Ephesus: Acts 19 (8)
Pray Psalm 72.5-8.
They shall fear You
As long as the sun and moon endure,
Throughout all generations.
He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing,
Like showers that water the earth.
In His days the righteous shall flourish,
And abundance of peace,
Until the moon is no more.
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.
Sing Psalm 72.5-8.
(Martyrdom: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed)
Let nations fear You while the sun and moon endure on high;
refresh, renew us, every one, like sweet rain falling from the sky.
Let righteousness abundant be where Jesus’ reign endures;
let peace increase from sea to sea ‘til moonlight shall be no more.
Read Acts 19.1-41; meditate on verses 8-10.
1. How did Paul present the truth to the Ephesians?
2. What were the results of this?
For all its commerce, regional power, religious devotion, and civic life, Ephesus lacked the most important thing any people or culture can know: the truth. Paul brought the truth to the Ephesians, unlocking the power of God’s Word by daily reasoning and persuading, first in the synagogue and then in what was probably a rented hall (vv. 8, 9). From a beginning of twelve men, over a period of two years, “all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus” (v. 10). That was an achievement of more than twelve men; many came to the testimony of truth and eagerly shared it with their families and neighbors.
The testimony of truth transformed the province of Asia, and the church in Ephesus became one of the great Christian centers of the first centuries. It’s possible that even the rowdy Demetrius came to faith in Jesus and the testimony of truth (3 Jn. 1.12; Eusebius, the early church historian, reports that John served in Ephesus prior to his exile to Patmos; his epistles were likely written to that church). Imagine the impact Demetrius’ conversion must have made.
Do not underestimate the power of sharing the Gospel. By conversation, reasoning, questions and answers, and sharing God’s Word, many in your Personal Mission Field will be persuaded to believe in Jesus and embrace the testimony of truth. Don’t keep it from them.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Paul’s time in Ephesus was first noted as three months (Acts 19.8), and then in another venue, it turned into two years (Acts 19.10). God’s timing is always perfect, and when mentioned like this, it is specific and special. It gives credence to the fact’s historicity.
In God’s economy there is no rush. His will is done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6.10), as He orchestrates it. And while we are on earth, we get to participate with Him in its fulfillment.
But time as He knows it, is not how we know it. Peter said, “Beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3.8, 9).
The important thing to God is not how long it all takes. He desires that no one should perish; and so, He waits. And wants all to come to repentance. This is how believers, all through the ages, have been allowed to participate with Him in getting His will accomplished.
Three months, two years, a day, a thousand years. It is all the same to God. “The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all” (Ps. 103.19).
He is, thankfully, longsuffering with mankind, and patient. Waiting for us to realize and accept His perfect gift, and then get busy about telling others of this Good News. (Actually, the best news ever.) That God so loved the world “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3.16).
This is the timely testimony of truth that changes hearts and lives.
1. How would you summarize your own testimony of truth in the Gospel?
2. What does it mean for you to have the patience of God in working your Personal Mission Field?
3. Is there anyone in your Personal Mission Field you think is unlikely ever to believe? What would God say?
Luke doth not mean that the men of Asia came thither to hear Paul; but that the smell [savor] of his preaching went throughout all Asia, and that the seed was sown far and wide; so that his labor was fruitful not only to one city, but also to places which were far off; and that cometh to pass oftentimes, that when the truth of God is preached in one place, it soundeth where the voice of the minister cannot sound, being spread abroad far and wide; because it is delivered from hand to hand, and one doth teach another. For one man were not sufficient, unless every man were for himself diligent to spread abroad the faith. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Acts 19.10
Pray Psalm 72.12-20.
Pray for the continuing spread of the Gospel and the truth of God throughout the world. Pray for your Personal Mission Field, for missionaries and church leaders in distant and troubled lands, and for the truth of Jesus to become the testimony of many new believers today.
Sing Psalm 72.12-20.
(Martyrdom: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed)
The Lord the needy rescues when he cries to Him for grace;
all they who suffer violence find mercy before His face.
Let Christ be praised and all the gold of Sheba be His right;
let blessings to His Name be told, and prayers made both day and night.
And let the earth abound with grain, let fields His fame proclaim;
and may our King forever reign and nations bless His great Name.
Now bless the God of Israel Who wondrous works performs.
And bless His Name, His glory tell both now and forevermore!
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.