SERIES: 44 Acts - 2017
MESSAGE: Acts 18:23-19:22
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Acts 18:23-19:22

At the end of Paul's second missionary journey, he traveled to Ephesus but could not stay, as he was headed to Jerusalem. But he promised to return to the city, which he did in his third missionary journey. Paul's three-year stay in Ephesus was fruitful: the entirety of Asia Minor heard the gospel, and his vision for spreading the gospel grew to include Jerusalem, Rome, and even Spain.


  1. Introduction
    1. Paul continued his missionary journey from Corinth to Ephesus
      1. Ephesus was the chief commercial city of the region, known as the marketplace of Asia Minor
      2. Population 250,000
    2. Paul preached at a synagogue in Ephesus
      1. Oddly, he was well-received by local Jews and asked to stay
      2. Paul could not stay—he was on his way to Jerusalem—but he promised to return
    3. Meanwhile in Ephesus, Apollos began preaching
  2. Acts 18:23-28 | Apollos' ministry in Ephesus and Corinth
    1. Apollos was an interesting man
      1. Jewish with a pagan Greek name from Alexandria, Egypt
      2. A passionate and effective speaker
      3. Alexandria had intellectual wealth: massive library; great thinkers like Euclid, the father of geometry; and classical Greek linguistic style
      4. The Septuagint version of the Bible was completed in Alexandria around 132 BC
        1. Septuagint means seventy
        2. Seventy scholars translated the Bible from Hebrew to Greek
    2. Aquila and Priscilla discipled Apollos
      1. When he began preaching, he only knew about Jesus up until the baptism of John, not the crucifixion or resurrection
      2. Aquila and Priscilla increased his knowledge of the full gospel
      3. Apollos became mighty and eloquent
    3. Apollos left Ephesus for Corinth
      1. He was now mighty in the Scripture
      2. He helped believers in Corinth, publicly refuted the Jews, and showed that Jesus was the Messiah
      3. Apollos watered the seeds that Paul planted (see 1 Corinthians 3:6)
      4. He made an impact on the Corinthians
  3. Acts 19:1-10 | Paul returns to Ephesus
    1. Ephesus was called the guardian of the temple of Artemis or Diana
      1. A superstitious city, home to this imperial cult of the Roman Empire
      2. Diana was the goddess of the hunt, protector of young girls
      3. Ephesus became the base of operations for Paul's third missionary journey
    2. Paul connected with new believers
      1. He asked if they had received the Holy Spirit
        1. They may have come to faith through Apollos' preaching, before he preached Jesus' death and resurrection
        2. Or Paul noticed that power was lacking in their lives
      2. Paul baptized them in the name of Jesus; they were filled with the Holy Spirit
    3. Many became believers, until some hearts were hardened
      1. Paul left preaching in the synagogue and taught in the school of Tyrannus (see v. 9)
      2. After two years, everyone in Asia—Jews and Greeks—had heard the gospel (see v. 10)
        1. Paul systematically taught the Word of God day after day, year after year
        2. Longest missionary endeavor
        3. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians from Ephesus
        4. Many other churches were founded: Colossus, Laodicea
  4. Acts 19:11-22 | Paul's Spirit-filled ministry in Ephesus
    1. God worked "unusual" (v. 11) miracles by Paul's hands
      1. God is looking for hands and mouths to use (see 2 Chronicles 16:9; Romans 12:1)
      2. God will work His works through you
      3. The Lord used Paul's handkerchief (sweat band) or apron to heal people
    2. Jewish exorcists and priests cast out demons in the name of Jesus
      1. Ephesus was a center of occultism, including demonic activity
      2. Jewish exorcists weren't unusual at this time (see Luke 11:14-20)
      3. Seven sons of a Jewish priest, Sceva, exorcised evil spirits; they had no personal relationship with Jesus
        1. This demon knew Jesus and Paul (see v. 15)
        2. Is your name known in hell? Do demons associate you with Jesus?
        3. This exorcism didn't work; the demon prevailed
        4. The inhabitants of Ephesus were scared, filled with phobos (fear, phobia)
    3. The message about Jesus grew and prevailed
      1. Jesus' name was magnified
      2. Paul set his sights on preaching in Rome (see Romans 1:13-15)
  5. Closing
    1. Paul did end up in Rome—as a prisoner
    2. God gave Paul an enormous vision for spreading the gospel: Asia Minor, Jerusalem, Rome, and even Spain (see Romans 15:22-29)
    3. Paul sent Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia to collect an offering for believers in Jerusalem
Figures referenced: Alexis de Tocqueville, Artemis, Diana, Euclid

Greek/Hebrew words: phobos, Septuagint

Cross references: 2 Chronicles 16:9; Luke 11:14-20; Acts 20; Romans 1:13-15; 12:1; 15:22-29; 1 Corinthians 3:6; 16:1-9

Topic: Evangelism

Keywords: disciple, exorcise, exorcism, John's baptism, missionary, occult, Spirit-filled, superstitious

Acts 18:23-19:22 - Acts 18:23-19:22 |
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