“No Small Stir”

A Religious Riot in Ephesus, and Paul’s Final Journey Through Greece

Acts 19:23 - 20:15

October 9, 2022

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland



I.     Background (Acts 19:20)


A.   I often get very disappointed with how people react to the Gospel

B.   I am amazed at the anger that the words of this Book stirs up in people

C.   Even Christian people – very picky and choosey about what they believe and obey – we all love it until it corrects something WE are doing or not doing!

D.   But bad reactions are to be expected

E.    Especially when these words affect a CULTURE and changes its dependence upon idolatry, and darkness, and frees them to worship the Lord Jesus Christ in simplicity and power!

F.    Paul’s preaching of the Gospel turned the entire city of Ephesus upside down & inside out

G.   It will do the same in you too if you would only hear it!


II.   Review


A.   Last Week… A Great Revival breaks out in Ephesus (Acts 19:16-20)


1.    Acts 19:16  And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

2.    Acts 19:17  And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

3.    Acts 19:18  And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.

4.    Acts 19:19  Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

5.    Acts 19:20  So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.


6.    Ephesus was well known as a city of brothels, and depravity

7.    But now, instead of witchcraft, and demon-possession, and the devil being in charge of the city of Ephesus, the Bible was! The people had experienced a true REVIVAL of salvation!

8.    The revival was City-wide! Not limited to the walls of a church building


a.     A healthy fear of God and fear of the devil started it all – everyone feared the spiritual

b.    The name of Jesus was honoured everywhere, precious, protected

c.     Many were converted, saved, became believers in Jesus as Messiah and Saviour!

d.    Repentance was common – such an important attitude – we are way too hard

e.     Demonic influences in their homes were being broken and burned


1)    Like the books children are being forced to read these days…

2)    Like what is being played on smartphones and the TV today

3)    The world has far too much control of the hearts and thoughts of people and children


f.     Turned away from idolatry – such an important and vital step – you cannot hold onto ANY idols and follow Christ

g.    And the word of God, the Bible now governed people’s lives instead of fear, and dark magic, and demons, and curses


9.    THAT is revival! And we need it! Don’t miss it, dear sinner! Don’t hinder it dear Christian!


B.   Paul Makes Some Plans (Acts 19:21,22)


1.    Acts 19:21,22  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. So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.


2.    Paul is not only preaching, but always planning his next moves, and preparing people to serve the Lord the same way he was! He never just sat and drank tea!

3.    Paul knows his calling is to keep moving – keep preaching, keep serving!


a.     Some are called to stay in a place and pastor a church like Timothy and Titus were

b.    But Paul was a church STARTER

c.     A trail-blazer - He confronted the darkness, everywhere, and brought the Gospel, and started Bible believing churches where the devil had been in control before!


4.    He wants to try and get all the way back to Jerusalem, and then go to Rome


a.     Quite a big trip to plan out

b.    It was 800 miles straight back to Jerusalem

c.     And then over 1,500 miles over to Rome

d.    With airplanes and automobiles today, that doesn’t seem like that much, but it was a huge undertaking when you are walking, and relying on cheap boat rides


5.    Paul sent some of his men ahead of him – like Jesus often did

6.    While he stayed behind in Ephesus – he could tell something was about to happen


III.         Message


A.   “No Small Stir” – the OTHER Reaction to the Gospel (Acts 19:23-34)


1.    So, at first we saw the people respond to the Gospel with JOY and REVIVAL

2.    But now, there were others in Ephesus who will respond with a RIOT!


3.    Acts 19:23  And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.

4.    Acts 19:24  For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;

5.    Acts 19:25  Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.

6.    Acts 19:26  Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:

7.    Acts 19:27  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 worshippeth.

8.    Acts 19:28  And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.


9.    Demetrius was the head of the local worker’s union of silver smiths


a.     They made idols and especially expensive silver shrines/temples to the goddess Diana

b.    A very lucrative business – people paid a lot of money

c.     Everyone wanted a silver shrine in their home to the goddess Diana


10. Diana


a.     A beautiful goddess, fashioned to make men seek her favour

b.    She was also known as Ishtar (Easter), Ashtoreth, Venus, Minerva, and the Moon because of her hunting bow

c.     She was a god of fertility and life

d.    And she was the goddess of sex – like almost every movie star wants to be known as


11. Threatening the Great Temple of Diana (Acts 19:23)


a.     “No Small Stir” (Acts 19:23) And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.

b.    A nice way of saying, there was a massive angry reaction to the Gospel


1)    A preacher named Billy Sunday, back in the 1920’s once said, I have not done my job as a preacher unless I have caused one of two things to happen: to make you GLAD or make you MAD

2)    There is NO middle ground with Gospel preaching!


c.     Demetrius was upset at “The Way” - refers to Jesus as the way, the truth and the life – because it was so different than the way everybody was used to living in idolatry

d.    And he was really upset at “that Paul Guy” for persuading grown men to change!


1)    Acts 19:25,26 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands

2)    From money-paying idolaters

3)    To Christ-honouring Christians

4)    Paul had persuaded MEN that man-made objects are not gods, and should not be worshipped at all!

5)    It is like me persuading men that ALCOHOL is a demon-drink, and should not be consumed at all! Because it only destroys lives and homes and marriages!

6)    It is like when a pub has to close down because GROWN MEN stop going and stop spending their money on the devil’s brew!


e.     So, the Craftsmen become Furious with Demetrius


1)    Acts 19:28  And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

2)    In a way, they were being ROBBED by these Christians - Losing money!

3)    They were now closing down shops – people were being laid off!

4)    All because the Gospel was stopping idolatry in Ephesus!

5)    And so they decided that the preaching had to stop!


f.     Very well-known temple… One of the Seven wonders of the ancient world

g.    Built, destroyed and rebuilt three times over the space of about 500 years

h.    Huge: 425 ft long, by 220 ft wide

i.      So magnificent that copies of this temple were built also in Rome, France and Spain

j.      This was their Basilica, their highest Cathedral


12. This Reaction Spread throughout the city – just like the Revival did (Acts 19:29)


a.     Acts 19:29  And the whole city was filled with confusion

b.    Revival is based upon the word of God, on firm confrontation with sin, welcoming poverty and suffering, on the power of preaching and the Holy Spirit

c.     This Riot was based on anger, and on money, and power, and dark religion

d.    A dangerous mob gathered and went into a theatre next to the massive Temple of Diana


13. Blamed the Jews and Christians (Acts 19:29-33)


a.     As many as 50,000 men rush into the amphitheatre (theatre) next to the massive Temple of Diana, dragging two Christian men into the centre of the theatre…


1)    Acts 19:29  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.


b.    Paul wanted to intervene, and protect Aristarchus and Gaius – but wasn’t allowed to


1)    Acts 19:30  And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.

2)    Acts 19:31  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.


c.     Then the Jews tried to distance themselves from the preaching of Paul


1)    Acts 19:32,33  Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.

2)    The Jews obviously were anti-idolatry – but never tried to persuade men against it

3)    But these newcomers, these Christians, were really upsetting the idol business

4)    Alexander, a Jew, attempts to distance the Jews from Paul, and defend the Jews as a quiet, non-judgmental religion…


14. A Two Hour Uproar of Shouting! (Acts 19:34)


a.     Acts 19:34  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.

b.    It was a one-sided shouting match

c.     Like a chant by a massive crowd in a sports stadium

d.    FOR TWO HOURS! Think about that! Over and over and over!


1)    “Great is Diana of the Ephesians”

2)    Mohammed Ali… “I am the greatest; I am the greatest”

3)    “Ala Akbar” – God is Great

4)    “Olé olé olé olé” – Spanish word that says “O Praise, O praise, O praise, O praise”… speaking of a team or a player!


e.     Two hours of saying the same thing is Mind-Numbing!


B.   The Town Clerk Appears (Acts 19:35-41)


1.    A lowly, local town clerk steps into the middle of the theatre and calms the crowd!

2.    Reminded them of common knowledge


a.     Acts 19:35  And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth 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?

b.    Everyone knows Ephesus worships Diana

c.     And the Rock IMAGE that Jupiter threw down from the stars to us


3.    Told everyone to stop yelling – be quiet now – be reasonable


a.     Acts 19:36  Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.


4.    He KNEW What was Going on


a.     Acts 19:37  For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.

b.    These men have NOT robbed your churches


1)    Like Demetrius had accused Paul of

2)    They were just robbed of PROFITS


c.     They have NOT blasphemed the goddess Diana


1)    So it is possible to tell the truth about an idol without blaspheming it

2)    Psalm 115:4  Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. [OBVIOUS]

3)    Psalm 115:5  They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:

4)    Psalm 115:6  They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:

5)    Psalm 115:7  They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.

6)    Psalm 115:8  They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.

7)    Christians don’t mock idols, they just mock those that trust in them!


5.    Tells them to use the Court System


a.     Acts 19:38  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.

b.    Acts 19:39  But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.


6.    Ephesus is in DANGER of Rome’s Judgment


a.     Acts 19:40  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.

b.    Not because of the preaching

c.     But because of the REACTION to the preaching - a mob


7.    Dismissed the crowd of 50,000 people


a.     Acts 19:41  And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

b.    Wow! The power and authority of REASON

c.     Leave these men alone!

d.    Freedom of commerce, and freedom of religion!

e.     THAT is the correct power of government


C.   Paul Now Heads for Jerusalem? (20:1-16)


1.    Paul kept going – kept in motion

2.    Paul is determined to get to Jerusalem – greatly burdened for his people (Romans 9,10)


a.     Romans 10:1,2  Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

b.    Romans 9:1-4  I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;


3.    But he has an unusual way of getting there!

4.    Paul Leaves Ephesus and goes West for Macedonia (Acts 20:1,2) – not southeast


a.     Acts 20:1,2  And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece,

b.    Embraced them – they were FAMILY

c.     Exhorted them – encouraged and urged them to keep doing right


5.    Spends Three months in Greece (Acts 20:3) – visiting all the churches there


a.     Acts 20:3  And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.

b.    Found out he was being hunted by the Jews there

c.     Decides to go back up to Macedonia and from there along the coast of Turkey on the way back to Jerusalem – the LONG way


6.    He has Several Faithful Men with Him (Acts 20:4,5) – they were so needed!


a.     Acts 20:4,5  And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. These going before tarried for us at Troas.

b.    These men are constantly mentioned by Paul as being with him in the ministry

c.     Paul NEEDED these men to help him – so many different nationalities


1)    Sopater of Berea in Macedonia

2)    Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica

3)    Gaius from Derbe back in Turkey

4)    Timotheus from Lystra and Debre

5)    Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia Minor


d.    A Bible believing church is not a one man show! It needs many men! Godly men!

e.     Just as “I” am called to preach and pastor, the men in this church are called to HELP me preach, and teach, and serve and help others!


D.   Traumatic Church Service in Troas (Acts 20:6-12) An example of what a New Testament church did…


1.    Acts 20:6  And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.

2.    Acts 20:7  And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

3.    Acts 20:8  And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.

4.    Acts 20:9  And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.

5.    Acts 20:10  And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.

6.    Acts 20:11  When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.

7.    Acts 20:12  And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.


8.    A very simple church…

9.    Upon the first day of the week – SUNDAY


a.     Not Saturday – the Jewish Sabbath

b.    But the FIRST day of the week – Sunday!

c.     We can worship any and every day, but Sunday is the Lord’s Day for the Christian


10. They Assembled Together


a.     They came together – didn’t stay home (Hebrews 10:25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

b.    They are meeting in a large Roman style house with three floors, and a courtyard


11. They Ate together – what a privilege to SHARE a meal

12. Paul preached to the crowd – that’s what happens at church! Preaching the Bible!


a.     Probably sang together, but that was not why they gathered – they gathered to HEAR

b.    He preached and taught this Book ALL day long – he had so much to say

c.     The people were so hungry to hear and learn, that they STAYED

d.    This hunger will NEVER come back again until we fast from our social media and technology devices for a week or two… only then will we get HUNGRY for this Book!


13. Eutychus… there is ALWAYS a Eutychus!


a.     Hard to stay awake sometimes – Paul was not boring, but long winded

b.    Eutychus fell asleep and fell out of the third floor window

c.     30 feet down – died – no life in him

d.    Paul heals him – no one else had that ability, only Paul

e.     Not a little comforted… VERY encouraged to have Eutychus back alive and well


14. So, the moral of the story is… don’t fall asleep in church – because “I” CANNOT help you if you fall and break your neck! Thank God I don’t go on until midnight like I wish I could!


E.   One More Trip to Ephesus (Acts 20:13-16) [MAP]


1.    Acts 20:13  And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot.

2.    Acts 20:14  And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene.

3.    Acts 20:15  And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus.

4.    Acts 20:16  For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.


5.    Why go back to Ephesus?

6.    So that he could speak one final time with all the pastors and elders of the churches all over Ephesus, Before he leaves for Jerusalem


a.     So, Paul meets up with his men in Assos – just south of Troas [MAP]

b.    Travels to Mitylene

c.     Then island hops from Chios, Samos, Trogyllium, to Miletus, a port city just south of Ephesus

d.    From Miletus, Paul will call for all the church pastors and elders of the church in Ephesus, to say some very important things to them before he leaves for Jerusalem

e.     Because he knows, he will never pass through there again!


7.    Paul has to say some of THE most important things we need to heed as Christians




A.   Paul’s preaching of the Gospel turned the city of Ephesus upside down and inside out


1.    A Great Revival broke out in Ephesus – peopple getting saved, and clearing out idols and witchcraft, and a great church was started!

2.    But the OTHER Reaction to the Gospel, was a RIOT

3.    People only want a nice kind of religion that doesn’t offend anyone, and never upsets anybody

4.    But that is not Biblical Christianity! We tell the truth, and it often hurts


B.   This Bible will do the same in you too if you would only hear it!


1.    Either make you MAD or GLAD

2.    No middle ground with Gospel preaching!

3.    If you are mad at me – so be it! Your loss!


C.   But I would rather you would be thrilled and glad with me at the Gospel truth


1.    That idols are dumb and are not to be venerated, or even kept in your home

2.    That Jesus is the Son of God, who came into this sin-cursed world, to save it

3.    Have you let Jesus save YOU?

4.    There is only ONE thing keeping you in your sins – stubbornness!


D.   But, If you are saved, and glad for the Gospel, SHOW IT!


1.    We have far too many lazy, backslidden, carnal men sitting in churches – bad attitudes

2.    Let’s become Faithful men, who hear God’s call to go, and preach, and serve alongside other men in Gospel ministry!

3.    Let’s become godly men, who fear God, and nothing else