And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples, he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." And he said to them, "Into what then were you baptized?"
So they said, "Into John's baptism."
Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. 7 Now the men were about twelve in all.
And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
Paul’s 3rd Missionary Journey: Ephesus…..Keeping a Divine Promise!
Paul has now begun his 3rd and missionary journey as he is trekking through the upper region of Asia Minor to he reaches the city of Ephesus, a major commercial city located in the lower region near the sea. Here’s some important things to know about Ephesus:
The history of Christianity at Ephesus began probably about A.D. 50, perhaps as a result of the efforts of Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:18). Paul came to Ephesus about A.D. 52, establishing a resident ministry for the better part of three years (Acts 20:31). During his Ephesian ministry, Paul wrote the Book (epistle) of 1 Corinthians. This is verified in 1 Corinthians 16:8.
EPHESUS was a large and important city on the west coast of Asia Minor where the apostle Paul founded a church. There were at least 4 major factors that contributed to the prominence which Ephesus enjoyed.
The first factor was economics.
Situated at the mouth of the river Cayster, Ephesus was the most favorable seaport in the province of Asia and the most important trade center west of Tarsus. Today, because of silting from the river, the ruins of the city lie in a swamp 8 to 11 kilometers (5 to 7 miles) inland.
Another factor was size.
Although Pergamum was the capital of the province of Asia in Roman times, Ephesus was the largest city in the province, having a population of perhaps 300,000 people.
A third factor was culture.
Ephesus contained a theater that seated an estimated 25,000 people. A main thoroughfare, some 35 meters (105 feet) wide, ran from the theater to the harbor, at each end of which stood an impressive gate. The thoroughfare was flanked on each side by rows of columns 15 meters (50 feet) deep. Behind these columns were baths, gymnasiums, and impressive buildings.
The fourth, and perhaps most significant, reason for the prominence of Ephesus was religion. (Idolatry)
The Temple of Artemis (or Diana, according to her Roman name) at Ephesus ranked as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
According to Greek Mythology , Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and the daughter of Zeus, Artemis was known variously as the moon goddess, the goddess of hunting, and the patroness of young girls.
This explains why in the temple at Ephesus housed the multi-breasted image of Artemis which was reputed to have come directly from Zeus (Acts 19:35).Note: Concerning the temple of Artemis (Diana)
The temple of Artemis in Paul's day was supported by 127 columns, each of them 60 meters (197 feet) high. The Ephesians took great pride in this grand edifice. During the Roman period, they promoted the worship of Artemis by minting coins with the inscription, "Diana of Ephesus."
Paul in Ephesus: Conversion of 12 Disciples of John The Baptist (Verse 1-9)
Since leaving Corinth, Paul has gone through the country of Galatia and Phrygia, and passed through the upper coasts of Pontus and Bithynia, that lay north, finally has arriving in Ephesus, where he had left Aquila and Priscilla, and there found them
Paul encounters some Disciples of John (verses 2-3)
Paul: "Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?"
John’s Disciples: "We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost." (vs. 2)
What did Paul discern about them that prompted him to ask?
These 12 men were Jews living in Asia Minor who had heard and accepted the preaching of John about repenting and preparing their live for the “coming of the Lord”. They had submitted to and received the baptism unto repentance and believed what John said that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) was shortly to come and He would give them the “fire” baptism in the Holy Ghost.
But just like Apollos, this was all they knew, yet they like Apollos believed in the coming of Christ and looked in great anticipation for the Messiah, not knowing that their Messiah had already come and was the one who was crucified by the Romans and the Sanhedrin.
It was spiritually obvious to Paul that they had not known that the Savior had already come and they had got no further instruction in the Christian religion beyond what John the Baptist had taught. Paul, perceiving this, asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit since they believed.
What valuable lesson can we take from this exchange?
Those of us who have not received these spiritual blessings (gifts and fruit) from the Holy Spirit, whatever our profession may be, know nothing better than John's baptism: good, excellent in its kind, but ineffectual to the salvation of those who live under the meridian of Christianity.
Paul: "Unto what (doctrine) then were you baptized?"
John’s Disciples: Unto John’s baptism. (vs. 3)
Paul now explains the Baptism of John and what it meant. (verse 4)
PAUL refers to what John the Baptist said to the Pharisees and the waiting crowd when he baptized them (the accepting crowd) as an “symbolic act” that they openly confessed repentance: in the Jordan River. (Matthew 3:11-12)
“John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” (vs. 4)
Explaining the “Water” Baptism done by John the Baptist .
This is what every Christian should know about the “New Birth and living your life beyond your day of salvation:
It was the common privilege of the disciples of Christ upon confession for salvation to receive, not only the ordinary graces, but also the "extraordinary gifts" of the Holy Spirit; and thus the disciples of Christ differed from those of John, and of all others.
Please note the following:
John baptized with water; Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit.
God intends that everyone who’s saved also be filled with the Holy Ghost and anointed (empowered) to evangelize on the evangelism field (this entire world) The songwriter made this declaration: I’m on the battlefield for My Lord…and I promised HIM that I would serve HIM until I die…..I’m on the battle field for MY Lord.
Genuine disciples of Christ are distinguished from all false religionists, and from nominal (carnal minded) Christians,
This is so by the believers being made "partakers" of the Holy Spirit, meaning: empowered and controlled by the Holy Spirit) because the Holy Spirit enlightens our minds, and convinces us of sin, righteousness, and judgment; quickens our souls, witnesses to our conscience that we are the children of God, and purifies our hearts
The 2 Dynamic “works” of the Holy Spirit:
a. Seals a believer the moment he or she is saved (Romans 10:9) and b. fills that believer at the appropriate time for the called ministry assignment we have on the Evangelistic field.
b. We receive both “Gifts and Fruit” from the Holy Spirit because to be an effective witness by work and by lifestyle, you need both.
John 16: 5-15: Any work done in the service of the Lord that is not fortified by the “Fruit of the Spirit” especially the Fruit of “Agape Love”
Excerpts from John 16:5-15
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged."
"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of mine and declare it to you.*
Excerpt from Romans 8:1-18
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
What does the Bible say concerning "true followers" of Christ:
“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
Question: With this being the case, then, who are we really?
Sons and daughters of the Most High God!
Concerning our “Sonship” to Christ through the Holy Spirit:
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together."
The Disciples of John’s Response All 12 of them (verses 5-7)
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all.
a. They were “rebaptized” in water, so they could conform to Christian water baptism sanctioned by Jesus Christ when He told John the Baptist to baptize Him to fulfill all righteousness. Thus, when they submitted to baptism, they were confirming baptism as outlined in Matthew 28:19: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19).
b. They never had been baptized this way because they did not know about Jesus Before their meeting with Paul They only knew the name of God, for John did not know the Son until a certain sign happened (John 1:33), so he could not have baptized except in the name of God (John 5:43).
The phrase: "In the name of the Lord Jesus" simply means "by the authority of" the Lord Jesus,”The way Jesus authorized how we are to baptize converted people to Jesus
Christ is recorded in Matthew 28:19.
Regarding the practice of rebaptism, the Bible bears no record of men being baptized in another name after baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity.(Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
PAUL then laid his hands upon them and the Holy Ghost came on them.
This goes without saying: A person must have the fullness of the Spirit himself in order to lay hands upon another to impart the Holy Spirit and the spiritual gift(s) designated to be endowed upon the one whom hands are laid on. (Romans 1:11 Chapter 15:29 and 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6).
Please take note of the following
a. According to what was written by Paul to the church in Rome,(Romans 1:11) Paul had the ability through the Holy Spirit to impart some type of spiritual gift upon another person, by laying his on hands upon them at the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
b. They spoke with tongues (other languages) This is what took place at Pentecost (Acts 2:4), at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10:44-48), and here and then prophesied , that is proclaimed the Word of the Lord.
Paul in the Synagogue and in the School of Tyrannus (verses 8-10)
And he went into the synagogue, and spoke boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. (vs. 8)
Again as he always did, (following the pattern of preaching the gospel to the Jews first) Paul went into the Jewish Synagogue in Ephesus endeavoring to persuade them to believe and accept the truth concerning Jesus Christ as Messiah and everything that had been confirmed in the Mosaic Law as truth concerning Christ and the kingdom of God. But, once again….He was met with fierce opposition from some of his fellow Jews in the synagogue…
But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. (vs. 9)
When those Jews and some unbelieving Gentiles who were in opposition to the gospel, the mentioning of the name of Jesus and of Paul hardened (became insensitive to) their hearts, they became violently opposed to the gospel. n they began to speak evil concerning the Gospel message and the way of salvation.
Paul this time responded differently than he did at other synagogues. His response to the fierce opposition he received in the Jewish temple this time was to remove all disciples of Jesus Christ from the temple and sought fellowship with other fellow believers in the faith who had embraced Jesus and the gospel message. It was clear to Paul that the new church and the people in the Jewish temple could not worship together because of the following:
a. the people who embraced the Law of Moses and circumcision refuse to see that Christ was the fulfilment of the Law and Messiah and clearly rejected the gospel and God's plan of salvation.
b. they refused to see the Gentiles as equals through their union with Jesus Christ and feared as was brought out in a previous lesson that refused to believe the Gentiles has no right to share in the promises of Abraham.
Paul Separates the Church From the Synagogue:
Paul now "shakes the dust" of rejection off his feet and then takes the Jew and Gentile converts out of the temple as a to mark a clear distinction between the "temple" and the "church". The Temple or synagogue was identified with keeping the Law of Moses (the Torah) with circumcision as established in the Abrahamic Covenant. The church would be identified as followers of Jesus Christ through the belief and acceptance of the gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Paul moved the church to a room located in the School of Tyrannus and from there in a span of 2 years daily disputed with the naysayers who refused to believe the gospel and in Jesus Christ in the school of Tyrannus
Concerning the School of Tyrannus: and its founder:
Tyrannus was a Jew, who operated a school or religion and who might not have been unfavorably disposed toward Christians. In his school, or in the room which he occupied for teaching, Paul instructed the people when he was driven from the synagogue. Christians at that time had no churches, so they obliged themselves to assemble in any place where it might be convenient to conduct public worship.
Both Jews and Gentiles continued to come to the school from all parts of the region to hear and reason with Paul over a span of 2 years at the school.
To Be Continued............
Dr. William Edward Boddie