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Lesson 10: The Third Missionary Journey *

Introduction: In our study of Acts we read that at times Paul was prevented by the Holy Spirit from entering Asia. We don't know why, because Asia is on God's map for Paul's evangelistic work. We know that is true because this week our study focuses on Paul's work in Ephesus, which was the capital of the Province of Asia. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Ephesus and Apollos

    1. Read Acts 18:23. Antioch seems to be the "home base" for Paul. However, he leaves to travel again (see Acts 18:19-22) to Ephesus. Paul's pattern of work teaches us something about new believers, what do you think it is? (You need to check on them. You need to strengthen them. You should not just convert them and leave them on their own.)

    2. Read Acts 18:24. Does anything seem odd about Apollos? (Many things seem odd. The Bible tells us that he is Jewish, but he was born in Egypt and has a name that is derived from the Greek God Apollo. Perhaps his parents were Jewish converts.)

    3. Read Acts 18:25. How could Apollos teach accurately about Jesus, but only know about the baptism of John? (This shows that he must have been an early convert. He knows about John the Baptist and Jesus, but he missed Pentecost.)

    4. Read Acts 18:26-28. If you are a great advocate for Jesus, but you don't understand the Holy Spirit, is your education deficient? (Yes. Priscilla and Aquila "explained to [Apollos] the way of God more adequately.")

    5. Read Acts 19:1-3. What is the problem if you are an evangelist and you have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit? (Although Acts does not say this directly, it appears that these are Christians who were converted by Apollos. Because he did not understand the Holy Spirit, neither did they.)

    6. Read Acts 19:4-7. How do we know that the Holy Spirit has come on them? (They "spoke in tongues and prophesied.")

      1. Read Acts 2:4, Acts 10:45-46 and 1 Corinthians 12:7-10. Why are tongues and prophesy proof of the Holy Spirit? (Not only do we see that tongues has previously been used as proof, but they are both explicitly mentioned as gifts given by the Holy Spirit.)

        1. If you have not spoken in tongues or prophesied, should you be concerned that you might be like Apollos or these twelve?

  2. Ephesus and Miracles

    1. Read Acts 19:8-9. Do you have friends with whom you have shared the gospel and they end up rejecting your belief? What is the best thing to do? (Leave. You shared the gospel. The rest is up to the Holy Spirit and that person.)

      1. How is it different if they believe? (Instead of just leaving, Paul goes back to strengthen those who have believed.)

    2. Read Acts 19:10-12. What do you think about the "healing" handkerchiefs and aprons that merely touched Paul?

      1. Create a mental picture of this. It seems to me that people are coming up to Paul, touching him with some article of clothing, and then rushing off to touch some sick person. The sick person is then healed. Whose faith is involved in this procedure? (The person hauling the article of clothing around is the one whose actions most reflect faith.)

      2. Notice that the Bible calls these "extraordinary miracles." They no doubt are extraordinary, but I think any miracle is extraordinary. What lesson are we to learn from calling these miracles "extraordinary?" (Perhaps the idea is that this is not the way that God ordinarily works.)

    3. Read Acts 19:13. Have they driven out evil spirits before? (It appears that they have done this in the past, or at least pretended to do it.)

      1. Read Matthew 12:27. What does this suggest about this practice by some Jewish religious leaders? (This suggests that they were able to cast out demons by the power of God.)

      2. Read Luke 9:49-50. Do the disciples doubt that this "not one of us" man is driving out demons? (They do not complain that he is faking, they complain that he is doing this even though he is not one of the twelve.)

    4. Read Acts 19:14-16. What is the lesson for us? That some demons are more difficult than others? Some challenge authority?

      1. Should this beating worry us if we invoke the name of Jesus to exorcize demons? (This is a fascinating story. It appears that this worked with some demons, so clearly some are more timid than others. However, there is no evidence that these sons of Sceva were Christian converts. They were only using the names of Jesus and Paul.)

    5. Read Acts 19:17-20. What good comes out of this beating? (It clarifies that Jesus is the power for good and demons are the power for bad things. Better, Jesus is shown to be more powerful, and that true acceptance of Him is required to overcome the power of sin.)

  3. Ephesus and Artemis

    1. Read Acts 19:23-26. What is the nature of Demetrius' complaint? (Business income is dropping because of Paul.)

    2. Read Acts 19:27. What is Demetrius' secondary argument? (The goddess Artemis will be discredited. His theological argument is secondary.)

    3. Read Acts 19:28-31. If the theological concern is secondary, why are they shouting "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians?" (It would not have the same appeal if they shouted "Keep my bank account great!")

    4. Read Acts 19:32-33. Has the nature of the mob changed over the years? This says most of the people did not know why they were there!

    5. Read Acts 19:34. Why would the recognition that Alexander is Jewish cause the mob to continue protesting? (Jews believe the same thing as Christians about idol worship.)

    6. Read Acts 19:35-41. What do you think about the legal quality of the city clerk's instructions? How does this compare to other legal procedures faced by Paul? (This is a model of due process. In the past, the procedure has been to imprison or beat Paul and ask questions later. In Ephesus, Courts, and not beatings, are the proper way to resolve disputes.)

  4. Troas and Eutychus

    1. Read Acts 20:6-7. What day of the week is this? (Recall that by Jewish reckoning, one day ends and the next day begins at sundown. That means this is likely Saturday evening.)

      1. Why has this day been selected to "break bread?" (Paul was leaving the next day. The Bible does not give a religious reason for meeting then, but rather a practical reason.)

        1. Can you find a religious reason in this? (Paul is not going to travel on Sabbath. Thus, he is leaving Sunday morning.)

    2. Read Acts 20:8-9. Does Paul have short and lively sermons? (Apparently not. It says "Paul talked on and on," and at least one young person fell asleep. Later, we read that he spoke until daylight.)

    3. Read Acts 20:10-12. I believe this is the only time that Paul is recorded as having brought someone back to life. How is Paul's approach different then Peter's approach? (Read Acts 9:39-40. Paul does not do this privately. In fact, he minimizes the nature of this extraordinary miracle by telling people not to be alarmed and that Eutychus is alive. A person might miss that Eutychus actually died.)

      1. I don't like long sermons. Generally, they reflect the speaker's lack of organization and preparation. It take more preparation to speak concisely, just as it take more time to write concisely. While I'm fretting over Paul speaking all night, Paul does not let raising a fellow to life get in the way of his all night speaking. What does this suggest about Paul's message? (Paul likely thought he was not returning to Troas. Apparently, he wanted to say everything he could to help them in the future, and he did not want a "little thing" like a resurrection to get in the way.)

    4. Friend, have you received the Holy Spirit? Are you willing to let the Holy Spirit lead your life? Why not, right now, ask for the Spirit and His direction?

  5. Next week: Arrest in Jerusalem.
* Copr. 2018, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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