Three Things The Ephesians Did At First

Preached by Christopher Adams, August 17th 2008, at the Central New York Church of Christ!!

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Communion by David Jefferson, William Hicks, and Gary Frank:

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Let’s get rid of all our scrolls?!

Download audioGod initially used Paul and Aquila and his wife Priscilla to start the ministry in Ephesus. Interestingly, Paul chose to reason with the Jews in the synagogue by himself, perhaps to ascertain their openness to the gospel, and left Priscilla and Aquila by themselves for a short time. He knew the Pharisees had never accepted John’s message of repentance or baptism, so that may have been his way of testing their hearts. Since the beginning of time, people have professed a deep love for God and yet still hated repentance! Evidently, Priscilla and Aquila got right to work helping people get into the light, because after they taught Apollos the truth more adequately and he wanted to go and be a part of the mission team in Achaia, it was this group of brothers who encouraged him . . . it seems very likely to me that these were brothers converted by Priscilla and Aquila. This is how the influence in Paul’s ministry was so powerful–the people Paul converted understood Jesus’ example in John 12 of a seed falling to the ground to produce many seeds–Paul’s partners in the gospel were fully trained and called every person to the purpose of making disciples! Why waste your time waiting around for the “full-time” guy if you yourself have the secret of Godliness and salvation?

Then after Paul left Ephesus and returned a short while later, he found twelve disciples who had not yet even heard of the Holy Spirit. How encouraged Paul must have been that these men already had the mind-set and commitment of disciples! Together they all preached for three months in the synagogue before persecution and the Holy Spirit forced a radical change of ministry. Acts 19:9-10 describes how Paul took the disciples following Jesus and together they had very fruitful daily discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus! In only two years all the Jews and Greeks living in the province of Asia had heard the word of the Lord. Now this did not mean that they all had become true disciples longing for Jesus’ return. In fact, it was after these two years of proclamation when the seven sons of Sceva got a Satanic beat-down for attempting to borrow the power of Jesus’ gospel for worldly purposes (false religion always looks slick and powerful but has no ability to change a person from the inside out). Seeing this spiritual battle between Jesus and Satan play out before their very eyes, inspired many Ephesians to not just HEAR God but FEAR God and this allowed them to place their trust in Jesus to become true disciples.

Kevin Burns and a bunch of other disciples served the community at the awesome Youth Day BBQ Event.

These early disciples in Ephesus shook the world with their repentance, as they burned their scrolls and all bridges to their former lives. We need to repent of anything that stands in the way of us devoting our whole hearts to God and building His Kingdom. In the same way we also need to call every person to this same standard of discipleship, so that the Word of the Lord can spread as widely and powerfully in our generation as it did in theirs! (Acts 19:20) This lesson focuses on what true repentance looks like in our lives and the joy, peace and power that God wants to overflow into our lives through His plan of repentance.
“Three Things that the Ephesians did at first” preached by Chris Adams
Sunday, August 17, 2008

• The triumphal entry was the road to glory.
• Everyone would be drawn to Jesus.
Question: Why would bad things happen if you think that you are serving God?
• God allows things to happen or He makes things happen—He is sovereign.
• They evangelized the whole region of Asia.
Question: Can Syracuse be evangelized?

Acts 19:17
• In the beginning of the Ephesians’ ministry, Jesus was held in high honor.
“Every single athlete in the world needs to tip their hat to Michael Phelps, because what he did is simply amazing.” – Brendan Hansen, Michael Phelps’ gold-medal winning relay teammate

Revelation 2:1-7
• The seven golden lampstands represented the churches.
• Jesus was very direct.
• Think of all of the hard work that you have done.
• Jesus lifted them up for their hard work and perseverance.
• Mercy triumphs over judgment.
• You need to be wholeheartedly devoted to Jesus.
• Endure hardship for His Name.
• Pray for each other.
• Prayer allows you to endure.
• You should worship throughout the week.

Question: What does this first love mean?
• Your first love is the relationship that you had with God at first.
• They were devoted to the Scriptures.
• They were devoted to the teaching.
• They were devoted to the prayers.
• You totally needed your God.
• The most radical thing that you can do is be consistent.
• Be grateful for the relationships.
• Reaching out means sharing your faith.
• Think about the gratitude.

Question: What did you do at first?
• God wants to help you.
• God has always had a plan to walk with Him.
• Have repentance in your life.
Question: What did you once do in the church?

1. Burn the Scrolls and the Bridges with Fiery Abandon.
Acts 19:13-20
• Anything that Jesus calls you to do is not too difficult.
• Remember what you did (and why you did it) in your relationship with God.
• If you follow false religion that looks easier, then in the end you will get a spiritual beating and/or will be called to account for what you do.
• They had a fear of God in them.
• The only thing that matters is your relationship with God.
Question: Are you connected with God?
Question: Are you in God’s grace?
• True repentance: burn the things that are not drawing you closer to God (sin).

Colossians 3:20-23

2 Timothy 3:1-5
• Religion without repentance is powerless.
Question: What is true repentance according to the Bible?

Acts 2:38
• Repentance is not necessarily all the deeds you do.
• Repentance is a mindshift.
• Repentance is a decision.
• Repentance is a change in your mind.
• You cannot just be trying to repent because that is not repentance.
Question: Are you going to overcome and make the decision to repent?

2 Corinthians 7:8-11
• Repentance is a place, condition and mindset.
• Emotions are involved in repentance but do not necessarily lead to repentance.
• It is important to set your mind on godly sorrow and keep that worldly sorrow out.
• You have to have the same standard for yourself that you would have for anyone else.
• Repentance does not equal feeling sorry.

John 8:31-32
• You got to set your mind.

Luke 3:8
• You got this mindset because you are set on the cross.

Luke 24:47
• Repentance is a “place” – you got to be in it.

Psalm 18:20-23
• The word blameless does not mean perfect as in NO SIN. (Psalm 18:30)
• Do not turn from your God.
• Have the mindset to not turn away.
• Change your mind and produce fruit.
• Never turn away from God’s word.
• Have an unobstructed view.
Question: Are you willing to burn the bridge of immorality?
Question: Are you willing to burn the bridge of pride?
Question: Are you willing to burn the bridge of fear?
Question: Are you willing to burn the bridge of anxiety?
• Your mindset should be that nothing will stop you from believing in God.

2. Spread the Word powerfully and widely.
Acts 19:20
Question: Why did it grow powerfully?
• It was because of repentance.
• The church in Ephesus grew in power because they all gave their best before God.
• Be totally committed to your discipleship.
• The commitment of Jesus is what you call people to.
• Do something that challenges your faith.
Question: Do you have the mindset that God wants you to have?
Question: Are you going to widely and powerfully spread the Word of God?
• There are many opportunities to share your faith.

Ephesians 6:21-22
Question: Why did Paul send him to the Ephesians?
• Pick one person who is fired up and imitate him or her.
• Do not let the fear of what people think stop you.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

Closing Poem:
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. You are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within you.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
-Marianne Williamson