Riot in Ephesus
Text: Acts 19:11-41
I. God performed great miracles through Paul as Paul worked in Ephesus.
A. Even a handkerchief or aprons touched by Paul would heal a person when carried to the ill.
B. With such an impression, there were bound to be imitators.
1. Some Jewish exorcists tried to command evil spirits out in the name of the Lord Jesus whom Paul preaches.
2. They did not personally believe in Jesus, but they thought the name alone would hold power over the demons.
3. When seven sons of the chief priest, Sceva, tried the demon stated he knew of Jesus and Paul, but did not recognize these men as having authority. The man possessed by the demon then proceeded to trounce the seven men until all seven fled the house naked and wounded.
C. Word of this lack of success spread among the Jews and the Greeks. It brought greater glory to Jesus and his true followers.
D. The church grew as people believed and confessed their sins.
1. People who had once practiced witchcraft turned to God and burnt their old books which they no longer needed or believed in.
2. The cost of the books destroyed was estimated to be worth 50,000 days’ wages (or 137 years worth of labor).
3. It shows the strength of these people’s faith and conversion.
4. Such strength showed in the church
II. Just as Paul had decided to leave, trouble broke out.
A. Paul wanted to visit Macedonia and Achaia once again and then from there go to Jerusalem and then continue on to Rome.
1. Timothy and Erasmus were sent ahead to Macedonia to make preparations, but Paul stayed behind for a while in Ephesus.
B. Meanwhile a silversmith named Demetrius became concerned about his trade.
1. He made money by selling little silver shrines modeled after the temple of Artemis (Diana).
2. So many were converting to Christianity, that he was seeing an impact on his profits.
3. He gathered his fellow tradesmen and warned them that Paul was driving them out of business (oh, and their goddess was being dethroned).
4. The tradesmen became so upset that a riot broke out. They began chanting “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians” over and over again.
5. The whole city of Ephesus was in an uproar. Two of Paul’s traveling companions were found and dragged to the open air theater where public assemblies were held.
a. Paul wanted to go, but the Christians there prevented him.
b. Messages were sent to Paul from other brethren at the scene warning him not to come.
6. There was so much confusion that most did not even know why they were gathered.
a. Some thought it was Alexander, a Jew, who was causing problems.
b. He was pushed forward, but before he could make a defense for himself, the crowd realized he was a Jew and began their chant again.
c. They kept it up for two hours.
C. Finally the town clerk got the crowd quieted down.
1. He stated that Ephesus is the center of worship for Artemis. A mob chanting it won’t change the matter.
2. He pointed out that the men brought had not rob the temples or disparaged their idols.
3. If there was a legitimate complaint, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen should take it before the courts.
4. But this unlawful mob while merely bring the wrath of the Roman authorities down of them.
5. With this, he sent them home.