When Hell Asks Who You Are & Heaven Declares It Doesn’t Know You

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament narrative of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke in the book of Acts. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters nineteen through twenty-one of this New Testament book. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the apostle Paul transitioning from and leaving Corinth and making his journey to another major city which would be recipient of the words written in his letters. It’s actually quite interesting and unique to consider the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of this New Testament book—even the sixteenth chapter as well—for within these chapters we encounter Paul in the very cities he would write letters and epistles to. It would be in the sixteenth chapter we find the apostle Paul traveling in journeying throughout Galatia, as well a Macedonian colony known as Philippi. It is in the seventeenth chapter you will find the apostle Paul in Thessalonica, which would be a major city the apostle Paul would devote time together in ministry with Silas and Timothy. As you come to the eighteenth chapter you will find the apostle Paul in the city of Corinth which would be one of those cities and locations he would spend a considerable amount of time. If and as you read the words which are found within the eighteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find the apostle Paul spending a year and a half within the city of Corinth as he would labor together with Aquila and Priscilla in that place. It’s actually worth thinking about and considering that the epistles which were written unto the Corinthians would be the longest of the epistles the apostle Paul would write, as the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints would have sixteen chapters within it, while the second epistle would have thirteen chapters. Stop and consider the fact that more than twenty plus chapters were written unto these saints which were in Corinth, as the apostle Paul needed to provide them with a great degree and measure of instruction, warning, teaching and encouragement.

            Upon coming to the nineteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find the apostle—after having left the city of Corinth—coming unto the city Ephesus, which is in what we know as modern day Turkey. Perhaps one of the most remarkable and astounding realities I can’t help but think about and consider is that much of the apostolic ministry, and many of the major cities he entered into and ministered the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ and His kingdom took place in what we now know as modern day Greece, as modern day Macedonia, and modern day Turkey. It’s quite astonishing and captivating to think about and consider the tremendous reality that those cities which the apostle Paul would spend the greatest amount of time in would be in this particular area within both Europe and Asia. With this being said I am absolutely and completely convinced that before we can truly understand the words, the language and the events that are found in chapters nineteen through twenty-one it is first necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the words which are found in the eighteenth chapter. It is the events which take place in the eighteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts that presents us with the apostle Paul coming unto the city of Corinth after he had departed from Athens. Having been brought forth from the city of Thessalonica unto Berea because of the opposition and persecution that rose up against him there, and having been brought forth out of Berea because the opposition of Thessalonica followed him there, we find the apostle Paul journeying unto Athens, which would have been the capital city of Greece. It would be after the apostle Paul preached and proclaimed the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ in Athens we find him departing and coming unto Corinth. What makes this quite remarkable is how the beloved physician Luke presents the apostle Paul’s journey unto Corinth, for in the first verse of the eighteenth chapter we find the apostle Paul finding in Corinth a certain Jew named Aquila, which was born in Pontus, but which came from Italy with his wife Priscilla because it had been commanded that all Jews depart from the city of Rome.

            Beginning to read with and from the opening verses of the eighteenth chapter of the book of Acts you will find that because the apostle Paul and Aquila were of the same craft he abode with them and worked, as they were both tentmakers. FOUND A CERTAIN JEW! OF THE SAME CRAFT! ABODE WITH THEM! WROUGHT [WORKED]. THEY WERE TENTMAKERS! I sit here thinking about and considering the words which are found in the opening verses of the eighteenth chapter of this book and I am absolutely and completely captivated by the fact that the apostle Paul would come unto Corinth, and it would be in Corinth he would find a fellow Jew who was present there in the midst of the city. What’s more, is that not only would the apostle Paul find a certain Jew named Aquila in the city of Corinth who was there with his wife Priscilla, but the apostle Paul would also abide there together with them. Not only this, but Luke also is sure to include within the text that they were both tentmakers, and that while the apostle Paul was there he would labor in the work and craft of tentmaking. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this truly awesome and powerful truth, for if and as you read these words you will essentially find two distinct and two different types of work that took place. On the one hand you will find the apostle Paul laboring together and working with Aquila (and possibly Priscilla as well) in the craft of making tents. It would be incredibly easy to read the words which are found within this text and to quickly overlook and miss out on this incredibly important truth and reality, and yet I am absolutely and completely convinced that we dare not, we cannot and must not miss what is presented before us within the text. It is within the text we find the apostle Paul laboring and working—and not only laboring and working, but also laboring and working together with Aquila and his wife Priscilla. It would be very easy to think and consider the apostle Paul’s tenure and time in Corinth was simply and solely laboring together in ministry and the work of the kingdom, and yet the truth of the matter is that in addition to laboring together in the work and ministry of the kingdom, the apostle Paul would also labor together with these two saints in the work and craft of tentmaking.

            LABORING TOGETHER IN THE WORK OF MINISTRY! LABORING TOGETHER IN THE WORK OF TENTMAKING! I feel it is absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found within these verses, for there is something truly powerful and captivating that is presented before and unto us. If and as you read the words found in this chapter you will indeed find the apostle Paul laboring in the work of the ministry of the kingdom, however, you will also find the apostle Paul laboring together with others in a work that in fact had nothing to do with the work of the ministry of the kingdom. Oh I can’t help but ask myself a tremendously powerful question—one that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt needs to be answered within my own heart and life. The question I find myself asking is not only whether or not I can work together with others in the ministry of the kingdom, but also whether or not I can work together with others in ordinary, normal and every day work. We tend to think that the only necessary thing is whether or not we can work together with others in the labor, the work and the ministry of the kingdom, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. While it is indeed true that we must indeed be able to work together in and with the work of the ministry of the kingdom of heaven, it is also necessary and imperative that we learn and know how to work with others in what we would perceive and consider as ordinary, normal, and every day work. This is perhaps what is so incredibly powerful about the fact that Jesus was indeed the Word made flesh which dwelt among us, however, before that Word would be made manifest publicly as the Son of God He would first be the Word made flesh among us in ordinary and every day life. I continue to find it absolutely remarkable and astounding to think about and consider the awesome and powerful truth that Jesus would spend the first thirty years of His life learning the craft of carpentry, and would have undoubtedly worked and labored together with Joseph, as well as his brothers who would have undoubtedly have worked together with their father.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering how absolutely awesome it is to in fact know that Jesus was indeed the Word which was made flesh, and knowing that the Word was indeed made flesh and dwelt among us, however, before that Word was made manifest publicly before and among men He would first dwell among and abide with his brethren, with Mary and Joseph, and even those in Nazareth. It is absolutely undeniable that those in Nazareth knew Jesus, and had known Him for thirty years, for when He stood up in the synagogue and spoke from the prophetic book of Isaiah and declared that the words of the prophet was fulfilled in their hearing, they would ultimately and eventually reject His words having become offended with His statements knowing that He was indeed Joseph’s son, and that His brethren was there together with them. Undoubtedly Jesus would have spent the first thirty years of His earthly and natural life dwelling and abiding with Joseph and Mary, with His brethren, and with those in the midst of Nazareth. There would have been countless times when those in Nazareth would have stopped by Joseph’s house and/or shop and would have interacted with Jesus, and would have watched and witnessed Him working side by side and together with Joseph there in the shop. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for before Jesus would ever labor and be about His Father’s business in the midst of the earth He would first labor together with Joseph and His brethren in the craft of carpentry. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely astounding and remarkable truth, for it’s almost as if for a good portion of His life Jesus not only learned to do life together with His brethren and with those in Nazareth, but He also learned to work together with His brethren, and with Joseph in the craft of carpentry. Oh please do not miss and lose sight of this, for there is something to be said about those who are not only able to labor and work together in ministry, but those who are able to labor and work together with others in ordinary and every day life.

            Would it shock and surprise you to hear and even consider that it is not only necessary for you to be able to learn how to labor together and work with others in ministry, but it is also necessary for you to learn how to work together with others in ordinary and every day life. What’s more, is I feel absolutely compelled to ask you the question of how well you work together with others in ordinary and every day life. Not only this, but is it possible that until and unless you learn how to work together with others in what might be considered ordinary, routine, normal and mundane work in every day life the Lord cannot and will not entrust you with working together with others in the work of the ministry? We know from Scripture that Jesus emphatically declared that those who were faithful in little would be given much, and we must recognize and understand that this does in fact touch the realm of laboring and working together with others in what might be considered ordinary and every day work. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and powerful truth, for one of the greatest questions we must needs ask ourselves is not only whether or not we can work together with others in ordinary and every day life on our jobs and those endeavors we engage ourselves in, but also how well we work together with others. I absolutely love reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture, for while it is true the apostle Paul would indeed labor together in the work of the ministry there in Corinth with Aquila and Priscila, he would also labor together in the craft of tentmaking. Pause for a moment and think about what it would and could have looked like unto the Corinthians to not only see and witness the apostle Paul labor among them in the work of the ministry, but also laboring and working together with them in ordinary and every day work. Think about what it would and could have looked like to watch the apostle Paul—not only living, but also laboring in and with ordinary and every day life among them.

            CAN YOU DO ORDINARY LIFE WITH OTHERS? CAN YOU DO ORDINARY LIFE WITH THOSE BEFORE YOU? ARE YOU ABLE TO LABOR TOGETHER WITH THOSE AROUND YOU IN WHAT MIGHT BE CONSIDERED NORMAL AND ROUTINE WORK? I have to admit there is something truly remarkable and astounding when you think about and consider the words found in this passage, for while we do in fact read how the apostle Paul labored in the work of the ministry of the kingdom of heaven there in Corinth, we also know that the apostle Paul labored together with Aquila and Priscilla in the craft of tent making. OH how truly wonderful and powerful it is to think about and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture, for it brings us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth of how well we are able to work together with others on our job. I know that without a doubt I am finding myself asking how well I have been able to—and not only how well I have been able to, but also how well I am able to work together with others on my job. I can’t help but think about and consider one of the most profound truths that is found in this passage of Scripture is that of how there might be those among us whom the Lord cannot entrust in the work of the ministry of the kingdom because the Lord can’t trust them with ordinary, normal and every day work. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—how can the Lord trust you with the work of the ministry of the kingdom if He can’t trust you with work in general? How can the Lord trust you with the work of the Spirit within the earth among men if He can’t even trust you with work on your job? We tend to think and believe that we can be entrusted with the work of the ministry of the kingdom and yet we can’t even be entrusted with ordinary work and labor among us within our lives. This is perhaps what I so absolutely love about what is found in the sixth and eighth chapters of the book of Acts, for while Stephen and Philip were both used mightily of the Lord and by the Spirit to work great signs, wonders and miracles, and while they were both used mightily to proclaim the truth concerning Jesus the Christ, they were originally chosen to work, to labor and to serve in the ministry of caring for widows—and perhaps not only widows, but also orphans, the poor, the afflicted and the needy among the Church. Oh I would dare say that the main and underlying reason the Holy Ghost could work through and could entrust them with signs, wonders and miracles is because He could trust them with the care and compassion among the widows, the orphans, the poor, the afflicted and the needy among them.

            I am absolutely and completely convinced there is something worth noting and pointing out—not only when reading the words which are found in the eighteenth chapter of the book of Acts, but also the words which are found in the sixth and eighth chapters of this same book—for we must needs be willing to allow ourselves to come face to face with whether or not we are actually able to work together with others in ordinary and every day life. We would like to think that we can immediately and automatically be entrusted with the work of the ministry of the kingdom of heaven, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. There are many who might very well be seeking an opportunity to labor together and work in the ministry of the kingdom of heaven, and yet they have not learned how to labor and work together with others—and not only labor and work, but also be faithful in and with ordinary and every day work. Permit me to be bold right here and ask how well you are able to work with others on your job, and how well you actually do the work you have been assigned and entrusted to on your job. Are you one who has been able to be trusted with the work which has been assigned to you on your job and in your work place? Are you able to be trusted with working well and working together with others in your place of work? What’s more, is we must needs also ask ourselves and be willing to be honest whether or not we are able to labor and work in ordinary and every day life—not even necessarily on our job, but simply doing life with others. There is within this text three distinct realities and aspects of doing life with others, for within this text we find that of abiding together with others, that of working together with others, and that of laboring together in the work of the ministry.

            As I sit here today reading and considering the words which are found in this passage it is absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the awesome and powerful truth that within this text we essentially see three and distinct means and methods the apostle Paul did life together with Aquila and Priscilla there in Corinth. The more I think about and consider the words found in this text the more I am brought face to face with the awesome truth that the apostle Paul abode with this Jewish couple there in Corinth, thus indicating his willingness to engage in fellowship, relationship and community together with them. This is indeed and in all reality one of the main and underlying truths that is found within this passage of Scripture, for those who would be and those who are faithful in the sight of the Lord are those who learn how to and those who are able to live, abide and dwell in community and fellowship with others. Oh, permit me to ask you the question of whether or not you are able to live, abide and dwell in community and fellowship with others. Are you truly willing and able to live in community and fellowship together with others, and are you truly willing and able to abide with others right where they are and simply do life with them? With this being said, it is absolutely necessary that we also come face to face with and ask ourselves whether or not we are indeed able to labor and work together with others—not only within our jobs and at our work places, but also in ordinary and every day life. How well are you truly and actually able to work together with others on your job and in your place of employment? How well are you able to labor and work together with others around you—even in menial, ordinary, natural, and perhaps even mundane tasks, chores and responsibilities of every day life? Are you able to work together with others in the normal every day responsibilities, tasks and assignments within your life? There is within this text the awesome and powerful truth that the apostle Paul was willing and able to abide with Aquila and Priscilla—and not only this couple, but also the Corinthians themselves—in community, but there is also the powerful truth of the apostle Paul laboring and working together with them in them in ordinary and every day life. What we find here within this passage of Scripture is a truly powerful picture—not only of the apostle Paul willing to abide with Aquila and Priscilla, but also willing to labor and work together with them in the craft of tentmaking.

            The third and final means and method of the apostle Paul living and doing life with Aquila and Priscilla there in Corinth is that of laboring and working together in ministry—and not only with Aquila and Priscilla, but also together with Timothy and Silas. We find in the fourth verse of this chapter that the apostle Paul reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded both the Jews and the Greeks. In the fifth verse we find that when Silas and Timothy were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. This would prove to be a pivotal moment—not only here within the city of Corinth, but also in the cities into which the apostle Paul would journey from that moment in. It is in the fifth verse of this chapter we find Paul testifying unto the Jews that Jesus was Christ, however, in the sixth verse of this chapter we find the Jews opposing themselves, and blaspheming before and in the sight of Paul, Silas and Timothy. The apostle Paul would witness their rejection of the gospel—and not only their rejection of the gospel, but also their rejection of Jesus as the Christ—and Paul would shake his raiment and declare unto them that their blood be upon their own heads, for he was clean. What’s more, is the apostle Paul also declared unto them that from henceforth he would go unto the Gentiles and preach the gospel unto the Gentiles. What you find next is the apostle Paul departing and going into a certain man’s house whose name was Justus—a man who worshipped God, and whose house joined hard to the synagogue. What’s more, is that the chief ruler of the synagogue—Crispus—believed on the Lord with all his house, and many of the Corinthians hearing believed and were baptized. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for in the ninth verse of this chapter we find the Lord appearing unto the apostle Paul by night—and not only appearing unto him, but also speaking unto him. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the ninth, tenth and eleventh verses of this chapter:

            “Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and holy not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them” (Acts 18:9-11).

            It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and understand the words which we find within these verses, for within the city of Corinth—not only would the apostle Paul experience the opposition from the Jews, but the apostle Paul would also experience many who would believe the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus the Christ, and who would be baptized. I find it absolutely astounding and captivating to read the words in this passage of Scripture, for not only do we find the Lord instructing and commanding the apostle Paul to be not afraid, but to speak and hold not peace, but we also find the Lord offering the apostle Paul a great and precious promise. The words which the Lord spoke unto the apostle Paul not only contain within them commandment and instruction as the Lord instructed Paul to (1) be not afraid, to (2) speak, and to (3) hold not his peace. With and in addition to this commandment and instruction the Lord also emphatically declared unto the apostle Paul that He was with him, that no man shall set on him to hurt him, and that He had much people in this city. Pause for a moment and think about how absolutely powerful this declaration from the Lord truly was when it was spoken and revealed unto the apostle Paul by night. What’s more, is that immediately after the Lord promised the apostle Paul that He would be with him, that none would set on him to hurt him, and that He had many people in that city we find the apostle Paul continuing there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. Pause and consider how utterly astonishing this truly is when you think about the fact that the apostle Paul would devote a year and a half abiding and dwelling with the Corinthians as He would teach the word of God among them. The apostle Paul would devote a full eighteen months to the Corinthians laboring and toiling together with them, and he would do so simply and solely because the Lord appeared unto him in the night by a vision. What I so love about the words the Lord spoke unto the apostle Paul by night is not only the promise of protection, but also the declaration that He had much people in this city. Despite the fact the Jews opposed themselves, blasphemed, and rejected Jesus as Christ, the Lord had much people in that city. Pause for a moment and think about how truly awesome and powerful this is, for here within this Gentile city within what is modern day Greece we find the Lord having much people. Oh I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the LORD spoke unto the prophet Elijah there at Horeb in the wilderness of Sinai after the prophet had run in response to the murderous threat of Jezebel:

            “And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantel, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israe have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I Only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. YET I HAVE LEFT ME SEVEN THOUSAND IN ISRAEL, ALL THE KNEES WHICH HAVE NOT BOWED UNTO BAAL, AND EVERY MOUTH WHICH HATH NOT KISSED HIM” (1 Kings 19:9-18).

            YET I HAVE LEFT ME SEVEN THOUSAND IN ISRAEL, ALL THE KNEES WHICH HAVE NOT BOWED UNTO BAAL, AND EVERY MOUTH WHICH HATH NOT KISSED HIM! Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of how truly awesome and powerful this is when you take the time to consider it, for during a time when the prophets of the LORD were being slain, and during a time when the life of the prophet Elijah was itself threatened by Jezebel the LORD had reserved for and unto Himself seven thousand in Israel whose knees had not bowed unto Baal, and whose mouths have not kissed him. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of what’s found in this passage of Scripture, for it brings us face to face with the reality and concept of remnant—and not only remnant, but remnant in the midst of a time of opposition, remnant in the midst of affliction, and remnant in the midst of persecution. During a time when Jezebel had killed the prophets of the LORD, and during a time of national apostasy the LORD still reserved for and unto Himself seven thousand in Israel who had not worshipped, nor bowed down to Baal. Oh how absolutely powerful this truly is—particularly and especially when you consider it in light of the words which the Lord spoke unto the apostle Paul concerning the city of Corinth. Despite the fact that the Jews had blasphemed and opposed themselves regarding the gospel of the Lord Jesus the Christ the Lord still had much people within the city. Despite the tremendous opposition the apostle Paul face and experience in the midst of that city the Lord would indeed have much people present within the city—those people who would believe upon the Lord Jesus the Christ, and those people who would worship and follow God the Father of the Lord Jesus the Christ. What’s more, is that within this passage we find the apostle Paul remaining and abiding with them for a period of eighteen months. What’s more, is that in verses twelve we find the Jews making an insurrection with one accord against Paul, and bringing him before the judgment seat declaring that he persuaded men to worship God contrary to the law. It would during this time the Greeks would take Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue and beat him before the judgment seat. It would be after this would take place the apostle Paul would take his leave from the brethren and would sail into Syria with Priscilla and Aquila. It is in this context of sailing to Jerusalem to observe a feast in the city of Jerusalem the apostle Paul would come unto Ephesus and would leave Aquila and Priscilla there while he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.

            In order to truly understand the words which are found in the nineteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we must needs understand the final words which are found in the eighteenth chapter, for while the apostle Paul would not tarry and remain in Ephesus due to his wanting and needing to keep the feast in Jerusalem, he would leave Aquila and Priscilla there with and among them. The final verses written and found in the eighteenth chapter present us with the apostle Paul making his way toward and unto Jerusalem to keep the feast which was there, while along the way salting the churches at Antioch, Caesarea, Galatia, and Phrygia. As you begin reading with and from the twenty-fourth verse of the eighteenth chapter you will find that there was a Jew by the name of Apollos—one who was born at Alexandria—who was an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures. This man Apollos would come unto Ephesus—and would speak and teach diligently the tings of the Lord. Concerning this man Apollos we learn that he was a man who was instructed in the way of the Lord, was fervent in the spirit, who spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, but knowing only the baptism of John. This man Apollos would begin speaking boldly in the synagogue, and would ultimately be heard by Aquila and Priscilla who would take him unto themselves, and would expound unto him the way of God more perfectly. It’s important for us to recognize and understand this, for although the apostle would not tarry and abide at Ephesus with those who were there because he must needs keep the feast which was at Jerusalem, they would not be without a witness, nor would they be without a testimony among them, for Apollos would speak and teach them concerning the things of the Lord, and they would have Aquila and Priscilla who were there together with Apollos. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and powerful truth, for it is the words which are found in this passage of Scripture that brings us face to face with the reality that there would indeed be a witness and testimony there in the midst of Ephesus as Aquilla and Priscilla would be there among them. It would be in this context we come to the nineteenth chapter of the book of Acts, and the return of the apostle Paul coming once more unto the upper coasts of Ephesus.

            As you begin reading the words which are found in the nineteenth chapter of the book of Acts you will find that while Apollos was at Corinth—something that would be referenced in the opening chapters of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints—the apostle Paul would pass through the upper coasts and would come unto Ephesus. It would be after coming unto Ephesus the apostle Paul would find certain disciples and would ask them whether or not they received the Holy Ghost since they had believed. The response of these disciples is actually quite remarkable when you think about it, for they responded unto Paul and would declare that they had not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. It would be upon hearing this Paul would proceed to ask them unto what then were they baptized—a question which they would respond and answer saying that they had been baptized unto John’s baptism. The apostle Paul would then speak and declare unto them how John baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on which should come after Him, which was Christ Jesus. Upon hearing this these disciples at Ephesus were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and after being baptized as such the apostle Paul would lay his hands on them. As the apostle Paul laid his hands on them the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. We must needs recognize and understand this, for it highlights and underscores the ministry of Apollos which was there at Ephesus prior to the coming of the apostle Paul, for although there were disciples that were present in Ephesus their experience was partial, and in some ways incomplete. It was indeed true that there were indeed disciples which were present there in Ephesus, however, those disciples essentially only had part of the true picture concerning the manifestation of Jesus the Christ within their hearts and lives. It was indeed true that they were baptized unto the baptism of John, however, we must needs recognize and understand that there was so much more to their experience than simply the baptism of John.

            THERE’S MORE FOR YOU! THERE’S MORE YOU NEED TO EXPERIENCE! THERE’S A GREAT MANIFESTATION OF YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH CHRIST! THERE’S MORE TO YOUR WALKING WITH THE LORD THAN SIMPLY THE BAPTISM OF JOHN! If there is one thing I so love and appreciate when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture it’s that although the apostle Paul would come unto these disciples in Ephesus and find that they had been baptized unto the baptism of John unto repentance, he would not only baptize them in the name of the Lord Jesus speaking of the baptism which He would indeed offer and provide, he would teach and speak unto them concerning a second part to their experience with the Lord. Oh it was indeed true that they would indeed receive and experience the baptism of John which was unto repentance, however, there was an even greater experience and manifestation they would experience within their hearts and lives. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how truly awesome and powerful this is, for there is something to be said about the baptism of John and the baptism of Jesus. There is something to be said about John’s baptism in water, which was a baptism unto repentance unto the remission of sins, while there would indeed be another baptism—a baptism not of water, but a baptism of the Spirit. When the apostle Paul came unto these disciples in Ephesus he would baptize them in the name of the Lord Jesus the Christ, and it would be after and as these disciples had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus the Christ the apostle Paul would lay his hands on them. It would be as the apostle Paul would lay his hands on these disciples that they would receive the person and presence of the Holy Spirit—and not only receive and be filled with the Holy Spirit, but would also speak with other tongues and be baptized. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and consider the two-fold experience which was found and made available unto the disciples and saints of the Lord Jesus the Christ. There would indeed be a baptism of John which is a baptism unto repentance for the remission of sins, but there would be another baptism which be one which came not from the earth, but which came from heaven. There would indeed be a baptism of John which would take place in water unto repentance unto the remission of sins, however, there would be another baptism that would take place from the right hand of the Father in heaven as Jesus would send the person of the Holy Spirit.

            If there is one thing I so absolutely love when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture it’s that after the day of Pentecost had come in the midst of the city of Jerusalem the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit would be present in the midst of the earth. As you read the book of Acts you will find the person and presence of the Holy Spirit being manifested in certain places, as the Holy Spirit would be manifested in Samaria, as He would be manifested in the midst of Caesarea in the house of Cornelius the centurion, and as He would be manifested in Ephesus among these twelve disciples. It was indeed true the Holy Spirit would be released upon one-hundred and twenty there in the upper room in Jerusalem, however, as you continue reading the New Testament book of Acts you will find additional manifestations of the Holy Spirit that would take place—not only among the Samaritans, but also among the Gentiles. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for when Jesus spoke of sending the promise of the Holy Spirit, and when Jesus declared how the disciples would be witnesses for Him after they would be endowed with power from on high, He mentioned absolutely nothing about the Holy Spirit being manifested among the Samaritans and among the Gentiles. Perhaps one of the most powerful and astonishing truths that is found within the New Testament book of Acts is not only that the Holy Spirit would be manifested among one-hundred and twenty Jews there in the upper room, but also that the Holy Spirit would be manifested among the Samaritans and among the Gentiles. It is absolutely remarkable and astounding to think and consider how the Holy Spirit would indeed be manifested among the one-hundred and twenty Jews which were present there in the upper room, however, as the book of Acts continues and progresses we find the Holy Spirit being manifested beyond Jerusalem, and even beyond Judaea, as the Holy Spirit would be manifested in Samaria, as well as among the Gentiles.

            If and as you read the nineteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts—not only will you find twelve disciples receiving the Holy Spirit as they would speak in tongues and prophesy, but you will also find the apostle Paul beginning to rise up and speak among the Ephesians. We read how the apostle Paul go in to the synagogue and would speak boldly for the space of three months as he disputed and persuaded the things concerning the kingdom of God. It would be as the apostle Paul would speak in the synagogue that there would rise opposition and resistance against the declaration that Jesus was indeed the Christ, as there would be those among them who would be hardened, who would believe not, and who would speak evil of the way of Christ among the multitude. It would be in response to this the apostle Paul would depart from the synagogue and would separate the disciples as he would begin to dispute in the school of Tyrannus. There at the school of Tyrannus the apostle Paul would continue by the space of two years, so that all which dwelt in Asia would hear the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. Not only this, but God would work special miracles by the hands of the apostle Paul, so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and evil spirits would go out from others. Pause for a moment and think about what is found within these opening verses, for not only do we find the Holy Spirit falling upon and filling twelve disciples there in Ephesus, thus enabling them to speak with other tongues and prophesying, but we also find all those which dwelt in Asia hearing the word of the Lord Jesus—both Jews and Greeks. Oh how absolutely powerful and incredible it is to think about and consider what took place in the midst of the city of Ephesus, for not only do we find the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and not only do we find all of Asia hearing the word of the Lord Jesus, but we also find God working special miracles by the hands of Paul there in the midst of the city.

            The more I read the words which are found within this chapter the more I can’t help but be drawn to the awesome and powerful truth of what would take place in Ephesus, for what would begin with twelve disciples receiving the Holy Spirit and speaking with other tongues and prophesying would continue with all of Asia hearing the word of the Lord Jesus, and God working special miracles by the hand of the apostle Paul. Not only this, but we also find there in Ephesus the word of God mightily increasing and prevailing there in the midst of the city as the Spirit would expose those who thought they could work the work of God without and apart from the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. It would be there in Ephesus we find certain vagabond Jews which were exorcists who would attempt to drive out evil spirits by the Jews whom Paul preached. It’s interesting and worth noting how there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests who attempted to cast out evil spirits according to the Jesus whom the apostle Paul preached. What is truly captivating and challenging when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture is that the evil spirit which was present within a man during that time would speak unto them declaring, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” JESUS I KNOW! PAUL I KNOW! BUT WHO ARE YOU? Oh please don’t miss how truly challenging this question is, for the evil spirit that was present within this man was well aware of Jesus the Christ, and was even aware of His apostle Paul, however, this evil spirit knew nothing of these men. The evil spirit that was present within this man had absolutely no clue who these seven sons were, and even asked them who they were. WHEN HELL ASKS WHO YOU ARE? WHEN HELL IS IGNORANT OF YOUR PRESENCE! WHEN HELL HAS NO CLUE WHO YOU ARE! WHEN HELL HAS ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO YOU ARE IN THE MIDST OF THE GENERATION IN WHICH YOU LIVE!

            The more I think about and the more I consider the words which are found in this passage the more I can’t help but be confronted with the words which the evil  spirit spoke unto these seven sons of one Sceva. If and as you read the words which are found in this passage you will find these seven sons attempting to cast and drive out this unclean spirit according to the Jesus whom the apostle Paul preached, and yet their attempt would be absolutely and entirely unsuccessful as the evil spirit would speak unto them and emphatically declare how he knew Jesus, and he even knew Paul, but had absolutely no clue who they were. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it reveals something truly challenging when you take the time to think about it. There is within this passage of Scripture a powerful indictment against and upon many churches—and not only many churches, but also many Christian and religious organizations and ministries. I sit here today thinking about and considering the words that are found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but think about the fact that there are ministries and organizations right now who are attempting to exercise dominion and authority they do not have—and not only are they attempting to exercise dominion and authority they don’t have, but such ministries and organizations are not only unknown in heaven, but are also unknown in hell itself. I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that if you are indeed unknown in heaven you are absolutely and entirely unknown in hell. What I find absolutely astounding about this passage of Scripture is that these seven sons were unknown by this evil and unclean spirit—and I would venture to say that these men were unknown in hell itself. This unclean spirit knew who Jesus was, and this unclean spirit knew who the apostle Paul, but he had absolutely no clue who these particular Jews were. These Jews attempted to exercise dominion and authority they did not have, and not only would they hear this unclean spirit ask who they were, but you will also find the man in whom was the unclean spirit leaping upon them, overcoming them, and prevailing against them, so that they fled out of the he house naked and wounded. Oh I can’t help but wonder how many churches, ministries and organizations are much like these seven sons—naked and wounded—because the unseen and spiritual realm knows nothing about them.

            I am sitting here right now and I am finding myself asking and wondering how many churches are being overcome and prevailed against by the unseen and spiritual realm—overcome and prevailed against by principalities and the powers of darkness—not only because they are attempting to exercise authority and dominion they don’t have, but because they think they can do so without and apart from relationship and fellowship with Jesus. There is not a doubt in my mind there are churches, ministries and organizations within this generation who are naked and wounded because the spiritual forces of evil and spiritual forces of darkness have overcome and prevailed against them. There are churches, ministries and organizations among us today who are being overcome and prevailed against by hell itself—this despite the fact that Jesus emphatically declared that He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Oh I can’t help but be absolutely and entirely captivated, convicted and challenged with and by the fact that there are churches, ministries and organizations among us within this generation who are not only unknown in heaven, but also who are unknown in hell. It’s quite interesting to think and consider the stark comparison and contrast between what is found in this passage of Scripture and what is found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle Matthew. If and as you read the words which are found in the seventh chapter of the gospel written by Matthew you will find Jesus emphatically declaring that it is entirely and altogether possible to come unto Him in that day—not only professing “Lord, Lord,” but also professing the great and wonderful works which have been done within the earth. Perhaps some of the most sobering words in all of Scripture are the words which Jesus would speak unto those who would come unto Him in that day, saying, “Lord, Lord”—particularly and especially when you think about and consider the fact that these individuals also prophesied, performed great wonders, and did many wonderful things. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew:     

            “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:15-23).

            Stop and consider the words which are found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle Matthew, for within this passage of Scripture we find many who will come to the Lord in that day and will profess “Lord, Lord,” and  will expect entrance and access into the kingdom of heaven. What’s more is these individuals can and will declare how they prophesied in the name of the Lord, how they cast out devil in His name, and how they did many wonderful works in His name, and yet can and will hear the Lord profess unto them, “I never knew you.” Please don’t miss and lose sight of the tremendous weight and significance of these words, for these words bring us face to face with the fact that it is possible to do wonderful works in your generation, it is possible to cast out devils, and it is even possible to prophesy in the name of the Lord, and yet not only not be known in heaven, but also hear from the Lord Himself that He never you. Oh there is something to be said about not only not being known in heaven, but also not being known in hell. There is not a doubt in my mind that there are individuals, there are churches, there are ministries, and there are organizations that are not only unknown in heaven, but are also unknown in hell as well. What a truly tragic and dangerous place it is to be a church within this generation and not only be unknown in heaven, but also be unknown in hell. It is possible to do many wonderful works in the name of the Lord Jesus, it is possible to prophesy in the name of the Lord Jesus, and it is possible to cast out devils in the name of the Lord Jesus, and yet be entirely and altogether unknown in heaven by the Lord Jesus. What’s more, is that it is possible at the same time and at the same token to be unknown in hell. That which we find in the nineteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts by the physician Luke is truly remarkable, astounding and convicting when you think about the fact that it is also possible to not be known in hell, nor be unknown by the spiritual wickedness in high places, by principalities, and by unclean spirits alike.

            As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary and imperative to call and draw your attention to the undeniable reality that it is incredibly tragic to not only be unknown in heaven—despite the many wonderful works you might do in the name of the Lord in the earth—but also to be unknown in hell itself. It is incredibly tragic and dangerous to be a church, a ministry and even an entire organization within this generation who might very well do many wonderful works in the name of the Lord, and prophesy in the name of the Lord, and cast out devils in the name of the Lord, and yet be entirely and altogether unknown in heaven, and by Jesus the Christ. It is something truly tragic to read and consider the words which are found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew and to find that there can and there will be men and women who will not only profess unto Jesus, saying “Lord, Lord,” but they will also speak of the great and wonderful works they have done in His name in the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of what is found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, as well as the words which are found in the nineteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts written by the beloved physician Luke, for one of the most dangerous and tragic places to be in is to be here upon the earth and to engage in works and yet be known in heaven, and to attempt works and not be known in hell. I am finding myself coming face to face with the fact that it is an incredible dangerous place to not be feared and known in hell, as well as to not be known in heaven. NOT FEARED IN HELL, NOT KNOWN IN HEAVEN! I feel absolutely compelled to ask you who might be reading the words within this writing whether or not you are known in heaven, and whether or not you are feared in hell. The evil spirit declared unto these seven sons of one Sceva declaring that he did not know who they were, and what an incredibly tragic and challenging place to be in when not only does heaven not know who you are, but neither does hell know who you are.

Oh, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are found in another chapter within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, for it’s in this passage where we encounter and come face to face with the awesome reality surrounding those who are not only known in heaven, but also those who are known in hell. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we find in the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew brings us face to face with that which is necessary within our hearts and our lives if we are going to be feared in hell and known in heaven. Oh if the Last Days Church is truly going to be that which it was created and intended to be then it must not only be feared in hell, but it must also be known in heaven. It must not be said of you, it must not be said of me, and it must not be said of us that not only are we and not only have we not been known in heaven, but also we have not been and we are not feared in hell. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the words which are found in the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Paul, for not only are we confronted with what many might be saying concerning many of our churches, organizations and ministries, but also what is absolutely and entirely necessary within and among us in our midst. There is not a doubt in my mind that it is absolutely dangerous to be unknown in heaven, to not be feared in hell, and to have it said of us that others attempted to bring those in need, and those in the throes of spiritual battle and conflict, and yet we could not do anything. What an incredibly dangerous place it is to be unknown in heaven, to not be feared in hell, and to have it said of us that men and women attempted to bring unto us those in need, and those who were in need of deliverance and freedom. It is with this in mind I leave you with the words found in the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew concerning Jesus’ disciples, and not only how they could not drive out an unclean spirit from a young boy, but also the underlying and root cause as to why they could not do so. Oh that this would be an incredible challenge to us within this generation, as we have been called and we are being called to be able to walk in and exercise dominion and authority among those things which are before and all around us Let it not be said of any of us that not only are we unknown in heaven, and not only are we not feared in hell, but also that those in need were brought to us and we could not do anything to help. With this in mind I leave you with the following words:

And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for oftimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. AND I BROUGHT HIM TO THY DISCIPLES, AND THEY COULD NOT CURE HIM. Then answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out. And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this king goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:14-21).

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