Results of Religious Greed

Greed

Nothing will whip up passions more quickly than religion. Some of the worst wars in history have been religious wars. It is the religious element that has made the situation in Iraq so volatile and ruthless in the day in which we live. With over one sixth of the world’s population declaring themselves Muslim, and their goal of doing away with Jews and Christians, in reality we are in a Holy War. The 19 terrorists of September 11, 2001, came from that part of the world dominated by Muslims, and they were willing to lay down their lives for the cause of Islam.

A riot developed in Ephesus. It was brought on by Demetrius and others who made their living making small silver charms and images (v.24). These were purchased by the people and taken to the temple of Diana to be blessed. This was a very lucrative business. The trouble began, when through the preaching of the gospel by Paul, people started making changes in their live. Once they were saved they began to get rid of their charms, and trinkets. This impact of Christianity was so great that sales on these items had fallen off drastically, much to the alarm of these Silversmiths (v.27).

Demetrius deliberately ignited this highly explosive religious issue and then stood back to see it burst in all its fury against Christians in general and Paul in particular. So Paul decided to take action, and he called a meeting of these craftsman. They decided not to say that their business had declined, but that the Christians were doing damage by refusing to worship Diana. A rally was held in the amphitheater. It was alarming to think that their religion was threatened, and almost the whole city turned out. It became a mob scene. Eventually, Alexander, was able to quiet the crowd by reminding them that they would be held accountable by the Romans for such an unlawful assembly (vv. 33-41).

Application

Religious feelings are used today to sway public opinion. Even atheism is a form of religion and tries to do away with other religious groups. I need to be aware of the dangers of this type of thing. My relationship with Jesus Christ should affect every area of my life and relationships

Acts 19:21-41 (English Standard Version)

Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome." And having sent into Macedonia two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while. About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, "Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship." When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's companions in travel. But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. And even some of the Asiarchs, who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater. Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd. But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" 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 great 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. If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. But if you seek anything further, it shall be settled in the regular assembly. For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion." And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.

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