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June 29

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“Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together” (Acts 19:32 NKJV).

From: June 29, 2020

HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO RIOTING

Stadium in Ephesus
A riot broke out in Ephesus over the importance of the Temple of Diana to the city’s identity and fame. The riot began as an angry response by the silversmiths of Ephesus, who made a living making figurines of the goddess Diana to sell. Their business had declined with the growth of Christianity in the city, where the apostle Paul had planted a church. Paul taught that these figures were not gods, but mere images made by men. And the silversmiths took their grievance to the streets shouting, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”, knowing it would arouse the emotions of the city’s citizens.
 
The disturbance grew in size, filling the 25,000 seat Ephesian theater with the rioting mob. Most of the crowd didn’t even know what the chaotic assembly was about. The apostle Paul wanted to enter the arena to speak, but his disciples wisely prevented him. For anyone who tried to offer a reasoned explanation was quickly shouted down. Rioting mobs cannot be reasoned with. Confusion and violence are the rule of the mob, not order and solutions.
 
Fortunately, a city leader calmed the crowd, reminding them that their grievances should be handled in the courts, not the streets, and warning them of the consequence of a disorderly assembly in a Roman city. For the Roman Legions would be called in to quickly quell any such disturbance.
 
Today, the city of Ephesus lies in ruins. The Temple of Diana, once considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World, lies broken on its now empty acropolis. Its grand stadium lies quiet, except for the echo of tourists snapping photos of its ruins.
 
The rioting mob of Diana’s worshipers may have left Ephesus behind, but they still appear in every city of the world where Satan stirs them up. They cannot be reasoned with, for the author of confusion is at the heart of such disorderly assemblies.
 
Yet, the message of the gospel continues to be preached, quietly and steadily calling its citizens into that city not made by human hands, into that “unshakable kingdom” (Heb. 12:28) which shall stand forever more.
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, help us not to be worried or afraid when rioting mobs appear in our cities today. Teach us how to respond. For we want to speak, but sometimes it is best just to wait and preach after the rioting has passed. Give us wisdom to know our response in such times. And to be reminded that this too shall pass, but Your kingdom shall forever stand. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“…A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored” (Acts 19:17 NLT).

From: June 29, 2019

PRAYING FOR REVIVAL IN OUR CITY

The preaching of Paul and the apostles and the story of how demons acknowledged the name of Jesus and even of Paul, caused a “solemn fear” of God to come over the city of Ephesus and the “name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored.” A spiritual awakening took place in Ephesus, one of the largest cities in Ancient Rome with a population over 250,000. Paul labored there for three years, meeting daily in the Hall of Tyrannus to preach and teach.
 
What would revival look like in our city? We’ve been praying that God would pour out His Spirit in our city. How would we know that God is answering? What would it look like?
 
One thing we know is that God doesn’t do encores. So we shouldn’t look for a specific experience, but we should pray and seek God’s presence. Yet, regardless of how the Spirit moves in our city, we can pray that the effect might be similar to the effect He had on Ephesus. We can pray that a “solemn fear” of God might descend on our city and that the Name of our Lord Jesus might be “greatly honored.”
 
PRAYER: Lord, we’re praying for You to pour out Your Spirit on our city. We are praying that you start with us. Begin with the people of God. Revive us, we pray. Fill us afresh with Your Spirit and anoint us with boldness to speak Your Word. Stretch forth Your hand to open the eyes of the spiritually blind and unstop the ears of the spiritually deaf. Raise the spiritually dead to life. Move in our city, we pray. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices” (Acts 19:18 NLT).

From: June 29, 2018

CONFESSION IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL
An amazing thing began to happen in the city of Ephesus, new believers began to confess their sin and turn from sinful practices. Their faith in Christ led to life-change.
 
The word “confession” in the New Testament has the literal meaning, “to say the same” (From “homologeo”). So, when we confess our sins to God, we are agreeing with God that we have sinned. It’s not news to Him. He already knows. Confessing our sins, we no longer deny our sinfulness, but agree with God. More than that, confession is a crying out to God for relief from the guilt that pervades the soul as sin’s consequence.
 
The apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Our part is confession. God’s part is not only forgiveness, but also cleansing. So that even sin’s stain might be removed.

“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 ESV)

From: June 29, 2016

A riot broke out in Ephesus because the followers of the “Way” (A 1st-century description of Christ-followers) were accused of causing a decline in the sales of Diana figures made by the local silversmiths. The teachings of Christ had begun to influence the citizens of Ephesus and the region of Asia Minor to the point that it even affected their spending habits. Several Christians were dragged into the 25,000 seat Ephesian theater by the rioting mob. When one of the Christians named Alexander tried to make a verbal defense, the mob shouted him down. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to offer a reasoned defense of Christianity to a frenzied mob. Yet, today the city of Ephesus with its sexually perverted temple to Diana lies in ruins, while the followers of the Way continue. This should cause us to take heart when today’s Diana worshipers are shouting so loud.

“And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way” (Acts 19:23 NKJV)

From: June 29, 2015

A riot broke out in Ephesus because the followers of the “Way” (A 1st-century description of Christ-followers) were accused of causing a decline in the sales of Diana figures made by the local silversmiths. The teachings of Christ had begun to influence the citizens of Ephesus and the region of Asia Minor to the point that it even affected their spending habits. Several Christians were dragged into the 25,000 seat Ephesian theater by the rioting mob. When one of the Christians named Alexander tried to make a verbal defense, the mob shouted him down. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to offer a reasoned defense of Christianity to a frenzied mob. Yet, today the city of Ephesus with its sexually perverted temple to Diana lies in ruins, while the followers of the Way continue.
This should cause us to take heart when today’s Diana worshipers are shouting so loud.

“Soon the whole city was filled with confusion. Everyone rushed to the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, who were Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia” (Acts 19:29 NLT)

From: June 29, 2014

Paul’s ministry in Ephesus was perhaps his longest and most productive. This Roman city was the jewel of Asia and influenced the whole province. Believers in Ephesus were growing at such a rate that it began to affect the city’s culture. People were confessing their sins and burning their incantation books. And apparently, the business of selling Artemis souvenirs was declining as a result too. Persecution of Christians is often inspired by greed more than belief. Here, the silversmith union rep, Demetrius, started a riot against the Christians in the great amphitheater of Ephesus because of his declining business and reputation. Paul wanted to enter the 25,000 seat stadium to defend his faith, but his friends stopped him. Satan often uses man’s greed and desire for power to bring “confusion” to a city and to undermine the work of the gospel. But God wants to bring light and clarity, so that hearts can repent and respond.

“Uzziah son of Amaziah began to rule over Judah… He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years” (2 Kings 15:1-2)

From: June 29, 2012

Among the seemingly endless lists of kings in Israel and Judah is the mention of this king who reigned 52 years and mostly pleased the Lord. But even he didn’t finish well. It’s a disturbing litany of failed politicians. It causes one to long for a good king, one that would reign with righteousness and mercy. One that would please God fully.

“He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain” (Psalm 147:8)

From: June 29, 2011

Thankful to God today for the little things that we often take for granted.