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Acts of the Apostles: 36 - Acts 19:6-16

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Acts of the Apostles

36 - Acts 19:6-16

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Acts of the Apostles: 36 - Acts 19:6-16

MP4 Video - 1080p (1.68 GB)
MP4 Video - 720p (1.01 GB)
MP3 Audio (31.8 MB)

In this class, we will discuss Acts 19:6-16 and examine the following: Paul laid his hands on some disciples in Ephesus, and they received the Holy Spirit, spoke in tongues and prophesied. Some Jewish men who practiced exorcism attempted to invoke the name of Jesus, but the evil spirit recognized their lack of authority and attacked them. The incident became known throughout the city, leading many to fear the name of the Lord. As a result, the word of God spread and gained power, while some Ephesian Jews and Greeks also began to believe in Jesus.


[Darris McNeely] Back in the Book of Acts, we're in Chapter 19 of Acts. And we are really into a kind of, as I have said here in the last chapter or two as Paul began to work his way down into Greece and I've talked about Paul being in kind of the heart of the Greco-Roman world and his encounters in Athens and Corinth, which we covered last time in Corinth, testified to that and many things, no doubt he was learning as he was going along. But we have now moved into Chapter 19, and Paul here takes up residence in the city of Ephesus. And the period of time that he is going to spend in Ephesus is listed as two years and then three years. There's two different references. And most everyone accepts that better part of three years is what is meant in terms of the time that he will spend in Ephesus in this part of Asia and what he is going to be doing.

And so Ephesus is a major center. It is the capital of Asia, it is the governmental center of Asia. It is the major east-west terminus and beginning road. If you're coming from the West and coming into Asia, you normally would have come to Ephesus. It had a harbor, a lot of ships coming and going. Anything coming from the West in Asia Minor and beyond going west would have eventually funneled through Ephesus as well. That would have been the terminus for goods, services, travel, etc., coming out of Asia, and again the major port there.

And so it is a quite large city, 200,000-plus in terms of its population. And it is an old city, it's been there for a number of years, goes back to the Greek period. Keep in mind that when you're looking at Asia Minor here in this western coast, and of course, this is where we have the seven Churches of Revelation and much going on here. This at that particular time was largely kind of a Greek colony. The Greeks had come over here in these cities, Ephesus and all being a part of it, were connected to the Greek and the Greek empire that succeeded Alexander the Great. And so that has a long history by the time we come to Paul, that continues and actually even into the 20th century with the city of Smyrna and a lot of Greeks there that were eventually expelled after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

But at Paul's time, he comes in here to Ephesus and he's going to set up a base of operations and probably have what will be his most productive period of time, his productive period of ministry. A number of these congregations in Asia that we read about in Colossae, the seven congregations that are mentioned in Revelation 2 and 3, the seven Churches of Revelation likely, no doubt, started during this period of time. And so it's a very fertile period of evangelization, mission work, however we want to term that. But growth within Asia and the impact of Paul's ministry and the gospel there. He will train disciples, he will set up a school in Ephesus while he's also working as a tent maker. People seem to probably be coming in from the areas and flowing through this teaching school that he has and then going out to these areas. And among them will be those who will start congregations. We could probably count upwards of at least 20 possible congregations that will spin off during this period of time. The obvious ones that we've talked about plus others that are mentioned in Colossae, to whom the letter of the Colossians is written. So, it's a very fertile period of time.

Also, a lot is going to happen from Chapters 19 and 20 in this period of time. As Paul ends his period of time in Ephesus, he makes another circle around through Greece, back to Corinth, and then swings back near Ephesus, stops at Miletus, meets with elders from the Church in Ephesus, then he goes on to Jerusalem. And so this three-plus year period of time is going to be actually from the Scripture, there's going to be a lot that will happen, but it's possible that things are happening as well that are not explicitly mentioned in Scripture. And we do know that he is going to write the letter of 1 Corinthians here, and that will go back to the Church at Corinth where he's been for a year and a half. And it's possible that others were written as well. I'll save that possible discussion toward the end after we go through a number of these episodes. But there's a lot happening from the Book of Acts, the letters that are generated out of here that we have as part of the record and other things connected with that that we might be able to discern and kind of read between the lines that are taking place as possibilities, but plausible possibilities.

So, with that, I also want to mention just briefly and we'll circle back to this, this period of time is quite... There's a lot going on, very fertile, to use that term. There's a lot of growth, there's a lot of subsequent development. If we just were to focus upon the Church that begins here in the city of Ephesus, then we have just a lot right there. Paul will start a Church. He will nurture this Church. He will leave Timothy behind to be the pastor of this Church. Paul then will write a letter to the Ephesians, and that is a part of the New Testament period of time.

We have 1 and 2 Timothy pastoral epistles. You haven't discussed those yet in your class. But 1 and 2 Timothy are letters written to Timothy, who was the pastor of Ephesus. And the things that Paul references in those two letters pertain to that Church. And so we have a base of knowledge along with what happens in Chapters 19. Chapter 19 is very rich as well.

1, 2 and 3 John are also written to the people of Ephesus by the Apostle John, who late in the first century takes up residence in the city. Then we have the letter to the Ephesian Church in Revelation 2. Taken together, all of those letters, references, the story here in Acts, we probably know more about this Church in Ephesus than any other congregation that we know from the New Testament period with the letters that are written and all that's taken place. And so it has a unique role and a unique place in the New Testament canon. And I think that it bears a lot more time than I can put into it here in this class for study. But it's something that I've thought about over the last several years quite a bit.

I will mention that in our thinking and much of our development in the United Church of God, in our planning, and statements, and focus, and even more recently our strategic planning, we have focused on the Book of Ephesians. The current strategic plan and operation plan, which this represents here, has just gone out to all the ministry to chart out the course of the work for the Church over the next year is based on a strategic plan in which we rely very heavily upon the Book of Ephesians. We have a page in here called the Ephesian Framework that talks about what Paul did there. And then the concept of truth and love, which is a part of this as well, is something that is taken out of Ephesians 4, and this flows from a focus that goes back 11 years ago and beyond. Eleven years ago, the Council of Elders recrafted our vision statement, which is hanging in the conference room here. And I've talked about that before. But the vision statement is largely based on Ephesians 4:18, and it's taken from there.

In addition to that, going back to nearly the beginning of the United Church of God through certain statements and focuses in our meetings, we recognize that the Church, United Church of God, must, “Be a work before we could do a work.” We must be a work before we can do a work. And we rolled that around in our discussions in our culture for 25, 6 years or so to first be a work before we can do a work. Really, that idea comes out of Ephesians 2, and I won't take the time to turn there right now where Paul says, “We are created for good works as a result of our calling and the receipt of God's grace and His Spirit.” Created for good works.

And the work we do must first be that inner work, be a work so that then God can use us to do work to His glory. And so really, all of our years in the United Church of God, my personal feeling is God's focused us on the many aspects of what happened at Ephesus and the Book of Ephesians especially, and we have come back to it again. And so I'm kind of excited about that myself as we move forward in the next year and more to work a plan that is centered on Scripture and ideas that are fundamentally here in the Book of Ephesians and otherwise.

So, as we go through this, my point is, keep this as a background. I'll refer to it, and what we read about then can help us to understand something about, not only what Paul did but how it impacts our work today, and how we look at ourselves, and what we should learn. Now, in the last class, we talked about the fact that Paul has come back to Ephesus now a second time. And as the Chapter 19 opens, and we had covered the story of Apollo's coming to Ephesus, a Jew mighty in Scripture that the end of Chapter 18 talks about who was eloquent and yet needed a bit of instruction regarding the role of Christ, Priscilla and Aquila pulled him aside, instructed him in that. He then goes on to Corinth across the Aegean there. And then, Paul having made a circle back through Jerusalem, Antioch, and the Churches in Asia, he comes now back to Ephesus a second time, as it says here in verse 1.

Acts 19:1-3 “He passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus, he found some disciples," and we talked about that last time, 12 disciples, who had been baptized with the baptism of John.” In verse 3, “And they had not heard about the Holy Spirit.”

They are baptized now, or we can say re-baptized, but in one technical sense, you might say that they go through a full baptism, through which, not only is repentance involved, as they understand that there was a missing element, but they also then have hands laid upon them.

Acts 19:6 “The Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”

Much as what happened in Acts 2. And, of course, with the occasion with Cornelius when the opening to the gentiles took place as well.

Acts 19:7 Says that “There were about 12 of them.”

And again, we don't know why Aquila and Priscilla are not mentioned in this, or why they didn't engage with him these before. Maybe they did. Luke just glosses over so much to get right to the point of the story, which seems to be his particular style. He doesn't give us a lot of details, doesn't tie things back together. So, here's what happens. We have a nucleus of a Church, and Paul is now going to set up shop in Ephesus for this period of time.

Acts 19:8 It says, “He, Paul went into the synagogue and he spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.”

So, as his custom was, and again to some of the questions that we've had already, Paul, even though he shook the dirt off of his feet symbolically back in Corinth and turned to the gentiles, he didn't turn his back completely on the Jews. Here, for three weeks, he goes into the synagogue until he can't go into the synagogue.

Acts 19:9 Says, “Some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the way before the multitude.”

And so, again, the typical pattern that Paul dealt with throughout his travels in all these cities, go into the synagogue, be able to stay for a while, probably draw some believers and followers who began to see the Scriptures including Christ now, the Old Testament Scriptures, and began to be converted. But then that creates a division within the synagogue. The truth by nature, always, in a sense, creates division when it comes to the deepest issues of faith and belief. Jesus did speak to that in His ministry. He talked about there will be times when you will be divided against your own family and others, you will be hated for my name's sake, He said. That is the result of the essence of truth, and the gospel of salvation, and these deepest matters about God. In this case, it is that Jesus was God who came in the flesh and was the Messiah and fulfilled these Old Testament Scriptures. And at base, at the root was something a hardened Jew, or let's say a faithful Jew could not accept unless, again, God's Spirit is beginning to work with them and open their mind. And so it creates this divide. But it's a divide based on truth.

And Paul separates. He leaves. Anyone who's following Paul's and wants to hear more, they leave too. I think we could say that Paul peaceably leaves and it's not like he's antagonistic. Later in the Book of Romans, he expresses his deep love for his own countrymen, his fellow Jew. So, it's not that he is out to destroy Judaism. He is not. He would want to embrace all of them, but he knows that the truth is the truth and it has separated him. And as he preaches it, he sees that others who are being called also must separate and go through what we have to understand is a parting.

And this is a term that New Testament scholars talk about, a parting of the way or the ways. I have a book that goes through this in quite a bit of detail from some several New Testament scholars to show that in the course of the first century, as the Church grew and all of this takes place, that there is a parting of the ways between the Jews and the Church, I'll use that term here, and the disciples. And it's generally peaceable, at least in the initial stages, to the degree that Paul wishes it that way. But as we have seen, the Jews have stirred up trouble Berea, Thessalonica and Corinth, they stir up trouble.

This continues through the first century. And what we read about in the messages to the Churches about the synagogues of Satan and the opposition that they are dealing with in some of those cities, again, in Asia, we're looking at this opposition continuing. It comes by the end of the first century, the disciples just cannot even go into the synagogue. All right. So, there's a separation that takes place. This is well documented and understood.

And we have to understand that in our own context today, when God calls an individual to understand the truth of the Gospel, the truth of the teaching of the Bible, and that you begin to obey and follow that, it does create a separation with your former belief, to begin with, one's former Church. If you don't have a Church and people, you know, they get serious about religion after maybe years just being separate or whatever, it will cause a separation from your former lifestyle. I mean, if you were running with the wrong crowd, immoral, addictive type behavior, you're going to have to separate from that.

In addition, it might cause a separation within and among family who cannot accept the fact that one is keeping the Sabbath and will no longer keep Christmas. I experienced that in my own family, and quite distinctly, many people have. So, there's a separation, and you try to keep peace. Many times you can. People can coexist, a husband and wife, one in the Church, one not, or you can coexist with others, but you're still different. And in that way, you could be a positive example in a positive light, but you're no longer running with them in their ways. You're now in a new way. And all that takes place.

In this case, Paul, then to bring this back, the things concerning the kingdom of God, they do create of distinction. We have always to be careful that we don't let that distinction become something of self-righteousness and we begin to unduly judge others and speak too harshly. We have to understand that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever would believe on Him would not perish. And God first loved us even when we were sinners. We always have to keep that in mind. But what happens is then there's a separation. So, when we come back here into the text, I just want to make one other comment about verse 8.

Acts 19:8 It says that “He went into the synagogue.”

Now, to date, there has not been any evidence of a synagogue excavated in the ancient city of Ephesus. I've been there twice now, in a few days, I'll lead a group and we'll go there for my third time and we'll point this out. They haven't found anything. As far as I can see or been had pointed out to me, there's only one evidence of Jews in the city, and it's found on the steps going up into one building. And there carved into the marble steps is a Menorah, a Jewish Menorah. And it's there to this day. And so it's a sign that at least someone was Jewish and they put that in there. But they just have not found evidence of that. Doesn't mean that they weren't there. The Bible tells us or the text shows us this, and we know that from secular history as well. But no evidence has been found. So, here's what Paul does.

Acts 19:9-10 “He has to depart from them” in verse 9, “and he withdrew the disciples, those that are following him, reasoning daily in the School of Tyrannus. And this continued for two years so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.”

And so, again, in one verse, Paul or Luke gives a summary of two years of work. Now, what's happening here? He reasons daily in the School of Tyrannus. Let's kind of focus on that for a moment and what we're told here. All who dwelt in Asia heard the word. I mean, that's the spreading of the gospel. How did that happen? Well, we're told that he reasons daily in the School of Tyrannus. What is the School of Tyrannus? It's the School of Tyrannus. What it is, the best that they can understand, it is a room. It is a place where somebody named Tyrannus, and that name is known in Ephesus. Again, they show us a stone monument that is in the Ephesus museum that has the name Tyrannus on it. It's a family name. May not be this particular Tyrannus, but of the same family. So, we have a piece of evidence that there was a family, seemingly a prominent family, named Tyrannus in Ephesus at this time.

And so they had a school. Now, this was not uncommon. People would have schools where they would teach rhetoric, they would teach mathematics, they might teach philosophy, and that would go on. Typically, whoever, say, the owner, the schoolmaster would probably teach in the mornings. Now, here's something else that's going on at this time. Paul sets up shop as a tent maker in Ephesus. That's his trade. That's his journeyman trade. He's a card-carrying union member of the tent-making union, and he can go from city to city. He's done that in Corinth, and along with Aquila and Priscilla, who are of the same trade, they probably set up shop in an area. And you can see the area where the marketplace was, where they likely had their shop. It's right next to the spot here.

I haven't shown any pictures of Ephesus. I need to do that here in a moment. But Paul sets up shop there as a tent maker. Now, you didn't need a whole lot. You needed kind of a knife or a sickle, which would have been a kind of large bladed instrument to cut leather, to cut canvas, and an awl and some needles. And then you would probably source locally the thread. And that's about all you needed to set up shop as a tent maker. Those were the tools he could have easily carried with him from place to place, rented a space.

And what Paul would have done with Aquila and Priscilla is, their workday would have begun at sun up, at sunrise, and been over by 11:00 a.m. That's typical in the Mediterranean world. And shops would close down. They may not open up at all the rest of the day, or they might wait till after 3:00 and reopen for a short period of time. And that's still common in places like Italy and the Mediterranean world today. In some of the smaller cities, you'll still see that. But by 11:00 a.m., their work would have been done. That's probably when Paul, after maybe a quick lunch, would have walked down the street in Ephesus and probably not too far, a block or two away, where he had rented the School of Tyrannus because Tyrannus was done using his room that day by 11:00. And then Paul would have used that for several hours in the afternoon to teach. Okay?

Think about this, folks. Wouldn't you love to be done with classes at ABC by 11:00 a.m., maybe noon? Let's push it to noon. I would. You know, we're fresher, more alert, for the most part in those hours. Afternoon, you get to dragging. I've been fortunate enough, my dirty little secret, I get all my classes scheduled in the morning, and I love it because you're sleeping and I'm dragging myself by 2:00. And I've tried teaching at 2:30 and 3:00, and that's a little difficult and challenging at ABC. Some private schools, they are done by noon, 1:00, and finished. I think that's a pretty good model. Well, that's what work, and for, let's say, the only of the school, Tyrannus, he would have been done by noon. And then Paul rented this space. Now, there's one spot, and I'll show the tour group this when we walk by it. It's in a group of buildings in Ephesus.

One New Testament scholar that I met over there, he thinks that he can point out the exact spot for the School of Tyrannus. It's a room, a large room, a little bit about half this size here in our ABC classroom. And it's in a set of buildings that are, it's called the Terrace Homes in Ephesus. What they are, they are high-rise condos of the day, luxury high-rise condos owned by the upper class. They've been excavated. They were quite nice. Many of them had running water coming in and indoor toilets and everything else, and quite nice for the day and frescoes, and columns, and water, and this and that. There's one place there is a large room that they know in the late first century, was used as kind of a banquet room that would have been beyond the time of Paul, and it's got marble around the walls. They're still in the business of restoring it even last year when I was there.

And one scholar thinks, he says, “That was the room of Tyrannus, the School of Tyrannus.” Well, you can debate. Everybody's going to debate that. I would say, at best, it gives us an idea. And he thinks that Paul probably would have had his own place of living not too far from that neighborhood. And we do know that his tent-making shop would have been very close by as well. So, there's some logic to it. But it can at least give us, for those of us that see it, a little bit of a visual of what this might have been. And I think it's plausible, but you can't prove it.

But this is how this happened. Over this two-year period, Paul trained disciples. He made disciples, among these Jews that go with him and others. And we have to understand that as people cycled through Ephesus, keep in mind it was a very busy capital city, port city, lot of traffic going through, they would have heard about this Jewish philosopher, former pharisee, Paul, talking about the way, talking about this Jesus who was crucified and, “supposedly resurrected according to their story,” would have drawn some attention. People would have come in and listened to him. Some would have stayed, some would have been converted and become disciples. And then they go out. And where do they go? They go to Pergamum, they go to Smyrna, they go to Thyatira, they go to Colossae, they go to Laodicea, they go to Hierapolis, which is right next door to Laodicea. They go down to Miletus and any number of other small communities there in Asia Minor.

And they too would have taken the word with them. That's what we're being told here in this verse, that all who dwelt in Asia, bit of an overstatement, but still quite strong. They heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. And that's why we have seven Churches that Christ speaks to in Revelation 2 and 3. That's why we have a Church in Colossae to whom he writes a letter. That's why we have a book called Philemon. Philemon lived in Colossae, probably a wealthy man who may have been converted as he came to Ephesus and listened to Paul. And he had a slave named Onesimus and Onesimus probably was with him and heard. And then they go back to Colossae, and at some point, Onesimus runs away, maybe takes some money. And you know the story of Philemon there. Well, that's probably how that all comes about. The Church in Colossae meets in Philemon's home likely, would have been a well-to-do individual.

And so that's how we get these things we read about and we see that are taking place. So, a lot is happening in this period of time and fruits of his ministry. And frankly, we are looking at the power of God being manifested through Paul. Reading very carefully Paul's letters and these accounts, the power of God through the Spirit of God is something he gives credit to. He doesn't see that he is this eloquent teacher and mighty in that sense. He sees that he's a former pharisee, he speaks quite bluntly about himself, but he always gives credit to God for the fruits of his labors. And that is very much in focus here in Acts 19 in this time in Ephesus. So, let's go into verse 11. He goes down to another episode.

Acts 19:11-12 “Now, God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul.” Again, the focus is on God working the miracle, not on Paul, but by the hands of Paul. “So, that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them, and the evil spirits went out of them.”

Okay? Now, I've got to get to a point and show you something here. I have been negligent in showing pictures. Let me pause just for a moment and give you a little bit of an overview and those that are watching this online later see this, this is an aerial overview of Ephesus. And you see these orange roof buildings here or actually these white roof buildings here, there's a crane right there. These are the high-rise condos that I talked about, that could very well be where the School of Tyrannus was. This was the open-air market, agora, over here. And there was a short distance for Paul to go over there. He could very well have lived in this neighborhood over here. People lived up these slopes. Ephesus, the main city, was built kind of in the trough between two hills. There's a hill that goes up over here and one right here. And this is some of the excavations that have been done.

This is the main street in Ephesus. This is what is called Curetes Street, C-U-R-E-T-E-S. And you go there as a traveler today as a tourist in Ephesus, you begin your tour of Ephesus at the top of this street. And you walk down and you come to the bottom of it down here, then you turn right. But this is Curetes Street, and they've excavated quite a bit and know exactly what was taking place here. Office buildings, temples, and homes up both slopes here.

The harbor of Ephesus would have been out in this plain here. It's all been silted over. This is the end of that street. And this is a building that is called the Library of Celsus, was not there during Paul's time. It was built a few years later, but it's been reconstructed here. This is a triple gate that was there at the time of Paul. And Paul would have walked through this triple gate to go into the shops of the Agora on the other side of this gate. And so this is still there. This is an inscription above that gate that actually references Augustus up here. The divine imperial Caesar, devi or meaning divine, Augustus Pontifici. That Latin word right there, Pontifici means Pontificus Maximus, as we were talking in Revelation about the image of the beast and the fact that the Roman Emperor's title was the Pontificus Maximus, which is a name that the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church took and has to this very day. But that word in Latin, pontificay maximal, highest there.

And Augustus here, Caesar. This is Liviae right here. That's Augustus's wife. So, the names are on the gate. This is the gate and the names are up here and other inscriptions. And we'll circle back to that in Revelation 21 when we talk some more about the gates of the city and how this imagery comes into what we see in Revelation 21. And this is just another view. This is the agora over here of where Paul would have had his shops. And this is a street going down to the amphitheater where a major incident is going to take place later on in this chapter. This is the open-air, agora. And in that spot there with all these big rocks laying around is where Paul would have had a tent-making shop there at this particular point.

I want to skip ahead a few slides and I want to show you this. These are linen textiles. And when it says here in verse 12 that handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. This is where we get the teaching and the practice that we have in the Church for what we call anointed cloths. All right? Any of you ever used an anointed or ask for an anointed cloth? If you do that today, when I was sending out more than I do now, and I guess I still would, I have some little small pieces of cloth, little squares about like that, that I would anoint. Some ministers use something a little bit bigger, and that's fine. But you would anoint it and we do today pray over it and then we will send that to people who request an anointed cloth and we cannot go there. That's what we do.

It's just a few months ago, I got COVID back in July and I really was sick, and I texted Steve Myers, I said, “Please send me an anointed cloth.” Didn't want him to come and get sick. That was the first time in my whole life I've ever asked for an anointed cloth. I've been anointed before, but always by another elder in person, I never had requested an anointed cloth. And so I texted and asked for one. Soon after I made the request, I started getting better. And unfortunately, it took a couple of days for him to get it together and got mailed to me. But God knows, and God is not limited by the U.S. Postal Service or whatever else, but this is where we get that custom.

And sheets of cloth like this are what Paul would have used and cut off a piece of it. Maybe he had it wrapped around him in a form of an apron. And as he was working as a tent maker in his shop, somebody comes in, you know, 8:00, 9:00 in the morning or whatever, so and so is sick, or a messenger has come from Magnesia, which would have been about half a day or better part of a day walk from Magnesia. So and so is sick, they need to be anointed. Paul cannot go there. And so whether it was in the city or maybe somewhere further out, he sends a cloth from his hands. And he may have even just gone down and taken his knife that he was using to cut his cloth or his leather and just cut off a piece of his apron, hoped it was clean, and then prayed over it and then sent that. And God honored that. That's essentially what we're being told here.

And from that, we take our practice today of doing that in the Church when an elder cannot go and make that anointing. And there are many times when that just cannot be done. [inaudible 00:39:00] ...always went and still do today. But there are times, distance and timing that you can't go. And so that's when you send a cloth and other factors as well. God honors that. God healed people. And even it says, evil spirits went out of them. And so if they were troubled by an evil spirit, this method was even used to do that as well. This then leads into another story, beginning in verse 13, as this word spread about what was happening and Paul's ministry now begins to, by word of mouth, draw attention.

Acts 19:13-14 “Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ Also, there were some seven sons of Siva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.”

And so they thought, “Ah, that's a neat trick, I'd like to be able to do that myself.” And so they try to do it themselves, “We exorcise you by Jesus whom Paul preaches,” which shows you that it's got to be done by the name of...in the name of Jesus. But there were seven sons of Siva, a Jewish priest. The question might come up, what is a Jewish priest, a chief priest, doing in Ephesus? There's no temple there, no Jewish temple, lots of pagan temples, and he's got seven sons. What's he doing there? Well, the short answer is we don't know. The long answer which gets into speculation is some think that there's some certain references to something going on between Jerusalem and Rome at the time, that this Siva had been in Rome and was on his way back to Jerusalem, but stopped off in Ephesus and was staying there for a period of time. That's one line of speculation. Others say that it's kind of a contrivance. I don't buy into that one. If Luke says it was a Jewish chief priest, that means what it means. But he had seven sons.

Acts 19:15 And I think what happens here, “The evil spirit answered and said to these seven sons who were trying to exorcise in the name of Jesus. He said that the spirit, the demon says, ‘Jesus, I know, Paul, I know, but who are you?’”

All right. This is just one of those really humorous stories, and demon is sitting in this person, and they're saying they're not going anywhere. They've got a pretty nice gig going as they've been able to overcome and possess this individual for whatever reason, and they don't want to go. And they don't recognize that these seven sons or even this chief priest have the authority to command them to go.

“I know Jesus.” And the demons do know. James tells us that they do believe, and we know what they did in the ministry of Jesus. They encountered Him, they recognized Him, and Jesus casts them out. They knew Paul as well. And we've already seen where... Remember back on the island of Cyprus where the itinerant Jewish magician at that point, kind of a rogue person had ingratiated himself into the governor's household somehow, and he opposes Paul until Paul deals with him. But he's dabbling with the spirits there. And so it would seem they probably lingered and kept trying to exorcise this demon.

Acts 19:16 And at some point, then “The man in whom the evil spirit was, leaped on them, overpowered them and prevailed against them so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”

Lesson learned. Don't mess with demons. If you're not authorized to deal with this, don't get involved. And a lot of lessons to draw from this, and that is, even through a human being, a demon can overpower someone. I have one instance where I was called into a home one time to cast a demon out. And the man was an older man. He didn't have that kind of strength. But when he was possessed of the demon, when the demon was working, he could overpower his brother and even gave a couple of highway patrolmen on the highway there in Tennessee, a run for their money as they tried to apprehend him when he ran off from home and was apprehended by the state troopers. But they had to struggle themselves, and he had a little bit of help at that point. And then when the demon left him, he would just collapse and just lay there limp like a rag doll.

And so demons act in a bizarre fashion, and they can do some strange things when they are possessing an individual. And in this case, they leaped on them and overpowered them. And you hope they learned some lesson, lesson that this was not their job to do. They had no authority, delegated authority. And that continues even into this day. And I think the lesson is always don't dabble with these things. Don't get near them with, anything dealing with the occult, spiritism, magic, black magic, witchcraft, tarot cards, dwelling on it. The media is just full of this kind of stuff.

I've had to council members who have even been overly influenced and bothered by the incessant commercials for certain slasher demon-type movies that will continually be aired and run, usually in October around Halloween time. And, you know, I've had people call me just bothered. And I just said, “Look, just turn the TV off.” But certainly, you don't want to sit for hours and watch this kind of filth. You know, I haven't done that since my rogue days as a teenager. All right? I had to go see the “Dracula,” the original “Dracula” with Bela Lugosi. That's the only one I've seen. I just don't know what, you know, don't even try to experiment with it today. I've dealt with enough of it, the real stuff. I don't need to see it in the movies, and I don't recommend you do as well. We'll pause there, pick this up then in our next class and keep moving through the story of Paul and Ephesus.