Paul’s experience in Ephesus must have been amazing. To see the fruit of discipleship displayed so demonstratively with the burning of all their magic books would have been moving.
My first experience was with a drug user who had come to Christ. He took me back to his place where he showed me all of his cocaine and then told me that for Christ he was going to flush them down the sink. He did so. Wow!
I also think of Judas – I know, a little weird – he probably would have wanted to sell all the magic books to redeem their value and give more to the poor. But as usual, he would have missed the point of repentance that was taking place and the turning of ones back to the things that held them prisoner for so long. But also, why put someone else into bondage?
Also many of those who became believers confessed and disclosed their practices. A number of those who practiced magic collected their books and burned them publicly; when the value of these books was calculated, it was found to come to fifty thousand silver coins. Acts 19:18-19
… through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved. Peter compares these two contrary points – to have hope in the grace of Christ and to be under the yoke of the law. So if we cannot receive salvation until the yoke of the law is removed then it follows that salvation is not in keeping the law at all and it also follows that those who have accepted the grace of Jesus are not subject to the curse of the law. So it is that we hope for salvation by the grace of Christ.
To speak of salvation it is assumed that one would need salvation from something. Jesus said He had come to seek and to save the lost. What does it mean to be lost?
- To be without hope and without God in this world.
- To not know what it is to live now, and have no hope for life to come.
- Those who were dead while they were still alive.
- It means to spend eternity in hell.
We believe…our church is doing a sermon series on the Apostle’s Creed – here is a bit of a taste of why such a statement of faith was necessary for the early Church. Peter here is declaring his first statement of faith – “we believe through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved.”
“Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” – Acts 15:6-11
We Believe – Kenneth Cope.wmv