Acts 19:8-41  When God’s Word Grows


My favorite Animated movie is the Disney Classic – Beauty and the Beast. – Seen it a dozen times

A)Not even sure why I like it – I just do – special memories – little – my kids all wide eyed.


B)My favorite scene in the movie is when the beast seeking to bless Bell – who loves books

1)He shows her the Library.


C)Pulls back the curtain – her eyes light up –


D)At that moment – I always think of  Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”


E)This my thought – Sanctuary – Library – 1,000’s of books – Some where is a Bible

1)Only book in this room that you could this about – it is Living and Powerful – sharper – transform


You could say of other books – Insightful – changed my way of thinking – changed my attitude about…

A)But the Bible is a book that doesn’t just change thoughts and attitudes, and perspectives


B)It transforms the heart – Cuts deep into the soul – exposes – what is wrong – does surgery

1)It ministers healing –


C)It is alive – living – it is powerful to change a person fully – Mind /soul /spirit

1)Because – It is the word of God


D)Not just words on a page – but words oozing with life and power because – it comes from God’s heart


In our study this morning we are going to see the impact that the word of God had on the city of Ephesus.

A)In doing so we will draw some parallel conclusions concerning it’s affect in our lives.


B)The title of the message is When God’s word grows   -PRAY


Last week began looking at Paul’s ministry in the City of Ephesus.

A)Recall that Ephesus was One of the largest and most impressive cities in the ancient world,


B)It was a political, religious, and commercial center in Asia Minor.


C)At the time of Paul, Ephesus was probably the fourth largest city in the Roman empire - with a population estimated at 250,000.

But Ephesus was heavily influenced by the worship of a goddess of fertility whom they identified with the Greek goddess Artemis, the virgin huntress.

A)Later the Romans identified Artemis with their goddess Diana.)


B)In our study last time we saw that when Paul came to this city – he met 12 guys he thought were disciples of Jesus – Luke identifies them that way.


C)But something was missing – Paul asked – Have you been baptized in the spirit. –

1)Not only had they not been baptized in the Spirit they were not saved yet.


D)Paul preached Jesus – they were saved and baptized in the Spirit that day.


E)NOTE: The work of God in Ephesus began with a move of the Holy Spirit. –

1)Always best – Holy Spirit touching working on hearts

Holy Spirit continued to word thru the word.


RD V.8-20


Note v.20 again -So the word of God grew mightily and prevailed.

A)Consider this morning - WHY did this happen? & HOW did this happen?   


B)4 observations to make note of

#1 Paul faithfully ministered the Word of God for 2 plus years.


#2 The Word of God went forth and God manifested His power confirming it.


#3 The believers CAME CLEAN concerning secret sin.


#4 The Believers CUT TIES with their past.


#1 Paul faithfully ministered the Word of God for 2 plus years. V.8- 10

V.8 And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.


A)As always, Paul started in the synagogue, and in Ephesus he had one of his longest hearings—three months


B)So there was more openness in Ephesus than most places where Paul preached –

1) The openness for some didn’t last long however.


V. 9 But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.


C)HARDENED The verb here is PASSIVE.

1)That means that the act of being hardened is something that happens to them.

Think of it this way:  If you put clay in the sun, something happens to the clay.

A)The clay becomes HARDENED.


B)But If you put wax in the sun, something happens to the wax. It is SOFTENED.


C)In both cases the action is PASSIVE.

1)The same OBJECT, heat, is being exerted upon the two objects.


D)Now The DIFFERENCE in the PASSIVE response (hardening or melting) is due to the MATERIAL that the heat is working upon.


The Same thing applies to the word of God

A)Two people can come and listen to the Word of God.


B)They are BOTH being subjected to the same influence, but the RESULT is DIFFERENT.

1) One is SOFTENED and the other is HARDENED.


C)Why is that ? – Two reasons – 1st is Conviction – a lot of people don’t like it when God’s word messes with their lives.


D)They will listen with open ears – until something is brought up that strikes a nerve with how they are living –

1)Suddenly it is Wait a second- I don’t like this

I get this all the time I loved it Pastor Rob what you were talking about today - PREACH IT – great message – wish my brother here to hear that

A)Then the message is shared – that deals with their sin/ issues / their lives – different story!


2nd reason is Response.

A)If you LISTEN to the Word of God without RESPONDING to it and without BELIEVING it, the result is that you become hardened.


B)God’s word is meant to be acted upon. – that is how growth happens – fruit takes place – not just for information –


C)You want the word of God to grow in your life – Act on it – believe the promise – apply the exhortation – HS – help me –


D)Put it into practice and watch what God does! –


So once again Paul leaves the Synagogue and goes to the School of Tyrannus –

A)Interesting name – it actually means Tyrant.


B)Since most Scholars can’t imagine parents naming their kid – a Tyrant – unless he got the nick name in terrible twos –


C)Baby comes out – one look – name – Tyrant –

1)Just looking for trouble

Most scholars believe this was a nick name his students – gave him that stuck and his school became known as the Tyrants School.

A)Weird Celebrities Baby names


B)Frank Zappa's four children were named Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva.

C)Sylvester Stallone – Sage Moonblood Stallone.

1) Forest Whitaker – Ocean Whitaker

2) Nicolas Cage – Kal –El

3) Jason Lee – Pilot Inspektor


D)Two all time weirdest - A  British couple in Kent, England chose this name for their baby

                 Depressed Cupboard Cheesecake..


E)Sunshine Deathray. – Cover both extremes – being good – come here Sunshine – Bad –get over here Deathray.


People in Bible times weren’t as weird or Creative as we are today. – Tyrannus – nickname students

A)Anyway – Paul ended using that space to teach the word.


B)One Greek manuscript adds a touch which sounds like the additional detail an eye-witness might bring.

1) It says that Paul taught in that hall from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

C)The reason for that was it had become the custom in those ancient cities that all work would stop around 11am – because of the Heat – No AC –


D)People would go home and eat and sleep until about 4:00 – where they would return to work and work until 9 or 10 in the evening.


E)Historians tells us that there would actually be more people sound asleep in Ephesus at 1 p.m. than at 1 a.m.


I find that interesting for two reasons

A)#1 It shows the eagerness of Paul to teach and the eagerness of the Christians to learn.


B)#2 It shows the believers and Paul were willing to sacrifice comfort and convenience in order to give the Word of God an opportunity to grow in their lives.


C)When others were resting – they seized the opportunity to learn and to grow.


Result 10 And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.


So Paul was preaching daily – people were growing and the word of God was spreading - all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks

Remember in Ch. 16  Paul wanted to go to Ephesus – he was forbidden –by the HS  wrong time! 

A)Well now it was the right time -


B)Greg Laurie said – Effective ministry takes place when you have the right person at the right place at the right time.


C)It was the right time for Paul to be in Ephesus.

1)God was blessing – the region was impacted.


So the word of God grew and  was prevailing because Paul was being faithful to share the word – 2 plus years

A)#2 The Word of God grew mightily and prevailed because The Word of God went forth and God manifested His power confirmed it.  V.11-12


11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.


B)This advance of the gospel was accompanied by unusual miracles.

1)The Greek says, “miracles not of an ordinary kind.”


C)Some were direct, coming through the hands of Paul. 1)Others were indirect, being somehow mediated through articles of Paul’s clothing that, when applied to the ill, brought healing.

The handkerchiefs spoken of here were actually the sweatbands Paul wore around his forehead when he labored as a tentmaker.

A)The aprons were not the kind June Cleaver wore in the kitchen.


B)They were the leather aprons of a blacksmith.

1)Why were Paul’s sweatbands and aprons used for healing? 


Remember the woman with the issue of Blood?

A)If I can just touch the hem ….. there wasn’t any power in the hem of Jesus garment


B)But the hem served as a point of Contact that triggered her faith.

1)I believe these sweatbands and Aprons – were the same way.


C)Same idea in the practice of Anointing with oil and laying on of hands – points of contact to trigger faith.


D)God condescends to meet us in our weakness where he can reach us.


SO God was moving in an unusual way in Ephesus

A)He does that – Jesus pp movement – transcends the generations – Old young – hippie business man


B)Today we are segregating again. – Venues /Churches

1)We need another fresh out pouring of the HS

Another sign -

A)Predictably, the gospel’s initial success led to others trying to get in on the act.  An interesting thing takes place.

13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches." 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.


B)Now in those days, there were “ exorcist who went around like gypsies – dealing with Spirit’s exorcists

1)They collected a fee whether or not they were successful.


C)It was a Racket and the Sons of a Jewish chief priest- Wanted in on the action. -


D)They treated Paul’s words as a magic charm or spell to drive the evil spirits out.

1)I love what happens   


15 And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, Ginosko – by experience and Paul I know; acquainted with – servant of Jesus but who are you?"

16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.


E)Awesome!  Jesus I know & Paul – but who the heck are you – Does Hell know us? – prayer/service

These guys were wounded and traumatized.

So this became another sign – the word was spreading - V17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.


The Name of the Lord Jesus Was magnified

A)Magnify = To make great.  Purpose of Church – Magnfiy – Jesus – not a man – not CCV – movement


B)It was a notable victory over the powers of evil in Ephesus.


C)Leads us to consider the third reason the Word of God grew mightily and Prevailed.


#3 The believers CAME CLEAN concerning secret sin.

18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds.

A)Came is LITERALLY - They kept coming, one after another.


B)This was such a move of God’s Spirit working through the word – no coexing – no begging

1)Convicted and coming clean – clearing out the closets

Of their hearts


C)Bitterness – sexual immorality – stealing – occultic practices

1)Confessing – I need prayer – need to repent

#4 The Believers CUT TIES with their past. V.19

“Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.”


A)This is RADICAL - They brought their books on magic and spells and burned them all.


B)They were BURNING and all BRIDGES to their past.


C)When did the Word of God grow and prevail? When the believers burned their junk.



A)If you’re burned-out with Bible study, prayer, or meditation—chances are it’s because you need to burn something up.


B)When my appetite is dull, when I’m not interested in spiritual things the way I once was,

1)when I find worship a drudge or a discipline—here is what I do – I pray like David

“Father, search me and show me the junk in my life that has caused my appetite for You to be diminished.”


C)And you know what? He does.

1)I’ve been there a many times. Whenever my appetite for the meat of the Word diminishes, invariably it’s because I’m filling up on the junk food of the world.

D)And I am not talking about blatant sin, but simply little distractions that – crowd my heart.


E)Talking with Nate Jackson – our Bible teacher –

1)Kids all condemned – because lack of Devotions


Devotions stems from the word – Devoted. –

Devoted= Feeling or displaying strong affection or attachment

A)If there isn’t that strong affection – Devotions become duty.


B)I am Devoted to my wife – because I love her – but there was a time I was more devoted to my work than her.


C)Our relationship suffered. – It wasn’t that I loved my work more than her – no way.

1)But I felt like I needed to be devoted to my work – it was the only way – make progress. No choice.


D)We always have a choice – Devotions start with a heart – says –Lord – I love you – I want to spend time with you – more than any other thing.


E)Now when that is my heart – here is the difference my time in the word – whether it is 5 minutes or 2hrs is rich when my approach is Love for Jesus

1)Because I know that I am so deeply loved by Jesus.


F)A lot easier to make time. – Want to –get to / have..

Search me oh Lord – what has my heart – what am I devoted to more than you. – that is the issue.

A)Make adjustments – Cut ties if I have to no matter what the cost


 they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.” 10K by today’s standards


B) Flush the drugs – don’t sell – burn the Porn don’t sell it to a buddy -


 C)Cut ties once and for all – no storing it for a rainy day. 


So God’s word was growing mightily and prevailing because:

#1 Paul faithfully ministered the Word of God for 2 plus years.


#2 The Word of God went forth and God manifested His power confirming it.


#3 The believers CAME CLEAN concerning secret sin.


#4 The Believers CUT TIES with their past.


Note this when God’s word grows there is always another thing that happens -   OPPOSITION

A)Summarize for the sake of time v. 21-41 – People are getting saved turning from idolatry and occultic practices –


B)Those who were in the idol making Business – and Occult Business – got upset – this Paul is bad for Business – this Jesus is going to destroy us


C)The idol of the goddess Diana was unbelievably ugly. 1) Fashioned from a chunk of black rock believed to have been sent from Jupiter, she was a grotesque-looking multibreasted female.


D)Yet people came from all over Asia to worship at the shrine of Diana, the goddess of fertility.

1)Just like today – they made a killing in the souvenir business, making miniature shrines, which they sold for big bucks—


E)But now that was changing – The Word was going forth in Power – Business was slow – shutting down


In the Welsh Revival of 1901, under the anointed ministry of Robert Murray McCheyne, so great was the revival that every tavern and pub in Wales went broke.

A)How many anti-alcohol sermons did McCheyne deliver? None. How many tirades against taverns? Zero.


B)People simply lost all interest in alcohol when they got touched by the Lord and filled with the Spirit.


C)The same thing happened in Ephesus. When people got saved, the idol business dried up.

1)Owners motivated by money – staged an uproar

They set out to destroy Paul an the ministry of the gospel – Angry mob is put together

A)Literally yelled in the town square –for 2hrs –


B) v.32 says some of the people had no idea why they were there- they are in the crowd –

1)yelling- Great is Dianna of the Ephesus – cool – Yea


C)One guy asks his buddy – why are we doing this ? I have no idea – Great is Diana of the Philistines – 2hrs -


D)Finally one of the city leaders put an end to it not wanting to draw attention to Rome.


Acts 20:1 “After the uproar had ceased, Paul called the disciples to himself, embraced them, and departed to go to Macedonia.”



Closing: All around us we see people who are miserable—depressed, discouraged and defeated; A)They are hurting, helpless, and hopeless—like the people in Ephesus who were diseased in body and demonized in spirit.


B)That is why they were turning to idols – that is why pp around us get caught up in drugs / Alcohol / workaholics – hurting – mask the pain.


C)The Pp of Ephesus found release in the Sweat bands of Paul – point of faith

Those sweat bands were also symbols of Paul’s love – for them - he was intergrated into their culture.

A)Working hard –like them – rubbing shoulders with them. Sweating like them – Bring them Jesus


B)Lonely hurting – helpless – there is one who loves you so much – wants to Change your life.

1)His name is Jesus


C)In Garden 2,000 yrs ago – He sweat drops of blood as He contemplated  the cross -



Why did He sweat blood? Because He was about to absorb your weaknesses, your failings, your shortcomings.

A)He was about to pay the price for every sin I have done, am doing, or ever will do.


B)The band around his forehead – crown of thorns!


C)Paid  the price for your sins – set you free – make you new and whole –

1)Transform your life


D)Grasp his love – He will set you free – depression hopeless –

1)Fill you with his love to help you love others in a way that will blow your mind.