Two big events in Acts 19:
Verses 1-22 describes Paul’s time in Ephesus, including a famous story where the seven sons of Sceva attempt to cast out demons in the name of Jesus, without knowing Jesus.
Verses 23-41 describes a riot in Ephesus instigated by craftsmen who make idols for the temple of Artemis.
When Paul arrives in Ephesus he meets up with 12 disciples, but from the reading they only new Jesus through John the Baptist or maybe even Apollos early in his less knowledgeable times. They had limited knowledge of Jesus and the gospel. They knew nothing of the Holy Spirit.
Read Acts 19:3-4. Paul provides us with a good summary of John the Baptist’s teaching by saying it was a baptism of repentance. It was a preparatory time, stressing our sinful nature and thus creating a sense of need for the gospel. John’s baptism looked forward to Jesus, who by his death would make possible the forgiveness of sins.” If we go back in time and look at when John was baptizing, it assuming repentance and in fact he refused to baptize some of the Pharisees and Sadducees because the failed to give evidence of repentance. Read Matthew 3:4-11.
Paul was there to give them the “rest of the story” and teach them about Jesus and the giving of the Holy Spirit. These disciples believed but were immature in their knowledge and relationship to Christ. Paul taught them and it became clear that they now accepted Jesus as their personal savior and that the Holy Spirit now dwelt with them.
I am reminded daily that I must focus on Christ and his teachings. I sometimes think I really know what I am speaking of in the name of Christ, but if I am not allowing the Holy Spirit to speak or if I am holding the reins and not allowing God to work through me. If I am the one pulling the reins… I know which way I am taking the horse, but if I let go and give up control – God knows the way and he uses me to get the message out.
Acts 19 talks about the men who tried to drive out demons in the name of Christ, but you see they did not know Christ and they were not doing it for the right reasons. The man who was possessed, with this demon controlling him, was strong enough to beat up seven other men! Scary.
Read Acts 19:14. This man named Sceva may have been related to the high priest’s family in Jerusalem or maybe us using the name to impress everyone. Sad, but he even brought his seven sons into the business. The business of deceiving families with possessed loved ones. These men had no real power and could not drive out demons. They took advantage of the situation and were paid handsomely.
You see, demons aren’t stupid. They know where the real power is and know immediately whether or not they have to obey you. These men were calling on the name of Jesus, but they had no relationship with Christ, the act was meaningless. They even saw and heard of Paul, so they tried to drive them out in his name too. But the real power comes from Jesus. People would have realized that the name of Jesus is not something you can manipulate and use – like some sort of magic spell, like these men were trying to do.
Goes on in verse 19:17-20
17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus,they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
There is more to being a follower of Christ than simply accepting His sacrifice – there needs to be a commitment to want to change one’s ways and live in a way pleasing to God.
The rest of Acts 19 talks about the silversmiths and artisans that worked there in Ephesus. The Rebellion at Ephesus (vs. 21-28) Shows the rebellion and the problems the new religious beliefs were causing. The gospel had been proclaimed in Ephesus, and its power had transformed lives, and this was threatening the business of idol-makers. The riot was a mob of confusion, some folks yelling one thing and others yelling something. It was a crazy angry mob, with no order. These people didn’t want to give up their livelihood. Many people today reject Christ. That is the reason for all the confusion that exists today in our world and in individual lives. Christ did not come to earth to bring chaos and confusion. He came to bring order, calm, and peace. If you are in a confused state of things, check your relationship with Christ. If He does not reign in your life, confusion will.
The city clerk was able to settle the mob down and send them on their way. These people were rejecting God and did not fear him as much as they feared men. He came to bring order, calm, and peace. If you are in a confused state of things, check your relationship with Christ. If He does not reign in your life, confusion will.
Chapter 19 – shows us how the church is growing and how people even after hearing the Gospel reject the words of Christ and the messengers, like Paul too. We have much to learn from the early church and growth in our faith. Letting Christ hold the reins of our lives. Amen.