Turf War Acts 19:21-41
– When we last left Paul, he was in Ephesus, God was doing unusual miracles through him, like handkerchiefs that could heal and cast out demons. (Confirming the message about Christ.)
– The 7 sons of Sceva (“high priest”?) travelled around using incantations to heal and exorcise evil spirits. They attempt to use the authority of the Jesus name in their “spells” and paid the price.
– The news of this encounter spread through Ephesus, and the Lord’s name was magnified.
– Acts 19:19-20, Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed. ($364,000)
– With that kind of value in books alone, the magic industry must have taken a hit.
– What is the impact on those who made money from the sale of these books?
– Paul’s spread of the gospel is negatively affecting day to day business in “sin city.”
– Example: What if Christians stopped going to R rated movies? U.S. 50% protestant, that’s 150 million people. 43 R rated movies in theaters 2018, at $42 million avg. take per film.
– That’s 1.8 billion in sales, cut in half equals a $900 million dollar hit! (The industry might take notice of that!)
– Other industries in Ephesus have taken notice of how Paul’s message is turning people away.
1. How hard are you fighting to hold on to the idols in your life?
Read Acts 19:21-28
– Paul’s ministry is infringing on Demetrius’s turf. He saw what happened with the magic books, and his silver shrines are sure to be next.
– Demetrious listed his top 3 concerns: He makes a lot of money in this job, he’s worried about the reputation/respect of the business, and their goddess will be discredited (whom currently “all the world” worships).
– This is a literal story that actually happened, and often our actions reveal our heart condition.
– Demetrious is defending his idol making business but revealing that it is an idol to him unto itself.
– This reminded me of the sermon Pastor Butcher preached at the mini-men’s advance this summer about 4 idols we worship in our lives. It really convicted me!
1. Comfort: This is the hardest one for me!
– Example: I know God has placed me in my job, but I struggle with fear of losing it. He has been growing my faith, season to season, and showing me that He is my hope for the future.
– Demetrious has a good job with great pay. This is an idol because it represents his safety and security, his future. No need to trust God if all your needs are met by your job.
– The answer: Deny your flesh, choose faith not fear. Understand, who is your provider?!
– Matthew 6:31-34, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
2. Significance: I especially see this in men. Their need to be viewed as important.
– Looking for our identity from what we do, our job title, not whose we are.
– Demetrious worried that he and his work will be viewed negatively. His job is his identity.
– 1 John 3:1, Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
3. Approval: If your goal is to be liked and accepted, it can stop you from following God’s calling.
– If you are uncomfortable knowing that someone isn’t pleased with you. You agree with the group to keep the peace, even when you don’t agree. You will do anything to avoid conflict, even compromise your values, (like participating in or allowing gossip and back-biting.)
– If your goal is to gain approval from man, you will end up compromising your convictions.
– Proverbs 29:25, The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
– Acts 5:28-29, And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” 29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.
– Gal. 1:10, Paul said, For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
4. Control: Control is an illusion. You can only control your attitude and how you respond.
– Feeling “in control” makes you feel safe. If you were aware of the danger in the world you’d never leave the house. (Holding tight on the roller coaster won’t keep the cars on the tracks.)
– What did Demetrious think was going to happen when he hit everyone’s hot button about Diana? He tried to control and manipulate the people, and ended up causing a riot!
– He didn’t care who his actions will hurt.
– The answer is surrender and submission. Trusting God’s purpose without always understanding the circumstances.
– Proverbs 3:5, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding.
– Proverbs 14:12, There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
2. Don’t fight for your own destruction.
Read Acts 19:29-34
– Verse 32, Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together.
– There is safety and comfort in the group. If one person is deviant, then the rest will follow.
– Example: Loud mouth student at PLU game, other student doing it too, until he left and then the others stopped too. They compromised their values to fit in with the squeaky wheel.
– They will say, “There must be something wrong if all these people are upset.”
– Something I noticed… Where is Demetrious?? He started this riot, so where did he go?
– Shouldn’t he be there defending his point, educating the crowd about the issue, etc…
– In Verse 38, the city clerk says, “…if Demetrious… has a case, the courts are open…” So he must not have been leading the group, or he could have addressed him directly.
– He created havoc to protect his own selfish desires. Not to protect the honor of Diana!
– A confused mob, rioting but they don’t know why. Shouting down any explanation. Walking towards their own destruction and they can’t even see it.
– Example: Cooper, disgusting poop eater and I couldn’t stop her. Try to bathe her and she ties herself up in the leash, struggling to get away. She won’t let me wash her clean.
– She would fight so hard anytime I tried to help her, but always looked at me with the confused look when I was angry about it.
– Steven Covey said that it’s easy to get caught up in the think of thin things. Spending your time trying to climb the ladder of success, only to find out the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.
– The people didn’t want to hear the truth about the gospel, or the Way. They were content in their own destruction. Comfortably hidden in the crowd that surrounded them.
3. Finally, the voice of reason.
Read Acts 19:35-41
– The city clerk simply points out to them that nothing actually happened to riot about.
– Did anyone go looking for Demetrious to scold him for his lies? No consequences for him?
– The people are so unstable that they will react and attack, and not even know why they did it.
– Doing and saying the right things only under stable conditions is not enough to survive.
– Example: “Positionally Stable”, (man in habi-trail, yelling at neighbors, etc… no blood pressure) When a patient is in one position (lying down) vitals and mentation are great, but sit up and they tank! Only stable in one position but can’t be like that forever, they need help!
– They are unaware of the danger they are in, and must listen to the voice of reason.
– It’s easy to see the man who makes idols and rallies other idol makers to rebel against God’s way, as a villain. He is clinging to his idols that will one day destroy him.
– BUT… Don’t we do the same thing sometimes too? We rally others who will agree with us, and make us feel like our idols are okay to trust in, be comforted by, live for…
– Clinging to the things that make us feel safe and in control, instead of clinging to God.
– Luke 12:34,For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
– Romans 1:21-23,because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
– They “knew God”, yet turned to idols that they could touch and control.
– You may have all the good intentions in the world, but when you exchange the glory of God for material security, that is idolatry.
– Col. 3:2-6, Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,
– Don’t look to things of this world for security and comfort.
– Look to God, creator of heaven and earth, the great provider.
Give your life to Him today.
- Prayer –
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