Sermon: Thursday 28th May

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Preached on 26th May 2020
(7th of Easter)
by Dr Alistair MacDonald

Acts 19:1-20

Paul in Ephesus

1While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul travelled through the interior of the province and arrived in Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”

“We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit,” they answered.

3“Well, then, what kind of baptism did you receive?” Paul asked.

“The baptism of John,” they answered.

4Paul said, “The baptism of John was for those who turned from their sins; and he told the people of Israel to believe in the one who was coming after him — that is, in Jesus.”

5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6Paul placed his hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came upon them; they spoke in strange tongues and also proclaimed God's message. 7They were about twelve men in all.

8Paul went into the synagogue and during three months spoke boldly with the people, holding discussions with them and trying to convince them about the Kingdom of God. 9But some of them were stubborn and would not believe, and before the whole group they said evil things about the Way of the Lord. So Paul left them and took the believers with him, and every day he held discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10This went on for two years, so that all the people who lived in the province of Asia, both Jews and Gentiles, heard the word of the Lord.

The Sons of Sceva

11God was performing unusual miracles through Paul. 12Even handkerchiefs and aprons he had used were taken to those who were ill, and their diseases were driven away, and the evil spirits would go out of them. 13Some Jews who travelled round and drove out evil spirits also tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to do this. They said to the evil spirits, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches.” 14Seven brothers, who were the sons of a Jewish High Priest named Sceva, were doing this.

15But the evil spirit said to them, “I know Jesus, and I know about Paul; but you — who are you?”

16The man who had the evil spirit in him attacked them with such violence that he overpowered them all. They ran away from his house, wounded and with their clothes torn off. 17All the Jews and Gentiles who lived in Ephesus heard about this; they were all filled with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was given greater honour. 18Many of the believers came, publicly admitting and revealing what they had done. 19Many of those who had practised magic brought their books together and burnt them in public. They added up the price of the books, and the total came to 50,000 silver coins. 20In this powerful way the word of the Lord kept spreading and growing stronger.

https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/explore-the-bible/read/eng/GNB/Acts/19/

Singing the Faith 412

   1      See how great a flame aspires,
        kindled by a spark of grace!
        Jesu's love the nations fires,
        sets the kingdoms on a blaze.
        To bring fire on earth he came;
        kindled in some hearts it is:
        O that all might catch the flame,
        all partake the glorious bliss!

   2      When he first the work begun,
        small and feeble was his day:
        now the word does swiftly run,
        now it wins its widening way;
        more and more it spreads and grows
        ever mighty to prevail;
        sin's strongholds it now o'erthrows,
        shakes the trembling gates of hell.

   3      Heirs of God, your Saviour praise!
        He the door has opened wide;
        he has given the word of grace,
        Jesu's word is glorified;
        Jesus, mighty to redeem,
        he alone the work has wrought;
        worthy is the work of him,
        him who spoke a world from nought.

   4      Saw you not the cloud arise,
        little as a human hand?
        Now it spreads along the skies,
        hangs o'er all the thirsty land:
        lo, the promise of a shower
        drops already from above;
        but the Lord will shortly pour
        all the Spirit of his love!

Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

Reproduced from Singing the Faith Electronic Words Edition, number 412 .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wojT4ZS6RUc

Psalm 50:1-15

True Worship

1The Almighty God, the LORD, speaks;

he calls to the whole earth from east to west.

2God shines from Zion,

the city perfect in its beauty.

3Our God is coming, but not in silence;

a raging fire is in front of him,

a furious storm is round him.

4He calls heaven and earth as witnesses

to see him judge his people.

5He says, “Gather my faithful people to me,

those who made a covenant with me by offering a sacrifice.”

6The heavens proclaim that God is righteous,

that he himself is judge.

7“Listen, my people, and I will speak;

I will testify against you, Israel.

I am God, your God.

8I do not reprimand you because of your sacrifices

and the burnt offerings you always bring me.

9And yet I do not need bulls from your farms

or goats from your flocks;

10all the animals in the forest are mine

and the cattle on thousands of hills.

11All the wild birds are mine

and all living things in the fields.

12“If I were hungry, I would not ask you for food,

for the world and everything in it is mine.

13Do I eat the flesh of bulls

or drink the blood of goats?

14Let the giving of thanks be your sacrifice to God,

and give the Almighty all that you promised.

15Call to me when trouble comes;

I will save you,

and you will praise me.”

https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/explore-the-bible/bible-search/search:psalm+50/versions:GNB/

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