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How the Gospel Exposes Our Idols (Acts 19)

Aug 8, 2021
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How the Gospel Exposes Our Idols (Acts 19)
Acts 19 is the beginning of Paul’s third missionary journey, which lasted several years. He is traveling around from city to city planting churches and appointing elders. We see in verse 1 that he comes to the city of Ephesus, a very large and strategic harbor city. This city was full of affluence. They also worshiped many idols, including the goddess, Artemis.
We see in verse 23 and following that a group of people became frustrated with Paul and the gospel he was preaching. These craftsmen made silver shrines to Artemis, and selling them was good business for them. They felt threatened by Paul and the Christians because people were leaving the worship of Artemis to follow Jesus. The leader of this group, Demetrius, showed his true hand in that he really cared about the money more than he cared about the worship of this goddess.  As word spread, many Ephesians found their way to the theater, but a number of them didn’t even know why they were there. They were just caught up in the frenzy. Paul wanted to go and address them, but was advised to stay away. While in the theater, a man by the name of Alexander was going to address the crowd at the request of the Jews that were there. “But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
The love of the people’s hearts showed up in this moment. They were full of greed and a love of money that poured out of their mouths in this moment.
Graven images were images cut out of wood, stone, or metal that were shaped to look like the deity. In the Old Testament, the beliefs of the people were that the deities inhabited the graven image, and they worshiped those images. Psalm 115:4-8 gives a warning of what happens when we worship idols.
We are all built to worship, and in our human condition, we want to SEE what we worship. Jesus was the relief that we needed. We didn’t make him. He was sent because the gospel promises and delivers.
When you are tempted to elevate something higher than God:
1. Flee from idolatry – 1 Cor 10:14
2. Keep yourself from idols – 1 John 5:21
To Discuss Today:
1. Some idols in our culture today are: money, security, comfort, family, entertainment, reputation, sex, and materialism. What are other idols that can tempt us to worship something other than the One True God?
2. Is there something in your life right now that is taking a priority over your relationship with Jesus? What is it? Confess that to God, ask for forgiveness, and humbly talk with Him about being the first priority of your life.
3. What does your life proclaim?