A Mighty Work in Ephesus
Book of Acts Chapter 19
The city of Ephesus was the capitol city of the Roman province in Asia.
Ephesus was a large and ancient city even at the time of the Apostle Paul.
Ephesus was an important harbor town even though it was three miles from the coast and located on the Cayster River.
Ephesus was on the main road to Rome so, any important government or political figure would certainly come by Ephesus.
All the governors of Asia minor would always land in Ephesus!
Ephesus became the center of the work of the Apostle Paul who was led there by the Holy Spirit.
Besides the Apostle Paul, Tychius, Timothy, John Mark, the Apostle John, Priscilla, and Aquila, all spent some time in Ephesus.
There are some who say that Mary the mother of Jesus is buried in Ephesus having traveled there with John the Apostle who had promised to take of her.
At the time of Paul the harbor had been neglected and ships found it hard to dock in Ephesus and a route by the highlands was suitable for foot traffic.
Act 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
There was a lot of opposition to Christianity in Ephesus, but not for the reasons we would think.
It was the goddess Diana (Artemis) who was the maiden huntress or mother-goddess of fertility, depending on which belief you accepted.
It is said that the original idol of Diana fell down from heaven as a meteorite.
Act 19:35 And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?
Every false god or goddess each have their own false history most of them related to those old Greek gods such as Apollo and Jupiter and many others.
The salvation message of the Apostle Paul brought a revival to Ephesus.
Paul, as he did in many other places began his preaching in a Jewish synagogue.
*Act 19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
Act 19:9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
Act 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
Paul had made a commitment to reach the lost with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If we have accepted the Lord Jesus as our Savior, we have made this same commitment!
If we are truly saved then upon that call to salvation, we are immediately filled with God’s the Holy Spirit!
It is automatic once you accept the truth of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit begins His work of “regeneration” within us immediately.
Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Tit 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
When Paul began his ministry in Ephesus he had met twelve disciples who had no association with any church and it was evident they had not known Apollos.
Paul ask them if they had received the Holy Spirit upon their salvation, but they knew nothing of the Holy Spirit.
Now the Jews require a sign so, if they had received the Holy Spirit they would certainly have known it.
They were disciples of John the Baptist, and they were still looking for the coming of the Messiah and did not know who the Messiah would be.
The true Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ had already come and had been murdered, then buried, and because the grave could not hold Him, He had resurrected from that death, as our Savior and Redeemer.
They had not been Baptized with the Holy Spirit and they had not been water baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
As much as they loved God, they knew nothing of the Gospel!
Paul did not rebuke them nor degrade them for not understanding the full message of John.
Paul pointed out that they had done well by repenting of their sin which is a part of the Gospel, but there was much more to his message that needed to be said and understood.
John had made it a point to teach all his disciples that they should believe on Him, which should come after him.
Luk_3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
When they heard this, they responded just as they should have, they believed and placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is the truth?
Some people repent and get baptized but still do not receive the truth of Jesus Christ into their heart and are therefore not saved.
Some people have an incomplete faith because they do not have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ so, the Holy Spirit will not enter into them.
Some people believe so much in baptism as the means of salvation, they forget that salvation must come first! Baptism is just a sign that they have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ but lack in faith just wanting to be a part of the Church.
There is no such thing as baby baptism by the sprinkling of water!
Salvation requires a decision! They must believe the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ (all the truth) and decide to accept Him or by default they have automatically rejected Him.
Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
2Co 1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
2Co 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Salvation is simple but it requires truth “faith”!
These men accepted the truth and were gloriously saved in the name of Jesus, and then baptized again because baptism comes after salvation and not before salvation. That first baptism was irrelevant.
It is after these things that Paul went into that Jewish synagogue and preached boldly for three months.
Those twelve salvations had energized the Apostle Paul.
Many of them spoke evil of Christianity (the Way) and Paul separated himself and all the disciples and found another place to gather together.
Which many believe to be a private Synagogue and Paul preached here for two years.
There was no dispute with the Gentiles, it was the Jews who tried to dispute Christianity.
Now the Jews did stir up the Gentiles just to cause problems in the Church.
Paul removed the disciples because God expects us to lead a new disciple into maturity.
For those who remained blind to the Gospel, they will see the wrath of God!
We should all be settled in our heart that we have given our lives to the Lord!
Salvation is only real if we have done this.
To get the gift of salvation, then we must accept the truth of God’s Son!
1Co 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
1Co 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
It is God the Father who allowed Paul to have some power of miracles, Paul had no such power within himself.
*Act 19:11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
Act 19:12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
How special were these miracles?
These healings took place without the laying on of the hands of Paul.
These healings happened without Paul being present.
These healings happened without Paul having any knowledge of the disease or the ailment.
These healings happened without Paul knowing their needs at all.
They remind us of the time when that woman was healed, who just knew if she could touch the hem of the garment of the Lord Jesus Christ she could be healed.
Luk_8:46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.
These healings happened with the only link being handkerchiefs and aprons that had been in contact with the body of the Apostle Paul.
These healings happened when these things were carried to the sick and those who were possessed by a friend or family.
Also reminds us of those who were healed when the shadow of Peter overshadowed them.
These were certainly special miracles, but trouble is always just around the corner from those who think they know a better way.
*Act 19:13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
Act 19:14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
A vagabond is someone moving place to place without having a place called home.
They actually move around without having any certain destination.
After Cain murdered Abel, God sentenced Cain to be a vagabond.
Gen 4:12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
Cain felt this punishment was too great!
Gen 4:13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
These certain Jews were probably vagabond, because they were also exorcists or they believed they were.
An exorcist, has a belief in demoniacal possessions, which may be traced in almost every nation.
These things have always been attended by the professed ability, on the part of some individuals, to release the unhappy victims from their calamity.
Exorcists were common throughout the ancient world, and they traveled around living as gypsies.
They made their living off of the superstitions of the people.
These felt that power lay in the using the name of God in some imaginary formula.
These being Jews, used the name of Jehovah until they heard Paul preach the Lord Jesus the true Messiah.
In New Testament times, this so called art had developed and professional exorcists had become numerous.
This Sceva and his seven sons had become exorcists and there was always some money involved which made them professional.
The vital part of the procedure was the invocation of a name (or a series of names, of a deity or an angel), at the mention of which the evil spirit was supposed to recognize as the presence of a superior power and to decline a combat, as though a spell had been put upon him.
This is exactly what was going on here in Ephesus except this Sceva and his sons began using the name of the Lord Jesus and they mentioned the name Paul.
This Jewish priest was not doing what he was supposed to be doing as a Jewish priest, which is why he was vagabond. He could not stay in one place too long after he was found out by the Jews in each synagogue.
He used the priesthood to make money!
Do evil spirits take control of people? These demons can certainly take control of a lost person and this happens where we see all the evilest and wickedness that are taking place, even today.
Can an evil spirit or demon take control of a saved person. No this is impossible!
1Jn_4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
The child of God who have the Holy Spirit living within him or her, cannot be overcome by a demon because the Holy Spirit is far greater in His power.
How did the Lord Jesus Christ remove demons?
Christ, on the other hand, uses no spell, but in virtue of His own authority bids the evil spirits retire, and they render His slightest word unquestioning obedience.
Mar 9:25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
Mar 9:26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
Mar 9:27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.
The Lord Jesus just commanded them to leave and they did.
What we see here is that these so-called exorcists had no power to overcome any demon because no one has this power but the Lord.
*Act 19:15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
Act 19:16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
This evil demon, using the voice of the man possessed, certainly knew the Lord Jesus Christ, and said he knew the Apostle Paul.
We should notice how this demon used the body of the possessed man to overcome these false priests.
This happens in most of all the most heinous crimes still today by people are demon possessed.
We know that we are all sinners in need of the “Grace” of God.
Those who do not know the Lord as their Savior, and home to the Holy Spirit, are easily take over by one of the Devil’s demons.
2Ti_2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
This demon possessed man overcame all seven of these false priests and they fled as described, naked and wounded.
The news of this incident spread very fast throughout Ephesus.
We see that it is the Holy Spirit who holds back the evilness in this world, until the Gospel has reached the limits set by Jehovah God.
The name of the Lord Jesus was magnified throughout Ephesus and many souls were saved.
*Act 19:17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
Act 19:18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.
Even the malice of the Devil can be used to further the Gospel!
For a time the power of God paralyzed the children of the Devil, who are the true enemies of the Gospel and people had something they could believe on, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Gospel.
Psa 33:8 Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
Psa 33:9 For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.
We can believe that the message of the Gospel finally began to sink in.
What is wrong today? People just do not associate God with the miracles that happen every day and they just go unnoticed.
There is no fear of God and the Devil is just denied.
Hell is taught as non-existing.
The Gospel is still the message of the true Church, and the Gospel still saves souls, and the Church cannot be stopped by the Devil.
In Ephesus, the Gospel was moving and much people began to give up false teaching.
*Act 19:19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
Act 19:20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
Today we see where there is a big question about what books need to be in school libraries, especially the early grades of school.
I believe what is happening in Florida and some other states are the right thing to do and most of them do not go far enough.
Here in Ephesus the people realized they had many books teaching evilness and wickedness, and the people themselves gathered all those books and brought them to a public place.
Instead of allowing those books to go to other places for they were very expensive, they burnt them and removed them from getting out into the world, which is the only way to handle such wickedness.
Since there were not many coins, silver was in pieces and they had to be weighed for true value.
Fifty thousand pieces of silver would have been about forty thousand dollars in this day of the Apostle Paul.
No telling what that value would be in today’s economy.
It is not just anybody who would burn 40,000 dollars’ worth of books, but these people had decided that these books served no purpose in their own future and needed to be destroyed.
There are so many books out there today that need to be destroyed and kept away from our children.
There is only one book that is completely necessary and it is the Bible that is from a good translation that goes back to the original Scriptures.
Then, maybe a revival will break out in America and around the world.