ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 106


be of great benefit to those who, by God’s grace, had believed. He refuted
the Jews with powerful arguments in public debate. Using the Scriptures,
he explained to them that Jesus was the Messiah.
While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions
until he reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers.
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them.
“No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
“Then what baptism did you experience?” he asked.
And they replied, “The baptism of John.”
Paul said, “John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself
told the people to believe in the one who would come later, meaning Jesus.”
As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord
Jesus. Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on
them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied. There were about
twelve men in all.
Then Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for the next three
months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God. But some became stubborn, rejecting his message and publicly speaking against the
Way. So Paul left the synagogue and took the believers with him. Then
he held daily discussions at the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for
the next two years, so that people throughout the province of Asia—both
Jews and Greeks—heard the word of the Lord.
God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick
people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled.
A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits.
They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying,
“I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!”
Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. But one time when
they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who
are you?” Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered
them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house,
naked and battered.
The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews
and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the
Lord Jesus was greatly honored. Many who became believers confessed
their sinful practices. A number of them who had been practicing sorcery
brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The
value of the books was several million dollars.
So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.

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