July 2, 2020

Can I Tell You About My God?

Acts 19:1–20

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Paul in Ephesus

And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland1 country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in2 the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.

And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.3 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

The Sons of Sceva

11 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all4 of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.


[1] 19:1 Greek upper (that is, highland)
[2] 19:5 Or into
[3] 19:9 Some manuscripts add from the fifth hour to the tenth (that is, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
[4] 19:16 Or both

Can I Tell You About My God?

Key Verse | Acts 19:8

And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.


Bio | Jose Padilla

Hello, everyone. My name is Jose Padilla. I am husband to my amazing wife Debbie and father to two great kids—Daijah and Delilah. God has me in a place I never thought: doing ministry. Being on staff with Young Life has opened my eyes to see that, even though my past was riddled with pain, hurt, and what I meant for evil, God has turned and used it for good. Today, I am comforted by the knowledge that, even when I was running from God, I never outran Him. He was always and will always be by my side.

Central Truth

Paul saw an urgent need to share the gospel with everyone he met. If you ever came into contact with Paul, you would hear about his God and how great He is. Paul boldly spoke and reasoned with the people in Ephesus, and he persuaded them to know about Jesus.

Devotional | Acts 19:1–20

Acts 19 shows us who Paul's God is, how Paul worships, and how Paul lives. Acts 19:8 tells us, "And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom...

Acts 19 shows us who Paul's God is, how Paul worships, and how Paul lives. Acts 19:8 tells us, "And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God." This verse really had me thinking about who my God is, how I worship, and how I live.

I began evaluating what I talk about with others, what comes out of my mouth, and what I try to reason and persuade others to see. If I am honest, when I talk to others, I am not sharing about God the Creator, but about the creation God made. I can easily worship the creation and not the Creator. I easily talk to others about the "gods" of my life.

I find that I am persuading others and reasoning with people about why they need to see the latest movie or why they should try a certain type of pen or even eat at this really good restaurant.

I have to ask myself then, what is really keeping me from boldly speak about my God, my redeemer and savior? When fear seems to keep my mouth shut, I need to remember the One who has given me a new life, the One who allowed me to feel and understand what Lazarus felt when Jesus called him out of the grave, the One who has given me a new life in Him. I need to remember, as Paul did, the power of Christ in me, the hope of glory.

Paul shared the gospel with his life and with his words. He lived out his faith by loving those around him with his talk always seasoned with God's love. The passage further tells us, "This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jew and Greeks." (Acts 19:10) My hope is that I will worship my God, my redeemer and savior, with my life and with my words. I pray that my heart would be changed to have an eternal perspective, not just for myself, but for those around me.

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Discussion Questions

1. Who are the gods of your life that you always talk about?

2. What is keeping you from boldly speaking to others about Jesus?

3. How can you be bold this week and share with someone about Jesus?

4. How can you live your life in a way that people see Jesus through your actions?

5. Challenge: Ask your family or closest friends to examine your life and tell you what they see as the most important thing in your life. Are you willing to change that to Jesus?

7 Comments available

Linda Green 7 months ago

Thanks, Jose, for asking us to look at what we worship. Along this same direction, Tim Keller’s message on YouTube “Counterfeit Gods” (he also wrote a book with the same title) was eye opening for me. He said our idols will always break our hearts- can say Amen to that. The One worthy of our worship heals our hearts.

Michael Scaman 7 months ago

A chapter about the Spirit and spirts

All the believers in Emphasis who were John the Baptist disciples and believed in Jesus received the spirit, not some. Whenever the spirit came it came on the whole church, all the new believers (RC Sproul points out)

The spirit beating on the Sons of Sceva made the news even more. Everyone talked about that. The bruises. The fleeing naked. 1 man beat the tar out of 7 young men. It would be hard for the neighborhood not to notice

The neighborhood was so moved they had a book burning. Not selling the valuable magic books. Burning them so no one would use them.

Sue Bohlin 7 months ago

Hi Jose! Thanks for your devo!

I’m intrigued by the interplay of two things in today’s reading. Paul’s handkerchiefs had the power to heal in those early days of the church, and now we have televangelists selling “holy handkerchiefs” in a bizarre form of spiritual manipulation. Then the sons of Sceva tried to manipulate demons without the power of the Holy Spirit since they didn’t trust Christ, and they end up getting their butts kicked. I am seeing a warning about using manipulation (which is fleshly and not a whit God-honoring) to try to accomplish ANYTHING in the spirit realm.

Lord, please make me sensitive to any time I’m tempted to use manipulation for any reason, with any person, at any time.

Greg Jones 7 months ago

“And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”…God works in mysterious ways-Red inked in my margin.

I know the equivalent of this guy today. He smokes Pall Mall red and sells used cars at a note lot on Garland Road. He’s one of a kind…unless you count the spirit too…then maybe not…He’s a friend, he is the life God uses to frame a crazy story Acts for me.

He’s a friend, he’s obviously a bad example in areas I don’t struggle in. For bad examples in those areas of struggle for myself I’m blessed with dozens of the seven brothers.

Here’s what I learn, every once in a while I need my naked wounded.

Michelle Hopper 7 months ago

Love this!

Shawn Foster 7 months ago

Thank you Jose! Two things jump out at me. 1. Paul’s persistence. 2. Obstinate people. Even this greatest evangelist couldn’t persuade everyone. Yet he remained steadfast, undaunted by the rejection of man. What a tough guy! By the grace of God a Velvet covered brick. Oh that we should be likewise. Thank you again Jose. Let’s go church!!!

Hugh Stephenson 7 months ago

What I see in this passage is the contrast between a saving faith that comes from the Holy Spirit and every other representation of faith that is clearly false. Even faith that is good is not good enough if it does not come from Him.

Again, God calls me to be equipped

“…to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15).

Using Paul’s example, I must be able to reason and persuade in telling others of the Kingdom of God.

As so often is the case, the evil spirits know but the people don’t.

The challenge for me is to let go of the outcome of any spiritual conversation. My call is to proclaim and leave the saving to Jesus, (Luke 8:4-8).

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