took a deep breath, chapter 20, verse 27 he says, "I have not failed to declare unto you the whole counsel of God and left."

 

You want to know why Ephesus was the influential city that it was? It was what it was because one man saturated those people with the Word of God. ANd notice what happened as a result:

 

Verse 10

 

Let me point out something from that verse and we'll be through. Because of the continued, dedicated teaching of Paul in Ephesus, the gospel spread all over Asia. That is exciting in and of itself. But think about this:

 

All seven of the churches that are referenced in chapters 2 and 3 of the Revelation were most likely founded during those two years. And the whole of Asia Minor was evangelized to the point where at least six other churches began. That means that virtually everybody from one end of Asia Minor to the other would have had the opportunity to hear the Word of the Lord Jesus.

 

That tells me the most effective way to do evangelism is not to do evangelism, but instead, teach the Word of God, make disciples and then they'll reproduce!

Paul invested his time and energy into teaching the Word of God, and in the process, the whole area of Asia Minor was exposed to the Gospel.

 

What is it that makes a difference in our homes and churches and communities and nations and the world? Teaching the Word. That defeats the devil in every point. At the point of false doctrine, at the point of temptation. At every point. Satan is defeated. The scene is set in verses 8 to 10. The defeat comes in the following verses and we'll look at those next time.

 

Let's pray.

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