No Gods Made With Hands
Paul desires to see Rome. But before he departs from Ephesus he teaches the people that there are no gods made with hands.
“After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome” (Acts 19:21).
Consequently, he sends Timothy and Erastus into Macedonia while he remains in Asia for a while.
“So, he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season” (Acts 19:22).
As a result, the Christian religion receives an unwelcomed publicity from a very unlikely source.
“And the same time there arose no small stir about that way” (Acts 19:23).
Demetrius, a silversmith, calls a rowdy and unlawful meeting to stop the teachings of Apostle Paul. He proposes that in all Asia, Paul’s teachings were bad for business.
They Are Not Gods – They Are Your Creations
“For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen” (Acts 19:24).
Demetrius, being an astute businessman and an effective motivational speaker, identifies their chief problem and the cause of it.
“Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth” (Acts 19:25).
Therefore, he does not hesitate. Immediately he states the purpose of the meeting. He tells them, Paul places our source of wealth in jeopardy.
Then with no reservations or mincing of words, he explains how he does this.
“Moreover, [you] see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul [has] persuaded and turned away [many] people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands” (Acts 19:26).
But note an important feature of this emotional appeal, Demetrius did not accept or deny the validity of Paul’s claim.
Of a truth, there are no gods that the hands of humanity have made.
In other words, if your hands can make them, they are not gods. They are your creations.
No Gods – No Money
That wasn’t his purpose. His motive was to initiate “no small stir about that way” to the extent that these men would apprehend and kill Apostle Paul. He was in town now.
Truly, the love of money is the cause of all evil. And so was the case of these silversmiths.
This businessman is experienced in the art of rhetoric. For he ramped up his oration to appeal to their logics, and then, to their emotions.
He informs them that, If Paul continues his teachings that there are no gods that man makes, then we will have fewer people purchasing our shrines.
Additionally, he continues, people will despise the temple of Diana and everybody will stop worshipping her.
And he does this in context of their imminent loss of occupation, revenue, and renown. Consequently, Demetrius explains:
The Gods of the Ephesians Are No Gods
“So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world [worship]” (Acts 19:27).
Today, this form of argument is very similar to the form of rhetoric that politicians utilize to get people to act. It’s not entirely true but simultaneously it’s not untrue either.
“And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians” (Acts 19:28).
The reaction of these silversmiths demonstrates the awesome power of the appropriate words in the right situation. Words are the most powerful tools that humanity possesses. And Demetrius used them to his advantage.
“And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre” (Acts 19:29).
There Are No Gods Who Are Powerless
Demetrius’ words produced action. Words have power.
“And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not” (Acts 19:30).
Paul wasn’t concerned about his safety. He would have gone into that theatre hadn’t the disciples and his friends prevented him. And that could have been fatal for him.
“And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre” (Acts 19:31).
To demonstrate further that Demetrius was such an accomplished motivational speaker, observe something about the text immediately below.
“Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused: and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together” (Acts 19:32).
Although he had gotten the silversmiths to act, they were unaware of the reason or reasons for their actions.
Yes, Apostle Paul was teaching that there a no gods made with hands. He was turning away people from Diana, but what is the connection to their current behavior?
Great is Diana of the Ephesians
He was responsible for motivating the pandemonium but he himself did nothing but speak to the assembly.
“And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his [defense] unto the people” (Acts 19:33).
Whenever people are passionate and emotional about a matter, most times, they don’t want to listen to reason. And at such times, reasoning with them may not be the best course of action.
“But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians” (Acts 19:34).
But if she were so great she would have defended her own name.
“And when the [town clerk] had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that [knows] not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?” (Acts 19:35).
Why Can’t We Speak Against Diana?
“Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly” (Acts 19:36).
The Town Clerk exposes the folly of Demetrius and the silversmiths. He informs them:
“For [you] have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess” (Acts 19:37).
“Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another” (Acts 19:38).
“But if ye enquire [anything] concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly” (Acts 19:39).
“For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse” (Acts 19:40).
“And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly” (Acts 19:41).
The Men of Ephesus
As was the case with the men of Ephesus, they worship “the great goddess Diana” but never thought that she is powerless. She can do nothing.
On the other hand, he has given his power to ordinary people who believe in him.
And if you have followed and obeyed his and his apostles’ commandments to receive salvation and eternal life you are more powerful than Diana or any object that people worship.
No Gods Compare to Christ Jesus
You have more power than all the gods of the earth. Because there are no gods that are made by the hands of man.
Folks, there is no salvation in idols. They cannot save us. Don’t worship any. Destroy them. Maintain a great distance from them physically and mentally. They will defile and contaminate you.