Today’s selected reading continues in the scriptural account of the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ which is the body of Christ and church as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke, More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first twenty-two verses of the nineteenth chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find the apostle Paul coming unto a city which he had previously visited in the eighteenth chapter. If you turn and direct your attention to the words found in the eighteenth chapter you will find the apostle Paul coming unto Ephesus while traveling on his way to the city of Jerusalem to observe one of the feasts of the Jews. As he moved on from the city of Corinth the apostle Paul would come to the city of Ephesus and would enter into the synagogue as was just custom and reasoned with the Jews from the scriptures that Jesus was indeed the Christ, and that this Jesus the Christ not only suffered but also died and was raised from death to life on the third day. The account in the eighteenth chapter reveals to us that those who heard the words which the apostle Paul spoke entreated him that he remain and abide with them. Unfortunately, at that point in time the apostle Paul would and could not remain in the city of Ephesus for he had made a vow unto the Lord and needed to make his way down to the city of Jerusalem. What we must recognize and understand is that although the apostle Paul would and could not remain in the city of Ephesus at that time he promised and assured them that he would return unto them when time and opportunity presented itself. Essentially you would say that what took place on this initial visit to the city of Ephesus was the planting of the seed of the word of God concerning Jesus the Christ. Although the apostle Paul would and could not remain and abide within the city of Ephesus at this time he would promise and assure them that he would indeed return and be back to speak and minister unto them. I find it absolutely wonderful and incredible when reading the words which are found in the eighteenth chapter that although the apostle Paul would enter unto and visit the city of Ephesus yet could not stay at that time, there would come a time when he would return unto the city and its inhabitants in order that he might labor, minister and serve among them. I can’t help but sit here this morning and think about and consider the fact that there are what I would call “not now” moments within our lives—moments when we perhaps would like to engage ourselves in some type of ministry within and for the kingdom of God, and yet the opportunity and timing simply isn’t right. There are times within our lives when our heart and mind are in the right place and yet it simply is not the timing of the Lord for us to engage ourselves in the work which is before us.
THE ALREADY BUT NOT YET! When I was studying at a Christian college early in this millennium I took a class on eschatology, and it was in that class when I came in contact with a principle that had direct implications and applications for the end times. Essentially the principle centered upon the thought and reality of that which was already, yet that which was not yet. What this principle stayed was that when we read and study the account of the end times there is this reality or that which is and has been fulfilled in the already, however, there is this additional reality of that which has yet to be fulfilled. When speaking concerning this principle of the already but not yet it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand that it encompasses the reality of that which has already received a measure and degree of fulfillment, and yet there is still that which remains unfulfilled and that which ha yet to take place. Essentially the principle centers upon and surrounds the reality that there are those things which have already taken place, yet there are still those things which have yet to take place in the natural realm in the here and now. The reason I mention this principle of the already but not yet I can’t help come face to face with the truth of this principle within the life of the apostle Paul. While it was true the apostle Paul would initially come unto the city of Ephesus and would as his custom was enter into the synagogue, or would not be the right, nor would it be the appointed time for him to remain and abide with them. This is actually quite interesting when you think about and consider it, for the city of Ephesus would become one of the central locations for the church as well as within Christianity. In fact, the apostle John himself would minister within the city of Ephesus, and Timothy the spiritual sin of the apostle Paul would also minister within this church. It is also believed that Mary the mother of Jesus was also part of this congregation and would worship with the saints which were there. What’s more, is that when the gospel of John was written concerning Jesus the Christ, it was written unto those who dwelt within the city of Ephesus to reveal unto them the truth and principles concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. What’s more, is that the three epistles which were written by the apostle John were written unto the saints and believers which worshipped there at Ephesus. It is important to note and understand that this city of Ephesus would be of extreme and great importance for Christianity—and what’s more, is that the church and congregation of Ephesus would even find its way into the prophetic book of the revelation of Jesus the Christ as Jesus Himself would write a letter unto the saints who worshipped there. Even the apostle Paul himself wrote an epistle and letter unto the saints which were at Ephesus, which is found within the New Testament.
When we come to this particular portion of scripture—both that which is found and written within the eighteenth chapter, as well as that which is found in the nineteenth chapter—we must recognize and understand that this city would in fact be of supreme and extreme significance and importance for the church, as well as for Christianity. I would dare say that there was no congregation which had more literature that was written unto and concerning it than the church and congregation of the Ephesian. There is not a doubt in my mind that the church and congregation of the Ephesians would be of such tremendous importance for the church and for the kingdom that various epistles and letters needed to be written unto the saints which were present there. If you read the New Testament you will find that in addition to the initial and original epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the congregation of the Ephesians there would also be three distinct and unique epistles which were written by the apostle John unto this church and congregation. What’s more, is that the New Testament gospel of John was written by the apostle John unto the saints which were found and located within this city to reveal the person of Jesus the Christ and the truths which were present surrounding his life and ministry. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we witness and behold within the eighteenth chapter of the book of Acts is the beginning of a great and wonderful work that would take place within the city of Ephesus. Although the apostle Paul would and could not at that time remain and abide within the city among the people he would in fact sow seeds and essentially lay the foundation there within the city. In all reality I would dare say that the seeds which were sown were essentially a deposit and pledge of some sort that he would in fact return from his journey and would come again unto them. In fact, this language of seal, deposit and pledge would find its way into the epistle which the apostle Paul himself would write unto this church and congregation. If and as you read the words which are found within the first chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesians you will encounter and come face to face with the language of the apostle Paul as he spoke of the Holy Spirit as an earnest deposit and pledge that was given unto the saints as a promise that they were in fact sealed and marked for the coming and return of Jesus the Christ. It would be within the first chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints that the apostle Paul would in all reality speak and write unto them concerning the pledge, the seal, the mark and the deposit of the Holy Spirit which was a divine pledge and promise of the Father given unto the saints to seal them as His own and for the coming and return of Jesus the Christ. When the apostle Paul initially and originally came to the city of Ephesus on his way and journey unto the city of Jerusalem he would and could not remain and abide with them at that point in time, however, he would indeed come back and return unto them in order that he might further build upon that which he had already sown. Consider if you will the words which are written and found within the eighteenth chapter of the book of Acts concerning the apostle Paul and his initial coming unto the city of Ephesus and exactly what he did while present there within the city:
“And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquilla; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; but bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch. And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples” (Acts 18:18-23).
That which you find within the eighteenth chapter of the book of Acts is the apostle Paul departing from the city of Corinth and on his way unto the city of Jerusalem to keep a feast in Jerusalem he would come unto the city of Ephesus accompanied by Aquila and Priscilla whom he would leave there while he himself went on. It would be during and on this initial visit to the city of Ephesus the apostle Paul would enter into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews as he had done in each city he had previously entered and ministered. It would be a direct result of the apostle Paul entering into the synagogue and reasoning with the Jews that would stir the hearts and spirits of those within the city and cause them to entreat the apostle Paul that he would abide and remain with them. The principle of the already but not yet has quite a unique application when you think about the time the apostle Paul spent within the city of Ephesus, for it would be there in the city of Ephesus where the apostle Paul would essentially sow the seeds that would eventually and ultimately spring up and produce fruit that would ultimately become the church and congregation of the Ephesians. This initial trip and visit to the city of Ephesus—although it was both brief and short—would not be without worth and value, for it would be on this initial trip the apostle Paul would lay the foundation and sow the seeds that would be needed for the Holy Spirit to work and minister among the hearts of the people in his absence. In fact, I would dare say that even in the absence of the apostle Paul the Holy Spirit was still at work among the people of the city, and was still working to bring about and create a church and congregation there in the city. Despite the fact the apostle Paul would and could not remain and abide within the city at this particular point in time, the foundation would be laid for the work of the Holy Spirit to take place among them. With that being said, it’s important for us to note that although the apostle Paul knew he could not abide with them at that point in time, he assured them he would return and come again unto them if the Lord will. It is this concept of the Lord’s will we must understand, for although the apostle Paul might have indeed wanted to return to the city of Ephesus—if it was not the will, the desire, the plan and the good pleasures of the Lord for him to return and come again unto the city, he would not return. In fact, there were already two instances and occurrences within the book of Acts when the Holy Spirit forbad the apostle Paul from journeying and entering into certain places and regions, and instead led him in a completely different direction. Just a few chapters earlier within the book of Acts—specifically within the sixteenth chapter—we encounter the apostle Paul wanting and seeking to enter into Asia to preach the gospel, however, the apostle Paul was forbidden by the Holy Spirit from entering into that area and region. When the apostle Paul sought to enter into another particular region, the Holy Spirit would again forbid him from entering, and would in all reality keep him from that place. It’s worth noting that although the Holy Spirit would essentially forbid the apostle Paul on two different occasions from entering into a specific area and region, the apostle Paul would receive a vision by night of a man from Macedonia entreating and calling out to him for help and to come unto them. It would be this particular vision that would set in motion the journey and apostolic ministry of the apostle Paul within the area and region of Greece, and would give us that which we find in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth chapters.
In all reality, I would dare say that there was a work the apostle Paul needed to engage himself in within the area and region of Greece, and he would and could not at that point in time enter into Asia, for the time had not yet come for the apostle Paul to enter into Asia and preach the word unto them. There was a work which needed to be done in Europe—and specifically within the area and region of Greece that needed to be done before the apostle would and could finally and ultimately be released into Asia to preach the word concerning Jesus the Christ. In fact, if you study the geographical location of Ephesus you will notice that it was in what is the modern day nation of Turkey, which is in Asia. In fact, Turkey has the only city in the world that borders and sits on two continents, for the city of Istanbul sits both on the continent of Europe on the one side, and the continent of Asia on the other side with a river which flows and runs through the city. This city of Ephesus would in fact by within the region of Asia, and even though the apostle Paul had initially entered into the city and reasoned among the Jews in the synagogue concerning Jesus the Christ, he would and could not remain and abide with them at that point in time. What’s more is that the apostle Paul could not even guarantee that he would and could return back unto them, for the apostle Paul would declare unto them that he would again come unto them if it were the Lord’s will for him to do so. The apostle knew and recognized that he could do nothing without and apart from the divine will of the Lord, for he dare not seek to usurp the authority, the plan, the purpose and the will of the Father for and concerning his life. Although he might have wanted and desired to come back and return unto the city of Ephesus and minister among the people, he could not in fact guarantee it, for his movements within the earth and within Europe and Asia would be entirely subject to the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit. This actually leads me to a unique reality concerning our own lives and whether or not our lives are in fact governed by the divine will, plan and purpose of the living God. IF you were truly honest with yourself, and even with the Spirit of the living God which dwells inside you, can you indeed say that your life is wholly surrendered to the divine will, plan and purpose of the Holy Spirit, and that your life and your movements in this life are governed by the will of the Spirit? Can you indeed say with complete and total confidence that your life is lived in such a way that you cannot move apart from and independent from the direction of the Holy Spirit, and that you cannot do anything without and apart from his leading and guidance? For the apostle Paul—despite how much he might have wanted to return and come back to Ephesus, he knew that if it was not the will of the Spirit for him to return and come back to the city he would be unable to do so. What we must recognize and understand is that sometimes there is a fine line between the divine will of the Holy Spirit within our lives and our own desires, for there are times when our desires might not line up with the will of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the question should be asked at this juncture whether or not you are willing to sacrifice your desires to the divine will of the Holy Spirit and allow your desires to be subservient and subject to the perfect and divine will of the Holy Spirit? Are you indeed willing to allow your desires to take a back seat to the divine will, plan and purpose of the living God in order that you might surrender fully and completely to the will, plan, desire and good pleasure of the Holy Spirit?
As you come to the nineteenth chapter of the book of Acts you will find that it came to pass while Apollos was at Corinth laboring and ministering, the apostle Paul passed through the upper coasts and came again unto Ephesus. The beloved physician Luke writes that the apostle Paul—when coming unto the city of Ephesus—found certain disciples, and would ask them directly and point blank whether or not they had received the Holy Ghost since they believed. Please don’t miss the significance and importance of this question, for this question brings us face to face with the fact that although the apostle Paul would and could not remain and abide in the city of Ephesus when he had previously come to it, there were still seeds which were sown—seeds which did in fact lead to disciples being made there in the city. The disciples which the apostle Paul encountered and came in contact with when he returned unto the city of Ephesus could very well have been the direct result of the seeds he sowed while previously there in the city—seeds which were nurtured and watered by Aquila and Priscilla. In all reality it is quite unique and interesting to think about and consider the fact that when the apostle Paul initially left the city of Ephesus there was no mention of any disciples being found within the city, and yet here we find the apostle Paul returning unto the city and actually finding disciples. What’s more, is the apostle Paul would ask them if they had received the Holy Ghost since they believed. In all reality, the question the apostle Paul asked not only highlighted the fact that these disciples had been made during the time he was absent from the city, but it also attempted to strike at the very heart of their experience as disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus the Christ. The question the apostle Paul asked the disciples when he encountered them was a question that struck at the very heart of their experience as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and whether or not they had yet received the Holy Ghost. It’s actually quite unique and interesting to read and consider the response of these disciples, for when they heard the apostle Paul ask them whether or not they had received the Holy Spirit, they declared that they had not so much as even heard whether or not there was indeed a Holy Ghost. Pause for a moment and consider the reality that although these disciples were perhaps following and walking with Jesus the Christ and did in fact believe in the name and on the Lord Jesus the Christ, they had not even heard there was a Holy Ghost. What an incredible thought it is to think about and consider the fact that it was possible for the disciples to believe on the name of the Lord Jesus the Christ, and to believe in who He was as the Christ and the Son of the living God, and yet they had not yet heard that there even was a Holy Ghost. The question which the apostle Paul asked them was meant to illicit a response concerning their experience as disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus the Christ, for up to that moment in time they had only heard of Jesus the Christ and had only believed on the Lord Jesus as the Christ and the Son of the living God.
It’s worth noting and mentioning when reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture that the question the apostle Paul asked these disciples was meant to understand their experience as disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus the Christ, and whether or not they had transitioned and moved to the next level in their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul did in fact acknowledge that they had believed, however, it was in that context of belief he would ask them whether or not they had received the Holy Ghost. These disciples responded unto the apostle Paul by declaring unto them that they had not so much heard that there was a Holy Ghost—a response which caused the apostle Paul to ask them unto what they were baptized. These disciples responded how they were baptized unto the baptism of John, but had not yet even known that there was a secondary baptism of fire and of the Holy Spirit that was afforded unto them. The apostle Paul responded and declared unto them that John did indeed and did in fact baptize with water unto the baptism of repentance, but there was a secondary baptism that would come after that initial baptism. In all reality, the experience these disciples had was lived within the realm of the first baptism and within the realm of the first experience, however, there was a secondary experience that would be available and manifested unto them. Oh, as I sit here this morning I can’t help but think back to the Old Testament book of First Kings—and specifically the eighteenth chapter—for it is within this Old Testament book we encounter and come face to face with the prophet Elijah atop Mount Carmel with all Israel before him observing a duel between the prophet of the most High God and the prophets of Baal. The entire challenge and encounter centered around the reality that the God which answered by fire would indeed be the living God. As you read the words which are found within the book of First Kings you will find that when it was Elijah’s turn to call upon the name of the God whom he served he first repaired the altar according to the twelve tribes which were present in Israel. What’s more, is the prophet Elijah also called for the altar and the sacrifice to be soaked and saturated with water. This act of soaking and saturating the altar and sacrifice with water did not occur once while the prophet stood atop the mountain, but it would happen a second and a third time. Before the prophet Elijah would even call upon the name of the God whom he served, and before he asked for the Lord to send fire from heaven—both the altar and the sacrifice would be saturated with water. Essentially it was as if both the altar and sacrifice were baptized with water—and not merely baptized with water once, but three times before the prophet would even call upon the name of the Lord to send the fire. Eventually and ultimately the Lord God of heaven and earth would send fire from heaven and would not only consume the sacrifice, but would also lick up the water and the dust surrounding the altar. Consider if you will the account there atop Mount Carmel, for it lends a great truth to that one who would come after—that one who would not only come in the spirit and power of Elijah, but that one who would minister the baptism of water, and would speak of the baptism of fire:
“And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall by thy name: and with the stones he built and altar in the name of the Lord: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And the they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water. And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that you art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, He is the God. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophet of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon , and slew them there” (1 Kings 18:30-40).
When I read the words which are found in this particular passage of Scripture I cannot help but encounter and come face to face with an Old Testament manifestation of a New Testament reality—namely, an Old Testament manifestation of a New Testament reality of baptism. If you read the account of Elijah atop mount Carmel you will find him repairing the altar and laying the sacrifice upon the altar. What’s more and what’s interesting to note is that the prophet didn’t initially and immediately begin calling upon the name of the Lord after repairing the altar and setting the sacrifice upon the altar. Scripture records and reveals that the prophet Elijah would dig a trench round about the altar, and would then call for four barrels of water to be filled with water and for them to be poured over and upon the sacrifice and the altar. This the prophet would have done a second and a third time, and would be followed by the prophet pouring water in and felling the trench itself with water. Only after the altar was repaired, only after the sacrifice was placed upon he altar, and only after both the altar and the sacrifice were baptized with water was the stage finally set for the fire of God to fall and come down from heaven and consume the sacrifice. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for within this Old Testament passage of Scripture we encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that first must come the baptism of water before the baptism of fire could in fact come. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that there must first be a baptism of water that saturates and soaks the sacrifice and altar before the stage and scene can be set for the baptism of fire to come. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we find within this passage of Scripture in the Old Testament is indeed a wonderful and powerful picture of the distinct manifestations and experiences of the baptism of water and the baptism of fire. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we find within this passage of Scripture is a truly unique and wonderful picture of the baptism of water which is the preceding and preparatory work that sets the stage for the baptism of fire—a baptism which not only consumes the sacrifice, but also consumes and licks up the water, as well as consumes the dust. It’s worth noting that the fire which came down from heaven it not only consumed the burnt sacrifice, the wood and the stones, and the dust, but it also licked up the water which was in the trench. Essentially, when the fire fell and came down from heaven there was absolutely nothing left except the revelation and manifestation of the God who answers by fire and the evidence of that fire falling. There is not a doubt in my mind that there was indeed and there was in fact some type of evidence that was left atop mount Carmel after the fire of God fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, the stones, the wood, the dust, and even the water which was present round about the altar in the trench. Consider if you will this reality of the baptism of water atop mount Carmel and the baptism of fire which came from heaven with the words which John the Baptist himself declared when speaking unto those who would come unto him:
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:11-12).
“There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latches of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost” (mark 1:7-8).
“I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latched of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable” (Luke 3:15-17).
With these three passages found within the first three gospels within the New Testament we encounter and come face to face with the reality which John the Baptist preached—namely, that although he indeed baptized with water unto repentance, there was one who was coming after him who was indeed mightier than him, and who would in fact baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. What we find in the Old Testament book of First Kings is the prophet Elijah calling for the baptism of the altar, the baptism of the sacrifice, the baptism of the wood, and even the baptism of the dust with water. Only when everything had been throughly baptized with water could the baptism of fire ultimately come from heaven and consume everything that which had previously been baptized. Oh, I am absolutely and completely convinced that the baptism of water is indeed the preparatory work which must indeed take place before the baptism of fire can indeed be manifested and take place. I would dare say that only when the altar, the sacrifice and everything on the altar is and has been throughly been baptized with water can the stage officially be set for the baptism of fire—a baptism which can and will absolutely consume everything that had previously been baptized with water. I firmly believe that if we are going to speak of the experience with the life of every disciple of Jesus the Christ we must first recognize and understand the initial work of the sacrifice itself being baptized with water throughly before that same sacrifice can be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that there must needs be a work of baptism in water in conjunction with the baptism of fire. The account of Cornelius the Roman centurion is perhaps one of the only accounts in all of Scripture when the baptism of the Holy Spirit and with fire preceded the work of the baptism of water, for in the tenth chapter of the book of Acts you will find that while the apostle Peter was speaking unto Cornelius and his entire household concerning Jesus the Christ, the Holy Spirit fell, filled and baptized them all, and gave them all the ability to speak with other tongues. Although this particular account reveals the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost being manifested within the lives of certain men and women before the baptism of water which began with John the Baptist, it nonetheless reveals the unity of the baptism of water and the baptism of the Holy Ghost and with fire. If there is one thing Scripture reveals it’s that there is indeed a work of baptism of and a baptism in water, as well as a secondary baptism with fire and of the Holy Ghost. What we find in the nineteenth chapter of the book of Acts is these disciples hearing the apostle Paul speak unto them concerning Jesus the Christ and a baptism which was to come after that of John—that which caused them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus the Christ. After they had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus the Christ, the apostle Paul laid his hands upon them, and the Holy Ghost came upon them causing them to prophesy and speak with other tongues. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that within this chapter we first read of the experience of the baptism of water, and we then find it written concerning the secondary work of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and with fire.
It’s worth noting that immediately after we find and read of these twelve disciples receiving the Holy Ghost and being baptized with fire and speaking with tongues and prophesying, the apostle Paul went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading things concerning the kingdom of God. As had been experienced in the other cities the apostle Paul had entered and visited, the Jews rose up in staunch opposition and resistance, and with hardened hearts believed not and spoke evil of the way of Jesus Christ before the multitude. In response to the opposition of the Jews the apostle Paul separated unto himself the disciples and disputed daily in the school of one Tyrannus. The beloved physician Luke writes how this disputing in the school of Tyrannus took place and continued over the space of two years, so that all those who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus—both Jews, as well as Greeks. Oh how absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is to read the words which are found within this passage and to come face to face with the fact that whereas the apostle Paul had previously spent a year and a half within the city of Corinth among its inhabitants, he would spend a minimum of two years within the city of Ephesus laboring among the Jews and Greeks which were there concerning the kingdom of God. Having initially found twelve disciples and laying his hands on them that they might receive the Holy Ghost, the apostle Paul would continue the work which he had done in previous cities which he himself had labored in. Luke writes how the apostle Paul spoke boldly in the synagogue for the space of three months before experiencing the opposition and resistance of the Jews. After the opposition and resistance of the Jews the apostle Paul separated unto himself the disciples and would spend another two years disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the tremendous amount of labor the apostle Paul would engage himself in there in the city of Ephesus—that city which he had previously visited and declared that he would return unto them if the Lord wills it to be so. It is quite obvious that the Lord did in fact desire the apostle Paul to return unto the city of Ephesus, and as a direct result of the apostle Paul laboring within the city of Ephesus we find that all those which dwelt in Asia hearing the word of the Lord Jesus. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that this was before social media, before the internet, before television, before radio, before podcasts, and before cell phones. All of Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus as a result of the apostle Paul dwelling the city of Ephesus, thus indicating how incredibly significant this city was for the spread of the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ. Oh how absolutely wonderful it is to think about and consider the time the apostle Paul spent with in the city of Ephesus and how incredibly significant a Christian presence and experience was in this city truly was, for as a result of the time the apostle Paul spent there all Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus. What would begin with twelve disciples being baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire would transition to all of Asia hearing the word of the Lord Jesus. There is still much more that took place within this influential and important city, however, I will leave that for the next writing which will describe the rest of the events which took place within the city of Ephesus during the time the apostle Paul spent there.