This chapter is heavy with examples of specific activities that took place in the a large period of time (up to 3 years) Paul was in Ephesus. One of the things we face today is should we tolerate those who say we should practice these things still in the 21st Century. And if we don’t accept them how do we preach the message of faith to those who do so in the correct words and tone.
The Holy Spirit and Baptism
The Holy Spirit power was so evident that we saw early to control it was desired greatly and money even offered to obtain this power.
Act 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
Act 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
Act 8:19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
Act 8:20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
Act 8:21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
Act 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
Act 8:23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
Here in chapter 19 we see specifically the “general” impact of receiving the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit. Certainly these folks appear to be re-baptized, and perhaps their first baptism was really just their own will professing faith in John’s Baptism, and that this instance is their actually being born again through the will of God….
Act 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
Act 19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
Act 19:3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
Act 19:4 Then said Paul, 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.
Act 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
Act 19:7 And all the men were about twelve.
Look again….so this power does come by the Apostle laying his hands upon them. but nobody offered to buy it this time.
Acts 19:6 Gill
And when Paul had laid his hands upon them,…. They having been before baptized, not by him, but by John, or one of his disciples, in the name of the Lord Jesus; just as Peter and John laid their hands upon the believing Samaritans, who had been before baptized by Philip, Act 8:14 and the same extraordinary effects followed:
the Holy Ghost came on them; in his extraordinary gifts, whose special grace they had before an experience of:
and they spake with tongues; with other tongues, or in other languages, which they had never learned, or had been used to, as the disciples did at the day of “Pentecost”: and prophesied; preached, having an extraordinary gift at once, of explaining the prophecies of the Old Testament, and also foretold things to come.
Our Westminster Confession class just finished the chapter on baptism. I am inclined to rely on these words to properly interpret the doctrine of baptism.
BTW the rest of the chapter speaks about areas that again are controversial today as to whether we should tolerate these behaviors in the church.
We see explicit healing miracles, with props, exorcists, evil spirits and magic arts and books, and idol worship and false gods.
Act 19:11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
Act 19:12 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.
Act 19:13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
Act 19:14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
Act 19:15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
Acts 19:19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
And Paul is certain speaking about false gods and idols.
Act 19:24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;
Act 19:25 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.
Act 19:26 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:
And this was right in the major center of idol worship.
Acts 19:27 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.
Notice though that the text infers that Paul really wasn’t explicitly preaching agains Diana, just saying probably that such worship was in vain. The really issue was the idol makers were making money off the idol worship!
Act 19:34 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.
Act 19:35 And when the townclerk had appeased 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?
Act 19:36 Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.
Act 19:37 For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.
Paul probably did say much the same as he had in Athens….including the message of the resurrection and judgment.
Act 17:23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
Act 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
Act 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
Act 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
Act 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
Act 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Act 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Act 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
Act 17:32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.