- The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
The Net’s interactivity gives us powerful new tools for finding information, expressing ourselves, and conversing with others. It also turns us into lab rats constantly pressing levers to get tiny pellets of social or intellectual nourishment.
- There is an unfortunate connection between our mindless use of the internet and the way we often practice our faith.
- In our fallen nature we are content with gaining a minimal knowledge, in the fewest interactions, with the lowest cost.
- Does the expression of your faith, before a watching world, magnify or diminish its value?
The Christian faith engages our deepest thoughts and calls for our strongest commitments.
1. The Content of Our Faith (1-7).
2. The Context of Our Faith (8-12).
3. The Consequences of Our Faith (13-20).
- 2MJ Paul spent 2yrs in Corinth.
- 3MJ Paul spent 3yrs in Ephesus.
Read Acts 19:1-20
The Content of Our Faith (1-7)
- Disciples of John the Baptist.
- Apollos (18:25).
- These “disciples” lacked knowledge of foundational truths. Unaware of Pentecost (19:2).
- Enlightened > rebaptized (only account) > Holy Spirit > tongues and prophesying.
- Mini-Pentecost: Jerusalem (2), Samaria (8), Gentiles (10), Ephesus (19).
- No pattern in Acts. Unique, transitional period.
- God was patient.
- They weren’t reluctant to believe.
- God wasn’t reluctant to send the Holy Spirit.
- It was a matter of God’s timing.
- Paul consistently preached the same message wherever he went. He didn’t assume the gospel. People who considered themselves to be disciples, were not necessarily disciples.
- When Jesus looked upon the city of Jerusalem he wept over their refusal to repent (Luke 19:41-44). Were he to look upon those who profess faith today, I think he would find an equally obstinate group of people.
- Profession of faith does not equal possession of faith.
- Who are you trusting? The disciples of John would have said they had faith, but it was a misplaced faith.
- Can you explain the basic components of the gospel? Are there any essential theological matters for you to consider?
- Have you received the Holy Spirit?
A sound understanding of the content of our faith still requires a proper understanding of…
The Context of Our Faith (8-12)
- 2MJ Ephesians asked him to stay longer but, after 3mos they rejected him.
- Rented Tyrannus Hall (2yrs).
- Took disciples w/ him.
- Tentmaking in the morning (20:33-34).
- “Dialogue evangelism” in the afternoon (most asleep).
- God’s power through “extraordinary miracles”. Two Errors:
- Dismiss: Jesus’ garment (Mark 5:27; 6:56), Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:15-16). Apostolic signs, authenticated message.
- Imitate: If only modern televangelists would also imitate Paul’s commitment to tentmaking.
- Francis Schaeffer, in the 1960s and 1970s, traveled to university campuses around the world and invited anyone to dialogue with him about Christianity.
- He met with people who held a variety of intellectual, political, and philosophical positions that were vastly different from his own.
- He engaged them in debate attempting to point to the inability of their worldview to adequately account for the world.
- Then he would explain how the gospel provides the answer they lack.
- Where does your faith need awakening? Is it Sunday mornings? Or Sunday evenings? Is it Monday mornings when a new work week begins? Is it when you gather with family? Are you struggling to live in a manner consistent with what you believe?
- Paul exhausted himself for the Gospel. What are you devoting your life to? Does your faith affect the other spheres of your life? Are there contexts where you keep your faith hidden?
The Consequences of Our Faith (13-20)
- Sons of Sceva were Jewish exorcists.
- They wanted Jesus’ power without His rule.
- Beaten and humiliated by demoniac.
- Jesus’ name was powerful (3:6, 16; 4;10-12).
- Occultic practices abandoned.
- These books were collections of spells and formulas.
- 50,000 pieces silver = 100 families for 500 days ($12M).
- These new believers expressed their faith/repentance through a public repudiation of their former practices. When the Sons of Sceva were exposed, they saw their own idols more clearly.
- v.20 God’s supremacy over paganism.
- The Christian faith always transforms believers.
- (The Meaning of Marriage) Louie Zamperini, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand,
“Zamperini was immediately delivered of his alcoholism. But more crucially, he felt God’s love flood his life and realized that he was able to forgive all those who had imprisoned and tortured him. The shame and sense of powerlessness that had stoked his hate and misery had vanished. His relationship with Cynthia ‘was renewed and deepened. They were blissful together.’”
- The Sons of Sceva wanted benefits of Christ without cost of discipleship.
- The new believers expressed their willingness to lose considerable wealth to make a clean break from their past. This didn’t occur immediately, but it was inevitable. We must allow for increasing growth over time.
- They weren’t asking “What is the least I can do to get in?” They were asking “How can I mature?”
- Are there consequences you’ve yet to accept?
- The Christian faith engages our deepest thoughts and calls for our strongest commitments.
- The depth of content we know matters. The extent to which we allow that content to infiltrate every sphere of our lives matters. The impact our faith has upon how we consider the things of our past matters.
- The Word of God must grow deeper – embedding itself more and more into our hearts. It must reach further into the private as well as the most public aspects of our lives. And it must change us for God’s glory and our good.
- Jesus Christ is the name above all names! He gave his life that we might live.
- He is worthy of our deepest thoughts. And He calls for our strongest commitments.