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October 17, 2022 1:00 am
The Gospel is controversial, impacting even culture and business. The early church at Ephesus stood against worshiping the goddess Artemis, which affected the city’s silversmith business. In this message, we assess how the Ephesian church was founded and developed. What happens if idolatry destroys a church’s first love?
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Marie Flores looking to Jesus, founder and perfecter of our emphasis and silversmith who sold shrines the goddess Artemis when Paul came with the gospel business dropped like a rock, and soon, Paul found himself in a riot today the gospel impacts culture and trade and things get real hot real fast from the Moody Church in Chicago. This is running to win with Dr. Erwin looks her booze clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line as Pulitzer. The Ephesian crowd was upset because their income was threatened by Paul's preaching does the same conflict exist today.
It really does.
Dave perhaps in a different way.
But the gospel of Jesus Christ always runs contrary to popular culture, but you want to go back to your intro and talk about idolatry. If I were to ask all those who are listening today. What are the American idols. I wonder how you'd answer you know I think were living in a culture where we have idolized the self. The triumph of the self and that's what has led us into a great deal of difficulty and of course as part of that you have the triumph of sexuality in our culture, which in many respects is seen as the highest good.
That is idolatry.
And in the book of Ezekiel, we read that they have set up idols in their hearts, and I need to say very quickly that idols always break the heart of their worshipers.
These are the kinds of things I emphasize in my new book entitled no reason to hide standing for Christ in a collapsing culture and for gift of any amount. This book can be yours. Here's what you do go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 I'm going to be giving you this contact info again.
For now, let us listen to God's word and the impact of the gospel on culture and preach an unusual message in the sense that that's going to cover enough a lot of territory we don't have a lot of time to cover territory but were going to do it and it will be like flying over in a jet plane and watching the terrain below when I decided to do is to finally give you a message devoted to the question of what it is that we saw as we visited the seven churches of Asia minor, which are referred to in the book of Revelation, Jesus dictating a letter to John to the seven churches we visited all of them. And last time I mentioned some things and I'll be repeating a few of those things it's not because I'm losing it.
It's because as we get to the end of the message. I just want to kind of lay it all out on the table but first of all to get into it. I want to talk about the next chapter 19 where you have the story of the beginning of the church of Ephesus. Ephesus acts chapter 19 is today a big city and to give you an idea. One of the things that we learned was how far the apostle Paul had to travel. It was truly remarkable. For example, we were on a ship and we are going from Philippi to Ephesus and it took an entire night another entire 24 hour day and we got there the next day going about 15 miles an hour. One of the directors of the ship told me so. The apostle Paul really had much travel in his agenda, but he comes to Ephesus and today the ancient city of Ephesus is primarily ruins ruins of temples ruins of shops.
The city is one that is very very interesting and you have to walk maybe even a mile mile worth of ruins what were going to talk about today is how the church was founded what Jesus had to say to the church and then were going to say some other things and will get into the lessons that the agenda for the next 30 minutes or so first of all, the way in which the church was founded very briefly. We notice in acts chapter 19 that there are four different responses to the gospel for different responses to the gospel. It says in verse eight, he entered into the synagogue and for three months, spoke boldly reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when someone became stubborn and continued in unbelief speaking evil of the way that was an expression for the Christian faith.
They called it the way Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life. Paul withdrew from them and took the disciples and reason daily in the whole of Thai randomness.
We don't know where that whole is today. This continued for two years and because of the people who receive Christ and they told others. The Bible says all of Asia heard the word of the Lord, but one response is to reject the gospel and you'll notice it says some became hardened and stubborn and pulses because of that he says we went out and we went to and we lectured at this lecture hall rather than in the synagogue. Some believed in some did the rejection of the gospel. Let me give you a second example of how the gospel was received. It was misunderstood misunderstanding of the gospel. Verse 11 says God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the second. Their diseases let them evil spirits came out of them there.
Some faith healers today who sell you various water holy water or water that they have prayed over. I do not think at all that that's what was going on here but notice it says then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcist undertook to invoke the name of Jesus over those who had evil spirit saying I adjure you by the name of Jesus whom Paul proclaims seven sons of a Jewish high priest name Steve I were doing this but the evil spirit answered them Jesus I know, and Paul, I know, but who are you and the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them overpowered them so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. Wow, what a story here were some exorcists and Satan might've cooperated in their exorcisms separate story that's maybe why it is. Jesus said, many will say to me in that day we cast out demons in the name of Jesus and I'll tell them I never knew it may well be because of the cooperation of Satan in giving the illusion of true exorcisms. These were syncretistic's and they were willing to use any name any technique, marvelous, interesting story what they thought was all the name Jesus works for call will use the name Jesus to as if it was a magical charm. They didn't understand that it is not possible to exercise the authority of Jesus. Unless you are under the authority of Jesus. There is no magical word or incantation that is going to do it.
Now you see in the history of the Christian church that this is been an error you think.
For example, during the days when the mass was in Latin. Yes the people what is he saying the answer is, it didn't matter because it was the act itself. I was in the blue Mosque in this town five years ago speaking to one of the guides who always prayed in Arabic. I said you understand Arabic.
He said no not at all, he said, but all of our prayers are in Arabic. I said you know what you're saying no. He said I don't but he said I don't have to because it's in the act of saying it itself that it has value, and then he referred to the Latin mass in the established church, so there's always that danger up in personalizing the gospel by saying give me the formula give me the words that's all I need. Well, this proved that it didn't work. Did it mean what an amazing story.
The demon said Paul I know and Jesus I know, but who in the world are you now let me ask you a question dear St. is your name known among the evil posts that Satan controls does he say yes I know the name of that sister because of the way in which she prays in the way in which he can stand against Satan is your name known in the spirit world because of how you stand against it. So we have the gospel rejected the gospel misinterpreted and no wonder.
The Bible says after that fear came upon everybody in the name of the Lord was honored. I guess so. Once this story got out. People began to give Jesus a second look for sure now. Let me give you 1/3 response third response is to practice the gospel.
You'll notice it says that the people in verse 18. Many of those who are now believers came confessing divulging their practices, a number of those who practice magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all.
And they counted the value of them and found it to come to 50,000 pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continue to increase Dan to prevail tells you a couple of things. All of the silver that this would be worth actually when it's his books. The Greek word is a little bit ambiguous there. I think you could almost translate paraphernalia. Maybe it was some books or manuscripts. In those days it was probably also involved in some of their shrines.
Some of the things that they used in their own occult practices and they did the best things they had a bonfire and they burn their some people who come back from the mission field.
Missionaries who bring artifacts with them that were used in heathen worship. Bad idea as to get rid of them if you can burn them, throw them in the garbage. Some of you want to take things that you have in your homes and burned them in the garbage. There is music that should be burned in the garbage. No question about it. Just yesterday, somebody was telling me about some kinds of heavy metal music that is just filled with aggression.
Satanism all kinds of things and I say to the young people particularly you're listening to this kinda stuff. The best thing to do is to burn them, throw them away. Take an acts or give the ax to somebody who's used one before. Might be a good idea and and smash them to bits and take the pornography out of your garage and burn it to.
I mention that because that's where one man told me he kept his so what ever it is that causes you to all back into the same sin get rid of it. Just get rid of it.
See the reason we make provision for the flesh don't make provision for the flesh when it comes to sin take care of it somewhere I read that if you're going to jump across the chasm is much better to do it in one long jump than in two short ones. And when you get rid of sin do it up right.
Right now we have those responses. Let's go now to another response, and that was they were enraged because of it. There was a man named Demetrius as silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis. This is verse 23 and he brought no little business to the craftsman. These he gathered together with workman and basically all of give you a summary of his speech, he says were losing money. People who are coming to Christ aren't buying these little shrines anymore and because of the money.
Paul is saying that the gods made with hands are not gods of the last article is 26 Does Not Amuse You Way I would think so. I would think that if you made it with your hands is probably not a God but anyway there people today live idols in their homes.
They would not call them idols, but they are idols, they bow before them. They may kiss them and there is a danger not only that this trait of ours may come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, whom she and all the world worship now this was actually the great Temple of Artemis or Diana and that it was saying this now there are all kinds of other small ones, but this is the one that was with central and by the way, whole tour groups would come to worship there. That's another reason why you see the remake and so much money off of these idols is because of all the tourists that came to look and to pray, and this was one of the seven wonders of the world the wonderful great Temple and so what he's really saying is it's calling into question. This this is so interesting. First of all, he begins by talking about the fact that they are losing money than it gets to a matter of worship and the whole bit. Now look at what happens next. It says when they were heard this, they were enraged and were crying out right is Artemis of the Ephesians.
So the city was filled with confusion and they rush together into the theater dragging with them. Gaius and Aristarchus, etc. and today when you are there in the city of Ephesus, the ancient ruins. There you can see the theater and this is where that happened. Now it is true that the theater that you see is one that has been reconstructed. Its was rebuilt.
But here's the theater you know I when you take these towards you are just again amazed at the Bible how that the Bible deals with real events, real situations, real whole thing is real and here you see the theater into which it is that they came. Now there's a verse here I to tell you that Darryl Worley used to be on staff.
I should help us about is to say that this was one of his favorite verses. He said that with a smile on his face.
I always say it sounds like an independent BAP list annual meeting. You'll notice it says in verse 32 now. Some cried out one thing some another for the assembly was in confusion and most of them did not know why they had come together.
There is some church meetings like that, but all of this is happening here in the theater in the theater at Ephesus and you have this rebellion right now.
Later on, the apostle Paul and you'll have to read the whole chapter to find out what pulled it in on that time were going today on a jet plane now, years later, the apostle Paul.
Sometime later he writes the book of Ephesus, the book of Ephesians and he writes a letter to this church. One of the most beautiful deep letters and all the New Testament, he prays for them twice. In that letter. And once he prays that they might know the length and the depth than the height of the love of God. Right now we fast forward 30 years old Bibles out of their places.
Now, because you are listening.
Revelation chapter 2 were talking about, say, 30 years later.
Now Revelation chapter 2 to the angel of the church in Ephesus write the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your works, your toil, your patient endurance how you cannot bear with those who are evil but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not but found them to be foals. I know that you are enduring patiently bearing up for my namesake and you have not grown weary, but I have this against you, you've abandoned the love you had at first.
Remember therefore from where you have fallen repent and do the works.
You did it at the beginning. If not, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent. Well, as we noticed in the last message.
There is no lampstand in Ephesus.
Although there may be in the modern city. There may be believers, but there's no place where you can sail. Here's a church.
Islam has snuffed out. The church in the seven different areas. Not that there was a church building.
As such, when Jesus was writing this. It was probably a host church.
But the question still is this what do we have to learn in order to help us. I want to refer one more time to hug you Sophia hi guess Sophia is the church of holy wisdom. Minutes done. Remember it was dedicated in the year 537 by Justinian and Emperor. I'd love to tell you today, why, and Emperor got involved doing this, but we don't have time but you'll know that it was fine Emperor and one of the reasons I wanted to be there and I was there five years ago and then recently is because the architecture of Moody church is patterned after hi Gail Sophia, when you go inside the church. You can see some of these parallels and at least if it not being patterned. That's too strong a statement it was inspired by hug you, Sophia. Our architecture is a combination of Byzantine architecture Byzantine and also Romanesque. It's really both and so I wanted to be there in God and his grace is given the opportunity to be there twice now it becomes a symbol for all that I'm talking about Christian church from 537 two 1453 the fall of Constantinople. It is turned into a mosque for 500 years and since the 1920s has been a museum.
All of the major churches of Constantinople as it was called back then insist on both today.
All of the major churches have been turned into mosques.
So with that background.
What I would like to do now is to give you the nine lessons nine lessons that I believe first of all let me say as I begin these lessons that the church is really important to Jesus.
I told you nine lessons I had 11 this week of one of the first was the importance of the church to Jesus.
It is he who walks among the golden candlestick he observes our worship goes up and down the aisle. He watched today what we gave in our offering. He watched whether or not we were singing or whether or not were just standing there wondering when the song was going to be over.
Jesus says the church is number one and he walks amid the candlesticks and he walks at Moody church in the matter where you are listening to this today. He walks down the aisle of your church to and notices everything that is done while very quickly. The lessons number one, the continuation of any church.
The continuation of any congregation can never be taken for granted the existence of any congregation the continuation of it can't be taken for granted that were churches there and they are not there now I understand here in America there was a church that became a restaurant serving fried chicken and it was known in the area. People came and the question was how did you end up selling fried chicken will the answer is in order to supplement the budget we began to sell fried chicken and we got better at selling fried chicken. Then we did selling the gospel. So today the church sells fried chicken.
Usually when a church closes it is because of the churches neglect of a lot of different things.
Yes, my friend, this is Pastor Luther and it is usually because the church has neglected the gospel and its implications. Let me ask you this question. Should we interpret the Bible through the lens of culture as many people are doing today. Or should we critique the culture through the lens of Scripture.
That's a key question is I've written my new book entitled no reason to hide standing for Christ in a collapsing culture and I discussed various issues even such as racism, diversity, equity inclusion, how do we as Christians understand that from a biblical standpoint and what is happening racially.
Are we being divided or are we being united for a gift of any amount. This book can be yours.
Here's what you do you go to RTW offer.com or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 I'm going to be giving you that contact info again give you time to get a pencil because this is very critical. I believe that this book speaks to the controlling realities of the culture and the response of the church to this collapsing culture. Go to RTW offer.com and as you might guess, RTW offer is all one word or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337 where ever the gospel has gone light is burst forth into the culture. But sometimes that right is extinguished.
Next time I'm running to win more on why so many ancient churches vanished.
Join us for the lessons we can learn from the seven churches of Revelation located in what is now Turkey. It's no secret that America is in crisis. Pastor's book no reason to hide standing for Christ in the collapsing culture will be sent as our gift to you when you give a gift of any amount to support running to win. Just call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 online go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com or write to running to win Moody church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago 60614 running to win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap. Your race of life. Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin Luzerne this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the teacher