December 9

December 9

Paul — Journey #3 (Ephesus) — The story of the church at Ephesus through scripture.

Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Acts 19
Reading 2: 1 Timothy 1:1-7
Reading 3: Revelation 2:1-7

Ephesus was the center of travel and commerce in the first century – the Paris or New York of the Ancient world. So it was very significant that Paul and his group started a church there by first helping the few believers already in the city to receive the Holy Spirit’s power. Then these newly empowered believers, led by Paul and his companions, start evangelizing in the synagogue and later in a public hall.

This model is used to plant churches in many cities around the world to this day. After the seven sons of Sceva have an unfortunate encounter with a demon, the result is that many people are saved. So much so that the pagan tourist industry is threatened. Imagine if there were such a turning to God in Myrtle Beach that all the strip clubs closed – such would be the impact here that Paul and his companions had in Ephesus. The owner of the Temple, finding his Gift Shop business dwindling, starts a near-riot to get his way. Thankfully the Mayor is able to calm people down!

Paul’s later letter to Timothy shows that Timothy was left behind to lead the church there, and has to battle religious thinking to keep his flock focused on God. When Jesus writes a letter to the church in Revelation, he compliments them for their hard work but also¬†warns them that they have lost their first love.

Today let’s keep Jesus at the center of our lives!

Have a great day!

Mark.

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