The Study of Ephesians – Week One

Bible Study – Ephesians

Anne Graham Lotz’ 3-question study (link below)

Week 1: Read Acts 19:1-20:1

Day One’s reading: Acts 19:1-10

We are introduced here to a situation where Paul was in Ephesus for more than two years preaching in the synagogue and the hall of Tyrannus. Paul’s time in the synagogue was cut short to only three months because a group of Jews began to cause a disturbance. They had ‘hardened their hearts’ to the message Paul was sharing. So, Paul wisely decided to leave the synagogue and teach elsewhere.

What can we learn from this?

  1. We need to be mindful of the atmosphere and energy around us. When the message is being resisted, we can say our goodbyes and let it rest in God’s hands. We need to move on.
  2. We can always find another location, another opportunity, another audience. We don’t have to stay and fight. In fact, we shouldn’t fight at all. We should be like Christ and be humble, meek, gentle and patient. No need for disturbing the peace.

Day Two’s reading: Acts 19:11-16

vv. 11-13 – “God was performing extraordinary miracles by Paul’s hands, 12 so that even facecloths or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, and the diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them. Now some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists also attempted to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I command you by the Jesus that Paul preaches!”

The first thing to note here is that God, Himself, was performing the miracles. Paul was simply one of the vehicles by which the miracles were performed. Secondly, even fabric was used to heal and exorcise. Finally, God did NOT give authority to these Jewish exorcists to be his messengers. This is something to keep note of. If a person is NOT on God’s team, then they will have no power. They are impotent.

In the above passage, it is good to note that what came after was that the evil spirit talked back to these Jewish exorcists and told them point blank, “Jesus and Paul I know, but, who are you?” And straightway the man with the spirit in him attacked these exorcists and chased them from the area in humiliating fashion. They left ‘naked and afraid.’

Day Three’s reading: Acts 19:17-22

vv. 17-20 – “When this became known to everyone who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, they became afraid, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high esteem. 18 And many who had become believers came confessing and disclosing their practices, 19 while many of those who had practiced magic collected their books and burned them in front of everyone. So, they calculated their value and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 In this way the word of the Lord flourished and prevailed.”

Through all of the events thus far, the name of Jesus became famous and the result was that practicing magicians not only gave up their practice, they also burned an enormously valuable collection of books, AND, they proclaimed publicly that they had quit their practicing of magic. This was no small thing. People were turning from their wicked ways and turning to the Lord Jesus.

Day Four’s reading: Acts 19:23-31

23-27 – “23 About that time there was a major disturbance about the Way. 24 For a person named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, provided a great deal of business for the craftsmen. 25 When he had assembled them, as well as the workers engaged in this type of business, he said: “Men, you know that our prosperity is derived from this business. 26 You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this man Paul has persuaded and misled a considerable number of people by saying that gods made by hand are not gods. 27 Not only do we run a risk that our business may be discredited, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be despised and her magnificence come to the verge of ruin—the very one all of Asia and the world worship.”

Here, we find that money has come into play. This Demetrius fellow noticed that business was beginning to shift because of Paul’s ministry and he gathered his fellow craftsmen to make a stand against Paul.

Paul was preaching the truth and people were converting in large enough numbers that business for the idol makers was in decline and they were feeling the pinch. So they created a mob scene to disturb the peace and blame Paul, the converts and the Jews.

Day Five’s reading: Acts 19:32-20:1

32 Some were shouting one thing and some another, because the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 Some Jews in the crowd gave instructions to Alexander after they pushed him to the front. Motioning with his hand, Alexander wanted to make his defense to the people. 34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

The crowd was confused. In this state they are either easily led or indignantly ignorant and unreasonable. With Alexander, the Jew, they were unreasonable. They found him to be one of the problems. And with this, they spent two hours – two hours – being unreasonable and unreachable.

Only after their energy was all but worked out of them, did the city clerk come in and calm them down.

We should expect that some people will be greatly distressed when we preach the Good News of the Gospel out in public. We must be prepared to keep the peace. To do whatever is necessary to extend the hand of peace to these lost souls. For they are acting out of fear and confusion. They do not know what they are doing. Had they known; they would not have crucified the Lord. Sound familiar?


 

To sum this week up, we need to be mindful of the audience we are speaking to. What are their motivations? What perspective do they come to the conversation with? Are they fearful of losing something? Are they holding tightly onto a lie? Can they be reached?

We need to not become instruments of chaos, but instead, God requires us to be peacemakers. If we have the mind of Christ, then this comes easy, yes? Maybe for some. But, for me, it is still a learning and growing thing. I am not yet a mature Christian. I still fight with the flesh on a daily basis. But my goal is to be like Christ. As long as I continue to look to the cross and to the future, I will stay on path and slowly make my way down the road.

Next week we look to the book of Ephesians, Chapter One, which promises to be a full-bodied hug.

Until then,

Peace be with you.

Eric

The link to Anne Graham Lotz’ study is here:

3-question Bible Study on the book of Ephesians

Been away for a while.

Hi folks. Sorry for the disappearance. I have no excuse for not writing. Just living the Bipolar life: dealing with depression every. single. day. It can be a bear. There are many days I long to be manic because I miss being energized and full of life. Ha! I don’t even know the last time I felt great.

But like I said, it’s no excuse. I mean, how hard is it to simply say, “Hi.”?

I guess I put a lot of undo pressure on myself to be perfect. To say just the right thing. To touch all the bases. But, I learned that that is part of being a people-pleaser and I should not be a people pleaser. I should be pleasing God.

So, without further ado, herer is something I wrote today.

In Mark, chapter 15 verses 25 to 32 we read:

“It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews. They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.” (NIV)

I often forget how cruel the people were to Jesus as he stood on the cross. They visibly mocked him. They made fun of him. If Jesus was not spared from the humiliation of ignorant folks, then why should I think that I will be free from such people? Do I hold back my faith in front of others in effort to avoid the shame and humiliation that they will throw at me? Am I timid about my faith? If so, does that mean that I am weak in the faith? Do I need to change my perspective so that I can ‘boldly’ proclaim the Gospel everywhere at any time in front of anybody? Am I hiding my faith when I should be/could be stepping out with confidence?

What about you? Do you remain silent when opportunities and the nudging of the Holy Spirit tell you to say something? Can you remember a time when you spoke out in front of people you knew would silently or openly mock you? Did you feel ashamed or did the experience energize you? How can we shore up our strength to endure such insults and mockery?

I can think of two things we can do so that we can step out boldly and proclaim our faith no matter who is listening. 1) Prayer. We can ask God to embolden us and grow us so that we may endure the insults just as Jesus did. 2) We can read the Bible. We can seek out scripture that deals with building our character. And, we can seek out scripture that helps us to change our perspectives.

Remember, we are to be ‘spiritually minded’. If we walk in the Spirit, we can overcome the failings of the flesh. We CAN be strong through Christ. Philippians 4:13 says that we can do all things through Christ because he strengthens us.

If Jesus endured mockery and humiliation, we can too. Don’t be a shrinking violet. Be a lion. Be bold.

Here is a link to a resource that may help you learn to walk in the Spirit:

How to Walk in the Spirit

God Bless.

New Beginnings

Hi there! I just started this blog to share some Bible resources (studies, links, etc.).

I hope you get as much out of them as I get joy in producing them.

I’ll get started on the first Bible study offering right away. Come back next week and take a look!

In His debt, Eric