Encouraged Toward Heart Change

Our passage today is from Acts 19:11-20. The church’s sermon is titled “Encouraged Toward Heart Change” This is a summary of Earl Marshall’s sermon from Hope Bible Church in Oakville, Ontario. Here you can find a summary for last weekend’s message “Encouraged by Life Transformation.” This week’s whole church service is available in the video below.

God Is at Work

Acts 19:11-12. Luke makes sure that the spotlight is on God and not on Paul. Extraordinary miracles here means that the miracles performed by God through Paul are not the usual miracles. These aprons were probably what Paul used to wipe his sweat while he worked his day job in the morning building tents. C.S Lewis says:

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

C.S Lewis

God tests our hearts to see where we’re at. This is what happened with the sons of Sceva.

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.

Proverbs 17:13

God is Changing and Revealing Hearts

Acts 19:13-19. In this section, we’ll take a look at three types of hearts.

The Unbelieving Heart

Acts 19:13-16. The first heart is an unbelieving heart. These guys didn’t know Jesus. He was not part of their lives. Below are some of their characterstics:

  • Impressed by the power of Paul but not by the God of Paul.
  • Had nothing to do with the words or works of Jesus.
  • Looked for the benefits from Jesus without the commitment to Jesus.

Today there are many who claim the name of Jesus without the power of Jesus in their lives. Is Jesus an add-on to everything else running in your life? A couple of questions to ponder:

  • Who are you?
  • Whose are you?
  • Is the idea of Jesus a cultural thing and not a real thing for you?

Don’t believe “about” Jesus but “in” Jesus.

The Worshipping Heart

Acts 19:17. The keyword here is “all”. They are confronted by the reality that Jesus is greater. Heart change was starting in all the residences of Ephesus. There is a growing recognition that Jesus is more powerful. They started to magnify the name of Jesus. They had a reverent fear of Jesus. This pandemic has taught us that life is fragile and that we’re not in control. These people’s lives had been turned upside down.

In Colossians 1, Paul said the following about the preeminence of Christ:

‘ He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. ‘

Colossians 1:15-20

The Repentant Heart

Acts 19:18-19. 50,000 pieces of silver is a lot of money. It can’t be too surprising for us that believers had such idols in their lives. Check the two quotes below by John Calvin and John Piper.

Humans are a perptual factory of idols.

John Calvin

An idol…It is the thing loved or the person loved more than God, wanted more than God, desired more than God, treasured more than God, enjoyed more than God.

John Piper

This pandemic is exposing all kinds of idols in our lives today. Many in Ephesus were involved in magical arts as part of their culture. Jesus Christ showed up in their lives and exposed idols. The same happened with us during this pandemic. Some examples of idols are entertainment, safety and comfort, rights and freedoms. None of these are wrong in and of themselves, but if they stand in the ruling of Jesus in our lives, then they are wrong.

Practical Response

These are good questions to help us understand what the idols in our lives are. In other words, what is taking the place of Jesus in our lives right now?

  • What do I dream about or long for?
  • When would I feel that I’ve arrived and what would make me really happy?
  • What makes me frustrated, angry, or resentful?
  • When things get tough, what do I turn to?
  • What do I worry about?

The Ephesians came confessing and revealing their practices then burned these idols. Their response was radical. They named what their idol was, repented, recognized the dangers, and then got rid of it. Anything that stands in the way of God has to go. As a result of this heart change, there was a revival in that city.

‘So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. ‘

Acts 19:20

May we ask the Holy Spirit to bring revival to our hearts, our communities, our cities, and country. It all starts with our hearts.

What is the Holy Spirit telling you about idols in your life? He is seeking Heart Change

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