The opening session at Harvest. Awesome worship to begin. There is something special about a room full of local church leaders singing praises to God. As a sidenote, fellow Moody grad Matt Stowell led worship. It’s been several years since I’ve seen Matt. Awesome to see him doing his thing.
James MacDonald: Seeking the way of the Lord
Jeremiah 6:16 This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
Can you do both? Reach people and remain rue to God’s Word? [insert baptism videos from Harvest. Awesome, BTW]
I think James thinks the answer to that is… YES!!!
How to reach the culture (some ideas)
Example 1 “To win people you have to become like them”
Example 2 “Comfort them before you reach them”
Example 3 “You have to be cool”
James reminds us that you don’t have to do any of those things, and in Acts 19 we see they didn’t do any of that.
It’s about God and His kingdom.
1a: Jesus over sincere Religiosity (acts 18:24-19:6)
24Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. — Apollos was elequent…
25He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. — Apollos was FIRED up. — We’d put this dude up front… — But he WASN’T SAVED. — so this was a problem… and look how Priscilla and Aquilla handled the situation. “More heat than light.” They took him to a private place and explained to him he was sincerely wrong… — They introduced him to Jesus and conversion.
Acts 19:1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” — How saved are these people? Uh… not at all? — He tells them “close… but not good enough.” The power of the Gospel in the first century DEMANDED a conversion experience. If they didn’t have one, they weren’t converted. — You didn’t even get John’s message right since he was there to prepare the way for Jesus.
5On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. — Notice that they responded because leaders did not “let it be.” — We don’t believe in the sovereighty of relationship… but the sovereignty of God. That position of letting it go leads to us lying. It’s not our job to make people feel comfortable. Being comfortable comes from being bold and knowing if someone is saved or unsaved.
2a. Jesus over stubborn unbelief (Acts 19:7-10)
6When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
8Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. — Paul was unabashedly bold, persuasive, and argumentative. (i.e. Acts 17:6, 18:4… this was Paul’s methodology) — if you are wanting to build a church, you will be called arrogant. That’s because it is. Paul called it foolishness… but that’s what you’re called to do.
9But 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. — Obstinate is a medical term, suggest denial of diagnosis. — they attacked the message.
10This 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. — that’s a lot of persistence. He wasn’t jamming things down their throat… — God is honored in people hearing (all residents) the message… it’s God’s responsibility to handle the results.
[Shel’s baptism video]
3a. Hesus over Satanic strongholds (Acts 19: 11-20)
11God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, — not just a redundancy. This were like “big time miracles.”
13Some 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 Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” — Pagans were wanting to replicate believers faith.
15(One day) the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” — Funny, but sad. — cage match ensued.
16Then 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. — they got traumatized.
17When 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. — who was winning? Satan or God?
Four responses to living boldly in truth:
- fear fell on them.
- the name of the Lord was extolled (YEAH!)
- believers divulged their secret sin
- the word of the Lord continued to increase and spread mightily.
4a. Jesus over shallow secularism (Acts 19:21-41)
More good stuff… But my battery is dead. Oops.