Scripture: “And (Paul) entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. BUT, when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, (Paul) withdrew from them….
About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way….
(The Artemis Incident) And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the Artemis and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky? Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess…” excerpts from Acts 19:8-9; v23; v35-37
Observation: It is clear. Speaking about the Kingdom of God will bring no little irritation to those insisting on their own “Way….”
Analysis: My goodness. I need to try to stop punning my way through life. Hopefully I will find a different bad habit to acquire.
Here we go again. Paul ambles up to Ephesus and finds the local synagogue. As is his habit, he starts to do what? Speaking boldly, reasoning, and being persuasive. I notice that, oh, I dunno, Arguing isn’t in this list—at least the kind of arguing I would resort to.
But it isn’t like I don’t see that kind of arguing in Chap 19: “…some became stubborn…” and the result? “…continued in unbelief…” and ultimately spoke evil of the Way. What it evolved to was “disturbance concerning the Way” and then the Artemis Incident.
What I zeroed in upon is how Luke describes Paul and the rest of the accompanying disciples:
- Spoke boldly but
- Reasonably and
- With persuasion not hammering declaration.
- Willing to withdraw as prompted by the Holy Spirit.
- They weren’t sacrilegious concerning local customs (acted honorably) nor
- Blasphemers of the local speed bumps (weren’t obnoxious).
Of this list I think I can do…. exactly ZERO every time, all the time. I might be able to get one or two, but the “being obnoxious” trips me up mostly.
How then, do I get to where I can imitate Paul? Key word: Practice. But practice where? In my local speaking hall like at Ephesus?
No, but close.
When desiring to speak about the Gospel, there are God-ordained places of Grace to practice. Two places that should get used a lot are: Home, and; Small Group. If I am comfortable speaking in these two places, I can become comfortable anywhere…eventually. It is a matter of practice.
Prayer: Lord Jesus: Please keep your Word in my mouth, constantly on my mind, percolating between my ears and elevated to the utmost importance, increasing every day. Your Word is like honey, let it drip off my tongue in an ever-increasing manner. AMEN