Last week we observed how Paul’s tireless preaching unleashed the power of the Spirit bringing life and healing throughout the city of Ephesus and the wider community. The most striking example was public confession and renunciation of former magicians demonstrated by the public burning of their costly magic books worth 50,000 pieces of silver. In our text this week we learn what happens when the gospel begins to have a financial impact on a community and threatens the profits of the powerful. The enemy does not go down without a fight.
In our previous study in Acts, we celebrated the gift of the Spirit poured out afresh on twelve disciples, as Paul began his ministry in Ephesus. This week we will witness the power of God’s Spirit as it is unleashed and confronts the magical, political and religious powers that made Ephesus the greatest commercial center west of the Taurus Mountains. This will be the climax of Paul’s public ministry and his most productive time, as he proclaims the gospel in Ephesus for almost three years. Looking back on those days, Luke says, “The word grew and was strong in accordance with the power of the Lord.”
This week we get the privilege of hearing from our good friend from Regent College, Bruce Hindmarsh. Bruce and Carolyn are dear friends of ours who have poured into the PBCC family over the past few years in different ways. Carolyn will also be the women’s retreat speaker next year. Bruce will be preaching this Sunday on Christ being the solid rock. Come near to him, as near as you can. He is the living stone, the precious stone, the cornerstone and capstone, and the scandalous, stumbling stone. Come near to him as the new people of God, as the new temple of God, living a life that in every possible way is centered on Jesus. And, we will appropriately finish our time this Sunday coming near to Jesus at the table.