SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- On his third missionary journey Paul is in Ephesus, which is on the west coast of modern-day Turkey. Shortly after arriving, he continues where Apollos had left off. He runs into some disciples who have been baptized in water, but they had never heard of the Holy Spirit. Upon hearing about Jesus, those who had received John’s baptism are filled with the Holy Spirit and there are visible signs of it, such as speaking in "tongues" -- (previously unlearned) foreign languages. We've seen this before in Acts, and learned that it happens when a new people group is added to Christianity for the first time. The Ephesians represent the first Asian Christians.
- Paul then speaks in the synagogue for 3 months. When the Jews become obstinate and difficult, he leaves and takes the disciples with him. He rents a large lecture hall instead and uses it for two years.
- As Paul is about to leave, a riot breaks out. The Christians in Ephesus are growing so numerous that local idol sales are plummeting. In response, an angry mob, led by Demetrius the silver idol maker, mobilizes. The mob seizes Paul’s traveling companions and collects in the amphitheater, continuing to grow more violent. Paul wants to speak to the crowd. Paul was probably thinking, “If all those people are gathered into one place then they can all hear about Jesus." But the believers knew that this was dangerous and that Paul could be killed. At the end of it all, the angry mob is appeased by the city clerk.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Think about the significant impact the Christians were having on this community. What kind of impact do you have on those around you? At Verve we say we are about loving God, loving people, and turning the world upside down. When we devote our lives to loving God and people, we start to make a dramatic impact with our lives.
- If you're not having a significant impact with your life, why do you think that is? And what could you do to change that? How could you make your life more about loving God? Loving people? Turning the world upside down? If you're new to this, here are some first steps you could take:
- Start volunteering at Verve. By using your gifts to serve, you'll begin making an impact.
- Pray about and choose a person you will try to share your spiritual story with this week, and then invite to Verve. By doing so, you could make an eternal impact in that person's life.