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Ephesus: Facing Religious People      Acts 18:24-19:10      Aug.10, 2008

On Saturday Morning if two people knock on your door; will it be Baptists from the nearby church? Sadly it will likely be some religious people from one
of the cults.

1. Facing . . Immature But Zealous Religion. 18:24-26

A. Facing . . Eloquent Immaturity. 18:24-25
24 A Jew named Apollos, a native Alexandrian, an eloquent man who was powerful in the Scriptures,
arrived in Ephesus. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he
spoke and taught the things about Jesus accurately, although he knew only John's baptism.

B. Facing . . Explanation To The Immature. 18:26
26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. After Priscilla and Aquila heard
him, they took him home and explained the way of God to him more accurately.

        Religion comes in many sizes and shapes. Sometimes the religion can be expressed by people of eloquent ability. Their expressions may be immature even though presented by one able to speak with great ability.  A more mature believer needs to follow the example set by the couple named Aquila and Priscilla. A person with great ability may be willing to listen. All of us need to remain teachable because truth is always a friend. We may very well have truth to be received as well as truth to share with others. Many of us may be eloquent in some area while needing more explanation in another area of truth. Religious people need to be open to truth. I prefer to think of Christianity as a relationship and not a religion. However all of us should be zealous about presenting our beliefs.

2. Facing . . Incorrect But Zealous Religion. 18:27-19:7

A. Facing Incorrect But Zealous Religion . . Courageously. 18:27-28
27 When he wanted to cross over to Achaia, the brothers wrote to the disciples urging them to welcome
him. After he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace. 28 For he vigorously
refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating through the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.

B. Facing Incorrect But Zealous Religion . . Courteously. 19:1-7
19:1 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus.
He found some disciple 2 and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" "No,"
they told him, "we haven't even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." 3 "Then with what baptism were you
baptized?" he asked them. "With John's baptism," they replied. 4 Paul said, "John baptized with a baptism
of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One who would come after him, that is, in
Jesus." 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his
hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began to speak with other languages and to
prophesy. 7 Now there were about 12 men in all.

        When a people present the truth of God and refute false religion it is good they do so with a godly zeal and
with bold courage. When we know we will face religious people with incorrect beliefs we must present Jesus as the Messiah and correct the untruth they possess. Today there are degrees of false thought about Jesus. Some would be like the Jews of Paul's day totally reject Jesus. It is beautiful to read how Paul spoke so well from the Old Testament to prove the facts about Jesus' Messiahship. When Paul confronted some believers who were uninformed about the Holy Spirit and the formula for baptism commanded by the Lord; he courteously instructed them. Now some will say these men were not saved, but the question was not are you saved but, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" this is one of the unique experiences related to the Holy Spirit, and we need to be careful when someone desires to make this the norm for the Christian life.

3. Facing . . Infuriated And Zealous Religion. 19:8-10

A. Facing Infuriated And Zealous Religion . . Boldly. 19:8-9a
8 Then he entered the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months, engaging in
discussion and trying to persuade them about the things related to the kingdom of God. 9 But when some
became hardened and would not believe, slandering the Way in front of the crowd,. . . "

B. Facing Infuriated And Zealous Religion . . Beneficially. 19:9b-10
". . . he withdrew from them and met separately with the disciples, conducting discussions every day in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 And this went on for two years, so that all the inhabitants of the province of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.

        In Paul's style of confronting error we may use several terms to describe his manner. We can use the term "Bold." In the synagogue Paul spoke boldly for several months. This teaching led many to respond to his message but also stirred up opposition. The opposition from these people did not act in a courteous manner such as Paul did and their activities made Paul move to another location. Does God use adversity to benefit the work his children are doing? Yes! Many times God uses the antagonism of the enemy to further propagate His Word. Note these words: "all the inhabitants of . . . Asia, . . . heard the word of the Lord." We certainly can learn from these actions of Paul and the early believers.  Amen? Amen!