The Unstoppable Word of God – Acts 19:8-41

By John Bellingham on January 5, 2014
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The Unstoppable Word of God

Acts 19:8-41


– The extended time that Paul spent in Ephesus on the Third Missionary Journey constitutes the climax of his missionary career.

– By examining Paul’s experience in Ephesus we can be encouraged that the Word of God increases and mightily prevails in spite of the following obstacles:


I.  Hardened Hearts (vv. 8-10)

1)     The Challenge:

  • Stubbornness
  • Unbelief
  • Slander

2)     Paul’s Response:

  • Boldness and persistence in proclaiming and reasoning within the synagogue (3 months!)
  • Persistence in gospel proclamation outside of the synagogue (2 years!)
  1. According to the ‘Western’ manuscript, Paul taught daily in the hall of Tyrannus from 11am-4pm, during the hottest part of the day!
  2. Paul continued to do manual labour when he wasn’t preaching to pay the bills (cf. 20:34)

3)     The Result:

  • “All the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks” (v. 10)
  • “When we contrast much contemporary evangelism with Paul’s, it’s shallowness is immediately shown up. Our evangelism tends to be too ecclesiastical (inviting people to church), whereas Paul also took the gospel to the secular world; too emotional (appeals for decision without adequate basis for understanding), whereas Paul taught, reasoned and tried to persuade; and too superficial (making brief encounters and expecting quick results), whereas Paul stayed in Ephesus and Corinth for five years, faithfully sowing gospel seed and in due time reaping a harvest.” – John Stott


II.  False Religion (vv. 11-20)

1)     The Challenge:

  • Ephesus  was reputed for it’s occult practices
  1. ‘Magical’ papyri have been discovered and catalogued by archeologists
  2. God enables Paul to perform ‘special’ miracles in a city obsessed with magic
  • Sons of Sceva attempt to counterfeit Paul’s ministry (cf.  Simon – Acts 8)

2)     The Response:

  • Demon assaults the false exorcists
  • Satan hates his own as much as he hates us!

3)     Result:

  • Name of Jesus is extolled (v. 17)
  • Genuine, costly repentance is displayed!


III.  Secular Hostility (vv. 21-41)

1)     The Challenge:

  • Demetrius opposes the gospel for his own selfish purposes!
  • Mob violence which threatens Paul’s life

2)     Response:

  • Paul is wisely prevented from speaking
  • God fights for Paul and wins the battle!

3)     Results:

  • Kingdom of God advances in Ephesus
  • Christianity shown to be no political threat


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