NO SMALL STIR
Acts 19:23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; 25 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. 26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: 27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. 28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
We must first notice the time stamp the Holy Spirit has placed on this passage. For He makes note of when this happened before He instructs as to what has happened! And our procedure to study the history of gospel development is said to have occurred at the same time. But the same time as what? There is another time stamp in verse twenty one of this chapter. There we read, After these things were ended. Again we ask, “What things?”
To answer that we go back to verses ten and seventeen of this chapter. Acts 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. 17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. Therefore we understand that our introductory phrase of verse twenty three, which begins this article, refers to the same time in which the gospel had made powerful and effectual headway across Asia. There was even the beginning of the setting up of the seven churches there, to whom the Apostle John is directed to address his Revelation of Jesus Christ! (See Revelation 1:1,4. Also consider 1 Peter 1:1.)
It is a most glorious and decisive period for the establishing of the preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For he is here revealed as the stronger man, invading the strong man’s (Satan’s) domain and robbing him of his goods – souls in the bondage of sin! Luke 11:21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. And at this time the effectual call of the gospel of Lord Christ was most assuredly the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17), which cut asunder the cords of sin by which Satan had kept these souls in bondage.
For he informed his seventy disciples that while they were out on their preaching assignments he saw Satan, as lightening, falling from heaven! (Luke 10:17,18). In other words, as they preached the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, Satan’s kingdom was being unraveled, and he began then to lose his exalted position he had gained by his lying craftiness.
Therefore what we have here in these introductory words, And the same time, is a revelation of the events that always take place as cause and effect, when Christ is set forth by the gospel. And he is clearly seen to have been so in Acts 19:10 and 17 listed above. He is the “first cause” of all things. He is the first rider on the white horse, going forth conquering and to conquer in Revelation six. And after him, in order to show to the human race that Christ and his gospel will not be ignored, we see the red, black and pale horsemen, being called forth in judgment against all who will not submit to Christ’s authority. They come forth to reveal that when Christ is set forth in his gospel authority, judgments follows!
For the true, effectual gospel is not so much an ‘offer,’ but in fact, it is a divine mandate! For it is that God “commandeth all men every where to repent!” This is exactly what the Lord Christ himself, told us would occur at his cross! John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.
Today’s so-called ‘gospel’ has reduced the Lord Jesus, in the minds of today’s populous, to be but a mealy-mouth, little wimpy Jesus, begging people to ‘accept’ him! When in fact he is the Lord of all, and “commands” all to bow and worship! Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: And it is not a matter of “if” all shall bow, but “when!” Philippians 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Now beginning with the first verse of our text we can start to enter into the recorded effect Christ’s gospel had upon the kingdom of darkness at that time. For you cannot have the two witnesses (the church and the Holy Spirit – Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.), bringing forth the gospel light to those who reject it to their condemnation (John 3:19,20), without these beasts coming up from the pit to attempt to destroy every bit of the effect of the gospel that they can! (See Revelation 11:7 listed below.)
And the Apostle Paul did declare these Christ rejectors to be but “beasts.” 1 Corinthians 15:32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. And the Apostle Peter makes the same designation. 2 Peter 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
This is also seen when the fowls of the air come to removed all of the seed of the word that did not get implanted effectually into the heart of its hearers. Luke 8:5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
For that powerful gospel hinders Satan’s intended encroachments, with his gospel-rejecting antichrists, until the gospel testimony at that time and place is finished! Revelation 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
And we quickly notice that the cause of there being no small stir in the events of our text is that the root of ALL EVIL was at the bottom of this! For the very next verse advises us that the reason that there was no small stir was because there was no small gain to be had at the making of the idols involved with the worship of Diana! 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh! Therefore notice the first comments from the mouth of Demetrius, the silversmith, as he addresses the craftsmen whom he has called together to alarm them against the effects of Paul’s gospel. For first he speaks of “our wealth” (v.25). THAT is the real issue! Matthew 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
He and his fellow craftsmen were not dedicated to Diana. They were dedicated to the love of money that could be made from Diana worship! But, as always, Satan sets forth a false, but more ‘respectable,’ and acceptable feel-good, religious issue to the population in order to hide the real issue of covetousness. Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Dear Reader, this was no small issue! It was no small stir due to the fact, as has previously been stated, that this was nothing less than the forces of darkness coming up against the forces of Light! For this issue of covetousness is being set forth to steal the seed of gospel truth out of the souls of mankind! For loving money is set against loving God in the scriptures. Consider these verses: Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
This clearly shows one not to be a spiritually regenerate believer! 1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. What could be more obvious?
For if a soul loves the truth of the gospel he will sacrifice everything to have it nourished within his heart! Matthew 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
Be assured that every soul on planet Earth is dealing, right now with this matter at the ‘soul exchange!’ Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Poor, pitiful Americans are caught up in the evil fantasy of believing they can win the lottery, and becoming rich, end all their problems. First of all they are spending money that they need for essentials. And secondly, the likelihood of their winning is unbelievably minute! But most of all they are seeking to put themselves into a class of souls, that God himself says is hard to get into the kingdom of heaven! Mark 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Is this not the blindness of the image of the beast? This is nothing more than a fanciful imagination, without the benefit of the mortification supplied by gospel influence, presenting to itself a false image of happiness! May God have mercy!
Because of this love of money, the first and greatest commandment is broken. Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.
And this sets one up for the strong delusion supplied to them by God himself! For to love money keeps one from loving the truth of God! You cannot love both! 2 Thessalonians 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
This intoxication is so powerful that ‘christians’ in America expect to ‘go to heaven’ to live in luxury. Yet they expect to get there by a Savior who was born in someone else’s barn; never owned a foot of real estate; had to borrow a mule to ride into Jerusalem; had to get his tax money from a fish that had swallowed a coin, and was buried in a borrowed grave! Who in the world borrows a grave except One who knows that he will only be in it for three days? They are so far from any semblance of his character that they shall actually be surprised to hear him say to them, Depart from me, ye that work iniquity! For I never knew you! And all those expecting an eternal vacation by assuming that God owes it to them for their religious works, he shall call workers of iniquity! (Lk. 13:27).
The Devil is only called the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), because the world has made him so by their rejection of the only true Lord of all – Jesus Christ! He stole the sceptre of dominion from Adam by lies and deceit. But the Lord Jesus Christ, the last Adam, bought it all back in his redemptive work on Calvary. He even ‘bought’ those who deny him, becoming their Lord, but not their Savior! 2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
Satan was so arrogant that he ‘offered’ the Lord Jesus the glories of all the kingdoms of the word, without having to go to the cross. Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. The Lord Jesus didn’t take him up on that offer, but religionists are buying into it by the millions in our day!
May God have mercy!
Pastor Gene Breed.