Summary: Your reason for going to church is what you worship. Make sure it's not trusting in something that's false but it is because of your love and devotion to JESUS!
Idols Never Satisfy
We are called to have a common purpose in what we do
-- The purpose is to worship, to love, and to celebrate Christ and share Him always
-- That is our challenge, mission, and it is STILL where we find ourselves today
Most will agree that Paul was a unique man; one who stood apart from others
-- He was not swayed by public opinion nor worried about what others thought
IMP: Paul understood that Grace was the key to life; for it had been shown to him
LAST WEEK: We saw that his journey took him to Ephesus to continue teaching
Jesus is not to be ‘used’ or consulted only when we need something
-- APP: It’s not right to want the blessings without the relationship/commitment
He is to be KNOWN. The real Jesus; not some fake image we have for Him
-- Are we making Him known … or are we living by our own preferences?
TODAY: Paul is still in Ephesus and we see how idols distract us from Christ
Let me give some background …
The dictionary definition of idol: “an object of excessive devotion or admiration”
-- Hebrew of the OT had several words: “a likeness; something carved or made”
-- Greek of the NT uses eidolon (adapted into English as “idol”)
Idolatry can take many forms:
-- Augustine (early Christian theologian) wrote: “Idolatry is worshiping anything that ought to be used, or using anything that ought to be worshiped.”
A good working definition of idolatry is that it is the worship of the self
APP: “What I desire and want regardless of the actuality of the situation.”
Ephesus was an important city in the Roman Empire
-- It was a place of trade and commerce
-- So much so that it was known as “the treasure house of Asia Minor”
-- It was a place where the Roman governor of the area would come and hold court proceedings
Ephesus featured the Temple of Artemis (Diana) which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was 425 ft. long, 222 ft. wide, and 60 ft. high and contained 127 pillars
The practice of sorcery and magic was a very major part of Ephesian society
--There was a group of magical spells and instructions called the “Ephesian Letters” that were well known in the ancient world
It was also the home a many criminals
-- The Temple of Artemis possessed the “right of asylum”
-- Any criminal who could reach the temple area was considered “safe” from prosecution and therefore Ephesus became home to many of these criminals
We can see a good portrait of the stranglehold of idolatry in our scripture passage
-- No matter what the idol is, we’re shown why people get trapped in its grip.
Read Acts 19:23-41
Question: Why don’t idols satisfy?
Point 1 – Some have too much invested in it to give up (23-27)
Great numbers of people traveled to Ephesus to take part in these gatherings
-- Easy to see that these silversmiths were losing lots of money
-- People were turning away from the worship of Artemis to worship Christ
-- This means that their focus was changing; which affects their lives
-- APP: When our focus is on Christ we lose desire for worldly things
Money isn’t the only thing people hate to give up
-- They hate to give up their time: they spent too much time involved in idolatry
-- They hate to give up themselves: It cost too much of themselves to give up on it.
-- They hate to give up something that was important to others at one time
-- APP: Just like us, we hate to leave things we enjoy … favorite SIN for example
TRANS: Why do people follow idols?
Point 2 – Some have no explanation for why they’re involved (28-34)
There are a few reactions we need to examine here to understand our situation
Look at the mob’s reaction to what’s happening (28-31)
-- They were emotionally involved but didn't really know why
-- They were “unified” in their effort; they did it as “one man”; but why?
-- The theatre that’s mentioned was huge; seat 20,000 to 30,000 people
Look at Paul’s reaction (30-31)
Paul wanted to preach Jesus to a crowd that would hear!
-- “There’s 20-30,000 people in there so let me tell them about Jesus Christ!”
The result after getting in the theater … The mob was in confusion! (32-34)
-- They were there, didn't know why, but expected something to be done
-- They refused to listen to anything other than themselves shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians”! TRANS: Great is what we want and what we like!
APP: There are people in churches who have no clue why they gather together