This Week’s Main Idea:
When we share the gospel of Jesus with others, their idols will be confronted and we will be impacted by the confrontation.
Have you ever found yourself caught up in a popular fad or trend? Do you regret it now?
Compared to most cities where Paul and his team operated, Ephesus was enormous. It was a true metropolis, boasting a population somewhere north of 200,000 people. Ephesus was fiercely devoted to the goddess Artemis. The Ephesians built a temple for her that was so large it was considered to be one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. People would come from all over the Roman world to worship Artemis at Ephesus. It is no stretch to say that the Ephesians were fanatical about Artemis and felt great pride that their city was the keeper of her temple. It was into this environment that Paul brought the message of Christ. Artemis had the clear home field advantage.
Read Acts 19:11-20.
- Why do you think the experiences in these verses were described as “extraordinary miracles”?
- What is significant about the evil spirit’s statement in verse 15? What does this teach us about Jesus? About Paul? About the power of the gospel?
- What situations make people seek spiritual answers in life, and what does that reveal about humanity? How do people try to use Jesus for their own purposes today?
Read Acts 19:21-31.
- What stood out to you about this passage?
- Did you, a friend, or family member have a dramatic conversion to Christianity from another religion?
- Has your career (or some other aspect of your life) ever felt threatened by the rise in popularity of a particular idea, movement or personality in the culture around you?
Read Acts 19:32-41.
- In what ways did God protect Paul and his team?
- What does this passage as a whole teach you about the city of Ephesus (which later received Paul’s letter that we call “Ephesians”)?
Taking it Home:
- What stuff in your life tends to pull your attention away from God most easily?
- Is there something in your life that you feel God is calling you to let go of right now?
Father, root in us a desire to be effective gospel witnesses and godly examples for others. Help us to be persistent and to rely on Your Spirit when we share the gospel with those of different beliefs. Protect our brothers and sisters around the world who face strong opposition and threats because of their faith. In all of this, give us a deeper and richer trust in You and Your goodness.
Other Scriptures to Engage with this week:
Deuteronomy 8:11-20; Daniel 4:28-37; Isaiah 44:1-11; Habakkuk 2; Jeremiah 10:1-11; Revelation 18.