Christ Changes Culture

June 18, 2022 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Acts - The Gospel in Motion

Topic: The Gospel, Christian Living Scripture: Acts 19:21–41

Our text reports another riot in Ephesus instigated against Paul and the newly planted church there. The Ephesians considered themselves the temple keepers of the goddess Artemis. They were making and selling silver shrines of Artemis. A prosperous business had sprung up around this temple to serve the residents as well as the religious tourists. If the market dried up, they would be ruined.

Through the preaching of the gospel of Christ, men and women were turning to Christ in great numbers, and these new converts were turning away from every form of idolatry. The business of making silver idols was falling off, not because of tight money or high interest rates but because Paul and the other Christians were preaching the gospel. These idol makers had been hit where it hurts most – their bank account. There are three points we will consider:

  1. The Strategy of Paul (v. 21-22)
  2. The Strategy of Satan (v. 23-34)
  3. The Strategy of our Sovereign God (v. 35-41)

Tim Keller in his book, Counterfeit Gods says that, “An idol is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.” Sadly our modern culture has made an idol out of sex and sexuality. Our culture is not that different to those who worshipped Artemis, the multiple breasted goddess of fertility. Our modern-day goddess of sex and sexuality absorbs people’s heart and imagination more than God. Tim Keller goes on to say that “Idolatry is not just a failure to obey God, it is a setting of the whole heart on something besides God.”

Christ changes lives and destroys idols. The power of the gospel does have power to changes lives as well as cultures.

Discussion Questions

1. Should we question our impact for Christ if we are not experiencing Satan’s opposition? Why/why not?

2. To what extent should Christians use political power for kingdom purposes? Where is the balance?

3. What are some ways that evangelicals commonly engage in idolatry? How can we rid ourselves of such idols?

4. When presenting the gospel, how confrontational should we be towards our sinful culture? Where is the balance between grace and salt (Col. 4:6)?

Tim Keller offers a few helpful diagnostic questions to help us discern our idols:

  1. What do you characteristically daydream about?
  2. What do you most fear? What could you lose that would make life not worth living?
  3. What fills you with irrational anger, anxiety, despondency, or guilt?
  4. What do you effortlessly spend too much money on?

More in Acts - The Gospel in Motion

November 27, 2022

To the End of the Earth

November 20, 2022

Weathering Tempests

November 13, 2022

Crazy for Jesus