Bible Study, Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity

Bible 1 Yr – Day 85 – Confirming the Church in Ephesus and Paul’s Apron

Recall that yesterday we met Apollos, who as Jewish convert, a disciple, well versed in the scripture, eloquent and fervent in the Spirit. Despite all this there we are not told that he had any success in making converts. He meets Pricilla and Aquila, who we know have been instructed by Paul. They instruct Apollos more accurately in the Gospel and Apollos is then sent out and we are told has great success in defending the faith.

Combine this with what we see immediately following in Chapter 19. It’s apparent that the writer of Acts wants to drive the point home. The fullness of Christianity comes through the Apostolic line. Here is the passage:

While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper 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 never 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 in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve of them in all.

When Paul finds out they don’t know the Holy Spirit that is what clues him in that they have not been properly baptized. This is important because it infers that the proper form of baptism is to use the formula given us by Jesus, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Had these people been baptized properly they would have heard the term “Holy Spirit” at their baptism.

LOOK CAREFULLY, at what is happening here. These people are disciples, they have faith in Jesus, but that is not good enough for Paul. He finds out that they have not been properly baptized so he baptizes them. Why would he do that if “faith alone” was enough for salvation?

But even beyond that, immediately after baptizing them he lays hands on them. He is doing exactly what Peter did when he left Jerusalem and traveled to Samaria when he learned that Phillip had made converts there. Paul is confirming them in the faith. Faith alone was enough. Faith and Baptism wasn’t enough. Paul goes for faith, baptism and confirmation immediately after meeting these disciples. These are sacraments, physical things done to manifest the faith. Since we know that Jesus came in part to fulfill the old ineffective sacrifices we can infer that all the things he gave the Apostles to do are effective. Therefore it follows that baptism and confirmation (the laying on of hands) actually convey the Holy Spirit.

And this is EXACTLY what the text tells us. We are told that this causes the Holy Spirit comes upon the converts, who then manifest gifts of the Holy Spirit. This two part process of Christian initiation helps to protect the Christian message from corruption. Converts are made through evangelization leading to Baptism, then confirmed in their understanding by a Bishop in the line of succession and sealed in the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands. Instead of the gospel being taught like a game of telephone, each new convert has to come back to the source and reaffirm their understanding of the message. Once confirmed they are given the Holy Spirit to protect the integrity of the message and empower them to go out and share it.

Next we see some extraordinary stuff at the end of Chapter 19:

And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.

We have seen events like this before in the scriptures. The woman with a hemorrhage is cured by touching Jesus’ cloak. Others are cured by having Peter’s shadow fall on them. Now we find that some are cured when things Paul has worn are brought to them. How? Why?

The first clue is apparent to us from the passage itself. Is says, “And God did extraordinary miracles…” Obviously, it is not Peter and Paul who are doing things on their own. God works through his servants, no surprise there.

But think a little deeper about it. God created a material world so it must be good. God became man, a material being, so again material – “matter” must be good. Could this good matter, if it came in direct contact with the living matter of the all-powerful God of the universe not be changed? It seems as if sometimes God allows or causes the material things of the world to be affected or changed by his contact with them. Like something becoming magnetic or radioactive. Like a fingerprint of God.

That is not to say that God still isn’t actively causing the miracles through these objects but it is to suggest that God has imparted some permanency of power to selected objects. Why then does Peter’s shadow and Paul’s apron cure the sick? Because Peter and Paul are so close to Jesus that when Peter walks by it is like Christ is walking by. When Paul uses and apron it is like Christ using that apron. Later, we will read Paul say, “It is not I who live but Christ who lives in me.” This is more than a statement by Paul of his feelings. Things like his apron are meant to help show us that there is a material or literal aspect to Paul’s statement as well.

33 thoughts on “Bible 1 Yr – Day 85 – Confirming the Church in Ephesus and Paul’s Apron”

  1. I don’t want to argue with you, but your confusing justification, and santification! Quick question please answer we are saved by what grounds? What makes us righteous in God eyes? Your miss using these text and your saying see the text says a so you must have b, but your not seeing the implication of the saving work of Christ in the resurrection. The apostle had a historical purpose, but to assume that this is the heart of the christian message is a betrayal to the point of a holiday we just celebrated! Baptism is about becoming part of a covenant community that the purpose of baptism! The sprinkling of water is about christ righteousness, not ours. You keep saying that Protestants have fallen from the church when really they recognize the ramifications of the cross. every time again with all due respect you speak of the Catholic Church and Peter you take away from what christ has done on the cross! Paul again dave his words I call it all loss to know the saving power of Jesus. What is that saving power, it in the blood of Christ! That the holiday dave, the savior has taking my place! Baptism, works, the church, the sacraments, are all secondary! Paul again says of first importances to know Christ and the power of his resurrection! Dave you have a tremendous gift of church history and it’s why I love your writing, but you put Christ equal to church, and brother that a false hood brother. I know you love God, and dave I love you please look to saving power of Christ it’s his blood not a church not a pope, and not religion! I know we differ hear, but please comit to Christ like you have committed to Catholicism and God will do amazing things for you. Thanks again for allowing me to speak freely into this post. Let God bless you in all you due.

    1. Jon – this is a well written and passionate post and it deserves a thoughtful response.

      First, as you and I often do, I am talking about Apples and you are talking about Oranges. The Bible teaches us many things. It teaches us:
      1. The historical facts of the life of Jesus and the early Church.
      2. The Gospel, the saving message of Jesus – What he said and what he taught.
      3. Theology – what the truth is about God and the systematic understanding of those truths.

      Now, the bible is not a book specifically about any one of those things. In other words, it is not just a history book and it is not just a theology textbook. Any one particular part of the bible can, and often does, teach us about all 3 of these things.

      For example, when Jesus says, “Go out and baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, making disciples of all nations” that sentence is:

      1. A historical fact – something Jesus actually said and a specific instruction that the Church is to follow.
      2. Part of the Gospel because Jesus is saying it for a reason. He would not tell us to do something unless it was necessary, effective and he expected us to do it.
      3. Theology – it is clear revelation of the trinity. It also shows what the effect of Baptism is … it is to make disciples of all nations. Theologians then can discuss the implications of that and learn the truth about God more deeply. That is what we see in the yesterday’s episode with Apollos and today’s with Ephesus. All the people involved were already disciples. But the text clearly tells us that they became more fully disciples after proper baptism. Thus we can infer that one can be a disciple without baptism but proper baptism is also necessary to fully be a disciple.

      You say that I, “assume this is the heart of the Christian message”. What I say to you is, “which part of the Christian message is optional?”

      You say that I don’t recognize the ramifications of the Cross and that I should be as committed to Christ as I am to Catholicism. But I say to you that recognize the ramifications of the Cross and to be committed to Christ is to accept all the Bible shows us.

      One of the things you say is that I, “put Christ equal to the Church”. You are 100% right that I do. That’s because Christ and Bible equate the two. The bible says that the Church is the body of Christ and he is the head. A head separated from the body dies. The bible says the Church is the Bride and the Lord says that a bride and groom become one flesh. Jesus says he is the “the truth”. The bible says the church is the pillar and bulwark (defender) of truth. Jesus says to the Apostles that “He who hears you hears me”. He also says that the Holy Spirit will “lead them into all truth”. Not just part of the truth, not just the heart of the Christian message but ALL truth. That means we are going to better understand the gospel over time. Jesus says, “go tell it to the Church”. Which implies a visible place we go to and get questions answered. There is no evidence that this ended with the Apostolic age. Paul appoints Timothy the Bishop of Ephesus and he specifically tells Timothy to find a worthy person to replace him. Jesus says the gates of hell will not prevail over the church. That means none of these things are going away at the end of the apostolic age. When that age ends the age of the Church begins and the bible specifically says that the church is “his body, the FULLNESS of him who fills all in all.” Eph 1:22-23 Fullness means there is nothing else. There is one church that is complete. Fullness can’t be added to. That means to have another church you must have LESS than the original Church.

      When we discuss these things you always embrace 1 and 2. We largely agree on 1 and 2. The question that I most often try to address is number 3. What do these verses mean about theology? What do they teach us about God, the Gospel, and religion? These are questions that CAN be answered b/c Jesus said the Holy Spirit would lead the Church into all truth. Think about what that means. In means that the Holy Spirit will bring us into a deeper relationship with Him – Jesus who is truth itself. That is exactly what happened in the passages of the last two days. Those already in relationship with Jesus were lead into deeper relationship with Jesus when they went into that relationship through the apostolic line. Notice that line did not end with Paul. It went from Paul through Pricilla and Aquila to Apollos. God gave us a Church for a reason so that we can know where that line is. The line is not hidden. Jesus said that lamp is not lit and put under a basket. The lamp lit gives light to the world. Yes Jesus is the light but he bound himself up with the Church – which is the fullness of him – so that everyone, everywhere can find the light and become joined to him in the fullest way possible.

  2. Dave the perfect has come it’s christ the church is the representation of the perfect, but not the perfect, you can’t say scripture promote Christ the same way as the church! The church is a special place, but the perfect is Christ!

  3. Is God able to do perfect things by using imperfect instruments? Of course he is. Peter was not perfect, but he wrote 1 and 2 Peter both of which are scripture and inerrant. Luke wrote Luke and Acts, both scripture and both inerrant. Matthew, Mark and John too. Perfect is not the standard. The Church is comprised of sinners of course it is not NOW perfect. But the bible says that we are being sanctified and being made perfect. Peter writes that in heaven we will partake of the divine nature. We know that in heaven we will be perfected. In Revelation, we see the Church, as a bride wearing a pure white garment. We are being perfected and will attain this when we reach heaven. The question is did God establish a Church as a means of making his sanctification happen on earth. Clearly he did.

    1. We all know the perfect Christ thanks to the Roman Catholic Church, made up of imperfect souls in need of Truth yo strive for perfection. It actually does follow Scripture. Scripture clearly indicates the necessity of the clergy, Sacraments, commandments, hierarchy, and the way to perfection. Christ chose the Church, not the other way around.

      JMJ

      1. You are justified by Christ not the church! To see Christ equal to church is to take authority from the risen savior! The risen savior is christ not the church! Christ died for the church not the other way around! The king is on his throne he’s the perfect not some institution. Know one at least any one I know sees the church as insignificant, we are to be the hands and feet of Christ, but The perfect died on a cross! The perfect is jesus, any other view is a attack on the authority of scripture, and the savior! He does not need the church he died for the fallen church, sorry guys that includes the fallen Catholic Church! God bless you both!

  4. Christ fullfilled all the requirement you guys are fighting for! we celebrate Easter because the grave is empty not because the church is having sacraments and not eating fish on Friday!

  5. Do you see what you said? “Christ died for the Church.” We do not take authority from the savior. Jesus GAVE authority to the Church. He said to the Apostles, “go and TEACH the gospel”. He said, “he who hears you hears me”. Paul said the Church is the pillar and defender of truth. Jesus said to the Apostles. “what you bind on earth is bound in heaven, what you loose on earth is loose in heaven.”

  6. The church is those who are in the new covenant not a institutional
    Covenant! Your postion requires that Christ didn’t fullfill the new covenant! He did that the point!

    1. Jesus said, “go tell it to the Church”. If there is no visible Church, then who do I go tell it to? I can’t go to your Church. I don’t know that you would be fair of that you have any authority. In fact, you would deny that you have any authority. Should I go ask the baptists? The Mormons? The SDA? How is this command of Jesus fulfilled?

  7. Of course we celebrate Easter because the tomb is empty. But HOW do we celebrate Easter? Should be have party? Should we sit silently in a room by ourselves for an hour? It seems obvious we should go to Church but should we do when we get there? Should there be music? Or is music prohibited by the bible? If we break the Bread and drink the wine, what is the meaning of that action?

    Christ left us a Church so these and countless other questions could be answered. To answer them the Church must have authority. Otherwise its answer would be no better than any other answer. Jesus did not say, “I’m kinda the way, sort of the truth, and a little bit of life”. To be Christ’s Chruch it must be intimately wrapped up with truth. Which is exactly what Jesus said, “the holy spirit will lead the Church into all truth”.

      1. I’m not question your faith dave never have, I question your theology! Your faith is established!

      2. What more perfect manner must Catholics know Christ than through the Blessed Sacrament? It is Scriptural. Literally a celebration of Him and quite literally Christ. Catholics know Christ in all stages of His life, death, and resurrection, and all thanks to the Apostolic lineage, succession, and preservation of Truth from His Holy Bride, the Church.

      3. Where also in Scripture does it say the Catholic Church is fallen, Jon?

      4. Catholic just like Protestant have been scared by sin it’s why he had to come in the first place! All men fall short of the glory of God! Fallness is built into the human condtion!

      5. Matthew 16:18New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

        18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,[a] and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

        You’re missing the point in that we are all imperfect souls, but the Church is not “fallen”. Sins can be absolved of us, another way we know God’s infinite mercy.

      6. Again you believe you can do something your a sinner on your way to hell the only way you can turn your fortunate is bye his mercies his grace! You justified by christ again simple question how are you saved?

    1. Where does it say that the Church is fallen? I didn’t ask about its sin. Where does it say the Church is damned?

    2. Jesus died because you and me both failed it’s not a knock to be fallen it’s a testimony to God goodness!

      1. I am not denying He didn’t, the way you’re denying He established His Church for us to know His goodness.

      2. Jesus also gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that we may be perfected. It is all right there. We don’t have to wait to get to the gates of Heaven with a ton of sin on our backs to pay for. It’s possible to be forgiven through Christ in confession

  8. A priest can’t obsolve you of anything! there only one person that obsolve a sin christ! Any other view is a heretical belief! Jesus is the only answer for sin! Again these topic are sensitive and I don’t throw that word heresy around lightly, but any view that does not begin and end with christ as the ultimate answer is a false religion!

    1. It seems you do not understand nor wish to understand the fact priests have been given the authority to do so by Christ and through Him. Heretics are those who run contrary to the traditional teachings of the Church, which is obviously not the Catholic one as it’s the authority of it. Easy with your insults and claims of a false religion when it we who are adhering to the One True Church. Shouts of heresy and exclamation points do not grant you favor in the eyes of God.

      1. You have no clue what your talking about, but I will pray for you! Apostolic age is over what part of over don’t you get the apostolic age is finish unless you raise some one from the dead like Paul than its over apostolic age when jesus walk with apostles! Find me one place Justin one place after pentocost where the spirtual gifts are present tongue phophecy or any of the gifts! I will help you there not one place!

      2. Show me where it says the Apostolic age is over. You can’t. Holy Orders still exist today passes down through Apostolic succession, we know every pope. We know what we are talking about. Your prayers to pull us away from the Church will fail. We are solidified in it by Christ. If the Apostolic age was over then you didn’t have to go to seminary.

      3. Priest hood over thank god I will trust Jesus you trust a church that can’t tell you how your saved! God bless this conversation going no where!

      4. Over? Hardly, the priesthood still exists, whether you acknowledge it or not, and thank God it does. We are saved through Christ and the Church tells us so. You wouldn’t know the way if it was not for the first Apostles who were Catholics, including St. Paul. God’s grace is present here and to say miracles do not occur today means you believe we are out here wandering lost. We are not lost, we are Home in Christ’s Church. Prayers for you as well, Jon.

      5. In corinthians ten when Paul says we are in this age and the age to come what age is he talking about! How do you interpret hebrews 2: 2-3-4!

  9. Jon,
    I just don’t think that those verses prove what you suggest.

    1 Corinthians 10 says:

    Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty- three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

    Paul is clearly listing the acts of Israelites depicted in the Old Testament. His “end of the age” statement can be interpreted in two way. Either it is the end of the Old Testament age or He is saying that we are living in the “end of the age” now. But it says nothing about the end of the apostolic age. Even if did refer to that it does not follow that the end of the apostolic age means the end of Church authority. The age of Moses ended (who is the OT equivalent of an apostle) but the authority of the High Priest continued.

    Further, this passage is clearly stating that these OT things were written down “for our instruction”. In other words, they are not just a historical recounting. So here we have an Apostle, telling us the OT verses still can instruct Christians. Remember Numbers from a few days ago, when God rejected the idea that others besides Moses can have the Holy Spirit and speak for God?

    Further, look what verse immediate follows this passage:

    The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?

    Notice what Paul is saying here. The OT is a guide for interpreting the NT. That is exactly what I said to you a few days ago. In the OT they ate the sacrifice that was made on one altar so they were one people. In the NT we eat the sacrifice that is one bread and therefore we are one body. Again, we see why joining the apostolic line makes you a fuller more complete disciple because then they become truly part of the one body.

    It is interesting that you then site the book of Hebrews in context of the Apostolic age question. Who wrote the book of Hebrews?

    The answer is we don’t know.

    But for a book to be in the Bible it had to be written by an Apostle or someone closely associated with an Apostle. Matthew is in b/c he is an eye witness and an apostle. Mark is in b/c he was Peter’s assistant. Luke is in b/c he was Paul’s traveling companion and assistant.

    How does Hebrews get in?

    The answer is b/c for a book to get in it had to be written by an “apostolic man” AND it had to be read in the Apostolic Churches. In other words, Matthew is in b/c it was written by Matthew and read in Churches like Jerusalem, Corinth and Ephesus. The “gospel of Judas” is out b/c it was never read in the Churches so when in showed up everyone knew it was a fake.

    Although we don’t know who wrote Hebrews we know that it was written early while the Apostles and eye witnesses were still alive. Thus, even though we don’t know for sure who wrote it we can infer that the witnesses would have heard it. If they heard it and it was wrong they would have rejected it. It fact, Paul instructs some disciples to do this to another heretical letter. However we know that Hebrews was read in the Apostolic churches and when it was, no one said “that is heretical garbage, get rid of it”. Thus the Apostolic lineage of the Church is transferred to the book of Hebrews. This is exactly how apostolic lineage and authority protect the integrity of the gospel. It works much the same way with the proclamation of the gospel via people. A heretical bishop will eventually be reined in by the hierarchy. At the same time, God raises us holy men to spread the gospel wider – ie. Pope Francis.

    As for Hebrews 2:2-4, it says:

    Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

    First, this passage starts out with “we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard”. Forgive me friend but isn’t that exactly what I have been advocating to you? Don’t you respond to me with cries of “you’re missing the big picture”. Didn’t I say to you this very morning that I see the big picture but tell me which details are optional?

    The “message declared by the Angels” is Hebrew speak for the OT. So this second sentence is basically saying, the OT was true and there was severe penalty for not following it but Christ has ended that burden but how much trouble will we be in if we ignore Christ. Fair enough? Look what it says next.

    It says that the Gospel came from the Lord and then WAS ATTESTED TO BY THOSE WHO HEARD. Who is that? The Apostles. In other words, this again implies that the attesting through the Apostles is valid but attesting by others is not. In other words, “the Gospel of Judas” is not written by an Apostle, so it’s out. Apollos was preaching accurately but after the came under the teaching of Priscilla and Aquila he preached MORE accurately. If we are paying closer attention we start to see all the threads woven through the scripture that connect one passage to the others. When I first fell in love with the scripture and Catholicism is was b/c I saw these threads. It could not be of man, this is an additional sign of the divine hand at work in the bible and of which interpretation is the correct interpretation.

    1. I have decide to remove myself from this thread,! I believe I’m not honor God with my responses, and that not what I’m called to do! I want to thank you dave for challenging me to look deeper and I think I have! Im a evangelical christian who believe in Christ and him crucified. your to good of a man dave for me to argue with I think the thread like all things was to honor God, but right now we are not being honoring of God, at least I’m not! Thank again dave I really appreciate your love for God. Good luck God bless

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