Summary: In a world that has lost it's mind we need to stand firm in the Gospel of Jesus!
Stop The World
Text: Acts 19:23-41
1. Show the video "Stop The World" by Randy Stonehill.
2. We live in a society filled with contradictions.
A. It's okay to murder babies but we really ought to save the wales!
B. We're putting criminals in office because it's way too crowded in the jails!
C. Men and women choose to live together rather than getting married, but we encourage men to marry other men!
D. We don't want school children to pray or read the Bible, but they're required to read the Koran.
3. In reality our society has turned its back on God because it had a better idea, and the result was chaos!
4. Our society does want to live by Scripture because...
A. It effects them financially
B. It effects their world view
C. But...the Gospel always prevails
5. Let's stand together as we read Acts 19:23-41.
Proposition: In a world that has lost it's mind we need to stand firm in the Gospel of Jesus!
Transition: First of all, our society rejects the Gospel because...
I. It Affects Them Financially (23-26).
A. Our Wealth
1. Although Paul had a lengthy and effective time of ministry in Ephesus, as usual, there were also some problems.
2. Luke begins this section with, "About that time, serious trouble developed in Ephesus concerning the Way. 24 It began with Demetrius, a silversmith who had a large business manufacturing silver shrines of the Greek goddess Artemis. He kept many craftsmen busy."
A. Just how many opponents there were in Ephesus soon became apparent.
B. Luke speaks of it literally as "serious trouble developed" concerning the Pentecostal Christian way of life that Paul preached.
C. Luke consistently stresses the real reasons behind such opposition, especially because opposition was usually for reasons other than the content of the gospel.
D. Here in Ephesus the root of the opposition was jealousy. As in Philippi, it had primarily an economic reason, though it was couched in religious and patriotic terms when presented in public.
E. The temple of Artemis was a key to the economic stability of Ephesus, for foreigners traveled there to worship and deposited money in the temple.
F. This had become more significant in the time of Paul since the city was beginning to lose its significance as a center for international trade.
G. Demetrius must have been the president of the guild of silversmiths.
H. In those days "members of the same trade united to form professional guilds, which set standards for their own trade and united to defend their economic interests."
I. The silversmiths made "silver shrines of Artemis" (v. 24), that is, "miniature silver niches, containing an image of the goddess, which her devotees bought to dedicate in the temple."
J. Archaeologists have found "silver reproductions of her image and clay models of her temple." (Fernando, NIV Application Commentary, The – Acts, 518).
3. Then Luke tells us, "He called them together, along with others employed in similar trades, and addressed them as follows: “Gentlemen, you know that our wealth comes from this business. 26 But as you have seen and heard, this man Paul has persuaded many people that handmade gods aren’t really gods at all. And he’s done this not only here in Ephesus but throughout the entire province!"
A. Now sales were falling. So Demetrius gathered all these skilled craftsmen together "with the workmen in related trades," involved in some way in the temple businesses, and made a speech pointing out that Paul's message had spread throughout "practically the whole province of Asia."
B. Demetrius knew what Paul's message was, but rejected it and scornfully called Paul "this man."
C. Because Demetrius was losing much of his income he considered Paul as a false teacher, having "led astray large numbers of people."
D. But he recognized how effective Paul's ministry was. Multitudes were believing the truth "that man-made gods are no gods at all" (Horton, 328).
B. Love of Money
1. Illustration: A man named E. Paul Hovey said, "Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them!"
2. When money becomes more important to us than God it become our god.
A. 1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NLT)
But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
B. The love of money leads us to greed.
C. The love of money causes selfishness.
D. The love of money makes us lie, cheat, steal and murder.
E. Worst of all, the love of money leads us away from God!