ACTS 19:27: “There’s a danger that people will discredit our line of work, and there’s a danger that people will think that the temple of the great goddess Artemis is nothing. Then she whom all Asia and the rest of the world worship will be robbed of her glory.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Have you ever wondered why our culture is growing more and more intolerant of Christianity? It seems quite odd that the very religious foundation of values that our nation was founded upon has now become the kindling wood of a great fire of opposition and anger. While our culture cries for tolerance for all, it is tolerance for all – except Christians. Why? It is nothing new. It is for exactly the same reason that believers in the First Century faced opposition in Ephesus. The truth and values of Christianity, if taken literally, endanger and discredit the tide of our cultural shift and decline, and the very economic structure that this shift and decline has created.
In the city of Ephesus there was a group of silversmiths led by a man named Demetrius. They were in the business of making silver models of the Temple of Artemis. Demetrius saw the writing on the wall. Paul proclaimed the Gospel of faith in Jesus Christ – alone. Idols were simply gods fashioned by the hands of men, and could never save or deliver one from their sin. Many in Ephesus had embraced Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Demetrius concluded that if this continued – they would be out of business! Everything was fine – until the Gospel threatened their pocketbook. Light had shone on the darkness of man’s sin, and the money that was being made from this sin. Demetrius was not about to let this new message discredit his line of work and cut into his business!
The same thing is happening today. To boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Biblical values of truth and morality, is to position oneself against the current culture. There is a great chasm now between the truth of the Bible and the practice of our culture. To proclaim God’s Truth is a direct threat against the darkness of this current day, and more importantly – all of the money that is being made by those who are profiting from this culture. This is why the opposition is growing so rapidly, and is now marked by such anger and malice. We are smack dab in the middle of the First Century all over again!
Now, those who oppose the values of the Bible hide their opposition in lofty words of tolerance, as did Demetrius. To his co-workers he was honest about why he opposed Paul and the message of the Gospel. However, to others he cleverly wrapped his anger in lofty words of social concern and tolerance. He said, if these men are allowed to continue, then – “…she whom all Asia and the rest of the world worship will be robbed of her glory.” Demetrius and his co-workers really held no concern for the Temple of Artemis. No, what they were concerned about was the wallet of Demetrius! They were concerned that light would expose darkness, and without darkness – they would be out of business!
Jesus told us the reason for this – men love darkness more than the light.
- “This is why people are condemned: The light came into the world. Yet, people loved the dark rather than the light because their actions were evil. People who do what is wrong hate the light and don’t come to the light. They don’t want their actions to be exposed.”. (John 3:19-20 GW)
Yet, there is hope for all who turn to the light!
- “God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save the world. Those who believe in him won’t be condemned. But those who don’t believe are already condemned because they don’t believe in God’s only Son.”. (John 3:16-18 GW)
- “But people who do what is true come to the light so that the things they do for God may be clearly seen.”. (John 3:19-21 GW)
So what should we do? We should do what Paul and the early church did. We should continue to proclaim the truth in the midst of this dark and dying culture. We must rise up in both the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of Jesus Christ! We must be willing to count the cost, lay down our lives, and continue to proclaim the glorious truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
This is critical, because we know that – “…everyone who believes in Him will not die but will have eternal life!”
In Jesus Name!