I. THE REFERENCE TO THE WAY.
A. Jesus had said to His disciples, "I am the way, the truth and the life no man comes to the Father but by Me."
1. The term "The Way" they came to believe that the only way to God was through Jesus Christ.
2. It referred to those who were trusting in Jesus Christ as the way to God.
3. In Acts 9:2
, we find that Paul was authorized to go to Damascus to find those of this way and bind them and bring them to Jerusalem to the tribunal.
4. In Acts 16:1
, when Paul was in Philippi he was followed by a girl with an evil spirit that cried, "These men are the servants of the most high God, who show us the way of salvation.
5. Acts 18:25
, speaking of Apollo it said that he was instructed in the way of the Lord.
6. In Acts 18:6
, when Aquila and Priscilla heard him they took him aside and instructed him in the way of God more completely.
7. In verse 9 when many were hardened to the message of Paul and believed not, they began to speak evil of that way.
8. In Acts 22:4
, Paul speaks of persecuting this way.
9. In Acts 24:14
, Paul confessed that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers.
10. In Acts 24:22
, we read that when Felix heard these things he had a more complete knowledge of that way.
11. It was a word that was synonymous with the word Christian.
B. The words no small stir was another way of saying a big commotion.
C. This commotion was created by a man named Demetrius.
1. He was a silversmith.
2. He made small shrines of silver of the Temple of Diana, the goddess of the Ephesians that people would buy as souvenirs when they would visit the beautiful temple. Also idols and trinkets of silver that were representations of Diana.
3. The Temple of Diana was one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.
a. It took 220 years to build.
b. It was 425 feet long and 220 feet wide. Bigger than two football fields.
c. It had 127 columns.
4. Because the gospel had grown so much in Asia, his livelihood was being threatened, for people were forsaking the worship of Diana.
5. Demetrius called a meeting of the silversmiths and warned them of the spread of the gospel and what it meant to their trade and their livelihood.
a. He admitted that they had become wealthy by their trade.
1. It is a terrible thing when people use a man's desire to know or to find God to enrich himself.
2. Paul warned Timothy to beware of those who said that godliness was a way to make gain.
3. Jesus drove the moneychangers out of the Temple.
4. What people do today to make a profit off of people's desires to know and worship God is no less reprehensible.
5. Whether they be evangelists or TV personalities, makes no difference in the eyes of God.
b. He admitted that Paul had turned away many from worshipping Diana, not only there in Ephesus, but throughout all of Asia.
c. He summarized Paul's teaching by saying that Paul taught that there were no gods made by man's hands.
1. This was probably an accurate summary for back at Athens, Paul had declared to the philosophers gathered with him there on Mars hill,
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
D. The real concern of Demetrius:
1. Sometimes a person's true motives are revealed as they talk.
2. "Our craft is in danger of becoming worthless."
3. That was the true motive of Demetrius.
4. If people are exposed to the true gospel, their ministries will be in danger.
5. This has been the motive behind much of the persecution of true believers throughout the years.
6. Why are Moslems so worried about Christianity.
a. Why do they seek to kill those who convert to Christianity?
b. Why do they have laws that condemn to death anyone that preaches the gospel in the Moslem controlled countries?
c. Can't their beliefs be held up to real scrutiny?
d. Why have the Catholics, in nations where they have had a strong influence over the government, persecuted the Christians so violently?
e. Why are the cults so afraid of people leaving that they intimate that to leave them is to leave your salvation?
f. Why do they strongly discourage their people from visiting other churches?
E. The expressed concern was: "But also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth."
1. True Christianity is a threat to the liquor industry. After Finney would conclude a revival crusade in a city, many of the bars would close for lack of patrons.
2. True Christianity is a threat to crooked politicians, they will seek to enact laws to silence our voice.
3. True Christianity is a threat to the homosexual community, they will seek to disrupt our services.
4. True Christianity is a threat to the Hollywood movie industry, so they will produce films trying to portray Jesus as a homosexual, or in love romantically with Mary and Martha.
5. These various groups will try to destroy the message of Jesus Christ, but usually try to do it so that they sound very noble.
6. "Our great Diana will be despised." He cared nothing for Diana except the profit he was making off of the people that worshipped her.
II. WHEN THEY HEARD THESE SAYINGS THEY WERE FULL OF WRATH.
A. He had accomplished his purpose. That was to get them all upset and concerned about their pocketbooks.
1. When Jesus came to Gadera and cast the demons out of the man who was living in the tombs, how that the demons entered into the herd of swine which then ran down a steep place and were drowned in the sea.
a. The people of village came to Jesus and asked Him to leave their coast.
b. They were more concerned in their profit from their illegal raising of swine than the poor condition of this demented man.
c. Paul had gotten into trouble in Philippi for casting the demon out of the young girl, for her powers of divination were gone. And those men who had enslaved her saw that the days of making money through her abilities were over, they stirred up the crowd against Paul.
d. Again their concern for money was greater than the condition of that poor girl.
B. They began to chant, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians."
1. They no doubt took to the streets and began a great tumult. A lot of emotional shouting, yelling that usually draws a crowd, but the people for the most part were confused as to what was going on.
2. They evidently were going toward the great Amphitheater which is still in existence today.
3. On they way they grabbed hold of a couple of men who were associates of Paul, who were from Macedonia, and they rushed into the theater.
4. Paul who was always eager to address any crowd of people with the message of the gospel, was going to enter the theater, but wiser heads prevailed and they persuaded Paul not to try it.
a. Paul seemed to be the catalyst that ignited the whole uproar, and with him out of the picture, it would be easier to calm things down.
b. Perhaps Paul was referring to this experience when he wrote to the Corinthians:
If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.
For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and [there are] many adversaries.
For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver [us];
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have [free] course, and be glorified, even as [it is] with you:
And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all [men] have not faith.
C. Mass confusion reigned inside of the theater.
1. Some were crying one thing and others another.
2. Most of the people did not even know why they were there.
D. The Jews grabbed Alexander out of the crowd and put him in front to address the people.
1. Probably not to defend Paul, but to defend the Jews.
2. They wanted the crowd to know that this was not a Jewish thing.
E. When the crowd realized that he was a Jew, they set up a chant "Great is Diana of the Ephesians."
1. This chant went on for a couple of hours.
F. Finally the town clerk was able to settle the people down enough to listen to him.
G. Cooler heads finally prevailed.
H. He then gave his speech:
Men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the [image] which fell down from Jupiter?
Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.
For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.
Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.
But if ye inquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.
For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.
And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.