This Sunday we will cover Acts 19:23-41. We have seen earlier in chapter 19 how God was working miraculously in Ephesus. “(Paul) had discussions daily in the school of Tyrannus. This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul” (19:9-11). Ephesians were being delivered from sickness and evil spirits, and “the word of the Lord was growing and prevailing mightily” (19:20).
Luke tells the story of Demetrius, who was a silversmith who was losing lots of money because of the miracles God was doing in his city. He called together other silversmiths who made images of the temple of the goddess Artemis, 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 by hands are not gods at all.” This was the reality of God’s work in Ephesus: idolatry was being revealed and abolished!
But here is the timeless truth that I want to emphasize. Demetrius concluded: “Not only is there danger that this trade of ours will fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be regarded as worthless, and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship will even be dethroned from her magnificence” (19:25-27). Is it not interesting how Demetrius accepted that his goddess Artemis was weak in the face of Paul’s God? People’s faith in her would be weakened when they saw the reality of her frailty, and even non-existence! It is still true today that only God, our God, “exists, and that He proves to be One who rewards those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
(An attempt at humor). May our church meetings today not resemble what is described in Acts 19:32. “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.”