Studies in Paul’s Prison Epistles — Acts 19: 1-22 Paul Goes to Ephesus

Studies in Paul’s Prison Epistles – Acts 19:1-22

Note: Before his imprisonment Paul had spent over two years preaching and ministering in the city of Ephesus.  This city was one of the three most populace cities of the ancient world, and its temple of Artemis was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient World.  Artemis was a fertility goddess of the time.

H – E – A – R – D

See also: Acts 2:38; 5:15; 1 John 4:1-2; Eph. 1:1; Ezekiel 3:17-18; Joel 2:28

Holy Spirit – vs. 1-7 — In Ephesus the Spirit was present, but believers needed to experience the Spirit in their individual lives.  As immersed believers they had the Sprit, and with the apostolic blessing they had the miraculous power of the Sprit.

Evangelism – vs. 8 — Paul remained in Ephesus for the purpose of evangelism.  He wanted to reach the world.  If only the leaders of the church would desire to reach all in their community today, the world would begin to change for Christ.

Asian Province – v. 10 — Paul remained on in the province for more than two years, and with the help of other Christians many more were won to Christ. The text says all heard.  Have all within our community heard the good news?

Remarkable restoration – v. 11-12 — In the Christian community under the leadership of the Apostle Paul individuals were restored to health, sanity, well-being.  Today’s church should be a womb for remarkable restorations.

Demonic Deliverance – v. 13-22 — Demonic powers continued to hold sway over the lives of many.  They feared Paul as an adversary, but the hypocritical were no match for their powers.  Today we must know where we stand if we are to deal with the forces of evil. Only if we prove to be genuine followers of Christ can we withstand the demonic spirits of the world.

Exemplary story:  Pigeon Forge is a popular resort town I have visited. Family and friends relish trips there, since it boasts many souvenir shops.  The town’s economy is driven by its tourist trade. Ephesus was a resort town, and its main attraction was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world,  the temple of Artemis.  Visitors could buy charms and trinkets from the temple that honored the goddess of fertility, Artemis.  When Paul brought the Gospel to Ephesus, the very economy of the town was in jeopardy.  People began to abandon their preoccupation with the worship of a goddess of trinkets for the worship of Jesus, the Son of the living God.

Ephesus Great Theatre

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The Thrill of Reverence — A Communion Meditation

English: Communion setting at an Evangelical L...

English: Communion setting at an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America worship service: an open Bible, both unleavened bread and gluten-free wafers, a chalice of wine, and another containing grape juice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our reading comes from Exodus 24:1-2, 9-11

(1) Then he said to Moses, “come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel.  You are to worship at a distance, (2) but Moses alone is to approach the lord; the others must not come near.  And the people may not come up with him.”

(9)Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up (10) and saw the God of Israel.  Under His feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself.  bud God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.

While we were in college and still dating, my late wife invited me to go home to meet the parents.  The meeting included a sit-down meal at the family dining table.  For my part I was on my best behavior.  My wife had asked her parents to be on their best behavior.  As we dined we sensed a thrill of reverence.

When Moses was preparing to receive the commandments, we are told that he took Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the Elders along to participate in a sacred feast.  The text says they ate and drank and were not harmed.   At this banquet with the Lord of Israel they experienced the thrill of reverence.

As you approach the communion table to receive the bread and the cup, do you sense the thrill of reverence?