Acts 19

Let Christ’s witnesses speak undauntedly with holy resolution, as those who have not the least doubt of the things they speak of, nor the least distrust of the power of Him they speak from, nor the least dread of those they speak to. While some will oppose the Gospel because it calls many off from their sinful employments, it will lead many to true contrition for sin and confession of Christ.

1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.

4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should 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 his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

7 And all the men were about twelve.

8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.

9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.

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.

11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:

12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

13 ¶ Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.

14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.

15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?

16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

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.

18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.

19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

21 ¶ After these things were ended, 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 them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.

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.

29 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.

30 And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.

31 And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.

32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.

33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.

34 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

35 And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?

36 Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.

37 For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.

38 Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.

39 But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.

40 For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.

41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

Acts 19:1-12 – ​The Holy Spirit Working in Ephesus

   Paul had planted good seed at Corinth, and Apollos, in turn, had watered it, I Corinthians 3:6. Large numbers became his devoted followers. This, however, excited no jealousy in Paul. Apollos and he were only instruments through whom God was pleased to work.
   Meanwhile Paul had a ministry to fulfill in Ephesus. The twelve men mentioned had known only so much of the truth as had been revealed to the Baptist. They had felt the need of repentance and had heard of Christ as the Lamb of God; but of His resurrection and ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit they were ignorant. Paul at once fixed on this lack as the source of their impotence. He seemed to say, “If you men had received the baptism of the Spirit, you would move this city.”
   It was wise on Paul’s part to remove the disciples and his work to their own premises, which soon became famous throughout the city and indeed throughout the adjacent country. People who had come in to worship at the shrine of Diana gave themselves to Christ, and the Christian faith became disseminated through the province, Ephesus itself being mightily moved. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Acts 19:2—Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?

​   This was Paul’s first question of these twelve disciples. He knew perfectly well that they could not have believed without the special grace of the Holy Spirit; but now he asked if at the moment of regeneration and conversion they received Him. Obviously, his question implied his belief that there was a special enduement of the Spirit of God for a consecrated and useful life over and above his initial work on the soul.
   It is a question which is in these words addressed to every Christian reader. You have believed in Christ through the ministry of the Spirit; but did you at that or any subsequent moment receive the infilling and unction of the Pentecostal Spirit? You may not be able to point to some marked manifestation; but are you conscious of those fruits which are the invariable accompaniments of that supreme gift? If not, learn to receive, and receive now.
   In how many instances might this inquiry be met by the reply which the apostle received: “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” John the Baptist clearly foretold that Christ would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire; but in his days Pentecost was still more than three years away, and these, his disciples, had never heard that the last days foretold by God had already been inaugurated. Alas that it should be possible after these centuries for many Christian people to be in ignorance of the special glory and characteristic of this age, and be content to live without seeking for themselves all that Pentecost means! Ephesus was moved in every avenue of her corporate life, and the worship of Diana imperilled—and all because twelve men received the fulness of the Spirit. —Our Daily Homily

Acts 19:13-29 – ​The Power of Jesus’ Name

   Where God’s spirit is mightily at work, Satan is not far away. Here the enemy’s emissaries were mean enough to use the name of Jesus to get themselves a few more shekels. But the name is useless apart from the living power of the Spirit. It is terrible when the very demons flout those who profess religion. Who are ye? meant, “You do not count.” The demons knew Christ as the Holy One of God and Paul as His representative, but these exorcist Jews were hollow as sounding brass. Cast into the balances, they were altogether lighter than vanity, Psalm 62:9.
   The outcome of all this was a mighty revival. The name of the Lord Jesus was magnified, and a searching work of grace led to the confession of sin and the cleansing of heart and life in many who had followed vain superstitions.
   So deep was the work of God in that great city of Ephesus that the trade in charms and amulets, sold in the neighborhood of the temple, began to fall off. The crowd of worshippers in Diana’s temple was also perceptibly less. People who came in from the seaboard would find their way to the Apostle, who preached the gospel with a power that could not be withstood. Regenerated souls therefore, in turn, carried the gospel throughout the whole region. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Acts 19:30-41 – ​The Lawlessness of Selfish Greed

   The theater of Ephesus still stands, and the writer of these words has spoken in its mighty enclosure, from the very spot where this town clerk—the model of officialism—must have stood to address and calm the frenzied crowd. Paul never knew the fear of man, and was with difficulty prevented from endangering his life in his desire to turn the occasion to account. He probably refers to this incident when he says that he fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, I Corinthians 15:32. But he could have done no good in the face of such a turmoil. Be valorous, Christian soldiers, but be discreet! Do not throw yourselves from the mountain brow unless God clearly calls for it.
   It is well to bear this scene in mind when the Apostle tells us of the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding” which stands sentry over heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). His was not the sequestered life of a religious recluse; he was continually battling his way through a stormy sea. But it is in the floods of great waters that we learn what our Lord can be. Dying outwardly and in human estimation, yet we live, II Corinthians 4:16; the earthern vessel chipped and broken, but the heavenly treasure unimpaired, II Corinthians 4:7. —Through the Bible Day by Day