The Gospel & the Threat to the Idolatry of a City

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament book of Acts—the account of the spiritual body of Jesus Christ—as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically today’s passage begins with the twenty-third verse of the nineteenth chapter and continues through to the twelfth verse of the twentieth chapter. “And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, we know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought: but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre. Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. And they drew Alexander out tothe multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defended unto the people. But when they knew that he was a jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried, out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians”(Acts 19:23-34).

 

            “And when the town clerk had appeared the people, he said, YE men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. But if inquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly” (Acts 19:35-41).

 

            “And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece. And there abode three amonths. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to Sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia. And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. These going before tarried for us at Troas. And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eytchus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When eh therefore was come up against, and had broken  bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted” (Acts 20:1-12).

 

            When you come to the nineteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will encounter the tremendous narrative of the time the apostle Paul spent in the city of Ephesus. Important to recognize and understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture is that this would not be the first time the apostle Paul would come unto the city of Ephesus. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the final verses of the eighteenth chapter you will find the apostle Paul departing the city of Corinth and sailing unto Syria together with Aquila and Priscilla. It would be when the apostle Paul departed from Corinth and sailed unto Syria that he would come unto Ephesus and leave Aquila and Priscilla in a certain place while he himself went into the the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. Upon hearing the words which the apostle Paul spoke and taught unto them those who were present in the synagogue of the Jews desired him tarry a longer time with them. The apostle Paul, however, would not accommodate their request for he bade them farewell as he had to journey unto the city of Jerusalem to partake of a feast which was taking place there. Scripture doesn’t describe which of the Jewish feasts the apostle Paul sought to keep in the city of Jerusalem—only that the apostle Paul made a vow that he would depart unto Jerusalem that he might partake in the feast. Despite the fact the apostle Paul would not abide and tarry in the city of Ephesus he would declare unto them how he would return unto them if God permitted and willed it. The apostle Paul would then sail from Ephesus and arrived at Caesarea where he went up and saluted the church. After saluting the church which was in Antioch the apostle Paul would then go down unto Antioch where he would spend a considerable mount of time there before departing and going over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order strengthening the disciples.

 

            If you continue reading the final verses of the eighteenth chapter you will find that a certain Jew named Apollos who was born at Alexandria—an eloquent man who was mighty in the scriptures—would come unto Ephesus. This Jew was instructed in the way of the Lord and being fervent in the spirit spoke and taught diligently the things of the Lord knowing only the baptism of John. Apollos began to speak boldly in the synagogue and would be heard by Aquila and Priscilla who would take him unto themselves and expound unto him the way of God more perfectly. When Apollos was disposed to pass into Achaea the brethren wrote exhorting the disciples to receive him who when he had come helped them much which believed through the grace. Luke writes how Apollos mightily convinced the Jews publicly showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of when considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for there in Ephesus they would not only hear the teaching and speaking of the apostle Paul but they would also hear the words and teaching of Apollos before he would depart from among them and journey into Achaia. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for by and through the teaching of the apostle Paul as well as the teaching of Apollos we come to understand how there might very well have been disciples which were present in this city by the time the apostle Paul returned unto them in the nineteenth chapter. What’s more is that I am convinced it is necessary to present you with the words which are found in the final verses of the eighteenth chapter of this New Testament book beginning to read with and from the eighteenth verse:

 

            “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 Aquila; having shorn his head in Cencrhrea; 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 carry 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).

 

            “And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandra, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue; whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: whom, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: for he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ” (Acts 18:234-28).

 

            It is with this as the context and foundation for the nineteenth chapter we actually turn and direct our attention to the nineteenth chapter of this New Testament book. Upon coming to the nineteenth chapter of this New Testament book we find that while Apollos was at Corinth Paul passed through the upper coasts and would come unto Ephesus. It would be while and when the apostle Paul came unto Ephesus he would find certain disciples and would ask of them whether or not they had received the Holy Ghost since they believed. Upon hearing the question the apostle Paul would ask of them they would declare unto him that they had not so much as heard whether or not there be any Holy Ghost. The apostle Paul would then ask them unto what they were baptized since they had not heard of the person of the Holy Ghost—a question which the disciples responded by declaring unto him that they were baptized unto John’s baptism. The apostle Paul would then speak unto them and declare how John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. Luke writes how when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Luke goes on to further write how when the apostle Paul laid his hands upon them the Holy Ghost came on them and they spake in tongues and prophesied. Luke continues to write how there were a total of about twelve disciples who would continue with the apostle Paul while he was present in the midst of the city of Ephesus.

 

            I am absolutely convinced it is necessary to call and draw your attention to the experience which took place here in this passage of Scripture for this would be the experience which was present in the midst of the New Testament book of Acts. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of that which is found in this passage of Scripture for within it we encounter the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the baptism of John—and not only the baptism of John but also the baptism of and in the name of the Lord Jesus. The more you read the New Testament book of Acts the more you can and will encounter the tremendous truth concerning the preaching of the name of Jesus of Nazareth whom the living and eternal God made both Christ and Lord. This Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the eternal Son of the living God whom the apostles would emphatically declare unto all those whom they would preach the word and gospel unto. In all reality I would dare say that you cannot truly understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture without recognizing the tremendous truth surrounding the preaching of the word, the gospel and the name of the Lord Jesus. What’s more is I am convinced that before we consider the preaching of the word and name of the Lord Jesus we must first turn our attention to the words presented in the opening verses of the first chapter. It is what we find in the opening verses of the first chapter we encounter and come face to face with the incredibly awesome and powerful reality of Jesus not only suffering in the flesh and rising from the grave on the third day but also showing Himself alive with many infallible proofs over a period of forty days before ascending unto the right hand of the Father.

 

            It is with all of this being said we must needs consider the following words which are found in the first and opening chapter of this New Testament book concerning the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus before we even consider the preaching of the word, the gospel and the name of the Lord Jesus. What’s more is I would dare say we must also consider the qualification that was needed in order for one among those in the city of Jerusalem to succeed and step into the office of Judas who had forfeited his office and place among the apostles by betraying Jesus. In addition to this I would dare say it is also necessary to consider the following words which are found in the opening verses of the second chapter of this New Testament book as the words presented here call and draw our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the day of Pentecost and the events surrounding the arrival and manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the first and second chapters of this New Testament book beginning with the first and opening verse of the first chapter:

 

            “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:1-14).

 

            Within the opening verses of the first chapter—and not only within the first chapter but also within the New Testament book of Acts—you can and will encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. What’s more is that in the opening verses of the New Testament book of Acts you can and will encounter the absolutely awesome and wonderful truth surrounding how Jesus didn’t merely rise from the grave on the third day and then immediately ascend unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven. Scripture makes it very clear that over the next forty days after His resurrection Jesus would show Himself alive unto the apostles—and not only unto the apostles but unto certain of the women, unto the two men who journeyed from Jerusalem unto Emmaus and even unto upwards of five hundred at one time. During those forty days after His resurrection Jesus would indeed show Himself alive unto the apostles and others as He would demonstrate through many infallible proofs that He had indeed risen from the grave. Not only this but the Lord Jesus would also speak unto them of the need to tarry in the midst of the city of Jerusalem until they receive the person and promise of the Holy Spirit. It would be Jesus who would go on to declare unto them that that John truly baptized with water, however, they would be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. Not only this but Jesus would also declare unto them that they would receive power after that the Holy Ghost came upon them and they would be witnesses unto Him—first in Jerusalem, then in all Judaea, then in Samaria and ultimately unto the uttermost part(s) of the world. This is in all reality something which we find and read in the final verses of the New Testament gospels which were written by the apostle John, the apostle Matthew and even John Mark. Consider if you will the following words which are found in each of these gospels concerning the mandate and assignment that was given unto the apostles and followers of Jesus before Jesus would ascend unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven:

 

            “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:16-20).

 

            “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.l And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:14-20).

 

            “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thrust it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:44-53).

           

Each of these passages of Scripture not only demonstrates the risen Jesus of Nazareth who was made both Christ and Lord but also the words and instructions which He would deliver unto the apostles and His followers during those days following His resurrection. The Lord Jesus would indeed instruct them in the ways which they should walk in the coming days for He would declare unto them how they had been called to be witnesses unto Him long after He had departed from this earth. The Lord Jesus knew that He would depart from this world and return unto the Father which was in heaven and yet even though He would depart from this world he would indeed leave the apostles behind with a mandate, with a mission and an assignment. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous reality of the disciples being called to teach and baptize in the name of the Lord Jesus commanding all those things which He Himself had spoken and commanded during those days. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it brings us face to face with the absolutely astonishing truth surrounding the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ and how even after the Lord Jesus Christ departed from the earth and returned unto the Father they would be left with an assignment and mandate in the earth to teach and preach in His name those things which they had seen and heard. What’s more is the underlying word and message they would teach and preach would be that Jesus must needs suffer in the flesh, that He was crucified at the hands of sinners, that He rose from death to life on the third day, that He appeared unto many over a period of forty days and would ultimately ascend unto the right hand of the Father. It is this concept of teaching and preaching that which men and women witnessed during the days in which Jesus walked upon the earth from the time of His baptism in the Jordan until the time of His ascension that would be the foundation for the choosing of that one who would step into the office vacated by Judas through transgression. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the second half of the first chapter of this New Testament book of Acts beginning with the fifteenth verse:

 

And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels bushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether or these two thou hast chosen, that he may take part of his ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:15-26).

 

That which we find in this passage of Scripture calls and draws our attention to that which was required for the one who would step into the office vacated and forfeited by Judas through transgression, through iniquity and through sin. What you must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found here in this passage of Scripture is that this one who would step into the office vacated by Judas would indeed need to be one who would bear witness unto the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. What’s more is that this one must needs have accompanied them the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among them beginning from the baptism of John unto that same day that he was taken up from them. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding that one who would indeed walk among and with them during. The whole time the Lord Jesus walked in and out among them from the time He was baptized in the waters of the Jordan River until the time He ascended unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven. In all reality this concept of witness which was found in this passage of Scripture is centered upon the resurrection of the Lord Jesus—and not only witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, but witness of His suffering in the flesh and death upon the cross, witness of His ascension unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven. Moreover this witness would also be of all those things which Jesus taught and spoke during the three and a half years He walked among them teaching and preaching the gospel and word of the kingdom.

 

With all of this being said I find it absolutely necessary to draw your attention to the following words which are found in the opening verses of the second chapter of this New Testament book. The words which we find in the opening portion of this second chapter describes the day of Pentecost and how when the day of Pentecost had fully come they—all those who were spoken of and referenced in the previous chapter—were all with one accord in one place. It is in the opening verses of the second chapter of this New Testament book we find the account of the day of Pentecost and how it would be on the day of Pentecost when there came a sound from heaven as of a mighty rushing wind which filled all the house where they were sitting. On the day of Pentecost we also read how there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire which sat upon each of them and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. As a direct result of them being filled with the Holy Ghost they would speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. This speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance would eventually and ultimately capture the attention of all those who were present in Jerusalem for there were many devout Jews—men from every nation under heaven—which were present in the midst of the city at the time of the feast. Each of these men from every nation under heaven would hear the wondrous works of the living God being proclaimed and spoken of in their own native tongue and language and would confound them for they could not understand how they were hearing their own language being spoken in Jerusalem by Galilaeans. The day of Pentecost would indeed be something absolutely remarkable when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the arrival and manifestation of the Holy Spirit who would not only come upon each of those who were present in the upper room but also fill them and grant unto them utterance to speak with other tongues. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the second chapter of this New Testament book beginning with the first and opening verse:

 

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. How when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and in Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, and Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?  Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine” (Acts 2:1-13).

 

I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in the second chapter of this New Testament book and I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the teaching and preaching that would take place in the days after the day of Pentecost. It is indeed true how on the day of Pentecost those who were present in the upper room would speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance and it is indeed true that on the day of Pentecost there would be devout men from every nation under heaven who would hear the wondrous works of the living God being spoken and proclaimed unto them in their native language and tongue. With this being said, however, it is absolutely necessary to recognize that from the day of Pentecost on there would be this teaching and preaching of the word and name of the Lord Jesus. From the day of Pentecost onward the apostles and the disciples and followers of Jesus of Nazareth would indeed teach and preach the word, the gospel and name of the Lord Jesus. IN order for us to truly understand the reality behind being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus it is absolutely necessary for us to recognize the powerful truth surrounding this preaching of the name of the Lord Jesus and how provocative, how offensive and also how incredibly necessary and vital it truly was. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the word, the name and the gospel of the Lord Jesus which was preached during those days. You cannot truly understand the reality and concept of being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus without recognizing and understanding just how incredibly important the concept of preaching the word and name of the Lord Jesus during those days. It would be the preaching of the name of the Lord Jesus that would indeed be at the very heart and center of everything that would take place during those days as the name of Jesus would offend many of the religious and political leaders which were present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem.

 

We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it calls and draws our attention to just how critical and vital this preaching of the word, the gospel and name of the Lord Jesus truly was. There is something incredibly important this reality and concept of teaching and preaching the word and gospel of the name of the Lord Jesus. If you want to truly understand everything that is found in the New Testament book of Acts it is absolutely imperative for us to recognize just how important teaching and preaching the word and gospel of the name of the Lord Jesus truly was. The Holy Spirit would indeed come upon the Samaritans, the Holy Spirit would indeed come upon Cornelius and his entire household, the Holy Spirit would indeed come upon the twelve disciples which were present in the city of Ephesus, however, prior to the coming of the Holy Spirit those who were present would indeed be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the wonderful truth surrounding just how incredibly important and vital this truly is. There is a great need for us to recognize how incredibly important this truly is for it brings us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth of the teaching and preaching of the word and name of the Lord Jesus. These words bring us face to face with the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding just how critical the word and name of the Lord Jesus truly was for it would be hearing the word and name of the Lord Jesus that would enable men and women to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus and ultimately be baptized with the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider some of the references which are found in this New Testament concerning the preaching of the word and name of the Lord Jesus for it is when we recognize and understand the preaching of the word and name of the Lord Jesus we are able to truly understand the movement, the activity and presence of the Holy Spirit. Consider if you will the following references which are found in this New Testament book concerning the preaching of the word and name of the Lord Jesus as the apostles and the followers of the Lord Jesus would indeed preach and proclaim His word and name in all Judaea, in Samaria, in Galilee, in Jerusalem and ultimately unto and among the Gentiles in Asia and Europe:

 

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be Holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, the Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool: therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:22-36).

 

Here in the third chapter you will find the apostle Peter once more preaching the word and name of the Lord Jesus after the man who was lame from his mother’s womb was healed in the name of Jesus at the gate called Beautiful at the Temple in the city of Jerusalem:

 

And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s greatly wondering. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? Or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance. Ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets once the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord h your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, and in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:11-26).

 

Consider if you will the following words which are found within this New Testament book concerning the proclaiming of the words and name of the Lord Jesus during the days of the early church, during the days of the apostles and during the days of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit If you continue reading the words which are found within this New Testament book you will continue to encounter just how incredibly vital this preaching of the word and name of the Lord Jesus truly was for the more you read this book the more you will find Luke writing of the word and name of the Lord Jesus being intrinsically connected to the baptism of John which was a baptism in water unto repentance for the remission of sins. What’s more is the preaching of the word and name of the Lord Jesus would be intrinsically linked and connected to the baptism and receiving of the Holy Spirit for there would be certain instances when men and women would be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus and upon being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus the Holy Ghost would indeed come upon them. It is this concept of being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Jesus that would be so incredibly critical and vital for the men and women during these days for it would position them to be able to receive the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. With this being said I invite you to consider the following words which are found in this New Testament book leading up to the time the apostle Paul would spend in the city of Ephesus. When the apostle Paul would return unto the city of Ephesus he would not only encounter about twelve disciples but he would also deliver unto them the name of the Lord Jesus before laying his hands on them and their receiving the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. Here are the following words which are found in this passage of Scripture concerning the baptism of the name of the Lord Jesus and the preaching of the word and name of the Lord Jesus:

 

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known unto you all, and all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:8-12).

 

But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God that which was done. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed” (Acts 4:19-22).

 

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him” (Acts 5:29-32).

 

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both. Men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done” (Acts 8:5-13).

 

Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost” (Acts 8:14-17).

 

And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like as a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: in his humiliation his judgment was taken way: and who shall declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? Of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth,a nd began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answere and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” (Acts 8:30-38).

 

Then Saul was certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ” (Acts 9:20-22).

 

And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus” (Acts 9:28-30).

 

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter or persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (He is Lord of all) that word, I say, ye. Know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good,a nd healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:34-43).

 

While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days” (Acts 10:44-48).

 

And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life” (Acts 11:15-18).

 

Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord” (Acts 11:19-21).

 

Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it. And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness. And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot. And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will. Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus: when John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, th ere cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose. Men and brethren, ch ildren of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets, which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from he dead: and he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou arty my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption; But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses. Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you” (Acts 13:16-41).

 

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s hands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his word, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes: and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoice, believing in God with all his house” (Acts 16:25-34).

 

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ” (Acts 17:1-3).

 

And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and TImotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit,a nd testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ” (Acts 18:4).

 

And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples top receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: for he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ” (Acts 18:27-28).

 

There is a great need for us to recognize and pay attention to these passages of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth of the preaching of the word and name of Jesus of Nazareth. What’s more is that this preaching of the word and name of Jesus not only alleges but also contends that He is both Christ and Lord as the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God. Moreover this word and gospel of Jesus of Nazareth emphatically declares that He suffered in the flesh, that He died upon the cross at the hands of sinners, that He was buried in the earth, that He rose from the grave on the third day, that He showed Himself alive unto many witnesses over a forty day period of time and ultimately ascended unto the right hand of the Father. This word and gospel of Jesus of Nazareth is both connected to the baptism of John which is unto repentance for the remission of sins as well as the baptism Jesus Himself offers which is a baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the declaration(s) John the Baptist made concerning One who was mightier than he who came after him who would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire. John recognized that he himself baptized with water unto repentance for the remission of sins, however, he also recognized and understood that there was one coming after him who would indeed be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. This is precisely what is so important about this “baptism in the name of Jesus” for it would be the Samaritans, Cornelius and his household and these disciples in Ephesus who would indeed be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. These disciples which were present in Ephesus would indeed be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

 

I sit here today thinking about the words which are found in the nineteenth chapter and how these disciples only knew the baptism of John—perhaps having been taught by Apollos who himself was instructed and versed in the scriptures and the way of the Lord, however, without a full understanding of the word, the gospel and the name of the Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul would show up in Ephesus and find these disciples and speak unto them of the Holy Ghost to which they would respond by declaring that they had not so much as even heard there was a Holy Ghost. The apostle Paul spoke unto them concerning John’s baptism and how it was a baptism in water unto repentance for the remission of sins while that baptism was directly linked to the proclamation of the word and name of the Lord Jesus. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it brings us face to face with the baptism of the name of the Lord Jesus and how it is intrinsically connected to the baptism and receiving of the Holy Ghost. When Paul spoke unto these disciples in Ephesus he would speak unto them of that one who came after John who was mightier than himself who would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire. The apostle Paul would simply preach Jesus unto these disciples which were present in Ephesus and immediately following this would lay his hands upon them and pray that they might receive the Holy Ghost. Immediately the Holy Ghost came upon them and they would speak with other tongues and prophesy as the Spirit gave them utterance. How absolutely wonderful and powerful this truly is when you take the time to think about it as it calls and draws our attention to the truth surrounding the baptism of John which was a baptism of water unto repentance for the remission of sins, the baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus as well as the baptism of the Holy Ghost with fire. This was a baptism which the Lord Jesus Himself had spoken of prior to His ascension unto the right hand of the Father as He would speak unto the disciples and followers how John indeed baptized with water unto repentance for the remission of sins which would make room for the baptism of the Holy Ghost and with fire which they would receive not many days thereafter.

 

If you continue reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find that the apostle Paul would speak boldly in the synagogue of the Jews for three months disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. When, however, divers among them were hardened in heart and believed not the apostle Paul would depart from them separating the disciples disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. The apostle Paul would continue in the city of Ephesus for the space of two years and as a result of this all who dwelt in Asia would hear the word of the Lord Jesus—both Jews and Greeks. What’s more is that God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons and the diseases departed from them and the evil spirits went out of them. Pause and consider just how absolutely incredible this truly is for within this passage of Scripture we find the apostle Paul boldly preaching the word of the Lord Jesus in the city of Ephesus—and so much so that all who dwelt in Asia would hear the word of the Lord. This fact alone shows you how incredibly critical this city truly was for the spread of the gospel and name of the Lord Jesus as all those who would enter and pass through this city would not only witness the wonderful works wrought by the Holy Ghost through the apostle Paul but would also hear the word of the Lord Jesus. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the wonderful truth surrounding the spread of the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus throughout all Asia. What’s more is this particular passage shows how influential a single city can be for the spread of the word, the gospel and the name of the Lord Jesus. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is. There is something truly special about an entire city—and not only an entire city but a city as influential as Ephesus was—that helps bring about the spread of the word, the gospel and the name of the Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul would indeed have the opportunity to preach the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus in the city of Ephesus and as a direct result of this the whole of Asia would hear the word of the Lord Jesus.

 

As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to draw your attention to the incredible revival that would indeed take place in the city of Ephesus. If you continue reading the words which are found in the nineteenth chapter of the book of Acts you will not only find God working great miracles through the apostle Paul and you will not only read of all of Asia hearing the word of the Lord Jesus in Ephesus but you will also read great fear coming upon all those who were present in the midst of the city and how the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. What’s more is that as you continue reading you will read how many of them which used curious arts brought their books together and burned them before all men. Upon counting the price of all those books that were burned in the midst of the city it was found that the amount was fifty thousand pieces of silver. What we must needs recognize is that Luke goes on to write how mightily grew the word of God and prevailed in the midst of this city. What we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture is that the word and name of the Lord Jesus, the presence and person of the Holy Ghost and corporate revival in the midst of a city as powerful and influential as Ephesus there are going to be those who resist, reject and oppose the work of the Holy Ghost. You will indeed read of the word of the Lord growing and mightily prevailing in the midst of this city, you will read of all Asia hearing the word of the Lord and you will read of great works being wrought by the Holy Ghost in the midst of the city, however, you will also read of one named Demetrius who would stir up and incite the whole city in an uproar against the apostle Paul. This is something we must needs recognize for when we think about the work of the Holy Spirit and the word and name of the Lord Jesus being preached in many of the cities present within our nation we must needs recognize and understand there will indeed be resistance, opposition and rejection of the word and name of the Lord Jesus as well as to the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that the word and name of the Lord Jesus can and will be magnified and will prevail and the work of the Holy Spirit can and will be manifested. The question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to stand and can endure in the midst of the persecution, the affliction and the suffering that surrounds the resistance and opposition to what the living and eternal God is doing among us.

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