Home > Good Hope Young Adult Ministry, The Chu'ch: Together we Stand, true christianity > [Day 1] The Chu’ch: Together We Stand — The Issues at Ephesus, Part 3

[Day 1] The Chu’ch: Together We Stand — The Issues at Ephesus, Part 3

Chu'ch-1

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.

IDOLATRY

Idolatry is making a “good” thing “ultimate”.  God created everything and everything he created he deemed to be “good.”  Genesis 1.  Any created thing that you put before God, is idolatry and it can be as subtle as valuing your education too much to having a heroin addiction.  Anything can become an idol when we put it before the One who should be worshipped.  Human beings are, by nature, worshippers, who will worship something – Creator or created.  We have to worship.  Romans 1:25.

We see from the text that Paul declares idols to be only “God’s made by hands”.  That is, idols promise the world, take everything from you, and give you nothing in return. Idolatry is often linked with where we spend our time, talent, and our treasure and taking our idols from us often leads to violence. Acts 19:29.  The people of Ephesus were willing to drag innocent folk around and shout for two hours in praise of a non-existent god called Artemis.  It is rumored that almost 20,000 people were probably in the amphitheater at the time.  Also, notice how the idolatry of the people of Ephesus, was big business for other people to profit from.   Acts 19:25.  Kind of like how Paris Hilton, Lil Wayne and reality TV generate so much money, because people follow their every move, consume anything that they produce, where anything that they wear, and hang on to anything that they say.

Forms of Idolatry:

Celebrities: Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Beyonce, etc.

Sometimes people begin to follow and model themselves and their thinking after these stars.  For me Tupac, Jay-Z, and Nas were the ones who most shaped my thinking.  They were my preachers who spoke into my life and whose lyrics I can still quote verbatim today.  Man, when I was in high school, I would shave my head bald and wear those locs that R. Kelly used to wear.

Ideas: Democracy, Capitalism, Materialism.  Whole world systems are built on these and other ideas.  When we trust into any of these -isms, we can then put money or democracy over the living God.  The economy right now is proof that even capitalism and the free market can fail you and that the only person worth putting absolute trust in is not Greenspan or Bernanke, but Jesus.

Relationships:  There are people who base their identity on their romantic relationships.  Some folk compromise their values and themselves to be with the one they “love.”

Vocational Idols:  We can be so driven to meet our career goals that we forsake everything including our own life and family to meet them.

Religious Idols:  Pastors, teachers, leaders, can become more a god to look to for everything, instead of a man who is being used by God to preach the Word of God.  Do you leave your church service or just don’t come, if your favorite Pastor is not preaching?  You may have an idol problem.

Families:  Sons, daughters, parents,  family code.  Some times people make their children or the ultimate thing going on in their life, even over God.  The children of these child-worshippers become rotten with God-like egos.   Some folk make their parents the object of their worship, seeking approval from them well into adulthood.

Things:  television, internet. (Facebook and Twitter can be mad addictive.)

Food:  Some of us eat when we are depressed, eat when we are tired, eat because it taste good,  and eat when we are having a bad day.  Sounds like worship doesn’t it?

Idols can be vocational, cultural, religious, spiritual, relational, and physical.  Anything that you make ultimate is an idol.

What can we do:

  • Recognize that these idols are created and not the Creator.  Romans 1:25
  • Recognize that idols promise the world, take all you have, and give nothing in return, leaving you empty.
  • Recognize that you are a worshipper and that you have illegitimate things that you worship outside of God.  1 John 1:8
  • Recognize that you must replace idol worship with God worship?
  • Recognize and believe that you can recover from idol worship?  I John 1:9
  • To determine idolatry in your life, answer these questions:
    • Where do you run to for comfort?
    • Whom do you go get counsel from?
    • Where do you spend your leisure money?
    • What do you feel like you can’t live without?
    • What do you prioritize in your life? 

We are all susceptible to idolatry.  Smash those idols and worship Jesus. 

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  1. June 24, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Amen,

    It’s easy to fall into worship with so many other things, we are an impulse driven society. We have so many potential distractions in this world, have to realize who/what we are worshiping, and if it’s not Jesus, then make a change.

    Much Love, Great Blog!

    C.S.

    • June 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm

      Yes, the society is at fault, but our flesh desires to worship creation too. It is part of that indwelling sin that continues to fight a losing battle against our victorious spirit. Remember, we were created to worship. If it is not God, you will worship something else. My prayer is that we grow our love relationship with God. So that our love for Him, will outweigh our love for the world.

      • June 27, 2009 at 10:27 am

        Amen. Great Post. Many people deceive themselves to think that they have no God; that they are “free thinkers” or “their own man” when they are in fact worshipers of fame, power, success, and sometimes individuality itself. Its amazing how many people are moved by the whims of fashion and other popular trends. Christians are often worse, being moved by every wind of doctrine in addition to the whims of the world. It is evident that humanity must worship, and that if we do not worship the true God, we will create another god to worship. Thank you for the post, this message needs to be heard.

        God’s Servant

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