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The Gospel in Ephesus, 1: Changed Minds, Changed Ways, Changed Communities

Mar 10, 2023 By: Damien Garofalo Topic: Sermon Devotional Series: Acts Scripture: Acts 19:1-20

And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. (Acts 19:17-18 ESV)

This Sunday begins a multi-part series within our larger study of the Book of Acts, as we zoom into the city of Ephesus and consider the powerful work of the gospel there. In Acts 19:1-20, the Bible records for us some amazing changes of mind, changes of ways, and changes to the community that can only be brought about by the powerful work of the proclamation of the gospel!

First, we see changed minds. In verses 1-7, Paul finds disciples who only knew the baptism of John and didn’t understand the Holy Spirit. While there’s debate over whether they were truly born again, the text does indicate they believed in Jesus. But, like Apollos previously, the message they had was incomplete. Perhaps they were converts of Apollos himself. Whatever the case, Paul preaches the truth to them, and they receive proper Christian baptism. The gospel has the power to change our minds!

Second, we see changed ways. Christianity is no mere intellectual exercise about doctrine. When you believe the gospel, your actions and behaviors change into more alignment with God’s will. Later in the passage, we see new converts not only embracing Christ but forsaking their evil ways. The gospel has the power to change our ways!

Third, we see a changed community. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is a beautiful testimony to this fact. In our passage we read that “fear came upon all” and that the “Word of God prevailed mightily” – what awesome comments about the town of Ephesus! By no means does this suggest that every Ephesian citizen became a Christian, but it does suggest that the impact of the gospel was felt everywhere! May that same testimony be said about our community!