Sun, May 14, 2023
Teacher: Evan Miller Series: The Acts of the Apostles Scripture: Acts 19:21-41
In the regions around Asia Minor, idol worship was not a niche product.
Christianity and Judaism were not world powers. The Gospel did not carry weight, it had no political power, or agenda. It was not a culture. The Gospel was simply a story.
Paul was going from town to town, arguing for a change of heart, a change of perspective.
In many places people believed. In many places they didn’t. In many places they hated the message, and the way it upended their society. And they retaliated. They mistreated and murdered Christians. And it was happening again in Ephesus.
Here we get a glimpse into the motivations of those who opposed the message.
There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.
So when Paul comes to Ephesus and says “gods made by human hands are no gods at all” he comes against the Ephesian culture. The very identity of these people.
So when Demetrius starts his meeting with he silversmiths, it is no wonder they are able to rile the entire city into an uproar.
It’s crucial we understand what the Gospel has to overcome in somebody's life to get to their hearts. So let’s look at our hearts.
You and me, we are slow to accept change.
We are overly attached to outward symbols of value-we place our worth in sports teams, political parties, race, gender and sexual preference.
Come against these things and we come for your throat.
Demetrius is us.
So this mob forms, and it’s utter chaos.
The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there.
The town clerk finally calms them down, with a threat of consequences from Rome. In the end, this all came to nothing. It wasn’t always that way, and many people faced grave consequences for sharing the Gospel.
The Gospel changes cultures. I would offer that the Gospel is counter cultural no matter what culture it is in.
So in Ephesus the Gospel rattles the idolatry and industry in the city. What does it rattle in Indianapolis?
WE BATTLE AGAINST UNIVERSALISM AND RELATIVISM
Universalism first-what is it?
Jesus says He is this ONLY way to God. John 14:6
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
It comes naturally to us because it’s easy. It’s non confrontational.
Relativism is in the same vein. It doesn’t matter what you think, it doesn’t matter what you believe, it doesn’t matter how you behave, if its good for you then “live your truth.”
relativism comes as a byproduct of an attitude of humility taken too far. Acknowledging we don’t know everything is healthy, but believing that we can’t know anything is truth at all is absurd.
So we have a natural conflict. Gospel driven christians in a city who believe that people NEED to meet God and trust in his sacrifice for salvation.
And people who have believed all their lives that if they are just a good person and try their best everything will work out alright.
Gospel driven christians in a city who believe people who meet Jesus need to change their lives accordingly.
And people who believe you can do whatever you want “as long as it doesn’t affect me.”
active belief vs. natural inset belief. The conflict is inevitable.
Why do we even care?
Because we LOVE OUR CITY.
ABSOLUTE TRUTH ONLY BELONGS TO GOD
If I were to paint a picture it would be a battle field where its absolute truth on one side, challenging everybody in the whole world on the other. The christians are the ones looking at it and realizing they cant win.
Absolute truth challenges all of us equally.
So my point is this, when we make a claim to absolute truth we better be dang sure who we’re swearing by. When we make an absolute truth claim it needs to be based on God. Because without God there is no absolute truth.
And that means that where God has revealed absolute truth to us we fight for it. But in the areas where God has not revealed absolute truth we don’t need to pretend like we have all the answers.
HUMILITY IS KEY TO LOVING OUR CITY
Understand that God is not always a God of black and white, he is a God that is every shade of whatever color he wants to be, and don’t put Him in a box. Submit your understanding of truth to Him. And do your best to read the Bible and apply it to your daily life-in Humility.
Humility is the key to loving our city even when it resists the love we have to offer.
If I don’t let HIM change me I will never inspire anybody else to change. No matter how true the absolute truth is I’m yelling about.
What about when they really see you become more like Jesus and you tell them about Him from that place of humility. What then.
Maybe. They. Will. Give. It. A. Try.
So commit to the Absolute truth held absolutely in Gods hands alone.
Stand still and DO NOT MOVE on issues made clear in scripture.
Then speak the truth in humility. In long suffering, in kindness, in patience, and yes, all those things mean in love.
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