Acts chapter 19
By Pastor Sherry
Riots, confusion, lies; that’s what the world looks like today. As Christians we think: should we speak or shut up? Do we cause chaos or keep peace? Do we get involved or not? If only everyone would open their eyes and repent, Jesus would move in and take over.
Many evil things were going on in Ephesus, the capital and leading business center in the Roman Province of Asia (Turkey). The power of God was on Paul, and was stirring up much controversy. Are we stirring up controversy or remaining quiet? Paul taught in a school in Ephesus for two years. Of course we see the luring power of money. People were losing their pay, people were not buying their statues and replicas of the god they worshiped. Complaints broke out causing a big riot. This convinced Paul it was time to leave but it showed him that the law provided some protection for Christians as they challenged the worship of the goddess Artemis, the worshiped religion in Asia. Read about her when you get a chance. Do you think we have those same protections as Christians now? Are we losing them?
To back up a bit, the chapter begins with Paul meeting up with twelve disciples. He asked them if they received the Holy Spirit when they believed. They confessed to having no knowledge of the Holy Spirit. They had been baptized by John, which was one of repentance of sin, not one of new life. Can you imagine walking around with only half of the truth and no hope? Paul told them to believe in the one that came after John, that is Jesus! On hearing this news they were baptized into the name of The Lord Jesus. Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were defined outward and visible signs of the Spirit's presence. During the hot hours of the day, people didn’t work, so they would come and listen to Paul preach. Interestingly, some Jews traveled from town to town claiming to heal people and drive out demons to make a living. They would use a whole list of names of deities in their incantations. Here, they began using the name of Jesus whom they didn’t even know. They were so impressed with Paul’s powers but didn’t realize they came from the Holy Spirit. Jesus’s name is not some magical charm to be used by anyone that doesn’t know Him. By the way, they learned that very quickly.
Ephesus was a center for occult practices and black magic. There were magic formulas for health, wealth, marriages etc. God forbids sorcery, magic, witchcraft and all occult practices. When a person crosses the line with interest in the dark side they find Satan extremely powerful. God is greater than all! If you have been caught up in anything that is keeping you prisoner to these practices, get rid of everything that hinders you from a relationship with the one and only true God, Jesus Christ! Seek out help. Jesus forgives us delivers us and frees us from all our sins.