ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
Chapter 18:23-28, & Chapter 19
Third Missionary Journey
When Paul left Antioch of Syria (Starting place – Acts 13:1), for his third missionary journey, he went back through some of the places where he had before ministered. He wanted to help them in their Christian walk. He would go back to Ephesus, for he had promised the Jews he would return if God willed it so. Before Paul even arrived in Ephesus, Priscilla and Aquila had been working with a Jew named Apollos. He didn’t know the whole gospel message about Jesus. He knew only about the baptism of John the Baptist. He did speak in the synagogue what he knew. This couple, Aquila and Priscilla, taught him what they knew – that Jesus was the Christ – the Jewish Messiah. He was greatly used of the Lord to tell other Jews who their Messiah was. He went on to other places ministering about Jesus.
Paul came to Ephesus – Acts Chapter 19.
Vs. 1-7 – When he arrived in Ephesus, he found certain ones, like Apollos, who knew only about the work of John the Baptist. He right away asked them if they had received the Holy Ghost since they believed. They didn’t know about that. They didn’t know, either, that they needed to believe on Christ Jesus, Whom John the Baptist had preached. Paul was able to give them this message. They believed. They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (in water like the Ethiopian was). Then Paul laid his hands on them and the Holy Ghost came on them. All 12 of these men spoke with tongues and prophesied. This, then, was really the beginning of the church in Ephesus.
Vs. 8-10 – Paul’s ministry in Ephesus. First, as was his custom, he went into the Jewish synagogue and preached Christ to them. The gospel was given to the Jew first – Rom. 1:16. He preached there for three months before he left them. Since they didn’t really want to hear, he went into the school of Tyrannus. He was able to do this for two years. The Word of God went out from there all over Asia (Asia Minor).
Vs. 11-22 – Miracles and results. V. 11 speaks of “special miracles.” From things which Paul had touched, the healing power went out to the sick and demon possessed. They were healed and delivered. The devil tried to get into the act. Some exorcists, ones who claimed they could get rid of evil spirits, thought that all they had to do to get the same results which Paul did, was to just say, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.” This didn’t work at all, for it isn’t just saying the name of Jesus which brings results, it is knowing Jesus like Paul did and having faith in Jesus’ name, which will do the work. Anyway those evil spirits had power, for the man in whom those spirits lived, leaped on these seven men and hurt them badly. This word soon got out to Jews and Greeks alike who lived at Ephesus. They became afraid. The name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. Many believed. They showed that they truly believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and not any more in those magic books, for they brought all kinds of books and things about magic arts and burned them openly. It was and still is, a good idea to get rid of things about magic, the occult, demons, witchcraft, and anything to do with the devil. We don’t even want those things in our homes. They are dangerous. After this, Paul felt he should go on through Macedonia and Achaia, then to Jerusalem, and on to Rome. But he waited there a bit, after sending Timothy and Erastus into Macedonia.
The Uproar of the Silversmiths at Ephesus.
When Christians didn’t use magic anymore, they quit buying the images which the silversmiths made. Demetrius led the riot against Paul and his followers. They figured that if this preaching continued, it would put them out of business. You see, the people in Ephesus were pagans. They believed in what they called a goddess, Diana. They claimed that an image had fallen from heaven. They supposed it was an image of this so-called goddess. They had it enshrined in the temple of Diana. The “worship” of this Diana did not change their lives. They did even worse things than ever.
This big city of Ephesus was rich, was a trade center, but the people there lived very had lives. They gathered people together in a great open-air theater where public meetings were held. The reports from excavators of the ruins say it seated 25,000 people. Lots of the people didn’t even know why they were there, but they started shouting. “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” They kept it up until the whole city was confused. The evil ones dragged two of Paul’s helpers into the theater. Paul tried to go in, but his followers advised against it. Some of his friends, chief ones of Asia, told him not to go in. He listened to them. It was not safe for him, as they would have torn him apart. At last the townclerk arrived and made the people listen to him. He told them that if Demetrius and those who did that crafting work wanted to go to the law about it, they could. The townclerk said Paul and his followers weren’t hurting anyone,. He said they were in danger to be called in question for causing that uproar. So that was the end of that.
What next? Acts 20:1-6 – After that Paul called the disciples, told them “Good-bye,” and went back over some of the old territory. He spent time with the believers, encouraging and exhorting them. Even then his life was in danger. He made plans to return to Jerusalem.
Results of Paul’s preaching and teaching were evident wherever he went. Many hard things took place, but through it all, Jesus was preached, people believed and were saved. We never know how the Lord wants to use us, but just stand for Jesus every day. Don’t back down when the evil powers give you a hard time. Keep living for Jesus and walking with Him. Paul did. And it paid. It will pay you, also.
Continued in the next issue