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Friday, December 30 2011

Introduction

In last week's study, we the arrival of Paul in Ephesus and his impart on the lives of the twelve disciples who needed to be baptized in The Holy Spirit. We saw his consistency in preaching the word of God and the manifestation of the power of God resulting in special miracles by the hand of Paul. We also saw how copy cats were disgraced and the mass conversion of Ephesians to Christ.

 

1.      DETERMINIATION; Acts 19:21,22

Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome." And having sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.

It is impossible to determine from the passage whether or not Paul's travels were directly commanded by the Holy Spirit, or whether it was a decision of Paul that was approved by the Holy Spirit. In either event it was clear that God saw greater events unfolding in the life of Paul. Paul clearly saw a greater purpose for him in mind. He was determined to travel to Rome to preach the gospel. He had transmitted this desire to the Roman brethren (Romans 1:10-11, 15). He was also desirous to travel to Jerusalem. His purpose in this was to take the contributions of the various Gentile brethren to the church in Jerusalem for the care of the needy saints there. See Romans 15:25; 1 Corinthians 16:1-3; 2 Corinthians 8, 9)

Paul returned to Ephesus but dispatched two of his most trusted young helpers, Timothy and Erastus (Concerning Erastus see Romans 16:23 and 2 Timothy 4:20). It is likely that they were sent to collect the funds for the various churches around Philippi and Greece. It was also during this time that they had traveled on to Corinth to deal with the problems that existed in the Corinthian church (at least Timothy, 1 Corinthians 4:17).

 

2.      REACTION TO MASS CONVERTION; Acts 19:223-27

About that time there occurred no small disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen; these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, "Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. "You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all. "Not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship will even be dethroned from her magnificence."

It was in the spring of the year that Ephesus held a great month long religious festival for their patron god Diana (Artemas).People would come from many miles away to participate in the festivities. There would be opportunities to make a great deal of money for the enterprising entrepreneur.

Diana (Artemas) was the mother goddess, the goddess of fertility. She was pictured as a many breasted woman with arms extended. Her worship included frenzied dancing and temple prostitution and sometimes human sacrifice. These silversmiths evidently did a brisk trade in small statues of the goddess. These would be blessed at the temple of Diana and then placed in homes or small ones worn as good luck charms.

Demetrius' motive clearly was not the love of Diana but money. We can surmise that Christianity had put a dent in their business. Many who had formerly bought their statues (much like souvenirs of our day) would no longer participate in idol worship. In order to mask their real intentions, Demetrius declared that if they did not do something the temple of Diana would fall into disrepute and decay.

The effect of the mass salvation of souls in verses 18 to 20 simply resulted in bad business for Demetrius the Silversmith and all the people in his trade. We must be on the lookout for negative reaction to conversion.

 

3.      RIOT IN EPHESUS; Acts 19:28-34

 When they heard this and were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" The city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia. And when Paul wanted to go into the assembly, the disciples would not let him. Also some of the Asiarchs who were friends of his sent to him and repeatedly urged him not to venture into the theater. So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in confusion and the majority did not know for what reason they had come together. Some of the crowd concluded it was Alexander, since the Jews had put him forward; and having motioned with his hand, Alexander was intending to make a defense to the assembly. But when they recognized that he was a Jew, a single outcry arose from them all as they shouted for about two hours, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"

While greed was the motivation, religious fervor was what stirred them into action. They started chanting, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" In the ancient world the worship of the local diety was a point of civic pride and loyalty. So the whole city was filled with confusion, and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul's travel companions

This group had either known where to find Gaius and Aristarchus, or had happened upon them and knew that there were fellow helpers of Paul.

a. Gaius is mentioned four other times in the New Testament. It is not certain whether any of the others are him. Gaius was quite a common name in ancient times.

b. Aristarchus is named in Philemon 24 as one of Paul's fellow labourers.

Paul was certainly not a coward. He wanted to speak before the crowd, but the brethren thought it wise not to do so. They would have likely killed Paul, as angry as some of them were.

We learn the extent of the preaching of the gospel here. It had spread to even some of the provincial officials of Asia. We are not sure whether these men were Christians or friendly disposed to Paul; likely the latter. We can see from this account that a man motivated by greed was able to bring the whole city into confusion.

4.      A TIME FOR EVERYTHING

After quieting the crowd, the town clerk said, "Men of Ephesus, what man is there after all who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of the image which fell down from heaven? "So, since these are undeniable facts, you ought to keep calm and to do nothing rash. "For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess. "So then, if Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a complaint against any man, the courts are in session and proconsuls are available; let them bring charges against one another. "But if you want anything beyond this, it shall be settled in the lawful assembly. "For indeed we are in danger of being accused of a riot in connection with today's events, since there is no real cause for it, and in this connection we will be unable to account for this disorderly gathering." After saying this he dismissed the assembly." [NIV]

This uproar had not escaped official notice. It is likely that the chief native official, the city clerk, had to hurry quickly into the night after getting word of what was going on. He was the highest official in the city, acting as a go between with the citizens' assembly of Ephesus and the Roman proconsul. He was the recorder of official papers, the keeper of the citizens' list, and the treasurer for all of the city's municipal funds. The city clerk was determined to calm down the mob. He would be in trouble with the Roman authorities if anything rash took place. He starts out by complimenting their religious devotion. They had the high privilege of being the keeper of the temple to Diana (Artemis).

The town clerk begins to calm things down, and tells the peoples that if the craftsmen have a complaint to make, they need to bring it to the authorities. After this the crowd was dismissed.

... It is amazing how the Lord can use people who are nonbelievers in bringing about a positive result for His people.

 

Contributor: Esther Alajiki

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 05:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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