The Effects of Believing the Word of God
October 2, 2022
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Background (Acts 19:20)
A. Paul is still in Ephesus
1. Part of a quick trip through Asia Minor (Turkey) before he travels to Jerusalem for Passover
2. We refer to this part of Paul’s travels as his THIRD missionary Journey
3. He will visit Ephesus many times on his evangelistic journeys – he loves the people there
4. Wrote the wonderful epistle (letter) to the Ephesian Christians, called the Book of Ephesians! A rich treasure of truths and practical instructions on living the Christian life!
B. He is about to experience…
C. A Revival - a Great Awakening! It is what WE need today in Cork!
1. Acts 19:20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
2. It proved to be superior over everything else! And brought LIFE to a city in darkness!
3. So, When you feel and think that all the darkness, all the stupid politics, all the religious abuses and cultural perversions are winning… remember that this Book, the very word of God will always prevail in the end!
A. Paul Emphasizes Discipleship (Acts 19:8)
1. Acts 19:8 And he [PAUL] went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
2. Discipleship persuades people concerning the Kingdom of God
a. The Kingdom of God is DIFFERENT than the kingdoms of this world
b. It is Different than all the cultures we come from – it is better!!!
c. It is the Gospel, and it begins with a new birth
d. When we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are receiving this eternal kingdom!
e. People have to be persuaded to let go of THIS world, and its kingdoms
3. Discipleship Takes Time
a. It takes time persuading people about the Gospel and the Christian life
b. These truths don’t just make perfect sense in 30 second sound bites
c. It takes TIME, answering questions, clearing up confusions, explaining things
d. Paul spent 3 months trying to convince people about sin, and God’s righteousness, and how to be saved from His coming wrath!
4. Discipleship is TEACHING
a. PREACHING can save a soul, but TEACHING the Bible is vital to changing the life
b. We have to have both!
c. The teaching part is called Discipleship
1) Passing on ALL that Jesus taught to every nation
2) Matthew 28:19,20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
3) That is a lot of stuff that needs to be taught to people!
4) The less you want to learn about Jesus, the more darkness you will struggle against, and the more bondage you will stay in
5. It means Mentoring people – influencing the life of someone for good with the Bible
a. Personal mentoring has been replaced with social media apps – it has consequences!
b. By-the-way, Mentoring / Discipleship is what WE do every Sunday, and Wednesday
6. It means Correcting people when they are NOT doing what Jesus said to do – Jesus taught people what was right to do, and corrected them when they weren’t doing it!
7. Discipleship is THE primary work of Christianity
a. Training people to BE like Jesus – in every way
b. It is what the First Century Church did constantly
1) Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
2) Acts 11:26 And when he [BARNABAS] had found him [PAUL], he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. DISCIPLESHIP MADE ‘CHRISTIANS’ OUT OF THE BELIEVERS!
3) 2Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. [DISCIPLESHIP]
8. I want everyone here to consider starting Disciplship class with me two weeks from now
B. Bible teaching is going to THRILL some people, and HARDEN others (Acts 19:9)
1. Acts 19:9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them,…
2. ‘Divers’ means MANY people were hardened, angry, and rejecting of the Gospel
3. Angry people stirred up yet another riot against Christians, and especially against the apostle Paul – it amazes me how this Bible upsets so many people!
4. Their threats drove Paul away – and don’t blame Paul for walking away
a. He often walked away from a fight, but he never quit preaching the Gospel
b. He just would go to another town or village or city – just like Jesus did
5. An opportunity opened to him at the school of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9) like a GIFT!
a. Acts 19:9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
b. A school opened its doors so that Paul could freely teach – the beginning of free speech
1) The disciples left the synagogue and gathered at this school to learn all Christ commanded
2) Paul taught there for TWO years! (Acts 19:10) And this continued by the space of two years...
3) By-the-way, that is how long it normally takes to complete MY discipleship course!
C. Bible Teaching influenced all of Asia Minor (Western Turkey) (Acts 19:10)
1. Acts 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
2. Think about it… The entire region heard the word of God! How?
a. By people learning the Scriptures – studying, testing, understanding
b. Talking about the Gospel – to everyone they met
c. Publicly living by the Scriptures – living different than the world
d. Taking the Gospel wherever they went – didn’t leave it at church or home
e. That is STILL the way to turn the world upside down! And for everyone to hear!
3. So… Pass on what you learn here today to everyone who will listen…
a. 2Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
D. Special Miracles by Paul (Acts 19:11,12)
1. Acts 19:11,12 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
2. THIS is the Scripture that Charismatics get the idea to sell “miraculous” napkins, handkerchiefs, aprons, prayer cloths, etc, that have been “anointed”, to unsuspecting people
3. Don’t think only televangelists abuse the word of God. Catholics do it with holy water too
4. But notice what is actually happening…
a. These were verifiable miracles – not just a “show” to put on TV
1) Actual HEALING of diseases – all the diseases were healed by Paul’s presence
2) The removal of demons from people’s lives – no easy thing
b. The miracles were done ONLY by Paul the Apostle – not by all the Christians! He was the only one who had healing power – because Christ gave it to the Apostles only
c. The miracles were for the benefit of the unbelieving Jews – to convince them of the truth of the New Testament – not for personal benefit
E. Vagabond Jews (Acts 19:§13,14)
1. Acts 19:13,14 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
2. These men were known as “Wandering Jews”
a. Wandering… Unsettled, always moving around, always changing what they believed
b. Kind of like a lot of people TODAY
1) Wandering from religion to religion, church to church, never settled
2) Believing something for a while, and then dropping out, and believing something else
3) Usually no family, no responsibilities
c. Not a good way to live
d. You need to be thorough enough to find out what is TRUE and stick with it
3. They were known as Exorcists
a. Dabbling in the occult – “playing with fire” so-to-speak
b. Only interested in Jesus superficially – to them Jesus was a novelty
c. Only wanted the power of His name for their own purposes, not the power of His name to save their souls!
4. Sceva was a chief Jewish priest of Ephesus - Very well educated man, very spiritual
5. Yet he had SEVEN sons that were vagabond Jews – never settled on any truth
a. They enjoyed toying with demons and evil spirits
b. Tried using the new name of “JESUS” that Paul had been preaching about
c. They had seen many demon-possesed people become free, and sane
6. So, They COMMANDED a devil to come out of a possessed man, using Jesus’ name
7. All harmless, right? Wrong!
F. The Evil Spirit Responds (Acts 19:15)
1. Acts 19:15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
2. WHAT A QUESTION!
3. Notice… The demon Respected the name of JESUS!
a. The demon was terrified of that name and its power over them!
b. Luke 4:33,34 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. [TERRIFIED]
4. He Respected Paul
a. Paul was well known by all the demons, for messing up Satan’s work in this world
b. So, If you mentioned the name Paul, demons stiffened up and feared
5. But this evil spirit did NOT know these seven “exorcists” – “But WHO are ye?”
a. The demon did not know them
b. Which is strange – that the devil does not know his own
c. But GOD knows those who are HIS! 2Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
6. He Beat-Up Seven Grown Men! (Like a modern super-villain movie)
a. Acts 19:16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
b. That ONE demon-possessed man beat up and humiliated SEVEN adult men at one time, wounding them and chasing them out of town!
7. So, DON’T mess with demonic powers, or spirits!
a. The one power that western Europeans have ignored is the power of evil spirits
1) Mark 5:1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
2) Mark 5:2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
3) Mark 5:3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: [SUPERNATURAL STRENGTH]
4) Mark 5:4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.
5) Mark 5:5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. [SUICIDAL]
b. Demonic powers include: Ouija boards, Tarot Cards, Fortune Tellers, new age meditations, hypnosis therapies, intense horror movies, Rock Music, Porn, and such like!
c. WHY do CHRISTIANS play with and toy with such darkness? All are doorways to hell!
G. Reaction of Ephesus (Acts 19:17-20) – Evidences of Revival – results of faith!
1. That demonic fight… (spiritual warfare) became well-known throughout the city of Ephesus and started a Revival!
2. Acts 19:17-20 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
3. Two different Reactions:
a. The first one was a Great Awakening (19:17-20)
b. The second one was Rioting (19:21-41)
c. This morning we will just look at the first reaction… Revival! (19:17-20)
4. It produced FEAR – which was a good thing!
a. The power of that one demon-possessed man terrified the entire city of Ephesus of what the devil could do – drove them to look to a greater power!
b. A healthy fear of the power of Satan is sometimes necessary to scare a soul to run to Christ – when people discover Satan is not a joke! And is a liar and a murderer!
c. And, The fear of God keeps us Christians on the straight and narrow (Acts 9:31)
1) Proverbs 16:6 …by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
2) Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
5. It caused people to start Honouring the name of Jesus – revered it, not blaspheming it
a. Acts 19:17 …the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
b. Magnigfied means make it BIGGER and ABOVE all other names of people and gods
c. Especially all the gods and goddesses of the world – too many to count!
6. It brought about true Repentance
a. Acts 19:18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.
b. People Publicly confessed their demonic secret sins that most everyone was involved in
c. And showed what they had been doing in secret – brought everything out into the open
d. Most of you have never been in a culture that had no Bible influence – it is terrifying!
7. The people Burned the bridges and doorways back to the devil
a. Acts 19:19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
b. Books were rare – all were hand copied – cost a fortune to buy and own
c. A large volume book would cost you several months full-time wages for ONE book!
d. But these books were books of spells, incantations, curious arts, magic
e. They were books about levitation, fertility, gods and goddesses, curses and powers
f. These new believers were repulsed by what they used to believe, and wanted NOTHING to do with those demonic influences – they knew KEEPING those books would always be a temptation to go back to them
g. So they voluntarily burned those books and anything that led them back into darkness
h. They were not forced – they did it all on their own!
i. 50,000 pieces of silver would equal about €100,000 in value – up in smoke! AMEN!
8. And the word of the Lord Jesus won!
a. Acts 19:20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
b. It proved to be more powerful than the devil, than fear, than sin, than the past
c. It proved to be superior over everything else!
d. And brought LIFE to a city in darkness!
e. So, When you feel and think that all the darkness, all the stupid politics, all the religious abuses and cultural perversions are winning… remember that this Book, the very word of God will always prevail in the end! Stay in it, reading and following it!
III. Next Week, We Will Learn About the OTHER Reaction of Ephesus - Rioting
A. Without a great awakening of people here in Cork, the devil will stay in control of the city and people that we and the Lord Jesus loves and wants to set free
1. What will it take to have a great awakening here, right now?
2. What will it take for YOU to wake up!
B. A Revival… a Great Awakening occurs when…
1. There is an emphasis on Discipleship
a. Teaching people this Book
b. Mentoring people – Correcting people when they are NOT doing what Jesus said to do
c. Training people to BE like Jesus
2. Beware… Bible Teaching is going to THRILL some people, and also HARDEN others.
3. Let’s work at influencing all of Cork and Munster! Bible Teaching influenced all of Asia Minor –So… Pass on what you learn here, today to everyone who will listen…
C. Don’t worry about Special Miracles – Paul is gone, but this Book is still here! And the greatest miracle is the humbling of a proud man before God
D. Vagabond “Christians” Abound – run from them! Stick with the the power of this Book!
E. The question is… Does the devil even know your name?
F. Does God? “Depart from me, I never knew you!”