11 And God did unusual and extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul,

12 So that handkerchiefs or towels or aprons which had touched his skin were carried away and put upon the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.

13 Then some of the traveling Jewish exorcists (men who adjure evil spirits) also undertook to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, I solemnly implore and charge you by the Jesus Whom Paul preaches!

14 Seven sons of a certain Jewish chief priest named Sceva were doing this.

15 But [one] evil spirit retorted, Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?

16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit dwelt leaped upon them, mastering two of them, and was so violent against them that they dashed out of that house [in fear], stripped naked and wounded.

17 This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, and alarm and terror fell upon them all; and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled and magnified.

18 Many also of those who were now believers came making full confession and thoroughly exposing their [former deceptive and evil] practices.

19 And many of those who had practiced curious, magical arts collected their books and [throwing them, book after book, on the pile] burned them in the sight of everybody. When they counted the value of them, they found it amounted to 50,000 pieces of silver ( about $9,300).

20 Thus the Word of the Lord [concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God] grew and spread and intensified, prevailing mightily.

21 Now after these events Paul determined in the [Holy] Spirit that he would travel through Macedonia and Achaia (most of Greece) and go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must visit Rome also.

22 And having sent two of his assistants, Timothy and Erastus, into Macedonia, he himself stayed on in [the province of] Asia for a while.

23 But as time went on, there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way [of the Lord].

24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of [the goddess] Artemis[Diana], brought no small income to his craftsmen.

25 These he called together, along with the workmen of similar trades, and said, Men, you are acquainted with the facts and understand that from this business we derive our wealth and livelihood.

26 Now you notice and hear that not only at Ephesus but almost all over [the province of] Asia this Paul has persuaded and induced people to believe his teaching and has alienated a considerable company of them, saying that gods that are made with human hands are not really gods at all.

27 Now there is danger not merely that this trade of ours may be discredited, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may come into disrepute and count for nothing, and that her glorious magnificence may be degraded and fall into contempt she whom all [the province of Asia] and the wide world worship.

28 As they listened to this, they were filled with rage and they continued to shout, Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!

29 Then the city was filled with confusion; and they rushed together into the amphitheater, dragging along with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were fellow travelers with Paul.

30 Paul wished to go in among the crowd, but the disciples would not permit him to do it.

31 Even some of the Asiarchs (political or religious officials in Asia) who were his friends also sent to him and warned him not to risk venturing into the theater.

32 Now some shouted one thing and some another, for the gathering was in a tumult and most of them did not know why they had come together.

33 Some of the crowd called upon Alexander [to speak], since the Jews had pushed and urged him forward. And Alexander motioned with his hand, wishing to make a defense and [planning] to apologize to the people.

34 But as soon as they saw him and recognized that he was a Jew, a shout went up from them as the voice of one man, as for about two hours they cried, Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!

35 And when the town clerk had calmed the crowd down, he said, Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of the sacred stone [image of her] that fell from the sky?

36 Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet (keep yourselves in check) and do nothing rashly.

37 For you have brought these men here, who are [guilty of] neither temple robberies nor blasphemous speech about our goddess.

38 Now then, if Demetrius and his fellow tradesmen who are with him have a grievance against anyone, the courts are open and proconsuls are [available]; let them bring charges against one another [legally].

39 But if you require anything further about this or about other matters, it must be decided and cleared up in the regular assembly.

40 For we are in danger of being called to render an account and of being accused of rioting because of [this commotion] today, there being no reason that we can offer to justify this disorder.

41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly. AMP

Paul asked the Ephesian disciples if they had received the Holy Spirit, and they replied that they did not know the Holy Spirit had been given. So Paul explained to them about Jesus, and they believed and were baptized by the Spirit and in water. Thus the church at Ephesus was born.

Some time later Paul spent two years in Ephesus, teaching and building up this body of believers. Later he sent Timothy to the Ephesian church to ground them even more firmly in God's Word. Paul's two letters to Timothy were written while Timothy labored in Ephesus. There is even a tradition (though it is not confirmed in Scripture) that John, after writing the book of Revelation, also went to Ephesus and spent the closing days of his life there.

So the church at Ephesus was rich in church history, having enjoyed the ministering presence of some of the most prominent charter members of the Christian faith.

This letter to the Ephesians like the other six letters to follow consists of both an appraisal and an appeal. There is an affirmation of what is good, plus an admonition against what is wrong. There is also an appeal for those who have fallen away to repent and return to true faith, and a spiritual promise to those who hold fast.

The Lord finds three things to affirm in the Ephesian church. First, they are committed and hardworking. "I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance," He says. The Ephesian Christians are activists, not couch potatoes. They take their faith seriously and put it to work. They tell others about their faith. They minister to human needs. They reach out to the homeless and the outcasts. They are busy people, and the Lord says that is good.

Second, the Ephesian Christians have sound, orthodox doctrine. The Lord commends them highly for this: "I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false." Their faith was well defined and well defended. They exposed and opposed false teachers.

And there were, unfortunately, plenty of false teachers around. In Acts 20, Paul says his final goodbye to the Ephesian elders, and he warns them to expect such teachers to come and seduce the Ephesian Christians away from true faith. He warns them to watch out for such "wolves" and to oppose them. In Revelation 2:2, the Lord commends the Ephesian church for heeding Paul's advice.

Acts 20

20:1 AFTER THE uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples and warned and consoled and urged and encouraged them; then he embraced them and told them farewell and set forth on his journey to Macedonia.

2 Then after he had gone through those districts and had warned and consoled and urged and encouraged the brethren with much discourse, he came to Greece.

3 Having spent three months there, when a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he resolved to go back through Macedonia.

4 He was accompanied by Sopater the son of Pyrrhus from Beroea, and by the Thessalonians Aristarchus and Secundus, and Gaius of Derbe and Timothy, and the Asians Tychicus and Trophimus.

5 These went on ahead and were waiting for us [including Luke] at Troas,
6 But we [ourselves] sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread [the Passover week], and in five days we joined them at Troas, where we remained for seven days.