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Riot and Revival 

Rarely does the Way leave people unaffected

Acts 19

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • May 7, In the year of our Lord, 2017

Scripture Reader and Reading: Dominic Meyer – Ephesians 5.8–14

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Phil Joseph – Songs on being strong


  1. Acts 19.1–7 | Did You Receive the Holy Spirit?

    1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. 7 Now the men were about twelve in all.

    1. Paul returned to Ephesus where Apollos had been, and
      1. Paul found some disciples and
      2. there must have been something about them
        1. that made him question whether they had received the Holy Spirit.
        2. Apollos may have taught these men.
          1. They said that they did not even know whether there is a Holy Spirit [check other translations]
          2. That made Paul question their baptism.
            1. He knew that they had been baptized, but
            2. he had assumed that it was into Christ.
    2. When they told him that they had been baptized into John’s baptism,
      1. he explained that John’s ministry was all about
      2. preparing people to believe on the One who would come after John,
        1. that was Christ Jesus.
        2. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance,
          1. showing that people had repented of their sins, and
          2. that the Lord had forgiven their sins,
            1. so that they were ready for the Christ.
            2. Without hesitation they were baptized into the name of Jesus.
    3. Once you believe on Jesus, and
      1. have repented of your sins,
      2. no reason exists for further delay.
    4. Having put on Christ in baptism,
      1. Paul then laid his hands upon these disciples, and
      2. the Holy Spirit came upon them.
        1. Then they could speak with tongues, and
        2. they could prophesy.
  2. Acts 19.8–10 | All Asia Hears the Word

    8 And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. 10 And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

    1. In Ephesus, Paul went into the synagogue and
      1. without flinching he spoke there for three months,
      2. the Jews willingly to listen to him speak for that long,
        1. as he reasoned with them,
        2. persuading them on matters pertaining to the kingdom of God.
    2. However, some of the Jews in that synagogue could no longer tolerate Paul.
      1. They hardened their hearts toward his teaching and so
      2. they did not believe what he taught and preached.
        1. That led those unbelieving Jews to speak evil publicly of the Way,
        2. as the church or Christianity was then called.
          1. (Why not call it that today?)
        3. Their opposition to him and his teaching became strong enough
        4. that he had to leave the synagogue,
          1. took disciples with him and
          2. they met in the school of Tyrannus,
            1. reasoning there with the disciples of Christ, and
            2. with the students already in this school.
    3. This worked perfectly for Paul and the new church
      1. that they stayed there for two years, and
      2. the people Paul taught went from the school into the rest of Asia,
        1. teaching the word of the Lord Jesus to Jews and Greeks,
        2. so that everyone who lived in Asia heard the word.
  3. Acts 19.11–12 | Unusual Miracles

    11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.

    1. Miracles by simple definition are unusual events.
      1. If they happened all the time,
      2. they cease being miracles.
        1. God set up nature to run by natural laws, and
        2. for brief moments in time,
          1. He suspended those laws
          2. to cause unusual activities,
            1. such as walking on water, or
            2. separating waters so that they stand up in a heap, or
            3. that water turns into wine instantly.
    2. Yet, some miracles go even beyond that “unusual norm.”
      1. Normal miraculous activity takes place when the miracle worker is active.
      2. However, in this case, Paul was passive.
  4. Acts 19.13–20 | The Name of Jesus Is Not a Magical Term

    13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” 16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. 19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.

    1. Some men observed Paul using the name of Jesus to cast out demons.
      1. Traveling Jewish exorcists thought just saying the name of Jesus
        1. would cast demons and evil spirits out of people.
      2. One Jewish chief priest actually had seven sons who tried to do this.
        1. When they attempted to cast an evil spirit out of a man,
        2. the evil spirit spoke to Sceva’s seven sons,
          1. I know Jesus, and
          2. I know Paul, but
          3. who are you guys?
      3. Then the man with the evil spirit overpowered all seven men,
        1. leaping on them,
        2. ripping their clothes off, and
        3. driving them out of the house wounded.
    2. The whole city of Ephesus heard of this confrontation, and
      1. everyone feared, but
      2. the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified, because
        1. people saw that the exorcising happened when Paul did it, but
        2. not when anyone else did it, because
          1. they did not have the authority to do so.
          2. They saw that Paul was genuine,
            1. hence the Jesus of whom he spoke,
            2. was real and not some hocus-pocus
              1. like the sons of Sceva saw the name of Jesus.
              2. Jesus is not just a magical name, but
                1. a real man, and
                2. He is the Son of God.
    3. Having seen what Paul did and the attempted fakery of the sons of Sceva,
      1. the rest of the fakers in Ephesus, and
      2. those who believed in their falsehood,
        1. confessed their errors and
        2. told people what they had done.
    4. Those practicing black magic voluntarily
      1. brought their books out into the public, and
      2. burned them all in one bonfire.
        1. We are not talking about a couple dozens books, but
        2. 50,000 pieces of silver worth.
    5. Black magic, and anything else associated with with evil spirits,
      1. fell defeated that day, but
      2. the word of the Lord grew powerfully and prevailed.
  5. Acts 19.21–22 | Heading for Rome

    21 When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” 22 So he sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time.

    1. Once that excitement ended,
      1. Paul decided in the Spirit
      2. to travel through Macedonia, then Achaia,
        1. from there to Jerusalem, and
        2. finally to see Rome.
    2. To prepare his way, he sent Timothy and Erastus, but
      1. Paul decided to stay in Asia for a while longer, because
      2. as we will find out later, he would never go that way again.
        1. He wanted to make sure that everything continued as it should, and
        2. he wanted to say his goodbyes.
  6. Acts 19.23–29 | A Great Commotion about the Way

    23 And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way. 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen. 25 He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: “Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. 26 Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. 27 So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.” 28 Now when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” 29 So the whole city was filled with confusion, and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul’s travel companions.

    1. The Way, which we know as Christianity and the Church, changes cultures.
      1. It happened in Ephesus, even changing the economy.
      2. There a certain man stirred up a great commotion over the Way.
    2. The Way changed the culture and the economy of Ephesus because
      1. several people, especially Demetrius, a silversmith,
      2. made silver shrines of Diana, or Artemis.
        1. He got his fellow silver makers together and
        2. started a protest or even riot against the Way, the church.
          1. He reminded them how Diana brought prosperity.
          2. However, Paul had persuaded most people
            1. that the things Demetrius and others were making
            2. were not truly gods, because they were made by hands.
          3. Demetrius tied together his trade and the glory of Diana.
            1. He believed that their trade would become disreputable, and
            2. that Diana’s temple would be despised and
              1. that her magnificence would fall into destruction,
              2. although all Asia and the world worshiped her.
    3. The crowd heard enough.
      1. Moved by anger they started shouting,
      2. “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.”
    4. This threw the city into confusion, and
      1. people rushed into the open air theatre all at once, because
      2. they had seized Gaius and Aristarchus,
        1. men who worked with Paul,
        2. along with Silas, Timothy, Luke, Erastus.
  7. VII.Acts 19.30–34 | A Wild Assembly

    30 And when Paul wanted to go in to the people, the disciples would not allow him. 31 Then some of the officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent to him pleading that he would not venture into the theater. 32 Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander motioned with his hand, and wanted to make his defense to the people. 34 But when they found out that he was a Jew, all with one voice cried out for about two hours, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”

    1. Paul wanted to speak to the people,
      1. especially since they had taken Paul’s friends.
    2. However, the disciples there must have believed
      1. that if Paul entered this riotous scene
      2. that he would have suffered a beating, or
      3. only would have made the situation worse just by showing his face.
        1. Therefore, some of the local politicians who were his friends,
        2. begged him not to come into the theatre.
    3. Verse 32 makes a significant statement about riotous crowds:
      1. people shout out one thing or another,
      2. confusion reigns, and most of all
      3. the majority do not even know why they have come together.
        1. They find one man, Alexander, whom the Jews had put forth.
        2. He waved his hand to get the attention of the people,
          1. wanting to make a defense of the Way, but
          2. when the crowd found out that he was a Jew,
            1. they already knew that they would disagree with him, because
            2. the Jews have always believed that there is one God.
      4. They drowned him out by crying aloud, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.”
  8. VIII.Acts 19.35–41 | How a Man Quieted the Crowd

    35 And when the city clerk had quieted the crowd, he said: “Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple guardian of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Zeus? 36 Therefore, since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rashly. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess. 38 Therefore, if Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a case against anyone, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you have any other inquiry to make, it shall be determined in the lawful assembly. 40 For we are in danger of being called in question for today’s uproar, there being no reason which we may give to account for this disorderly gathering.” 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.

    1. It was the city clerk who quieted the crowd!
      1. He spoke as a matter of fact
        1. that Ephesus was the temple guardian of the goddess Diana, and
        2. of the image that fell from Zeus.
          1. He urged them that since no one could deny such “facts,”
          2. they should be quiet and not act rashly.
      2. He also spoke for Gaius and Aristarchus,
        1. that they did not rob temples, nor
        2. did they blaspheme their goddess.
    2. Then the city clerk showed the mob and Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen
      1. how to do things properly and orderly,
      2. that they could go to the courts and the proconsuls, and
        1. there bring their charges.
      3. Their current assembly was not lawful,
        1. which would cause Rome to question what they were doing, for
        2. they had no legitimate reason for doing what they were doing.
    3. Then he calmly dismissed the assembly.


  1. Have You Been Baptized Christ? 
  2. Does the Holy Spirit Dwell n You? 
  3. Make the Word Attractive 
    1. First, do good works.
    2. Second, be an active member of the church.
    3. Third, keep your eyes and ears open for an opportunity.
  4. Jesus’ Name Is a Badge of Authority. 
    1. Not merely saying His name…
    2. Colossians 3.17
  5. Planning Is Biblical.

    The preparations of the heart belong to man,
    But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
    (Pro 16.1)

    Commit your works to the LORD,
    And your thoughts will be established.
    (Pro 16.3)

    A man’s heart plans his way,
    But the LORD directs his steps.
    (Pro 16.9)

  6. Opposition to Christianity is healthy. 
  7. VII.Get the Truth about People