Summary: Paul in Ephesus. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

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Reading: Acts chapter 19 verses 1-20.


• Acts is primarily a history book,

• An accurate record of the early church.

• It is not primarily a theological book, i.e. a book you base your theology from,

• That’s why we have the letters, or epistles.

• Now any theology or any events recorded in the book of Acts is and was true,

• That’s what happened,

• But we must never assume that was the norm,

• Or that is what will happen today.

The book of Acts covers a transition period:

• Christianity is ‘finding its feet’, it is ‘learning to walk’, it is being established and

• Unusual things happened that were one off’s, not the norm.

(A). True faith (Vs 1-10)

(1). Encounter (Verses 1-2):

• Paul arrives back in Ephesus,

• You might remember that in chapter 18 verse 21,

• He promised that if it was God’s will he would return.

• Well, here in chapter 19 he is able to make good that promise.

As he arrives in Ephesus he meets twelve men (vs 1b):

• They are called “Disciples”

• But that doesn’t mean they were Christians or even disciples of Jesus.

• The word “Disciple” was a common term, simply means “Learner”,

• And there were many around who were called disciples, but not Christians.


Disciples of………..

• The Pharisees,

• Tyrannaus,

• Well many different types of people.

(2). Discussion (Vs 2-4):

• Paul asks these ‘disciples’ a significant question:

• We would say he was checking them out.


When you meet someone, sometime during your conversation you might say;

• Do you go to Church? Which one?

• Are you believers, Christians? “Born again?”

• Often from their answers you can gage where they are spiritually,

• Whether they love the Lord or are just church goers, or religious people.

• This is what Paul is doing here;

• He is asking them a significant question, to gage where they are at.

Verse 2:

“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

The A.V. or King James translation of this verse is wrong here:

• Not “Since you believed”,

• But “When you received”.

The question was important:

• Because the witness of the Holy Spirit,

• Is the one indispensable proof that a person is a genuine Christian.

• Romans chapter 8 verse 9:

• “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ”.

• Therefore their answer revealed to Paul,

• Whether they were true converts to Christ or sincere seekers.

Verse 2b-3:

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”

“John’s baptism,” they replied.

• There answer makes it clear to us that they were disciples of John the Baptist.

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