Chapter Nineteen — Part Five: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 08/14/2022Foundation Scriptures:
a. Acts 19:21 NKJV — When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”
b. Paul felt in his heart—in his spirit—to go back in the direction of Jerusalem, once his time in Ephesus was up.
c. Often, the Holy Spirit will lead us through His still, small voice, in our own spirit.
d. Sometimes, we will simply feel a pull in a particular direction, coming from our spirit, as we stay sensitive to His leading.
e. He also knew that he would be going to Rome in the future, even though he may not have perceived the circumstances that would carry him there.
f. We must wait on the Lord, not only for direction but also for timing.
g. Acts 19:22 NKJV — So he sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time.
h. He sent Timothy and Erastus ahead, into Macedonia.
i. Erastus, whose name means “beloved,” was the chamberlain, or city treasurer—as well as being a co-worker to Paul.
j. Romans 16:23b KJV — Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you…
k. 2 Timothy 4:20 KJV — Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
2. The Way.
a. The Gospel of the Kingdom was steadily growing and gaining influence.
b. The apostles had been very successful in winning converts to Christianity, and they were no longer “under the radar,” but were having a noticeable effect.
c. Acts 19:23 NKJV — And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way.
d. Christianity was referred to by many as “the way” or “that way.” (Acts 9:2; 16:17; 18:25-26; 19:9,23; 22:4; 24:14,22).
e. There arose “no small commotion” about the growing spread and influence of the Gospel.
f. All because it began to affect the profits of a certain group of craftsmen—in this case, the silversmiths.
a. Acts 19:24 NKJV — For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen.
b. Demetrius was a silversmith.
c. His name came from Demeter, worshipped as the Olympian goddess of the harvest and agriculture, whom they believed presided over the fertility of the earth—the Roman equivalent being Ceres.
d. The silversmiths made a large profit crafting silver shrines for their goddess, Diana.
e. The shrines were made of terracotta, marble and silver, and were very costly.
f. The idol-makers took advantage of the superstitions of others to make their living—indeed, they were made very wealthy by this trade.
a. Diana was often portrayed as a huntress—worshipped as goddess of the woods, children and childbirth, fertility, chastity, the moon, and wild animals—and the mother and nourisher of all creation.
b. Romans considered her the protector of the lower classes, especially slaves.
c. Many civilizations worshipped a similar female deity, only giving her different names.
d. Basically, it was the same demon, with a different face.
e. The older incarnation of this female deity was Semiramus, the queen of Babylon and wife of Nimrod, her own son.
f. All licentiousness in ancient worship proceeded from the worship of these goddesses.
g. It was not just worship, but it was unbridled carnality, lust, and perversion.
5. The Idol Trade.
a. Acts 19:25 NKJV — He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: “Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade.
b. Demetrius called together the silversmiths’ union.
c. They had trade unions in those days as well—even some Egyptian papyri mention unions.
d. He brings up to them the fact that their financial security was now being threatened by the influence of the Gospel and the expansion of the Kingdom of God.
e. 1 Timothy 6:10 tells us that “…the love of money is a root of all evil…”
f. People are motivated to do many terrible and evil things, simply because of greed and covetousness.
g. Acts 19:26 NKJV — Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands.
h. Christians believed in Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and not in idols made with the hands of man.
i. The complaint against Paul and the other Christians is that they were drawing the people away from the worship of Diana.
j. The new converts no longer trusted in, nor purchased, the shrines and idols, putting the craftsmen out of business.
k. Acts 19:27 NKJV — So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.”
l. He, and the rest, pretended to have zeal for Diana and to be defending her honor—their true motives were their money and their own reputations.
m. They were afraid and that their trade was in danger of being exposed as worthless—which is what it was—and that they would become despised, rather than revered.
n. No doubt, the “whole world” did not actually worship Diana; but there is nothing like a bit of exaggeration to get people agitated and stirred up.
6. Revival or a Riot.
a. Acts 19:28 NKJV — Now when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”
b. These silversmiths were roused into fury and indignation at the thought that their beloved idol and their trade could be in danger.
c. Their passions were stirred up to defend the honor of their (false) beliefs, their nation, and the tradition of their fathers.
d. This dispute originated with the tradesmen, but it spilled over to the common people.
e. It just takes one unscrupulous person to stir up many into strife and confusion—forming a mindless and unreasonable mob.