This December will mark my ten years as pastor of the Village Church. In my first few weeks, I just felt it out. I just keep thinking, Okay, how hard can I push and keep this job? Once I felt like I figured out where those boundaries were, the first book study we did was the book of Ephesians. We took over twenty weeks and walked through Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus.
This morning I want us to turn our eyes to some important truths as we let the Holy Spirit do the correcting that I believe needs to take place. I hope we can give our attention to some things we need to focus on as a community of faith.
What sticks out about the church in Ephesus is it's the only church I know of in the Scriptures that we can see its birth, its life, and its death. I want to look at its birth and death. I also want to explore what we can learn from a church that had far more explosive growth and far more Holy Spirit power than anything we've seen, and yet got confused, drifted, and ultimately disappeared.
Starting with affection for Jesus
First, let's look at the birth of the church in Ephesus in Acts 19. Apollos is teaching in Ephesus. He doesn't fully understand the gospel, so Priscilla and Aquila have to pull him aside and help him see all the parts. When Paul gets there, he finds some disciples and asks them if they received John's baptism of repentance or did they receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Their response was "What's the Holy Spirit?" So that's the answer to the question. And then Paul lays hands on them. They receive the Holy Spirit, and then from there they begin to prophesy. And then we're going to pick it up in verse 8:
And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading ...
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