Summary: Pagan society and the Gospel do not mix. If we stay true to the Word, we can expect opposition. This opposition highlights that we are in the midst of a spiritual battle.

A Regular Riot

(Acts 19:21-40)

1. Sept. 1 2020 (UPI) -- An American Airlines pilot preparing to land in Los Angeles reported an unusual encounter at about 3,000 feet with a "guy in a jetpack."

A recording of the conversation between the pilot and air traffic control Sunday evening at Los Angeles International Airport recounted the incident.

"Tower, American 1997, we just passed a guy in a jetpack," the pilot said in the recording.

The pilot said the man wearing the jetpack was flying at about 3,000 feet, about 10 miles away from the airport. The man came within 300 yards of the plane, the pilot said.

A second pilot also reported spotting a man flying at a high altitude in the jetpack.

The jetpack sightings remained a mystery Tuesday, as no one had come forward to claim credit for the flight. Wearable personal aviation devices have been demonstrated before, but usually at much lower altitudes.

2. This was one incident of one person who is breaking the status quo.

3. To the pagans of Paul’s day, Christianity seemed like a few odd people going in an unusual direction; as their numbers grew, however, they became alarmed.

Main Idea: Pagan society and the Gospel do not mix. If we stay true to the Word, we can expect opposition. This opposition highlights that we are in the midst of a spiritual battle.

I. God Had PREPARED Paul to Leave the Area (21-22).

A. The principle: God has a PLAN for our lives.

1. Paul had invested three years ministering in Ephesus; it was a major, strategic city.

2. Great success developing leaders, seeing the church grow. A very fruitful ministry.

B. Where did this RESOLVE come from?

1. His spirit, the Holy Spirit, or both?

2. Leadings from God are hard to objectify. We can confuse them with our own desires, for example. God may lead you in a certain direction. When He leads me like that, I think I experience it as a “resolve.”

C. Paul was never afraid to DELEGATE.

1. There is an old saying, “If you want to do the job right, do it yourself.”

2. First, many of us don’t do things all that well.

3. Second, even if we can do it better, we can’t do everything.

4. Third, we believe in “Body Life.” We want to include others. An excellence fetish will not allow this to happen. We are out to develop, not just accomplish.

II. Mob Leaders Were Concerned about the BOTTOM LINE; Religion Was the Pretext to Motivate the Rioters (23-34).

A. These people grew wealthy through IDOLATRY.

1. This is the stated motive Luke gives us in Acts. Religion is brought into it later.

2. The dictionary defines pretext as, “a reason given in justification of a course of action that is not the real reason.”

3. In counseling, difference between a presentation problem and the real problem.

4. Even within the evangelical world, some people play along for ulterior motives. It breaks my heart when people prove to be phony or insincere.

B. BIBLICAL Christianity does not tolerate idolatry for its adherents, thus growing numbers of Christian converts affected profits.

C. They used MOB dynamics to attempt to quell Christianity.

1. This theater could seat over 25,000 people. (Show Photo “Theater” here)

2. Exodus 23:2, NIV, “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd,”

3. This particular group acted in haste, not well planned out.

4. People who loot and riot often cannot believe they behaved in such a manner; our current riots that break out during demonstrations are likewise complex.

5. Group dynamics are pretty complicated, but truth is not determined by peers.

6. Many people who joined the riot didn’t even know what it was about.

7. The Jews sent a spokesperson (Alexander) to calm the mob down, but the mob did not distinguish between Jews and Christians….

D. Paul was protected by believers and leaders with whom he had built RELATIONSHIPS.

1. Paul was human, and could feel false guilt and felt too responsible.

2. We all need others – even Paul needed them – to think clearly on our behalf when we are caught up in false guilt or decisions that elude us…

3. Even Paul’s secular friends –Asiarchs (leaders of the Roman province of Asia, Asia Minor/Turkey) had to talk sense into him and restrain him.

4. In our attempts to be bold and brave, we can become foolish and make things worse.

E. The crowd chanted the praise of Artemis for TWO HOURS.

III. A CONSCIENTIOUS Leader Persuaded the Mob to Trade Frenzy for Reason (35-40).

A. The city clerk (Mayor) DEESCALATED the situation.

• Even he had to wait until they were worn out.

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