Acts 19: 21-41

Written by kathleen on Nov 29, 2015 in - No Comments

Acts 19:21-41



There was no small stir all over Ephesus when the gospel was preached.

It created resentment and rebellion in the hearts of godless people.

It created a desire to be Christ-like in the life of the believers.

The preaching of God’s Word, in and of itself, will “stir up love and good works” according to Hebrews 10:23-25. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

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.

Paul had a desire to go bring the gospel to Rome the capital of the world at the time.

Guided by the Holy Spirit, Paul determined he would travel through Macedonia and Achaia, then to Jerusalem, enjoy the feast of Pentecost then to Rome.

Paul’s desire was fulfilled but not exactly as he was planning.   He got to Rome in a far different way that he was anticipating, as we will get in the next few chapters.

Luke doesn’t mention it here, but one reason why Paul wanted to go through Macedonia and Achaia, then to Jerusalem was to collect and deliver a fund he had been collecting from other churches to help out the church in Jerusalem (Romans 15:25-31; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4).

Paul sent Timothy and Erastus on ahead to Macedonia, while he stayed in Ephesus for a time.

Notice the job of Timothy and Erastus. They ministered to Paul; they were assistants to the apostle, helping Paul to maximize his ministry.


It creates discontent in the heart of the believer with his old carnal self. Acts 19:18-19.”And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all.”

23 And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way.

The early Christian were known more as the people of the Way than they were as Christians; because it was a way of life by doing things that are different from the worlds way as you follow after the Spirit.

24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen.


This temple to Diana (also known as Artemis) in Ephesus was regarded as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

It was supported by 127 pillars, each 60 feet high, and was filled with great sculptures.

The Temple was also a major treasury and bank where merchants, kings, and even cities made deposits, and where their money could be kept safe under the protection of deity.”

Demetrius and his friends were getting wealthy over the making of these little idols of Diana and he was getting frustrated with Paul and his preaching that they should know Jesus because there is only one God over everything.

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.”

The opposition of Demetrius and the other idol makers is a great compliment to the effectiveness of Paul’s work in the region. Paul was not on a “let’s close down the temple of Diana” campaign, he was just doing the Lord’s work.

They weren’t going around condemning.  They were going around proclaiming the positive gospel of Jesus Christ. Many times we make a mistake seeking to drive out the darkness.

We spend so much time trying to deal with darkness, and trying to drive out darkness.  But how much better is it to just turn on the light!  And the light will replace the darkness. So rather than fighting against all of the wrongs, how much better to just lead people into the right path?

And when they are brought into the right path there is no more issue involved. It is not casting out darkness but turning on the light!

As in this case; people came to Jesus, they naturally stopped worshipping Diana and buying shrines associated with the temple.


When the word of God is practiced it creates a spirit of persecution against the godly by the ungodly.

Paul would later write “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” II Timothy 3:12.

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.

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.

Considering Rome’s iron-fisted attitude towards such civil disorder, things were rapidly getting out of hand.

It’s just like a fight at school how a crowd starts growing so large so quickly that those on the perimeter don’t even know why they’re there. That’s what was happening here.

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!”

How could people shout for two hours? Look at the situation in the Middle East; on the news, we can watch Muslims shout for hours in protest!

When Paul wrote to Timothy (2 Tim. 4:14-15), he mentioned how that Alexander the coppersmith had been a real problem to him.

This Alexander was a Jew and he was probably going to try to tell the people that we Jews are not responsible for Paul but he accomplished nothing before the crowd.

The chant “Great Diana of the Ephesians” must have sent a chill up the backs of the Christians, including Paul who no doubt could hear it from outside the theater. “The noise must have been deafening.

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.

 The city clerk was actually what we would consider the “mayor” of the city and God used him to calm the mob and end the threat to Paul and the other Christians. (Possibly for his own protection)

It’s interesting the church of Ephesus, when Jesus addressed the church in the Book of Revelation.

Rev 2:2-5

“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;  3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.  4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.  5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lamp stand from its place unless you repent.

Now in the vision that John had, Jesus was walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, which were representative of the seven churches of Asia.  And Jesus is walking in the midst of them.

Now the warning of Jesus to the church of Ephesus in verse four is if you don’t repent and go back and do your first works, come back to that first love; then I will remove my presence from the church / life.

The people of this church had labored faithfully and showed discernment theologically, but they had left their first love.

Gradually, even by the end of the first century, these other forces had crept in and the church had lost its vitality, its love, its power.

Until finally there was no church there.

You go to Ephesus today; you see the ruins of a once great city.  There is not one single Christian living in or around Ephesus, today.  The candlestick has been removed from its place along with the presence of Christ.

The Lord wants our love to be fervent.  He wants us to be filled with the Spirit.

Their first love came alive when Paul came and they laid hands on the people of this church and they received the Holy Spirit.

The result was a love and fervency for Jesus; and that excitement, lead to the gospel being spread!

 A warning to us.  Notice He doesn’t say they lost their first love. He says they left it.…

Remember how it felt to have a walk that was vibrant.

Remember how it used to be burning love for and about Jesus; when you were passionate about Kingdome business

Is that passion still there?  IF NOT

What were you doing when you were on fire and passionate for the Lord?

 “Repent” simply means “change direction.

“I was going to church.” Then Go again!

“I was getting up early for morning devotions.” Then Do it again!

“I sang praise to the Lord as I drove down the street.” Then sing again

Remember how it used to be when you were amazed by the Lord’s goodness?—do again what you were doing then, and you will see the fire and passion of the Holy Spirit return in your life!

Don’t let that fire go out!  Let the fire of God’s Spirit burn in our hearts and lives as you seek to reach our neighborhood and to the uttermost parts of the world for Jesus Christ!

You may have lots of programs and lots of activities. You may even have doctrinal purity. But Jesus will not stay in a church or in a life where there is not true love because without love, nothing else matters (1 Corinthians 13:2).