Upside down world

Last Sunday, in a message titled, TURNING THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN, we began a new series in the book of Ephesians looking at the founding of that church in Ephesus (Acts 18:18-20:38; 17:6). Ephesus was a major trade center and the capital of the Roman province Asia (west of Galatia). It also held one of the seven wonders of the world: a temple to the made-up fertility goddess Diana (AKA Artemis) which the city guarded and revered (Acts 19:35). It was here a strong church was founded with Apostle Paul briefly visiting the city at the end of his second missionary journey (Acts 18:18-22), but he did not stay long-term until his third missionary journey (Acts 19:1, 8, 10; 20:31, etc.).

So effective was the spread of the gospel there that “all who dwelt” in the region heard “the name of the Lord Jesus” and “fear fell on [everyone]” (Acts 19:10, 17). Millions of dollars were lost as people burned their sorcery books and even more money vanished as business to the fertility goddess Artemis dwindled (Acts 19:19-20, 26-27). This led to a prolonged riot as people outside of the church objected to the impact God was having on their lives (Acts 19:28-41; Rom. 1:16-32, etc.).

Paul wrote the book of Ephesians probably toward the beginning of his first Roman imprisonment in 60 A.D (Acts 28:30-31) about three decades after the church was born at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Here the Holy Spirit reveals the mystery (Grk. mystērion) of the church (Grk. ἐκκλησία, ekklesia)- a new work of God. “In other ages [it] was not made known to the sons of men… [but now was being] …revealed by the Spirit to [us via] His holy apostles…” (Eph. 1:9; 3:3-5, 9; 5:32; 6:19- Matt. 16:18 “I will [future tense] build My church”).