At first, the gospel was preached only to the Jews. Some of the Chris tians led a great number of Grecians to the Lord Jesus. When the disciples in Jerusalem heard that the gospel was being preached to others than to the Jews, they sent Barnabas to investi gate. When Barnabas saw that the Grecians were truly born again, he re joiced with them and encouraged them to be faithful to their Lord. Barnabas went to Saul’s home town and brought Saul back to Antioch where they taught God’s Word to the new Christians for a year. It was in Antioch that the dis ciples were first called “ Christians.” On one of their missionary -journeys,
Barnabas and Saul took a young man, John Mark, with them. John Mark dis appointed them and returned to his home. Later, Barnabas wanted to give him a second chance to go with them when Paul suggested that they visit all of the churches that they had founded. Paul refused to take Mark. The two mis sionaries had an argument and did not work together any longer. Barnabas took Mark with him, and Paul chose Silas to be his helper. Christian boys and girls may serve their Lord by showing friendliness to strangers and to those who are misun derstood. “ Let us not love in word . . . but in deed and in truth.” Civil Ruler Manifests His God-given Ministry (19:35-41) In accordance with the duties out lined for civil rulers in Romans 13:1-7 and First Peter 2:13-17, the town clerk in our lesson sought the peace of the community. He was desirous that pub lic justice might prevail and that the orderly functions of the law might op erate. Christians need to remember that public officials and civil laws are or dained of God, and should learn to co operate with them to the best of their ability, as they have been instituted for the welfare of society and are normally a benefit to believers as well as to unbe lievers. Helps for the Children A Town Clerk Helps to Keep Order (Acts 19:23-41) Memory Verse: “He that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18b) Paul and several of his missionary friends had gone to Ephesus to preach about the Lord Jesus Christ. Many of the people received the Saviour and gave up their worship in the heathen temple of the goddess Diana. Demetrius, a silversmith, who made shrines for the temple worship, called a meeting of all the silversmiths. He told them that so many people were becoming Christians because of Paul’s preaching that their trade was endangered. Demetrius was also angry because Paul was teaching that idols were not gods, and Diana was in danger of losing her fame. As Deme trius finished speaking, the other silver smiths were filled with anger and cried out, saying, “ Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” The entire city became ex cited and caught two of Paul’s compan ions and rushed with them to the theater. The disciples refused to let Paul enter with the crowd. When one of the Jews tried to speak to the people, they re fused to hear him. For two hours they shouted, “ Great is Diana of the Ephe sians.” In the theater was a town officer who believed in obeying the law. He bravely faced the angry mob and asked A
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September 19, 1948 THE TOWN CLERK AT EPHESUS Acts 19:29-41
Pointers on the Lesson
According to the Word of God, “ the powers that be are ordained of God” (Rom. 13:1). Furthermore, we are told that “rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil” (Rom. 13:3). The Apostle Peter bids Christians to “ Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake” (1 Pet. 2:13). In the lesson before us we have an il lustration of the kind of ministry to which civil rulers have been called of God. They are ordained to keep peace among men. Christians are told to recog nize this fact and to support and pray for all those in such positions (1 Pet. 2:13-17). The material in this week’s lesson emphasizes two things: The Gospel Creates a Stir (19:29-34) A whole city was filled with confu sion (29). There was “no small stir about that way” (23). A large assem bly was confused (32). And all this be cause the gospel had come into violent contact with pagan idolatry. There can be no agreement betweeh truth and er ror (2 Cor. 6:16). The gospel declares war upon all forms of unbelief and sin. It is the power or, more literally, the dynamite of God, by which unbelief and sin are rooted out of the human heart. Wherever and whenever the gospel is preached in its purity, there will be re sistance. The hosts of Satan immediately oppose the cause of Christ and trouble follows. But God gives the victory to those who trust Him.
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