Acts Chapter 19

Paul at Ephesus:

(Read Acts 19:1-7) 
​After leaving Corinth, Paul reached Ephesus where he encountered a group of 12 men. They were followers of John the Baptist.  They knew about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus but not about the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 19:2).  Knowing the facts of the gospel will not save anybody but experiencing the life of Christ in daily lives through the Holy Spirit. Paul asked them “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? They said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit”. On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hand on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There is no Christian life without the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3).  The indwelling presence and controlling of the Holy Spirit in the believer deepen their relationship with Christ (1 John 3:24). John’s baptism of repentance was only a preparation for the coming of Christ. Believers are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, the church (1 Corinthians 12:13).  Jewish believers, Samaritans and gentiles were filled with the Holy Spirit after they believed in Christ. Christian baptism is a picture of our identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  This vital union with Christ is necessary to experience the life of Christ in our daily lives. Like Jews at Pentecost, the believers of Samaria, the gentile convert, these disciples of John the Baptists received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues (Acts 2, 8, 10,19).  Paul had to remind believers that this never intended to continue forever (1 Corinthians 12:13, 29-31). This progression shows the expanding scope of the gospel in the world. The Holy Spirit unifies the believers and enables them to love one another.  Also, the Holy Spirit creates hunger and thirst for righteousness in believer’s lives (John 15:26; 16:14-15).

Paul’s Ministry in Ephesus:

(Read Acts 19:8-20) 
For the next three months Paul spoke boldly and reasoned with Jews about the kingdom of God in the synagogue. But some of them rejected his message and publicly spoke against the way of Christ. So, Paul centered his daily teaching ministry in the school of Tyrannus. Some scholars suggest that Paul taught there from 11AM to 4PM daily. It went on for two years and as a result the Word of God spread throughout the province of Asia. The ministry of the Word of God was the foundation of the early church. God performed great miracles through Paul and many people were healed from their diseases.  While God still heals as a result of answered prayers, healing by means of handkerchief is no longer a common practice among Christians today. The practice of casting out of the evil spirit was common in those days.  When seven sons of Jewish high priest Sceva attempted to do this in the name of Jesus, the man with evil spirit said “I know Jesus and I know Paul, but who are you” (Acts 19:15). Then the man with an evil spirit leaped on them, beat them, and stripped them naked. While Christians are protected from demon forces no-Christians are open targets for the Devil.  Religions and crucifixes will not protect anybody from demons.  Once we trust in Christ, we are under divine protection because we are indwelt by the Holy spirit (Romans 8:9; John 10:27-29). What happened to the sons of Sceva became known to all quickly and many believed in Christ.  They forsook their former practice of black magic.  They brought their incantation books and burned them in the sight of all. The value of the books was fifty thousand pieces of silver. Thus, the Word of the Lord spread widely and effectively.  Missionaries report that this is a common practice among many people groups.

The Riot in Ephesus:

(Read Acts 19:21-41) 
Afterward Paul passed through Macedonia and Achaia and went to Jerusalem. He also planned to visit Rome on his way to Spain.  It was Paul’s normal practice to preach the gospel where it had never been preached. While Paul stayed in Asia, he sent Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia ahead of him. At this time serious disturbance developed in Ephesus under the leadership of Demetrius, the silversmith. He complained that Paul’s preaching was destroying their idol business and income. He was also concerned about the loss of influence of the temple of Diana and goddess Artemis. This temple was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The image of this goddess with many breasts signifies the fertility of nature. Ephesians believed that this stone had fallen from heaven. The ministry of the gospel always poses a threat to the unsaved. Soon the whole city was filled with confusion and a riot broke out. People started shouting “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians” for two hours. The church at Ephesus was an outstanding Church. Their first love for the Lord, and the Word was an example for every church to follow. When truth is preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, it will always produce results. Paul’s preaching was free from accusation, clear and strong in persuasion.  Today people do not oppose the church because we do not pose any threat to them. Paul wanted to appear before people in the arena.  But Alexander came forward to explain the situation. But when the crowd realized that he was a Jew, they started shouting again. Finally, order was restored by the town clerk by saying that the city was not going to be destroyed by Christians and they are not here to rob the temple. If they seek anything further, it will be settled in the legal court. Then he dismissed the crowd.  The gospel is an inclusive and exclusive message. Inclusive in that anyone who wants Christ may have him.  It is exclusive in that God never shares his glory with false gods.  Pray that God would give you a loyal heart to worship Christ and have a passion for the gospel.