Honor Jesus — Disturb the World
Ephesus was described by R. Kent Hughes as “the waterhole for every kind of magician, with, clairvoyant, and criminal. Con artists, murderers, and perverts all found the climate of Ephesus unusually agreeable. That city was the Dark Castle of Asia Minor.” We are going to see 4 things about how the Gospel impacted the city of Ephesus.
1. The Gospel Declared
The church of Ephesus was built upon strong and clear teaching from the Bible. Paul spoke boldly and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God in Ephesus. As John Stott puts it, “He did not simply proclaim his message in a ‘take it or leave it’ fashion; instead, he marshaled arguments to support and demonstrate his case — the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth.”
There are fundamentally only two religions — Do and Done. The former has many expressions, traditions, scriptures, rules…It says, “Do this and you will find your relationship with God.” But Christianity says, “There’s nothing we can do.” Jesus Christ has done it all. Our privilege is simply believe and follow. Don’t just proclaim the gospel, live it out!
2. The Gospel Demands
Paul has persuaded many that man-made gods are no gods at all, and was thus opposed by makers of idols because this once substantial trade was suffering due to Paul’s proclamation about the Kingdom of God. The society of Ephesus was ultimately transformed when its grassroots forsook idols and accepted Christ.
3. The Gospel Destroys
There was a spiritual confrontation where the idols of Ephesus were being compared to the living and true God. Of course, we know who wins. For those who depended on idolatry practices and rejected the gospel, their riches, reputation, reason, and restraint were all destroyed. The God who made heaven and earth will always reign over the idols of man.
4. The Gospel Delivers
As we can see all the way through the book of Acts, every time when Christians were taken in front of authorities and being examined, the answer was always “Not guilty.” There was never an occasion where the Roman officials said Christianity broke the law. 2000 years later, a billion people are worshiping Jesus Christ and not one person on earth is worshiping Artemis.
Honor Jesus. Be God’s agent of change. And the world will be disturbed.