It's nice to share this message with you today as I believe that God has more of himself and his kingdom to give than we often receive.
In Acts 19, God has directed Paul to Ephesus, one of the most "sophisticated" cities of Biblical times. There were many who dabbled in one form of spirituality or another. There was a thriving Jewish synagogue, too. But God had plans to bless those who would listen and respond to the Gospel.
In order to get their attention, though, God ratcheted up his witness through Paul by increasing His power. You will hear how God does this and the results...but they are wonderful.
My wish and prayer for the church, today, is that we would believe God for this kind of transformative power. Especially in the mainline denominations, we have lots of "power loss" because we do not believe.
So may God bless you as you respond to Holy Spirit's moving in your heart. He is able to do so much more than we ask! God bless, Kirk McCormick
2 Premises about God’s Power:
Premise 1 - Power is a means to the end called evangelism = Sharing the Gospel of Jesus.
Premise 2 - Power is given in proportion to the task at hand.
Acts 1:8 - “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to theends of the earth.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 - God said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Acts 19:11, 12 - “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.”
1. When it comes to God’s Power, what about the… Obstinate
Acts 19:8-9 - “Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way.”
Jesus in Matthew 7:6 - “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs!” (NLT)
Point: When it comes to the Obstinate -
1. We try…until God frees us to move on…
2. God allows us to move on…
3. …but then we remain available should the person have a change of heart.
2. When it comes to God’s Power, what about the…Pretenders
** Jesus warned us
Matthew 24:24 - “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.”
Trans: In our passage, Paul was surrounded by these pretenders…
Acts 19:13 - “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed.”
Acts 19:15, 16 - One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
Point: When it comes to the Pretenders…
1. They will be made known
2. They will NOT be blessed by the Lord, ultimately.
3. So we continue in the work God puts before us without compromising his Word even though they may.
3. When it comes to God’s Power, what about the… Competition
Philippians 2:10-11 - “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Note: Pharaoh discovered he was no competition for God…
Exodus 9:14 - “…or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you…so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth.”
** Many in Ephesus, having seen the extraordinary power of God and believed -
Acts 19:18 - “Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds.”
Point: So what are we to do When it comes to the Pretenders?
1. Remain faithful to our daily witness for Jesus.
2. We let God separate those who will come to faith and those who never will.