CENTRAL TRUTH: Genuine revival comes through the work of the Holy Spirit.
MEMORY VERSE: “Our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.” _____ 1 Thessalonians 1:5.
LESSON TEXT: Acts 19:1-21
- While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples
- And asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when[a]you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
- So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.
- Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.
- On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
- When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues[b]and prophesied.
- There were about twelve men in all.
- 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. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.
- This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
- 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.
- Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.
- Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
- One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?”
- 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.
- When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.
- Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done.
- A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.[c]
- In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
- After all this had happened, Paul decided[d]to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. “After I have been there,” he said, “I must visit Rome also”.
God’s ideal for us Christians is to continuously experience revival as a way of life. This can come about if we live a spirit-filled life thus will enable us draw closer to God, effectively work for Him; and endure the times of trial that sometimes come while serving God.
Our lesson for this week is drawn from experience of the disciples at Ephesus. It shows what can happen when believers yield to the Holy Spirit’s direction.
When Paul met the group of disciples at Ephesus, he immediately recognized that their Christian experience was incomplete. They needed to advance beyond John’s baptism to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit which is the promise Jesus gave to help Christians live as God desires. Salvation is not the only experience we need; though it is the only requirement for eternal life, God desires that as Christians, we will witnesses and live a life full of the fruit and gifts of the spirit. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit has been given by God to bring about fullness of life in the Spirit.
The disciples at Ephesus were attentive to Paul’s explanation that John’s baptism looked forward to Christ and the mission He would accomplish. After they accepted this truth; they were baptized in water again, this time in Jesus’ name. This was an acknowledgement by these men that they had accepted Jesus’ teaching over that of John.
Thereafter, Paul laid his hands on them, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. It is noteworthy that these men spoke in tongues when they received the Holy Spirit baptism. Tongues are the initial physical evidence of the Holy Spirit baptism. Just like in other accounts (Acts 2:4: Acts 10:46), tongues provided the evidence of what had occurred.
These men were first believers and then baptized in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit Baptism is a separate and distinct experience from salvation. Anyone who has accepted Jesus as saviour and Lord can, and should receive power to live a life of spiritual victory that power is found in the Holy Spirit Baptism.
In another event, seven sons of Sceva, Jews by birth, misused Jesus’ name and the outcome provides a lesson in what it means to be a false believer.
These men were not true followers of the Lord. They thought the ‘’formula’’ to perform miracles was by mentioning Jesus’ and Paul’s name. By using the name of Jesus trying to identify with His works and person, but that power is not available just because someone mentions the name of Jesus. Rather, only true followers of Jesus who have identified with his death, burial and resurrection can use His name and expect God to grant their request (John 14:12-14).
The events which followed proved profitable in spreading the gospel of the Holy Spirit affected people’s lives, there was great revival and many made a total commitment to follow the Lord.
They piled up various materials associated with their magic and burned. Thereafter, the Holy Spirit worked to develop a healthy-growing church in the city.
LIFE APPLICATION QUESTIONS
- Why should believers look beyond their salvation experience toward the Holy Spirit Baptism?
- Can a Christian have the abundant life Jesus spoke of without the baptism in the Holy Spirit?
- How does the Holy Spirit bring revival?
_________________ DAILY BIBLE READING ______________
Monday: Anointed of the Spirit. (Isaiah 61:1-3).
Tuesday: New life by the Spirit. (Ezekiel 36: 25-27).
Wednesday: Promise of the Spirit. (Joel 2:28-32).
Thursday: Filled with the Spirit. (Acts 4: 23-33).
Friday: Walking after the Spirit. (Rom. 8:1-5).
Saturday: Power of the Spirit. (1 Thess. 1:1-6).