No Small Disturbance | The Back Story to the Church in Ephesus
Day 1 – No Small Disturbance | The Back Story to the Church in Ephesus
About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way.
In recent news, we witnessed no small disturbance in our country. As I pause to take all this in, I am reminded that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
In the Apostle Paul’s day, he witnessed riots of all kinds, racism, and injustice. The question comes regarding how he would respond. As we look at the church in Ephesus, we need to be reminded that the city experienced a riot when Paul was preaching the gospel in large city centers of Ephesus in the 1st century amongst a very diverse crowd. A revival broke out among the masses and spread like wildfire through the city over a period of months, and the Christian community grew larger and larger.
Many of these new Christians came out of various religious backgrounds that were tied to the pagan roots of the city’s culture and, at some level, economy. Ephesus was the third largest city in the Roman Empire, a melting pot for people from all walks of life.
In the book of Acts, we gain insight on one event where a large number of new believers started a mass book burning party, burning books of dark demonic origins, pagan practices, sorcery, and Satanic influences. The value of burned books exceeded over a million dollars by some estimates. It was an act of cutting all ties and allegiance to witchcraft, dark arts, and magic.
This had a ripple effect on the economy over time, and begin to frustrate small business owners of shops that sold trinkets, miniature idols, books, and witchcraft. Luke the Historian records that during Paul’s ministry a riot took place that nearly destroyed the church, and nearly killed those associated with it. Riots broke out all over the city.
It’s evident to see that behind the scenes there was a deeper struggle. This battle was not simply against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of darkness, seeking to destroy the first church in this great city!
Yet despite this, the church takes root and grows even amidst the riots! Gospel preaching and ministry continues, but not without struggle. This is why, in the book of Ephesians, we see that the Apostle Paul preaches and teaches extensively and had Timothy thoroughly trained and put into place to help this new church grow in their faith and maintain unity and peace.