Well, good evening and welcome back!
I hope that everyone had a good afternoon and was able to get some rest.
Tonight we are going to change gears a little bit and we are going to be looking at a passage out of the Book of Acts.
In fact, the passage for this evening comes out of , which is where our Wednesday night Bible study is currently at.
We haven’t made it to this part yet, but I felt led for us to go here tonight, so we are going to be looking at on the subject of “Do We Even Know Why We Are Here?”
And I hope that the answer to that for you is, “Yes,” but it may not be.
And if it is not, then maybe by the time we leave today you will know why you are here.
When we look on the surface of “Do you know why you are here” you can actually look at it in a couple of different ways.
First, you can look at it from a philosophical standpoint in asking “why are any of us here” and “where is here,” and so on and so on.
But what I want you to focus on tonight is why are you here, at the Stanford Church of the Nazarene, right now.
Is it because you wanted to be?
Is it because you were forced to be?
Is it because you felt obligated to be here?
And hopefully the answer is because you want to be here and you want to be here because you want to worship God.
Because the only way you are going to fully experience God and the blessings that God has intended for you is if you want to be here and if you want to worship God.
Being forced or obligated is not going to get us anywhere with God.
So, once we’ve settled that in our minds, I do want us to look at this passage from the Book of Acts because in it Luke is going to show us how people react sometimes when confronted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, if you have found in your Bible, I’d invite you to stand as we read.
Luke writes . . .
29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s travelling companions from Macedonia, and rushed as one man into the theatre. 30 Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. 31 Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theatre. 32 The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there.
So, what in the world has got these people in such an uproar?
Well, the answer in a nutshell is the Apostle Paul!
Paul had been in Ephesus for a while and had some ups and downs while there.
He had seen people converted but had also been kicked out of the Synagogue.
However, this did not discourage Paul. Once he was kicked out he moved down the street to the Lecture Hall and basically set up church there.
And, he was successful . . .
11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
So, things were actually on an upswing for Paul and the Lord was doing great things through Paul.
BUT, Whenever the Lord is doing great things, the devil is right around the corner trying to find a way to ruin it for everyone.
And in our case it is through a silversmith named Demetrius.
Luke writes . . .
23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen. 25 He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: “Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshipped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”
And here it is, a great disturbance about the Way.
It is amazing to me how so many people, who claim to not even believe in Jesus, or God for that matter, can get so upset about the Gospel.
They are always so concerned about what is being taught about Jesus and about God by Paul and those like him, INCLUDING US, that they all seem compelled to have to do something about it.
If it is all fake then why do they get so upset?
I tell you why, because the Holy Spirit is actively convicting them of their sin and they DO NOT want to face the truth.
100%, that is the reason.
If people were really worried so much about the spiritual and moral condition of people, we wouldn’t see all the junk we see going on today.
But that’s a different sermon for a different day.
Tonight however, we are going to deal with Demetrius, who was the ring-leader of this problem in Ephesus.
Demetrius actually shows his hand right off the bat here though.
He was motivated by money and he was afraid of what he is seeing happen here with Paul.
Paul is preaching the Gospel, people are getting saved, and people are laying down their idols and their witchcraft.
Right before this incident, Luke records . . .
18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. 19 A number who had practised sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
This incident was a reaction to the seven sons of Sceva getting whooped by a demon that the disciples didn’t have any trouble with.
People were beginning to understand the power of God and understand who the One True God actually was.
And this scared Demetrius to death because he saw this as a loss of income.
Ever wonder why all these businesses come out against Christianity?
Because true Christianity takes a stand against sin and there are a lot more people out there who do not know Jesus than there are Christians.
It’s all business to them.
Some of them would have to go out of business if Christ had too much influence, like the film and music industry.
That’s what Demetrius was worried about and he took it upon himself to do something about it.
25 He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: “Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all.
So, Paul is telling them how Artemis and all the other man made gods were no gods at all.
When your business is peddling idols, you can’t have someone going around telling you that what you are peddling is fake!
Not only that but also . . .
27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshipped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”
Heaven forbid that this false god lose her divine majesty.
And, if they would have just thought about what they were saying for a minute they would have realized how ridiculous it actually was.
These people worshipped Artemis as one of the greatest gods, but then on the other hand were worried about the Gospel damaging her reputation.
If she was really a god, couldn’t she take of things herself?
Did she really need their help?
Apparently, she did, proving that she is no god but just some man made idol.
A big toy that people worshipped.
And before we laugh too much and make fun of her, we see the same thing happen today.
And I am not just talking about all the false religions out there either.
How many toys do we have that we worship?
Think about it for a minute.
How many things draw our attention and focus from God?
And, when we get called out on it, we do one of two things.
Repent and give it to God or
Do what the Ephesians do . . .
28 When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
28 When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s travelling companions from Macedonia, and rushed as one man into the theatre.
They were furious, so furious that . . .
29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s travelling companions from Macedonia, and rushed as one man into the theatre.
They were so furious that they began to form a mob and if you know anything about a mob you know that common-sense gets thrown out the window.
The mob grabs hold of Paul’s traveling companions and drag them into the theatre, where they were going to put them on trial.
But for what?
What had they done that was wrong or even illegal.
However, this is the mindset of people who are operating under conviction and fear.
They knew that what they were doing was wrong, but they were so overtaken with sin that they were not even able to be rational.
And we see it today with all the crazy ideas and idiotic talk and rhetoric that goes on.
Things that come out of people’s mouths doesn’t even make sense, but they believe it with all their heart and you can’t say anything to convince them otherwise.
Their sin is in so much control of their lives that they can’t even comprehend the fact that abortion is murder.
They will make up all these rules and definitions saying that a baby isn’t a baby until a certain time and the mother has the right to choose this and that on one hand, but then turn around and if you wreck and kill a pregnant woman, you get charged with two counts of murder.
Now, what kind of sense does that make?
It doesn’t make any sense. It’s all murder in my book, but the attempt to satisfy sin and ease the conviction of the Holy Spirit, drives us to do things that would otherwise be considered insane.
And that is exactly what is going on here.
They had lost all control, so much so that . . .
30 Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. 31 Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theatre.
They were afraid that if Paul showed up they were going to kill him.
And then the entire mentality of what was going on . . .
32 The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there.
And I know earlier, we talked about the reason that we are here at church tonight, but I want to take it a step further and look at all the different situations we are in in our lives.
Do we even know why we believe what we believe?
Do we know why we work where we work, why we live where we live, why we do what we do?
Do we have any clarity whatsoever as to what God’s plans are for us?
And if the answer to that question is “no” then I have to ask you, why?
Is it because we are not asking?
Or is it perhaps we are not listening to what God is saying?
Are we walking around in confusion, not knowing where we are in life?
Now I am not going to say that God is going to show you a crystal clear picture of every single aspect of your life, but following God is like following a roadmap and GPS all at once.
God gives us directions of one point to another and the Holy Spirit is the voice of the GPS that leads us there.
But we have to be listening.
Tonight, are we listening?
If you are then, what is God telling you?
I would invite you to respond to that tonight.
Respond to God.