Faithlife Sermons

Accurate Teaching

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Introduction

How important is accuracy?
Lets say you are baking a cake. Instead of following the recipe you decide to “wing it” and put it the amounts you think should be there. That sounds like a recipe for disaster. Our maybe you are building a house and instead of looking at the blueprints, you simply put walls where you think they should be. That’s a blueprint for failure. Or your at school, and instead of following the proper steps to solve a math problem, you guess. Or your building a Lego set and putting the pieces wherever you want hoping it will eventually look like the picture.
In all of these scenarios, accuracy is important.
If I were to say to you, “I want you to go to that store, buy 5, and come back on time” I would be setting you up for failure. Why? Because I haven’t told you where to go, what to buy, or when to return! Accuracy is vital!
When we are inaccurate we set ourselves and others up for failure
Last week as we examined how Priscilla and Aquila instructed Apollos, we saw a repeated emphasis on accuracy. When teaching and preaching the Word of God, accuracy is vital.
As we look at this picture (S) you may wonder why there are three darts in the bulls eye. There are three darts in the bulls eye because accuracy is needed more than once.
If someone hits the center of the target once and never again, we assume it is an accident or a chance occurrence. However, when someone regularly hits the bulls eye, it is clearly a matter of practice and ability.
When teaching and preaching the Word of God, it is important to be consistently accurate. Occasional accuracy or accuracy on only one topic will not bring consistent growth to the body of Christ.
Paul has embarked on his third missionary journey. This journey is one of encouragement and strengthening as he visits the churches he has planted.
While accurate teaching is needed in all areas, we will only consider two.
Accuracy in these two areas will result in personal and corporate spiritual growth.
Personal growth enables us to handle life with maturity. Corporate growth enables us to accomplish our mission.
Area #1. We need…

1. Accurate Teaching About Salvation vv. 1-10

There is much confusion in our world about salvation.
Are works necessary for salvation? Am I saved the moment I believe, or sometime later? Once I am saved can I lose salvation or reject salvation? What about people who never hear the gospel?
These questions and more can be answer clearly from Scripture. Yet the failure of many to teach and preach about salvation with accuracy, has resulted in confusion!
We won’t answer all of those questions this morning. But from this passage we will answer some of them.
When it comes to salvation, accurate teaching declares that…

a. Salvation is about belief vv. 1-7

READ vv. 1-2
We saw in ch. 18 that Apollos went to Achaia and now we find that he ended up in Corinth. Paul arrives in Ephesus sometime after that (S). All of the events in ch. 19 take place while Paul is in Ephesus.
Paul has been strengthening the churches he planted. Arriving in Ephesus he finds some people described as disciples. This word is used here in its technical sense.
Disciples – μαθητής (mathētēs) disciple. A student who adheres to (and travels with) a teacher.
Disciples – μαθητής (mathētēs)
This word does not always describe someone who is a follower of Jesus. Whenever we see the word “disciple” we have to ask “disciple of what or whom?”
What we will learn in a moment is that these men were not yet believers in Jesus, they were disciples of John the Baptist.
Paul meets these men and he asks them a very important question. Did they receive the Holy Spirit?
We need to pause for a minute and establish something important. Look at (S).
Romans 8:9 NKJV
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
If you do not have the Holy Spirit, you do not belong to Jesus. What Paul is asking here is whether or not they are saved.
This is a very important point. Someone who does no have the Holy Spirit is not saved. While they may believe truth about Jesus they do not know Jesus. They have not begun a personal relationship with Him.
Let me make a few points here.
Accurate teaching requires accurate questions.
These people don’t even know about the Holy Spirit at all! Paul would never have known that if he didn’t ask.
Ask theological and spiritual questions.
Accurate teaching requires accurate answers.
They don’t pretend to know. They want to learn, so they answer accurately and honestly.
There are people today we do not know or believe the truth about the Holy Spirit. We should not be waiting to be asked. We should take the initiative and find out where they are spiritually. Paul is not content to “live and let live”. He is not content to leave them in unbelief! Are we?
How did Paul know to ask this question?
i. Belief has a gift vv. 1-2
Paul understands that belief comes with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Anyone without that gift has not truly placed their faith in Jesus Christ.
v. 1 – They are disciples but haven’t received the Spirit yet. This highlights the transitional nature of Acts.
READ vv. 3-4
Verse 3 is where we find out they are disciples of John the Baptist. We mentioned this last week with Apollos. He only knew the baptism of John. Apparently, that is all these folks know as well.
In verse 4, Paul clarifies the problem. The problem is that they didn’t know Jesus had come in fulfillment of prophecy as the one for whom John prepared the way.
They had not yet believed in Jesus Christ.
This is the focus of faith. The object of our belief is Jesus!
We are not saved by knowing about Him. We are saved by believing in Him. We can intellectually know that Jesus died to take away sin. However, we must personalize this knowledge in order to be saved. Jesus Christ died for my sin!
These verses demonstrate for us how essential it is to define our terms. These people were baptized, believing, disciples; but they were not saved because they hadn’t believed in Jesus, hadn’t been baptized because of their faith in Him, and they were followers of the wrong man. They had even repented, but were not saved because they didn’t have accurate information.
Every time we see the word “repentance” it doesn’t mean the topic is salvation. We must do our hermeneutic work in the text before we know what is being discussed.
Here the topic is a recognition that the Jewish religion had strayed from truth and a return to Old Testament Law. However, what was needed was faith in Christ.
READ v. 5
I love their reaction. They could have ignored Paul. They could have said “you have your truth and I have mine”. Instead, they listen, believe, and are saved and baptised.
This is vital. When we hear truth, we need to listen to it and allow it to change us. Don’t be so married to your opinion that you refuse to hear anything else!
Accurate teaching is effective only as it is heard.
READ vv. 6-7
Here we have confirmation of their salvation. They receive the Spirit and speak in tongues and prophesy. This is something we haven’t seen since ch. 10. Many people have been saved since then, but there is no record of speaking in tongues or anything else.
iii. Belief has a confirmation vv. 5-7
Why does this happen here? I see 2 reasons. 1 – This establishes the apostleship of Paul. The Holy Spirit is given through him as it is through Peter in 8:17. 2 – This demonstrates that it isn’t about John, it is about Jesus!
iii. Belief has a confirmation vv. 5-7
Though we have discussed this before, let me make two important points.
vv. 5-7 – They receive the Spirit and speak in tongues and prophesy. Why does this happen here? I see 2 reasons. 1 – This establishes the apostleship of Paul. The HS is given through him as it is through Peter in 8:17. 2 – Also demonstrates that it isn’t about John, it is about Jesus!
1 - The tongues used in Scripture are always known and recognized languages. 2 - Most prophecy in Scripture is declaring truth not foretelling the future.
2 - Most prophecy in Scripture is declaring truth not foretelling the future.
Verse 7 tells us there were 12 men in this group.
Paul could have left these men in their error. Many today would. They have a belief system, they know some truth; why don’t we just leave them alone?
Paul had been taught the truth and commissioned to teach it to others. He took that responsibility seriously.
Accurate teaching requires both speaking and listening.
These verses teach us that salvation is about belief. It is not about what we know or what we have done. It is about what we believe.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
In addition to being about belief. Accurate teaching declares that…

b. Salvation is about basics vv. 8-10

READ v. 8
Do you notice how similar this is to every other time Paul comes to a new city? What do we learn from that? Here’s my take away. The church does not need something new and exciting in order to share the gospel. This is what many are trying to do. What the church needs is faithful obedience to take advantage of the opportunities we already have.
Paul mentions his understanding of what we do when we share the gospel in (S).
1 Corinthians 3:6 NKJV
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
There are only three roles. Plant, Water, Grow.
The first thing we do is plant.
That is what Paul does here in v. 8.
As Paul reasons and persuades about the kingdom, he is presenting the gospel.
Paul is able to do this for three months. This seems like a long time in light of how quickly opposition came in other places.
Paul speaks boldly. He reasons. He persuades.
If we are going to plant, if we are going to be men and women who share the gospel, we must be able to do these three things.
1 - Be bold.
We’ve talked about there being boldness and courage in community. We need one another. We also need to recognize that we serve an always present, all-powerful God. His presence in our lives ought to give us boldness.
2 - Know Scripture.
Paul reasons. People can ask Paul questions and he gives responses. Scripture is the foundation of the Gospel. This book is the only place we learn about Jesus. It is objective truth written for us. Paul’s ability to reason is directly connected to his knowledge of Scripture.
3 - Speak passionately.
People are persuaded when they hear passion coupled with knowledge. If we are not bold enough to have these conversations, we will not reach people.
Be bold. Know Scripture. Speak passionately. This is how we plant.
The second thing we do is water.
READ v. 9
To keep the planting metaphor, both believers and unbelievers need to be watered with the Word.
For the unbeliever the seed planted is watered until it eventually grows. For the believer, the plant needs more water so that it can keep growing.
Here Paul has planted and watered when there is a reaction. They are hardened.
They are hardened. Satan blinds the minds, hardens the hearts. Still being called “the way” (9:2).
Hardened – σκληρύνω (sklēryno) harden. To be stubborn. To be or become stubborn, conceived of as being or becoming hardened or inflexible.
One of the things we learn as we study theology is that doctrines are connected.
Hardened – σκληρύνω (sklēryno)
In this verse we have soteriology, eschatology, ecclesiology, Christology, hamartiology, anthropology, and theology proper. What does that mean? It means that in order for Paul to talk about the kingdom of God, He must talk about salvation, future things, the church, Christ and His finished work, sin, man and his fallen nature, as well as God and His plan.
With the idea of planting and watering, picture soil that is hard, dry, and rocky. How does this happen? (S).
v. 8 – Reasoning and persuading.
2 Corinthians 4:4 NKJV
whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
Satan blinds the minds, he hardens the hearts.
ii. Basic ecclesiology v. 9
There is a progression here. They are hardened, do not believe, and ultimately oppose.
Their opposition takes the form of deliberately foul and abusive language concerning Christianity.
At this point, Christianity is still being called “the way” we first saw this in 9:2.
v. 9 – They are hardened. Satan blinds the minds, hardens the hearts. Still being called “the way” (9:2).
Hardened – σκληρύνω (sklēryno)
Paul determines that his best course of action is to withdraw and no longer teach at the synagogue. This way, those who are willing to listen can still come.
What I want to call attention to here is who he takes with him. The disciples. Those who have listened and are growing go with Paul to hear more teaching and continue to grow.
They move to the school of Tyrannus. Tradition states that Paul used the school for his ministry during the afternoon hours when classes were not conducted. Paul is there daily. This is how the seed Paul planted gets watered, through daily conversation.
We plant. We water. God brings growth.
READ v. 10
Two years Paul reasons in the school. The end result is that everyone in Asia hears the message of the Lord Jesus.
What message? The gospel! Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, He was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures!
This message spreads to all. How did Paul ministering in one place accomplish this? Ephesus was a major trade city and people went from there and shared!
iii. Basic Christology v. 10
This makes it clear that it is God who brings the increase.
v. 10 – 2 years reasoning in the school of Tyrannus until all of Asia hears the gospel! How did Paul ministering in one place accomplish this? Ephesus was a major trade city and people went from there and shared!
We do not get people saved. We do not drag them kicking and screaming into the kingdom. We preach the Word and share the message of the gospel. We do it boldly and with persistence but we trust God to do what He has promised and bring people to Himself.
Accurate teaching builds on the foundation of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the ultimate basic. Always come back to him.
Salvation is about the basics. Plant, water, and trust God to bring the increase.
Our world is in desperate need of accurate teaching about salvation.
Salvation comes by grace through faith. It is about what you believe. Salvation comes as we plant the seed of the gospel, water that seed, and trust God to make it grow in His will, way, and timing.
Area #2. We need…

2. Accurate Teaching About Authority vv. 11-20

What kind of authority do we have? Can we cast out demons? Should we? Can we proclaim sickness to be banished and poverty to be no more? Can we bind Satan? Learn the names of his fallen angels?
These are questions that come up in our society and culture. What we learn from Paul in these verses help us to understand what authority is and is not as well as how authority works in our personal lives.
The first lesson we learn here is that…

a. Authority is about personal relationship vv. 11-16

READ vv. 11-12
There are churches today where they believe and teach that what we refer to as the “sign gifts” are still active today. One of the difficulties I have with that belief is their inability to replicate what Paul does here. Three observations will make it clear that they cannot do what Paul is doing here. They also teach something different than we see him practice.
1 - There is no mention of faith to be healed.
While not all churches who embrace the sign gifts teach this, there are many who claim the person healed must have enough faith. If they are not healed it is because they didn’t have enough faith. However, the implication here is that people took things from Paul to sick and possessed people and they were healed. No faith required.
2 - There was no one who couldn’t be healed.
Verse 12 states that when the objects were brought from Paul to these people, they were healed. Period.Everyone was healed.
3 - The miracles are called “unusual.”
It was never expected that this type of healing would be normative for the church. This was always to be an exception instead of a rule.
Because Paul has a relationship with Jesus Christ, he has power. The power is not his, it is the power of Christ flowing through him.
This is what the gift of healing is like. This gift is not seen even by the end of Acts. Paul doesn’t send a hankie to Timothy to heal his “often infirmities”. Nor does he spread his tentmaking apron over Epaphroditus when he almost dies of an illness. Either Paul was cruel, or this unique ability to heal was done.
vv. 11-12 – This is what the gift of healing is like. This gift is not seen even by the end of Acts. Paul doesn’t send a hankie to Timothy to heal his “often infirmities”.
We believe it was over because its purpose was to establish the authority of Paul. By the end of Acts his authority as an apostle has been well established.
In these verses we see God’s power and God’s healing operating through Paul because of their personal relationship.
1. God’s power v. 11
Now we get to see how no relationship results in no power.
2. God’s healing v. 12
READ vv. 13-14
There is a lot of confusion here. These men are confused about the source of authority and power.
They mistakenly assume that knowing a certain name is enough! Notice, there is not even the slightest claim to relationship here.
They name drop. Paul and Jesus are not magic words that give authority and power! There must be a relationship.
a. Confused source v. 13 thought naming name was enough
Apparently these men thought that being the sons of a Jewish chief priest gave them some sort of authority. Position does give authority. It is all about who you know.
These men are going around, finding people possessed by evil spirits and attempting to cast them out using the names of Paul and Jesus.
However, because there is no relationship, these actions result in serious consequences.
2. The consequences vv. 15-16
READ v. 15
Because there is no relationship, they are unknown.
Something very interesting is that Jesus the demon knows by experience. Paul he knows intellectually.
a. Unknown v. 15
The sons of Sceva are not known at all.
Where there is no relationship, there is no power.
READ v. 16
Spiritually speaking, this is what happens when we don’t understand authority. Authority does not come from position or prestige. Authority comes from our relationship with Jesus Christ.
b. Undone v. 16
That authority doesn’t mean we are able to command demons or cast off sickness. It means we will have the ability to accomplish what God calls us to.
When we step outside of God’s will and plan, we are left naked and wounded, running from the enemy.
Only through relationship do we have power and authority.
We need accurate teaching on this topic. People need to know that simply naming the name of Jesus is not enough. We need to know Him personally. We need to trust Him alone. We need believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
That’s the first lesson. Authority is about personal relationship.
Lesson #2…

b. Authority is about personal revival vv. 17-20

READ v. 17
This is how revival starts. It begins when we learn who our God is. We hear of His power and might. We see evidence of His hand at work.
As we observe the activity of our infinite and powerful God we develop a healthy fear of Him.
With a recognition of His power and a fear of Him we begin to glorify and honor our King of kings and Lord of lords.
Only our God can use a failed attempt at casting out demons to cause people to praise Him.
READ v. 18
Something Satan no doubt intended to cause division and strife results in confession and cleansing!
As people learn to fear God and praise, honor, and glorify Jesus Christ, the natural result is confession.
This is how revival is born. As we rid our lives of sin and begin to address those areas we have let slide.
READ v. 19
v. 17 – the failed attempt of the songs of Sceva to cast out demons brings fear (reverence) and causes Christ to be magnified!
ii. Revival is born by confession v. 18
Revival is carried forward as we remove stumbling blocks from our lives.
v. 18 – The fear and magnification lead to confession.
These various practitioners of magic burn their books as a public, visible, and permanent separation from sin.
When we are serious about removing sin from our lives, we are not worried about the cost. I’ve heard it said that this is the modern equivalent of millions of dollars. Is freedom from sin worth millions?
Personal revival is about our submission to God’s authority. Only when we are under His authority will we be able to see lives transformed. This transformation must begin with our own.
The fear, praise, confession, cleansing, and revival result in growth.
iii. Revival is carried by removal v. 19
READ v. 20
v. 19 – Others destroy books on magic.
iv. Revival results in growth v. 20
A plant must have the proper environment for growth to occur. In the same way, God’s Word grows when given a proper environment.
The proper environment for the growth of God’s Word is one free from sin.
v. 20 – The word of God grows mightily.
The idea behind this verse is that God’s Word accomplished what God intended. Meaning that people were being saved and added to the body of Christ.
What these verses reveal is that there is a cost to discipleship. Jesus made that very clear in (p. 1203).
(p. 1203)
Luke 14:25–33 NKJV
Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
Jesus is clear. There is a cost to being His disciple. The Ephesians paid that price. Will we?
Paul wrote this to the church in Rome. (S).
Romans 13:14 NKJV
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Sometimes in order to “make no provision for the flesh” radical action is required. That’s what we see here.
Jesus also said emphasizes this radical action in (S).
Matthew 5:29–30 NKJV
If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
We must set firm and high safeguards against sin! Know where you are tempted and make it impossible to access things that lead to sin.
When we experience this kind of revival and place ourselves under authority, we find there is great power.
The seeds that we have planted and watered begin to grow. The gospel spreads and the church is strengthened.
The impact of the church is determined by the spiritual health of its members.
We must do whatever is necessary to be healthy.
When we have dealt with our sin and removed any hindrances, God is able to use us for His glory.
He is the final authority.

Conclusion

We need accurate teaching. Without it, we lose.
There are places in this world where the church does not have a good reputation. Much of this goes back to a failure to be accurate in what we teach.
Much of the
The disagreement and conflict within the church could be largely solved if we would return to an accurate understanding of God's Word.
We desperately need accurate teaching about salvation.
We are not saved by what we know or do. We are saved by what we believe.
Have you trusted Jesus Christ as Savior? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
Once we have trusted Him we are called to plant and water.
Planting and watering requires boldness, knowledge of Scripture, and a passionate proclamation of the gospel.
We need accurate teaching about authority.
When we have a relationship with Jesus Christ, He is the authority.
Through submission to Him and removal of sin we are able to grow personally and corporately.
For the church to grow we need accurate teaching.
For the believer to grow we need accurate teaching.
Accurate teaching leads to godly living and transformed lives.
Teach accurately and change where and how Scripture reveals.
“Thy Word”
CCLI License # 866999
Acts 19:1–20 NKJV
And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all. And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
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