Soli Deo Gloria

Acts 19 – Paul at Ephesus, Riot at Ephesus, Paul’s Goal of Reaching Rome

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul came to Ephesus. He found some disciples and asked if they received the Holy Spirit when they believed. They said “no” and that they hadn’t heard that there is a Holy Spirit. They were baptized into John’s baptism. Paul said John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Jesus. They were then baptized into Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There was a total of 12 men. Paul spoke boldly for three  months. When some rejected Christ he left with the disciples reasoning in the hall of Tyrannus. They did this for 2 years. God was doing miracles through Paul – healing people. A itinerant Jewish exorcist invoked the name of the Lord Jesus. 7 sons of a Jewish high priest and Sceva were trying to heal and cast out spirits, but the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you? The evil spirit leaped on them, and mastered all, so that they fled the house naked and wounded. A number who were now believers came, confessing their sin. A number who practiced magic arts burned their things in the sight of all. The Word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia to Jerusalem, then after that go to Rome. He sent Timothy and Erastus and he stayed in Asia a while. Demetrius who made idols caused a riot because those believing Christ were rejecting the idols that they made. They were no longer making money. They were afraid that the temple to the goddess Artemis would be disrespected. They dragged Gaius and Aristarchus out. Paul wanted to go in among the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. The assembly was in great confusion, most didn’t know why they came together. Some prompted Alexander, who wanted to make a defense to the crowd, but when they recognized he was a Jew they cried out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” For two hours. The clerk calmed them down saying people know who Artemis is and about the stone falling from the sky. Let the courts handle the matter if there’s an offense. He warned that they were in danger of being charged with rioting. He dismissed the assembly.

God’s people are focused on spreading the fame of God in the gospel to the nations: Paul wanted to reach Rome. Paul sought to help Christians grow by gathering them into local churches. Christians don’t need to change public policy in order to impact a culture. All they need is the powerful Word of God. Christians share the gospel and see lives transformed by the Holy Spirit working through the Word. One transformed life at a time is how you see a culture change. The goal isn’t “redemption” of culture (I’m not sure exactly what that means sometimes). The goal is the salvation of souls. Don’t be so focused on changing culture that you neglect your friends, family, and your neighbor being redeemed and reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus Christ. Also, notice the helpfulness of ordered society. If the clerk hadn’t come that day the riotous mob may have gotten even more out of control than they were. This served the people and the furtherance of the gospel well. 

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