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The Defining Factor

Notes & Transcripts

The Defining Factor

Acts 18:23-19:7

November 27, 2000

Scripture Reading:

Introduction:

          Have you ever met someone who is distinguished?

          Paul spent some time at Antioch before beginning his next campaign. His goal was Ephesus, and he went there by the inland route, taking the opportunity to visit in turn the various groups of Christians formed on earlier missionary journeys and to give them spiritual encouragement.

          But before he gets there, Luke brings us up to date on the happenings at Ephesus.

          Ephesus would become a new center of the Gentile mission – next in importance after Syrian Antioch.

The NT does not recognize the possibility of being a Christian apart from the possession of the Spirit.

 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

 (John 3:5 NIVUS)

 So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?"

 (Acts 11:17 NIVUS)

 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

 (Romans 8:9 NIVUS)

 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

 (1 Corinthians 12:3 NIVUS)

 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?

 (Galatians 3:2 NIVUS)

 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.

 (1 Thessalonians 1:5 NIVUS)

 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

 (Titus 3:5 NIVUS)

4  It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,

5  who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age,

6  if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

 (Hebrews 6:4-6 NIVUS)

 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

 (1 Peter 1:2 NIVUS)

 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

 (1 John 3:24 NIVUS)

 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

 (1 John 4:13 NIVUS)

What comes first, the presence of the Holy Spirit or baptism? Actually, both in NT times are assumed to take place upon belief and the order is not significant.

The evidence of the Spirit first:

(Acts 10:47 NIVUS) "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have."

The occurrence of baptism first:

(Acts 8:15-17 NIVUS) When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

The simultaneous happening of both baptism and the Holy Spirit:

(Acts 2:38 NIVUS) Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

(Acts 8:38-39 NIVUS) And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

Big Question:

          What factors give testimony of the effectiveness of the gospel in a person's life?

         

I.       Cycle One

          A.      Narrative (vv. 18:23-28)

          B.      Implication

          What factors give testimony of the effectiveness of the gospel in a person's life?

          - A love for the study of God's Word.

          - An openness for the application of God's truth.

          - A spiritual change in conformity to Christ.

          - A bold courage for the cause of Christ.

          - A willingness to remain teachable.

          - A willingness to obey Christ's leadership.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

II.      Cycle Two

          A.      Narrative (vv. 19:1-7)

          B.      Implication

          What factors give testimony of the effectiveness of the gospel in a person's life?

          In short – the undeniable evidence, the defining factor, of the effectiveness of the gospel in a person's life is the presence of the Holy Spirit through which the completed work of Christ is continued in us and through us.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Conclusion:

Big Answer:

          How is it possible to determine whether someone has truly received the gospel?

The defining factor for the truth of the gospel is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

Timeless Truth:

          Christ's work on earth may be completed, but it is completed for you only if it is continued in you by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The power of the gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit are inseparable.

What is the distinguishing characteristic of your life?

Is the evidence of the Holy Spirit overwhelming?

Is there enough evidence to convict you?

Is there enough evidence to convince others?

Let us be known as Christians, but real ones – ones in which the power of God is overflowing to the praise of his glory.

And what do you do if you are not there?

You do what Apollos did. He used what he had and what he knew.

He had:

                    - A love for the study of God's Word.

                    - An openness for the application of God's truth.

                    - A spiritual change in conformity to Christ.

                    - A bold courage for the cause of Christ.

                    - A willingness to remain teachable.

                    - A willingness to obey Christ's leadership.

          In this way he became powerful and effective for the gospel of Christ.

          In this way you can too, because you also have the Holy Spirit if you believe.

ILLUSTRATIONS:

          Moody Servant Magazine, November-December 2000, pages 10-12, article Taking the Church Beyond the Mission Statement by Paul Bartnick, about the "manifest presence of God" being the only real factor in church growth.

          About the fact of the Spirit's dormancy in my own life until I applied the principles Apollos used to fan the Spirit's flame.

 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

 (2 Timothy 1:6 NIVUS)

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