Acts 19:28-29   When [the people of Ephesus] heard [how their established, comfortable culture was being threatened by the Christian Gospel], they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”  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.

Among Jesus’ teachings were these warnings: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).  As our prevailing culture becomes more and more threatened by the power and truth of the Gospel, we can expect reactions similar to what happened in Ephesus.  As we experience this, it is important that we ‘stay calm and carry on’, remembering that the LORD Jesus Christ went on to say, ““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I HAVE OVERCOME [perfect tense indicating a completed action] the world” (John 16:33).

The Apostle Paul would later write to the Christians in Ephesus these encouraging words:  “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.  And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfilment – to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.  In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.  And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in him with a SEAL, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit GUARANTEEING our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:2-14), thus reminding them that ALL THINGS, including their own coming to faith in Christ, were in God’s SOVEREIGN hands, and therefore could NEVER be thwarted.  Let US remember this as we interact with OUR culture today!
– Bruce Christian