Bowie Apostolic Church
Acts 19: Paul goes to Ephesus
by From the Pastor's Desk on February 19th, 2013

Paul goes to Ephesus

Acts 19:35 And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky? 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you seek anything further, it shall be settled in the regular assembly. 40 For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly. 
There are three notable experiences in this chapter. It appears that Paul switches places with a man named Apollos. He was a powerful witness for Jesus and well versed in the scriptures. Apollos was in Ephesus around the time that Paul was in Corinth. Then Apollos goes to Corinth and Paul comes to Ephesus. While in Ephesus, he finds 12 men who were disciples of John the Baptist. John the Baptist was such a compelling figure and phenomenal preacher that he still had converts that were preaching the baptism of repentance long after Christ had ascended into heaven. He asks a question, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” Newer translations make it plainer “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” This question  tells us that despite what some believe and teach, one can believe and not receive the Holy Spirit. Praise God for all those who believe! But God has something else for you than just an acknowledgement of the truth of the Gospel. He wants you to have the power of the Resurrection, which is the Holy Spirit.

He also asked into what name they were baptized. Even though they had been baptized in John’s baptism already, Paul tells them that John’s baptism was pointing to Jesus Christ who was the fulfillment of all things. Hearing this they were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. He laid hands on them and prayed. The bible said they were filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke in tongues and prophesied. This is an explicit description of New Testament conversion in the book of Acts. This is what happened on the Day of Pentecost (Chapter 2), in Samaria (Chapter 8), and at Cornelius’ house (Chapter 10). It is still happening today. 

"Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?"

There will always be people who try to mimic what they see for their own personal benefit. Such is the case in Ephesus with the 7 sons of a man named Sceva. These men travelled around as exorcists. Upon seeing the mighty things that God was doing through Paul, they decided to simply add the name of Jesus to their bag of tricks. God does not belong in anyone’s bag of tricks! He is not something that you simply incorporate into your life. They found this out the hard way.

They try to cast out an evil spirit from someone in the name of “Jesus whom Paul preaches (verse 13).” The response from the demon tells something that we were talking about yesterday in the city of Corinth and we will see further in this chapter in Ephesus. The evil spirit said “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” The devil was saying that Jesus has authority over me, Paul has authority over me, but you do not! I remember hearing a message long ago based on this scripture: entitled “Practicing without a License.” This is was definitely the case of these 7 men. The man who was possessed beat them severely and ripped their clothes off as they ran away.

A Riot in Ephesus

The city of Ephesus was dominated by adoration of a false god named Diana. Diana is the Roman name.  Artemis is the actual Greek name. The temple of Artemis is known as one of the 8 wonders of the world. There were little figurines of the temple of Artemis and Artemis herself that were made of precious metals and sold for great price. As Paul continues with his ministry, the number of converts in the city of Ephesus began to multiply. Since Paul clearly preached that there is only One God, the converts would stop patronizing the sellers of figurines to Artemis.

Demetrius, a man who profited from this business, roused up the local guild of workmen that supported this trade. He was trying to get them to realize that their livelihood was in danger. If Paul keeps telling people that Artemis is false, we will be put out of business. Then we see that they show their adoration for their Artemis, but it was really in the name of the almighty dollar. This tells us that not only can the Gospel affect the heart of men and women, it can also affect the economy. Imagine the billions of dollars spent on sinful things in this world. If there are enough people sold out to God in prayer and the Gospel, we can change a city, a nation and the world.

The men grab the companions of Paul (Gaius and Aristarchus) and drag them into the theater (the actual picture is above). There is no telling what would’ve happened to these brothers, but in the nick of time the town clerk intervened and calmed the crowd. This is the same thing that happened in Corinth. Now we see again that a government official is stopping something unfortunate from happening. They could’ve been jailed, beaten or run out of town again. Paul was allowed to stay for 3 years. History tells us that, eventually, there were so many converts in Ephesus, that Artemis became an afterthought.

It is great to see that God is able to give His servants victory in their trials. Notice that He doesn’t stop it from coming. He just stops it from prevailing. We see that Paul has dominion with the visible authorities in Ephesus as shown in what the town clerk did. He also has dominion with the invisible authorities in Ephesus as seen in the story with the false exorcists.

Paul wrote back to this powerful church in Ephesians 6:
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 
He knew exactly how victory was won in Ephesus as well as Corinth. He is reminding them that they should never forget it. Put on your whole armor. It is a war out here. Keep praying.


Posted in Acts, Bible 2013    Tagged with Paul, Ephesus, holy spirit, baptism, demon


2 Comments

Sherri - February 21st, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Wow, there were a couple things that really struck me here:

1) We can never discount the knowledge that people DO have about God. The converts of John the Baptist believed, but did not have the Holy Ghost were not baptized in Jesus name. People that we meet that love God just need to hear a little bit more.

2) What if enough people were converted (including wealthy people:) that there were some sins
or "things", specific to Bowie, that became an afterthought? Maybe even some things nationwide (hip-hop, the adoration of sports figures, etc).

This chapter in Acts is amazingly thought-provoking!
From the Pastor's Desk - February 22nd, 2013 at 8:13 AM
I Believe God can so affect a region that it changes the culture and the economy. We just have to commit to praying. Lord, Thy Kingdom Come!
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