This is part of a Daily Devotional Orwell Bible Church prepares each week. You can get a copy from our Downloads and Literature page.
Paul’s ministry of the gospel in Ephesus began with followers of John the Baptist. These believed the Baptist’s message that the Christ was coming, but that was all, and they were without the Spirit (vv. 1-2). Their baptism by John showed they repented of their sins and believed the Christ was coming (vv. 3-4, “baptism of repentance”). So Paul told them Jesus was the Christ and they believed this and demonstrated their belief in Jesus through Christian baptism (v. 5). Verse 6 is the third (8:17; 10:44-46) and last time that miraculous signs accompanied Spirit baptism, providing indisputable proof from God of a shift from the old covenant (Mosaic Law) to New Covenant ministry.
Miracles were signs signaling God’s approval on the message and messenger. The extra-ordinariness of the miracles in verses 11-12 is clear! These contrast with the self-appointed efforts of verses 13-16. The evident work of God supported the spread of the gospel, resulting in significant conversions (vv. 17-20). “Fifty thousand pieces of silver” (v. 19) was equivalent to about 140 years income for a common worker!
Ephesus was the center of Diana worship and idol manufacturers made their living from such. This explains why Demetrius and the raucous crowd responded as they did to the many conversions. The more who were saved, the fewer number of people would support idolatry (vv. 24-34)! Their belief in legends and fables so controlled them that they assumed such to be undeniable (vv. 35-36).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Right knowledge of God’s truth regarding Jesus Christ must be believed and depended on for salvation, with the Spirit’s transforming work as the indisputable evidence of true faith. Nothing less will do. What do you believe? What does your life say?
- Unbelieving idolaters reject truth and embrace error. While “idolatry” includes worshiping carved images, it involves anything that takes away the glory and devotion that God alone deserves (cf. Rom 23, 25, 27; Col 3:5).
- The gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes, and through the gospel the Lord can convert and save idolaters!