THE BOOK OF ACTS – WHO IS LYING?

WHO IS LYING?

“After all this had come to a head, Paul decided it was time to move on to Macedonia and Achaia provinces, and from there to Jerusalem. Then he said, ‘I’m off to Rome. I’ve got to see Rome!’ He sent two of his assistants, Timothy and Erastus, on to Macedonia while he stayed a while and wrapped things up in Asia.” Acts 19:21-22 (The Message).

Paul had a dream and a plan! Rome was his ultimate destination, but his first mission was to go back to Jerusalem. He had been bundled out of Jerusalem many years before by his new-found brothers in Christ because his fiery debate with the Jews had made him a hot potato (Acts 9:28-30). He had a longing to go back to the mother city in Israel and visit his church family there.

When one considers that all his travels around Europe and Asia were long, tedious journeys on foot overland and by sailing ship across the Mediterranean, he was looking at many months of travel before he reached his destination. After all his years of travelling from and back to Antioch around many of the provinces of Asia Minor and Greece, it is amazing that he still had the dream to go to Rome via Jerusalem! He was not daunted by the distance or the cost.

Before he left, Paul was to discover just how much damage he had done to the worship of Diana in Ephesus. His ministry there had made a huge hole in the pockets of the silversmiths who were cashing in on the opportunity to make money out of her worshippers.

“But before he got away, a huge ruckus occurred over what was now being referred to as “the Way”. A certain silversmith, Demetrius, conducted a brisk trade in the manufacture of shrines to the goddess Artemis, employing a number of artisans in his business. He rounded up his workers and others similarly employed and said, ‘Men, you well know that we have a good thing going here — and you’ve seen how Paul has barged in and discredited what we’ve been doing by telling people that there’s no such thing as a god made with hands. A lot of people are going along with him, not only here in Ephesus but all through Asia province.” Acts 19:23-26 (The Message).

Someone was lying. Paul had both taught and demonstrated, through the power of God, that gods do not exist. Those who were practising witchcraft in the name of Artemis (Diana) were demon-possessed, but subject to God’s power. They were no match for Paul because he evicted them in the name of Jesus. When others tried to do that, they were overpowered by the demons.

Demetrius was not really as concerned about Diana as he was about his pocket. He had his own private god to protect — money — and money talks. It was easy to get his colleagues all stirred up because the revival in Ephesus was costing them as well.

“Not only is our little business in danger of falling apart, but the temple of our famous goddess, Artemis, will certainly end up a pile of rubble as her glorious reputation fades to nothing. And this is no mere local matter — the whole world worships our Artemis.” Acts 19:27 (The Message).

Really!

What a magnificent argument! Demetrius had to prop up his greed with an assumed concern for this goddess he was “protecting.” How much power did she really have if she needed a mere mortal to bolster her up against another mere mortal — Paul? Demetrius’ lies were flimsy but his co-workers easily believed him because they were also looking for an excuse to stir up trouble against Paul to protect their own interests.

Money is more powerful than any idol because money represents the spirit of Mammon. There is nothing a person will not do to protect that god if it rules his life. He will sacrifice everything to ensure that his god remains in charge. This powerful demonic stronghold is held in place by a superstructure of lies and lies have no substance. Like everything false, money also fails in the end.

There is only one Master who will never fail, Jesus. He is the truth. Every lie will be exposed and every fool who has believed them will join the liars in their destiny.

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Luella Campbell


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