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Acts 19:1-41

  

“And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus:  and finding certain disciples, 2 he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?  And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized?  And they said, Unto John’s baptism. 4 Then Paul said, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 7 And all the men were about twelve. 8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. 11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. 13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. 19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men:  and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. 21 After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. 22 So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself staying in Asia for a season [in Ephesus]. 23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; 25 whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. 26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: 27 so that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. 28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 29 And the whole city was filled with confusion:  and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. 30 And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. 31 And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre. 32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another:  for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. 33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward.  And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defense unto the people. 34 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 35 And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. 37 For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. 38 Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies:  let them implead one another. 39 But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. 40 For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause of this concourse. 41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.”

 

Introduction:  You Should Know If You Have Received The Holy Spirit When You First Believed

 

Audio version: https://resources.ccphilly.org/teachinglibrary.asp?Book=44

 

“Chapter 19 says “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus:  and finding  certain disciples, he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?  And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.  And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized?  And they said, Unto John’s baptism.” (verses 1-3) possibly disciples of Apollos.  “Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” (verse 4)  So Paul coming now, encountering this group of disciples.  Look, the word there for disciples, every other usage in the Book of Acts, it speaks of believers.  Now there is a controversy here, between cessationists and Pentecostals.  Paul comes and he finds these disciples at Ephesus, they’re called disciples.  There’s a question, because it seems as though Paul encounters them, that something’s missing.  He notices something missing in their lives.  And noticing that he asks them some questions about their baptism.  He says ‘Did you receive the Holy Ghost’ now the King James, I’m reading King James, ‘since you believed?’  You may have a translation that says ‘Did you receive the Holy Ghost when you believed?’  There’s the crux of the argument for some.  If he’s saying ‘Did you receive the Holy Ghost since you believed?’ that means they were indeed believers, they had been baptized by the Spirit into the mystical Body of Christ, but they hadn’t had the Spirit come upon them in power, they hadn’t received the Spirit coming upon them, and Paul noticed that.  If he’s saying ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ then Paul is asking in fact we’re they believers at all.  So right away, you know, there are people that want to make a division there.  Look, here’s the crux of it for me, the application, the point is, you should know, you should know, ‘Have you received the Holy Spirit?’  That’s a question every one of you in this room this evening should be able to answer.  It shouldn’t be some dry theological position that you can argue from, it needs to be a reality in our lives, if you got it, great, if you ain’t got it, get it.  Paul saw something missing in them.  It said, John’s Gospel chapter 7 says ‘The Spirit, when he comes, it’ll be like rivers of living water flowing forth from your life,’ that should be noticeable in a believers life, there should be something that marks their life and sets them aside from an unbeliever.  And it isn’t just a religious experience, it’s not just a theological position, there should be a reality.  So, you can take either side of the argument here, as we get down further it becomes mute as far as I’m concerned anyhow.  There’s a big argument, there’s the areotist participle, if all this stuff in the grammar, and most of that really leans, well depending, if you torture the text you can get it to confess to anything, but plain an simple I think it leans to ‘Did you receive the Holy Ghost since you believed?’  Paul would be asking them if in fact they had received the fulness of the Spirit.  We see the disciples on the Day of Pentecost, waiting, receiving the fulness of the Spirit.  But Jesus had met with them and breathed on them and said “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22), these men were born-again, but they were waiting for something else on Pentecost.  We see Peter in Acts chapter 4, it says ‘Peter stood up, and being filled’ the class condition is, ‘right then, he’s filled up afresh with the Holy Spirit.’  We see in chapter 8 of the Book of Acts, the disciples there in Samaria, miracles had been taking place, they’re called “disciples,” they’re called “believers,” those words are consistent through the Book of Acts.  But when the apostles came from Jerusalem they laid hands on them, they received a fulness of the Spirit.  Well some say that’s the Samaritan Pentecost, that never happens again.  Everybody wants to argue about these things.  Chapter 4:31, they’re praying for boldness, it says the building is shaken, ‘and they’re all filled again, afresh, at that moment with the Holy Spirit, all filled again.’  Well they were saved, they were indwelt with the Spirit.  Look, when you and I get saved, at that moment, none of us are asking to be filled with the Spirit, we’re asking to be forgiven of our sins.  And the Bible tells us instantaneously, when we’re saved, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the mystical Body of Christ, he does that work, ties us into the mystical Body of Christ, he does that work.  But there’s another baptism, and Jesus is the baptism, and that’s baptizing with power, and that’s relative to ministry [now while this may be true, it is a specific doctrinal belief of Calvary Chapels].  The Old Testament saints were filled when the Spirit came upon their lives.  We certainly shouldn’t look down on that in the New Testament.  This is a place of argument, look, great folks on both sides of the argument.  [Calvary Chapels also believe the Holy Spirit only came upon the Old Testament prophets, but didn’t necessarily indwell them.  Personally, I believe the Holy Spirit indwelt the Old Testament prophets just like in us, making them saints, as we are, but saints with a special job and calling, that of being a prophet of God, but same indwelling.  So there’s difference of belief here, we’ll all find out whose correct at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (cf. Revelation 19).]  Know this for sure, the Holy Spirit causes unity.  Where there’s division, there’s carnality, Paul said that ‘Are you not carnal, if you say I’m of Paul, I’m of Apollos.’  One thing we know for sure, is the work of the Holy Spirit causes unity.  If the fruit of the Spirit is love, and joy, and peace, longsuffering, meekness, temperance and so forth, the work of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit are also manifested not just in speaking in tongues, but in unity, in bringing the Body of Christ together.  Paul said to the Ephesians “Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be ye being filled with the Holy Spirit,” it’s a present perfect imperative, it’s written singular, to the individual, and it’s not a suggestion, it’s a commandment ‘that you should continually be being filled with the Holy Spirit.’  That’s a process in our lives.  It doesn’t say anywhere in the New Testament ‘Be ye being sealed with the Spirit,’ or ‘Be ye being baptized into the Body of Christ,’ that’s a one-time experience.  But there is a filling that clearly we see is more than one time.  The question here, is this a picture of these individuals being saved, or these saved individuals who are receiving a greater measure of the Holy Spirit?  And again, a good read, I suggest to you “They Found The Secret” and it’s the lives of fifteen, sixteen Christians that are very notable, Oswald Chambers, D.L. Moody, people you’ve heard of, from different theological positions and different denominational backgrounds, but all of them talk about a deeper and more profound experience with the Holy Spirit in their lives, that changed their ministries and their lives.  Ah, it’s a great read.  But look, let’s work down here. 

 

Paul Encounters Some Early Believers From The Baptism Of John The Baptist

 

“And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized?” (verse 3a) they hadn’t heard of the Holy Spirit, because in Matthew 28:19, Jesus told them ‘Baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,’ they said ‘We haven’t even heard whether there’s a Holy Ghost,’ so Paul wondering what’s happening here.  “Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (verses 4-5)  Now it doesn’t say they were saved then or believed, this is when they heard this, what they lacked, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  And I would assume everyone, no matter what position they take theologically, agree in verse 5 we now have believers, everyone would agree, when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, they’re believers then.  At this point they’d been baptized into the mystical Body of Christ.  Verse 6 follows verse 5, does it follow by 15 minutes, does it follow by an hour, does it follow later that day, it makes the earlier argument whether it’s “since” or “when” a mute argument, because the truth is here, in verse 5, they are born-again.  Everybody would agree on that, and then subsequent to that it says “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (verse 6) the Holy Ghost came upon them,’  We don’t know how long afterwards.  But this is a picture of those who are believing, then receiving a greater endowment of the Spirit.  Look, no one ever is saved by the laying on of hands, it never happens that way [here again is another doctrinal position, as if we need another, but that of the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God, expressed in part of this expository study on baptism, see https://unityinchrist.com/baptism/What%20is%20Baptism.htm].  And the Spirit coming on the believer doesn’t always happen that way, it can happen instantaneously at conversion, it can happen subsequent, we see those sitting around listening to the Word filled with the Spirit, we see those praying that are filled with the Spirit, it can happen in different ways [as I’ve said all along, God will not be put into a doctrinal box when it comes to conversion and what one must do to receive the Holy Spirit.  God looks upon the heart of the person making the request for salvation, much less than upon the method.]  And it should be a continual experience for all of us.  My encouragement to you, in these last days, would be praying for a continual filling of the Spirit.  If you don’t believe in that or don’t think you need it, I’ll take your measure.  Say ‘Just give Pastor Joe what I don’t want, he wants it, fill him afresh every day, I’ll take it.’  So here, they receive, and there’s manifestation.  “And all the men were about twelve.” (verse 7) so there’s a new home fellowship, group of guys here now gathered together. 

 

The Apostle Paul Lays A Firm Spiritual Foundation In The Ephesus Church Over A Period Of Two To Three Years

 

“And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.” (verse 8)  Now remember when he had visited, they had said to him back in verse 19 of chapter 18, he came to Ephesus, he went into the synagogue and spoke to the Jews, verse 20 says “When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not, but he bade them farewell,’ he said ‘I have to go make the Feast in Jerusalem, and if God willing I’ll return.’  And so these folks in the synagogue in Ephesus wanted to hear more of the Lord, it says he was able to go into that synagogue for the space of about three months, disputing, putting things back and forth with them, “persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.”  “But when diverse were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing in the school of one Tyrannus.” (verse 9)  Now that always happened, it was part of Paul’s process, but he had a nice long span of about three months here.  Notice, it says “spake evil of that way before the multitude,” then as his habit was, “he departed from them, and separated the disciples,” he took the believing Jews away from them, so they wouldn’t be drugged down by the criticism, “he separated the disciples, disputing” notice “daily in the school of one Tyrannus.” Now that’s not Tyrannosaurus Rex, he moves to a lecture hall or a school room of one Tyrannus.  Evidently, is he renting it?  It’s typical of Calvary Chapel to rent a school, to start a church.  Ah, things haven’t changed, he moves into a school.  Tyrannus means tyrant.  I’m assuming his students gave him that name, nickname, and it became the school of Tyrannus.  Paul is there every day.  Now we know, from chapter 20, and 1st Corinthians, that he is laboring with his hands in Ephesus, he’s working at tentmaking.  So evidently he does that up until a certain point in the day, the school of Tyrannus, it was typical those days for a school to close about 11 O’clock because of the heat of the day, sometimes it would be closed for the rest of the day, sometimes it would open again, 3 or 4 in the afternoon.  But it tells us that Paul is going to do this for a space of about two years.  Look, it says he went into the school “daily,” the school of Tyrannus, “this continued by the space of two years;” so just think of this, what an opportunity this was.  If Paul spoke to the disciples there for two years, and he did that five hours a day, six days a week, that’s 3,120 hours of instruction.  [Now taking the long view of history here, Paul is being used, inspired by God to lay a very firm foundation for the church of God that dwelt in Ephesus, because the apostle John, with a very large contingent of the Jerusalem church would end up there, probably arriving just before the first Jewish-Roman war which destroyed the Temple and much of Jerusalem in 70AD, and then thereafter, another wave of immigrants arriving around the 130sAD.  See https://unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1a.htm to see where the Jerusalem and Judean churches of God may have migrated to toward the end of the article.]  Just imagine that, 3,120 hours of sitting with the apostle Paul, and being instructed.  That’s why we’re going to read ‘the Word of God prevailed and went forth and spread through Asia,’ it is through this study in Ephesus that the churches are born in Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea, the five churches we hear about in the Book of Revelation, the Gospel spreads from Ephesus all over Asia Minor.  And just imagine this.  And it’s not normally his custom, he ended up I think in chapter 20:31 it tells us he was actually in this area for three years in Ephesus.  That’s not like Paul to be settled down that long somewhere, but he came in, he evangelized, and planted strong churches, and here he raised them up.  We’re going to find in chapter 20, the elders from Ephesus come and meet him on the beach at Miletus, there seems like there’s a good number of men, so evidently strong congregations and fellowships, and a strong church was left there in Ephesus, as Paul would finally move on [a strong church for the apostle John to move into with Mary, Jesus mother, when he moved up there in the late 60s AD.]  At this point in time he’s in this school of Tyrannus, every day in the afternoon at least for a number of hours, this goes on for about two years, “so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” (verse 10b) remarkable.  And it says this, “And God wrought special miracles” not the regular old ones, these are special ones, particular miracles, very notable is the idea, shocking, remarkable “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:  so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” (verses 11-12)  Doctor Luke uses a medical word here, it’s litmus, it’s the only time it’s used in the New Testament, “from his skin,” not just his body, “from his skin were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs, sweatbands, and aprons, and diseases departed from them, and evil spirits went out of them.”  Now, it was very interesting, it says it was a particular incident, God decided to do things this way.  Paul is working at his tentmaking.  By the middle of the day when he goes to the school of Tyrannus he takes off the sweatband from his head, takes his apron off, and the Greek literally says ‘his sweatbands and aprons where carried away,’ it gives us the sense that people snuck in after he went to the school of Tyrannus and stole his headband every night, and so they could get them to the sick and so forth, and it says, as they came to them people were healed.  People were healed, of diseases, diseases just departed from them, and evil spirits just left.  Now, we don’t find this anywhere else, this is a remarkable thing God just decided to do.  But understand this, Ephesus was a spiritual circus.  Here comes Paul into Ephesus, you have to understand what he encounters when he gets there.  He comes into a city that has major gymnasiums, one of the smaller ones, 625 feet by 877 feet, there are larger ones that are 900 feet, fifteen acres, one a single gymnasium.  The theater there is 660 feet in diameter, it seats 25,000 people, there are temples to 60 different gods in Ephesus.  But the main temple is to Diana, not exactly the same as Artemis, called that also, the temple of Artemis.  That temple had been torn down and rebuilt, this would be the 7th and final time, but it was 220 years in construction at this point in time.  It’s 425 feet long, 220 feet wide, it was seven times larger than the Parthenon in Athens.  It had 127 pillars inside, each of them weighing 150 tons, each of them dedicated by a king or given by a king, and it was an open place in the middle, there was a colonnade around the outside, there was one place where there was a roof, that roof was held up by pure green jasper pillars.  In fact, some of those were taken and they’re in the great mosque in Saint Sophia in Istanbul today, some of those pillars can be seen there, those jasper pillars.  This was one of the 7 Wonders of the World, Pausanias, a historian from that time said that the temple in Ephesus surpassed every structure that was ever raised by human hands.  One ancient writer said “I have seen the walls and the hanging gardens of Babylon, I have seen the statue of the Olympian, the Colossus of Rhodes, and I’ve seen the great labour of the lofty pyramids in Egypt and the ancient tomb of the Asollace.  But when I beheld the temple at Ephesus towering to the clouds, all these other marvels were eclipsed.”  And this one traveler writes this ancient record that there was nothing that compared to it in its beauty and its magnificence.  So Paul is coming into this area where this is the dominant deity, and again she’s got priestesses, she’s worshipped in prostitution.  But famous in Ephesus are magical arts, sorcery, all kinds of things.  So there are in that environment at lot of demon possessed people, people that are unsaved that open themselves up to that side of things, the occult, seances, worshipping idols, open themselves up to a world they are not prepared to face.  And often Satan, when he’s given that open door, will come in and possess their lives.  So it says, not only were these sweatbands and aprons, miracles done by Paul’s hands, not only was it just the sick, the diseases are just departing, leprosy, diabetes, cancer, diseases are just departing, but beyond that, even those who were demon possessed, when the sweatbands of Paul, where they were brought in contact, the demons are fleeing, they’re leaving. 

 

The Seven Sons Of Sceva Learn A Painful And Embarrassing Lesson About The Occult World

 

That sets the stage for our next picture here, because it says in verse 13, “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.” or “the wondering Jews that were exorcists,” it’s a great name for a Rock Band, The Wandering Exorcists, Jews or something. Now, Josephus tells us there were exorcists in that day, Jesus would say to the Pharisee, “If I by Beelzebub cast out Satan, whom do your sons cast him out?”  And the Jews had their own theory of exorcism, they invoked the name of Solomon sometimes.  Josephus in his history gives us a record of people supposedly being delivered, and these are wandering Jewish exorcists who travel the area of Asia Minor there, people pay them, if a son or a daughter or a father or somebody’s in spiritual trouble, and supposedly they come and perform certain rites and so forth.  And they had been watching Paul, and they’d been hearing what’s going on, and because they used incantations and they invoked the name of Solomon, sometimes of David, now they’re hearing this name Jesus and they’re adding that into the soup, ‘Hey we should include that name Jesus, this guy’s having great success, we’ll put that into our formula too.’  So, they come, and it says, when they call the evil spirits, they use the name of the Lord Jesus saying ‘We adjure you, by Jesus, whom Paul preaches,’ “And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.” (verse14) now we’re not certain, “chief of the priests” what it speaks of, in Jerusalem one of the chief priests normally would be a member of the Sanhedrin.  In communities through the Roman Empire, anywhere where there was at least 120 Jews there would be small Sanhedrin of 23 leaders, anywhere in the Roman Empire where there was a community of Jews that was less than 120 they would have a Sanhedrin of three Jewish leaders.  This could have been locally one of the Jewish priests in the local leadership there, he has seven sons, and they were trying to invoke the name of Jesus.  Look at verse 15, “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?”  Now that’s a bad feeling when that happens, you know.  Because he doesn’t say it nice, the demon says ‘JESUS I KNOW, AND PAUL I KNOW’ you know, the room shakes, ‘BUT WHO ARE YOU!?’ this is not a good scene when this goes on.  Demonic spirits are intelligent, they answer, they are intelligent beings, they understand what’s happening here, they understand how empty and phony this is, these guys using this formula.  And it’s interesting, the demon uses two different words here, he says ‘Jesus I know,’ kenosko, ‘I recognize, and who he is, I’ve experienced, I know who Jesus is.’  He uses a different word when he says Paul, he says ‘Paul I know,’ which means ‘I’m acquainted with, I know him from being in proximity to him.’  This demon knew that Paul was in Ephesus and understood he was a servant of the Most High God, and he understood to stay away from him, he understood where his boundaries were.  He says ‘Jesus I recognize, Paul I’m acquainted with, and who are you guys? Who do you think you are?’  “And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” (verse 16) This demon is angry that these guys came and tried to invoke the name of Jesus, he’s angry about Jesus, he’s angry about Paul, he’s angry about the disruption on the dark side of the force there at Ephesus where he’s probably had sway for a long time (I’m joking, don’t everybody freak out here), he recognizes what’s going on, and he’s angered, and now these guys come with no power and they try to use the name Jesus and he just goes off, and it says ‘and he leaps on them, on the seven guys, and he overcame them, and he prevailed against them, so that they fled out of the house naked and wounded.’  You know, this is a Three Stooges scene, all running out with no clothes on.  The word “wounded” actually means wounds that lasted for awhile, these guys got whupped, you know, this demon-possessed guy’s got supernatural strength, they probably had bite marks and scratch marks, they had their clothes ripped off, they come running, this becomes, I’m sorry, it’s a bit amusing here, at least from a distance, glad I wasn’t right there.  The point is, it becomes notable in Ephesus, they must have had some reputation, “And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus;” population of about 300,000 at this time “and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” (verse 17) because what they’re realizing is, ‘Hey, these guys, they’ve been around here getting money for doing nothing, and when they tried to use the name of Jesus, nothing went down, but when Paul uses the name of Jesus, things happen.  When Paul invokes the name of Jesus miraculous things take place.’ 

 

Result, The Ephesian Brethren Burn Their Bridges To The Occult World They’d Been Dabbling In

 

Paul knows his Lord, it was evident to those in Ephesus, and it says fear fell on all of them and the name of the Lord was magnified, verse 18 is very interesting, verse 18 says “And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.”  What it says there, is, many of those who were believers, who were still dabbling in the occult, they had gotten saved, but they were compromised, they were still holding onto, hey, once in awhile I’ll meet somebody in the church, and they’ll tell me ‘You know, I’m a believer, but I’m a white witch,’  Now cut me a break, I don’t care if you’re a purple witch or an orange witch or a green witch or a sandwitch, just get over it, we’re talking about the Lord of lords and the King of kings.  But people today will do that kind of a thing, they take awhile to get out of stuff somehow, they mess around.  Well this was sobering enough that it brought terror and people realized God is a holy God, that Paul is a holy man, and the God that he serves is a holy God and has genuine authority and power, and it says those who had been comprised now begin to come forth and realize, ‘We need to cleanse ourselves of all of this, this is all darkness, it’s no good, it's wrong, and they say ‘We’re going to make a full-fledged commitment now,’ a very beautiful picture here, of believers coming, and no more playing games, ‘I don’t want anything in my life that will hold me back from Jesus Christ.’  It is a great exhortation to us.  Listen to me, it’s a great invitation, anyone here who had a halfhearted commitment to Christ, he never refuses when you decide ‘You know what, I’ve been playing games, I want to do this right,’ he never says ‘Oh you again, I knew you’d be back,’ that never happens.  His arms are open, he longs for us, and Jesus tells us in the parable of the prodigal, the Father is waiting, watching and longing to see his child return.  It says “many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.  Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together,” there were famous Ephesian books of the occult and spells and so forth that were famous, they were sold throughout the Empire, they brought their books together “and burned them before all men:  and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.” (verse 19) they didn’t have a garage sale, they didn’t say ‘ah, these books were expensive, pentagrams on the front, sacrificing chickens, you know, these are expensive, but we’ll sell them at a garage sale,’ they didn’t do that.  They burned them, they’re burning their bridges to that world.  Sometimes there needs to be in our lives, as it were, those sacrificial fires.  You know, look, we’re not of the club in the church that tells you that you need to go out and burn your…that’s not what we’re saying.  But these were definitely cultic items, and it tells us here, they came and burned them before all the men, they counted the price of them, they found it to be 50,000 pieces of silver, that’s what they were worth, 50,000 drachma, that’s a years’ wage for 200 Roman soldiers.  That’s 50,000 days labour.  That is an incredible amount of money.  The idea is, the cost did not stop them in getting out of their lives the things that would hold them back, they burned those bridges, they shut them down.  And if there are things in our lives, whether it be compromise, whatever it might be, in the day that we live in, that would hold us back from following the Lord wholeheartedly, what a great picture of putting those things away, burning those bridges, getting rid of those things.  Repentance looks like something, and these believers in Ephesus finally realize that, ‘Hey, we’ve been fast and loose.’  It said Paul had been there for two years, some haven’t been listening, some of them are not a week old in the Lord, some of them have been in the Lord for a year, some of them should be very well grounded listening to the apostle.  And now something, conviction, takes hold of their hearts, and it’s time for them to make that wholehearted commitment, they decide to put everything away, very interesting picture here, as they come and they burn all of these things.  And it says “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” (verse 20) and it doesn’t just mean “and,” the idea is, “So” related to the fact that they got rid of all of those things, “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” and it always does, mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed, when Paul would write back to the Thessalonians, he said ‘the Word of God went out from you, so that we didn’t even have to say anything to anyone,’ it spread through the whole area, ‘we’re so thankful when we think of you, you’ve turned from idols to serve the true and living God, and wait for his Son from heaven whose delivered us from the wrath to come.’  And the same things are happening here in Ephesus. 

 

Paul’s Evangelism Was So Powerful That It Was Hurting The Idol-Making Shrine Industry of Ephesus, Which Was Huge

 

It says “After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia,” which he was going to go back through now, “to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” (verse 21)  Now he purposes in the spirit, it doesn’t seem to be the Holy Spirit, the idea is he’s purposing in his heart, but we believe that of course was in parallel to the leading of the Spirit, that he was agreeing in his heart with the conviction of the Holy Spirit was placing upon him, that he was going to go back through these areas.  Now he’s been here a good long time, and that he needs to get to Rome also.  Now he had no idea.  If he thinks he’s gotta fly El Al and go 1st Class from Jerusalem to Rome, he has another thing coming, he ends up in a shipwreck, he ends up getting bitten by a serpent.  But Jesus appears to him, that’s the amazing thing, and says ‘Paul, be of good cheer, you’re going to go to Rome too.’  Man, if the Lord appears in your bedroom and says you’re going to go to Rome, you’d get travel brochures, think you’re flying 1st Class, ‘Hey Jesus appeared to me telling me I’m going to Rome.’  [no, I’d run, based on Paul’s experiences]  Jesus didn’t say ‘By the way, it’s gonna take several years, you’re gonna be shipwrecked, you’ll have to swim to shore, they’re going to throw stuff overboard, you try to warm your hand by the fire you’re going to get bit by a poison snake, but you’re going to Rome.’ [he chuckles]  He’s gracious, he gives us what we’re ready to hear.  Paul says he purposed in his spirit that he was going to go.  Now he’s been there [in Ephesus] several years, 1st Corinthians 15, I’ll read a few verses to you, you don’t have to turn there, verse 32, he’s writing from Ephesus to Corinth, “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink:  for to morrow we die.”  I’ve been here, he’s teaching on resurrection, writing to the Corinthians where some were saying ‘The dead don’t rise,’ Paul’s saying ‘that doesn’t make any sense, I’ve been here at Ephesus fighting with beasts, why would I do that if the dead don’t rise?’ In 1st Corinthians chapter 6, verses 8 and 9 he says ‘I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost, for a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.’  Listen to him in 2nd Corinthians chapter 1, he said this, he said ‘We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust ourselves but in God who raises the dead, to deliver us from death’ and so forth, and says ‘and him and Silas, for we would not brethren have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, in so much we despaired even of life.’  He didn’t say ‘We considered suicide,’ he said ‘Things got difficult enough at times when we just wished that we could just die and go be with the Lord.’  So we don’t get all those details, this man endured, this man got up very early, he worked, he made tents, he went to the school of Tyrannus in the afternoon, there was a great effectual open door but with many adversaries, he fought with beasts, we’ll see the rest of the chapter here, that he’s getting attacked by the tradesmen in the town and so forth, this wasn’t just easy, but it was the place where the Lord had him for several years, and he was under the Lord’s blessing, and there was tremendous fruit.  So it says “So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia [Minor] for a season.  And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.” (verses 22-23) we had read that back earlier in verse 9, “But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way Christianity in Asia Minor and Ephesus is being called The Way, or of That Way.  It should be a way about us, Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me” and listen, in the world we live in, when everybody’s trying to be politically correct and inclusive, ‘Oh ya, I’m a Buddhist that believes in Jesus, I believe in this, I believe in that,’ understand what Jesus said, it was emphatic, and he said it, he said it.  Because they asked him ‘What’s the way to heaven, Lord, we don’t know the way?’  He said “I am the way” but this is what it says, because it’s emphatic in the language, “and we, translate it this way,” he talks about the Greek in the Moody Bible Institute, “I, in counter distinction to all others, am the way, I, in counter distinction to all others, am the truth, I, in counter distinction to all others, am the life.”  “No man cometh” “eth” tells us of something in the language “no man has ever come, no man is coming, or no man will ever come to the Father but by me.”  ‘There is One name given on earth among men whereby we must be saved, and that is the name of Jesus, and he is The Way.’  And it says here, “there arose no small stir about That Way.  For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.” (verses 23-25)  Now it sounds like he’s interested in more than just Diana here, and it tells us over in verse 35, when the chief magistrate in the city says, ‘Hey, you know that your statue of Diana fell from the sky,’ they believe it was a meteor, and that if fell down, they said, from Zeus, fell out of the sky, and it had a semblance of this goddess.  But it was grotesque, it looked like a troll.  It wasn’t Artemis that the Romans worshipped, like Venus, tall and beautiful, she was a huntress [the Roman version], and so forth, and they kind of speak of them both in the same breath.  But the truth is, the figurine in this temple was grotesque, it looked like a troll, ugly, covered with all kinds of lumps, which they said was the many breasted one, goddess of fertility.  He’s saying ‘We’ve made our occupation by making these little statues and little shrines,’ “Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying, that they be no gods, which are made with hands:” (verse 26) isn’t that wonderful?  Paul, it doesn’t seem, is preaching against Diana, Paul is just preaching Christ, and he’s saying ‘handmade gods are not real gods.’  And the interesting thing is, look, we’ve seen Paul attacked and beaten before by the Jews and persecuted, but this is one of the first times we really see Paul changing the culture.  He stays in Ephesus long enough, that people bring their curious arts and start to burn them, at incredible expense, because they want to be walking with the true and living God, he’s preaching Christ with such power and attestation of the Holy Spirit that he’s infecting and changing the culture in Ephesus.  Then it begins to trickle down to the idol makers, business is going bad, because so many Ephesians are turning to the true living God, nobody’s buying their idols anymore.  It’s actually effecting the economy, the culture, there’s such an effective ministry.  Of course as we read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, one of the loftiest most beautiful Epistles in the New Testament, and it outlines in a very interesting way [spiritual] warfare, principalities and powers and so forth.  But he says ‘This man’s telling everybody these idols, that they be no gods that are made with hands,’  “so that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.” (verse27) this was the banking center of all of Asia Minor and of much of the Mediterranean world, and again, because the building was so magnificent the vaults there were considered safe, you came there you could deposit money, and they actually gave you a written parchment that could be used like travelers cheques in the rest of the Roman world, that attested to the fact you had money deposited at Ephesus.  So there was a lot of money going through there, and he says not only Asia, but the whole world worships here, “And when they heard these sayings,” the idol-makers, union guys, “they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” and notice this, “The whole city was filled with confusion:” you know how that happens, over a quarter of a million confused people here, “and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.” (verse 29) that seats 25,000 people, “And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.” (verse 30)  Paul wanted to go right in, he thought ‘I hardly ever get to preach to 25,000 people at one time, this will be great.’  And for Paul he had been stoned and left for dead, he had seen Paradise before, you know, for him what’s the worst thing that could happen?  The worst thing that could happen is you could live.  He said, to depart and to be with Christ is much greater, he said ‘When I was in Asia I despaired of life itself, 25,000 people in there, let me be like Samson, let me go in and preach my last sermon, they can kill me, let’s see what will happen.’  So Paul, remarkably, wants to go in and stand before them, the disciples don’t let him.  Verse 31 says “Certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.” the word is “Asiarchs” these were folks that were higher up in the social strata, they are bankers, they are businessmen, and they of their own finance supported the games, the Olympiads that took place there in Ephesus and so forth, and many of them evidently had become believers, so it said “Certain of the chief Asiarchs, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.” (verse 31) ‘Don’t do this.’  “Some therefore cried one thing, and some another:  for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were coming together.” (verse 32) most of them didn't even know what was going on, they just ran with the crowd.  “And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward.  And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defense unto the people.  But when they knew he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” (verses 33-34)  So they put forth this Jewish man, Alexander.  I believe that we will meet him again, as Paul writes to Timothy in the first Epistle, chapter 1, he says “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:  of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” (1st Timothy 1:19-20)  In 2nd Timothy, when Paul is signing off, and he asks Mark to bring his parchments and those things he had left at Troas, ‘the cloak that I had left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.  And Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil,’ now coppersmith is not just copper, working in metal, no doubt he was one of the tradesmen that made some of these shrines to Diana, ‘Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works…’  So here is this Jewish man, evidently participating, because of the profit, in the making of idolatrous shrines, they put him forth to say ‘Hey, I’m a monotheist, but we’re not the ones causing the trouble here,’ the Jews figure that he’s going to settle everything down, but when they heard he was a Jew because they knew Paul was a Jew, then the whole crowd, for two hours, that would be torture to me, for two hours they screamed out ‘Great is Diana of the Ephesians!’ for two hours.  You know, my kids were watching the soccer game today, America was playing Brazil, and the crowd, they had these things [horns] they were all blowing them, and I’m listening to that thinking ‘I couldn’t stay there, I’d feel like I was a drone bee in a beehive or something,’ that would drive me out of my mind listening to that for hours on end, even the TV drives me crazy listening to that background sound just drives me crazy.  I can’t imagine listening to these people standing there for two hours, ‘Great is Diana of the Ephesians! Great is Diana of the Ephesians!’ just do it for five minutes, see how you like it.  Imagine this, for two hours.  “And when the townclerk” now this is a Roman official, he probably was robed, so they understood who he was, “had appeased the people, he said,” he evidently was a shrewd character,Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?” (verse 35) everybody knows that, what are you guys making this uproar for?  Everybody knows that this city worships the goddess Diana, and of that image which fell down from Jupiter, from Zeus, from heaven, everybody knows that, what’s the big commotion about?  “Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.  For ye have brought hither these men,” Gaius, Aristarchus, “which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.  Wherefore” and he must look at Demetrius, who started all the trouble, “Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies:  let them implead one another.  But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.  For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.” (verses 36-40)  Roman authorities, if you began a riot, that was a capital offense, you were put to death, and this Roman official says ‘You better be careful,’ and they understood, however great Diana of the Ephesians was, the other thing they understood was Rome ruled the world with an iron fist.  So this man stepped out and said ‘This isn’t happening right, the only one whose broken the law is Demetrius and his buddies, not these two men, they’re not blasphemers, they’re not tearing down churches, tearing down your goddess, and the whole world knows that she’s the main deity here, that’s not in question, her very presence fell down from Jupiter, from Zeus out of heaven, so she’s not a goddess made by hands, you say this guy’s saying they are no gods at all that are made by hands?  She’s not handmade, she fell from heaven, what are you guys so insecure about?  This has to be settled in a lawful assembly, there are courts, things have to be filed properly, for we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar.’ there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.  And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly” (verse 40b-41) and 25,000 people went out.  That was the power of Rome in that day.  And it was God’s grace to deliver our friends, Gaius and Aristarchus. 

 

In closing

 

So, look, going through the chapter quickly, you should know whether you’re experiencing the fulness of the Holy Spirit.  Luke said ‘How much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask?’  That’s on Oswald Chambers tombstone, in Cairo in Egypt, he died at 41 of a ruptured appendix, what a shame in a sense, a godly man, great influence on the Church.  But he describes an experience with the Holy Spirit, years after he was saved, that deepened his ministry, it transformed what he was doing.  And it was his mantra as it were for the rest of his life, ‘how much more will the Father give the Spirit to those who ask him.’  And Jesus said, ‘don’t listen to anybody that tells you anything different, your fathers, if you ask them for a loaf of bread, they’re not going to give you a stone, you ask them for a fish they’re not going to give you a serpent,’ I never understood the last one, ‘you ask for an egg, they’re not going to give you a scorpion,’ I’d never confuse those two.  He said, ‘If you being sinful know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?’  You don’t ask for the Holy Spirit at conversion, that’s not what it’s talking about.  It’s talking about the wonderful invitation that you and I have on a daily basis to say “Lord, fill me afresh today with your Spirit,’ the Spirit-filled Christian is not a title, it’s a condition.  I know, and you probably do too, many people who have said they’re spiritual Christians who are living in compromise and sin.  It’s not a title, it’s a condition.  And I need a 2009 filling of the Holy Spirit, for the things we’re facing today.  I was filled with the Holy Spirit many years ago, 1972, but that filling is not sufficient for what’s happening in my life today.  And I am in need of a fresh filling of God’s Spirit, and he’s gracious to do that as I ask.  It should be noticeable, it should be a reality, you should know, and people should know. Beyond that, understand that, when you present the Gospel of Jesus Christ, again, you in doing that confront the idols of the culture, you can’t present Christ without challenging the morays of the culture we live in.  Because what we’re saying is, he delivers you, he delivers you from alcohol [addiction], from drugs, from pornography, from sex, from pride, from religiosity, from emptiness, from vanity, he delivers you.  We don’t just believe you get saved, but your life gets transformed too.  And we see the city of Ephesus changing under the power of the Gospel of Christ, to the point, that the unbelieving population in the city knows, and they know where to go to complain about it, they know what’s happening.  That’s a great testimony, by the way, that’s a great testimony.  Would to God that city hall would say, These churches in this city, they have turned the world upside down.’  That would be great, wouldn’t it?  We’re not going to do it without the Holy Spirit.  Let’s stand, let’s pray, we’ll have the musicians come, read ahead, chapter 20, there’s just some great, great stuff in chapter 20…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Acts 19:1-41, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

related links: 

 

Audio version:  https://resources.ccphilly.org/teachinglibrary.asp?Book=44

 

Baptism was the main way in the Book of Acts people asked Jesus into their lives.  The altar call became the accepted way most people do it now.  God will not be put into a doctrinal box on this issue, but looks on the heart.  seehttps://unityinchrist.com/baptism/What%20is%20Baptism.htm

 

The apostle Paul laid a very good foundation for the Ephesus church, which the apostle John, along with Mary, Jesus’ mother, would move up into, making it the headquarters church for the Judeo-Christian churches in Asia Minor.  A massive contingent of Jewish Christians migrated up into the churches in Asia Minor and particularly Ephesus as a direct result of the two Jewish-Roman Wars (70AD and 132-135AD).  seehttps://unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1a.htm

 

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