A City on Edge (Acts 19; Nehemiah 9)

“So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s companions in travel,” Acts 19:29

The title of today’s bog could easily be the descriptive words for many cities in our world today.  It seems that much of our world is on edge.  Could it be that God is positing our world for something of great significance?

Now there are those who would respond with a prophetic answer:  “The end of the world is coming.”  Such people quote Matthew 24-25 as proof texts.

Still others would respond with a pessimistic answer:  “Ours is a world that has gone crazy.”  Such people quote I Timothy 4:1-6 as a proof text.

However there are some who respond with a possible answer, “It is possible that God is positioning the church to be the great light in the darkness.”  Such people quote Matthew 5:13-16 as a proof text.

Think it through:

When Paul comes to the city of Ephesus, Acts 19, it is a city on edge.  The city is known for two things:  1. It’s commercial trade 2. Its worship of Artemis.

The people are committed, in their darkness to these two things.  As Paul comes, he discover’s the presence of the gospel, 12 men.  Paul immediately engages these men with the truth of the gospel and a church plant begins.

For three months Paul reasons with the people in the synagogue and then for 21 months he ministers from a rented hall.  I believe the very hall where the riot almost happens.  During these 2 years some amazing things happen:

  • God’s dies extraordinary miracles through Paul, Vs: 11-12
  • Men do foolish things, thinking they can have the power of God without knowing God, Vs: 13-16
  • Many people renounce their old way of living, Vs: 17-19
  • The city tries to remove the gospel for personal gain, Vs: 20-41
  • Paul leaves the city

Here is the path we see in this city over the long haul: The gospel is established-the gospel expands-and the gospel evaporates!!!

In this moment I think it is very important that you see two additional passages of scripture, Ephesians 2; Revelation 2:1-5

The church at Ephesus would be blessed to expand after Paul leaves.  Church history records that the Apostle John comes to be the pastor.  Many believe it was from Ephesus where John writes I, II, and III John.  We do know that Paul writes the book of Ephesians as a letter to the church helping them to understand the grace of God that is to impact them for righteous living.  We also know that Jesus speaks to this church some 30 years later, pleading with them to turn back their first love.  History tells us that they did not turn back.

Here is what I take away:

  1. Every church has opportunities before them.
  2. Every church has obstacles before them.
  3. Those who are successful, planted in cities that are on edge, are those who love Jesus and reach out daily making disciples of all people

Our response:

As a follower of Christ you must choose to either hide from the world, give into the world, or be a light to the world.  I pray that you and decide to be a light?  This happens as we love God and are committed to making disciples.

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