Read thru New Testament Devotional – July 15, 2017

July 15

 

Acts 19:1-20

Acts 19:1-7-While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul arrived at Ephesus.  There, he found some disciples who knew nothing of the Holy Spirit...having only been baptized in the name of John the Baptist.  Paul explained to them that John’s baptism was one of repentance…a preparation for the coming of Jesus.  When He explained how Jesus was the fulfillment of John’s teaching, they were baptized in His name.  Baptism was the outward sign of their inward commitment of faith.  When Paul laid his hands on them (a benediction, or sign of approval), they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy.  There were 12 men.

Acts 19:8-10-At first, for about 3 months, Paul was “reasoning and persuading” with them in the synagogue.  Evidently, there were some who could not respond adequately to Paul’s logic, so they took an alternate method of dealing with him and began to speak evil of "the Way" (:9-the word translated “way” means, “a road, journey, travelers way, a course of conduct, a manner of thinking), so he left and began to speak daily in the school of Tyrannus (cf. http://biblehub.com/topical/t/tyrannus.htm) for about 2 years (Ryrie Study Bible- 19:9 school. I.e., lecture hall owned by Tyrannus, probably used by him to teach students of rhetoric, and made available by him to traveling philosophers and teachers).  Whereas the members of the synagogue had hoped that their action would silence Paul…it actually proved to be of great benefit since it resulted in “all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks”.

Acts 19:11-20-God was working many miracles through Paul.  People were taking pieces of material that Paul had touched to the sick and they were being healed.  A group of Jewish exorcists, seven sons of a man named Sceva, who was a chief priest, were trying to work miracles in Paul's name...but an evil spirit in a man attacked them.  Many magicians were bringing their books and burning them to show that they had left their religion and had accepted Jesus.  All of these things were resulting in the Jesus receiving glory (:17) and the Gospel being spread (:20).

Prayer: Lord, where is the manifestation of Your power in our ministry, today?  Why is there so little actual proof of Your presence and power in our ministries...when it appeared to be so vital and to have such impact in the days that we read about here?  I don't believe that I am supposed to fulfill the ministry You have called me to in my own power, or through my own persuasiveness...that would draw attention to me...to say nothing of the fact that it would accomplish nothing and be limited to mere human ability and ingenuity.  Please, Lord...I ask that You would manifest Yourself, reveal Yourself, make Yourself known in and through what You have called me to do.  Show me what is necessary for there to be more of You…and less of me.

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