JESUS AND IDOLS: Acts 19:21-41

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SCRIPTURE

Acts 19:21-41 21 Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” 22 And having sent into Macedonia two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.

23 About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.”

28 When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s companions in travel. 30 But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. 31 And even some of the Asiarchs, who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater.32 Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd.34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

35 And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky? 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you seek anything further, it shall be settled in the regular assembly. 40 For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.”41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly. 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

BIG IDEA

What happens to a city when the gospel takes root there? Acts 19:21-41 is a kind of case study for just that. When the good news of Jesus takes root in people’s hearts cities are changed for Jesus’ glory. God brings lasting change to cities as the gospel lovingly confronts idolatry, infuriates idolaters, and gives what idols cannot. 

DISCUSSION

1. Study through Acts 19:21-41 together. What stands out to you and why? 

2. Why were Demetrius and the others so upset with the gospel Paul preached? Can you think of any parallels for this day? *society raging against what the Bible says is true 

3. What is an idol? What are some of the big idols in your city? How does the gospel confront these idols? 

4. Why do these Ephesians get so upset when their idols are threatened? How did pastor Brett say is the best way to identify your idols? What are some of your idols (or the idols you’re tempted to look to)? 

5. How does Jesus give what your cities idols cannot? How does Jesus give what your idols (or the idols you’re tempted to look to) cannot? 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • MEN’S WORKOUT / BIBLE STUDY (second and fourth Mondays of every month from 6–7am) – The Gospel Rescue Mission is hosting a men’s workout and Bible study. Pastor Brett will be there along with every other willing and able man. 

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