Paul in Ephesus
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.
And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. (ESV)
- John’s baptism
This can be one of the most confusing texts in all of Acts. But it doesn’t need to be. John’s baptism was a baptism of preparation (Matthew 3:1-3). It marked turning from past sins toward the Christ who was to come. However, baptism in Acts is baptism into Christ and his Church (Romans 6:3, Ephesians 4:4-5). It wasn’t about what God was about to do, but rather about what he had already done through Christ. Now, because of Jesus, our atoning sacrifice, we can receive the gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:31-33).
- Speaking boldly
Luke refers to the Apostles and the Church as speaking boldly numerous times throughout Acts. It’s one of his favorite adjectives to describe their preaching. It emphasizes the confidence, clarity, and conviction of the speakers. They knew what they believed and understood why it mattered. They were willing to pay the price for their boldness, as they often did. But regardless of the outcome, they would not be silenced or discouraged.
- Protecting the flock
It was Paul’s regular practice to reason with Jews in the synagogue about Jesus and his Kingdom wherever he went. Some were convinced, but others remained skeptical. However, in this text, the situation became unhealthy as skeptics began speaking evil of the believers. In an effort to protect the flock, Paul removed himself and his converts from the synagogue and found another place to gather for instruction. Though the attacks would have been nothing new for Paul, they would have created an unnecessary burden for the new believers.
- Why is baptism so important? Have you been baptized? Why or why not? How is John’s baptism different from other baptisms recorded in Acts?
- Talking about your faith can be intimidating, especially in a culture that is increasingly hostile to Christianity. How can you grow in clarity and confidence around sharing your faith?
- Do you think Paul was right to remove himself and his converts from the synagogue? What principles might you take away from his decision?
Call to Worship
Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD!
I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!
For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,
and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
for I am your servant. (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
Almighty and most merciful Father, we have strayed from your ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the desires of our own hearts. We have offended against your holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done. O Lord, have mercy on us! Spare those who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent, according to your promises declared to us in Christ Jesus our Lord. And for his sake, O merciful Father, grant that we may hereafter live a godly and righteous life, to the glory of your holy Name. Amen.
Heavenly Father, Paul spoke boldly and reasoned with people about your Kingdom. Your word says that all the residents of Asia heard your word.
Father, we ask that your grace and favor be upon us to speak boldly about your kingdom to people in our community.
Let us not trust in our ability to speak or have the answers, but trust in your faithfulness to reveal yourself as Lord over all.
Father, put us in situations and circumstances that we can declare your glory to others.
Holy Spirit, provoke us to recall the Holy Scriptures and put words in our mouth to declare the majesty of Christ to others.
We ask that you use all of us at Coram Deo, from our little children to our great grandparents, to tell the people of Kitsap county about the Savior Jesus Christ.
May this be a unique season of salvation to come to our neighbors and by your grace and for your glory, may we participate with you in ushering in your Kingdom.
We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources are tools for families to use to help connect Sunday’s sermon to the rest of your week, fostering conversations and habits of worship.