While reading the book of Acts today there was a lot that stood out to me, so I’ll be sharing my notes with you.

The world is full of many religions that believe in all sorts of things. Indeed, even within Christianity, some might believe some things and not others. When I read this passage today, from Acts, about Paul’s encounter with the twelve disciples of John, near Corinth, something occurred to me.

And asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.

Acts 19:2-6 (NIV)

Although these men had believed John’s message and repented of their sin, and subsequently were trying to live accordingly, they hadn’t received the Holy Spirit. John’s teaching was holy, sanctified, and done by the will of God. All things we might think would be qualifiers for salvation. However, it was incomplete. Paul recognized that these men were not new creations in Christ. We, therefore, must be careful to teach the word of God with accuracy that can only come from the Holy Spirit.

Many people might be living lives that appear to be “good.” Indeed, there are many religions and thought processes that do not encourage evil in the hearts of those who follow. However, none of those people who follow these ideals will ever enter into the Kingdom of Heaven without Jesus. Jesus said, “‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'” (John 14:6 NIV).

We are told in Acts, “that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him [Paul] were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them” (Acts 19:12 NIV). These handkerchiefs and aprons were nothing more than bits of cloth put together to serve a purpose. They did nothing on their own. However, people had faith to believe in the power of God so they were healed by faith. Evil spirits were cast out, by faith. When I think about this I think about holy water that is just water until it’s blessed. We must be mindful to not see things for anything more than they are else we become entangled in idolatry.

And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all.

Acts 19:26 (NIV)

When I was listening to the Bible reading today and heard these verses from Acts, I chuckled to myself and said, “Of course not!” The notion that gods made by human hands could be gods is absurd. However, how often do we trust in all sorts of things that are not God? I’m reminded of the Psalmist who wrote, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain” (Psalm 127:1 NIV). Seat belts, jobs, doctors, vaccines, and everything else in this world we put our trust into doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if they don’t fit into God’s plan for them to do what we think they ought to do. While it might be unwise not to take advantage of these tools in our lives, the beginning of true wisdom, as Scripture reminds us, “is the fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 9:10).

Something else we rely upon is our understanding of facts. Of those things, we believe to be undeniable.

The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: “Fellow Ephesians, doesn’t all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to calm down and not do anything rash.

Acts 19:35-36 (NIV)

What I thought today, when I read these verses, was straightforward. Just because something is a fact, it doesn’t mean it’s true. Often our perception, and the perception of the world around us, might tell us one thing and, in many cases, it makes sense to be attentive to what we see. However, there was a time when I was unsaved and on the road to hell. That was a fact until the day I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and was saved by His grace. Therefore, the only Truth we can rely upon to always be true is the word, and will of God, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The “facts” may point to one thing, but it’s God’s truth that prevails.

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.