Curious Arts and Christian Hearts #3

Sunday, September 5, 2021

“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. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. 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. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed” (Acts 19:17-20 KJV).

What wise guidance can we derive from today’s Scripture?

Although national Israel was unbelieving and refusing Jesus Christ throughout the Book of Acts, the Holy Spirit through Luke made it a point to accentuate how idolatrous Gentiles were coming by faith to Christ and forsaking their pagan religion paraphernalia. Here, the Ephesians—steeped in their witchcraft/occult/sorcery/magic—believed Christ died for their sins, was buried, and raised again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Their heart faith resulted in a profound change in lifestyle.

We want to concentrate particularly on what they did with their heathen books. Instead of doing as the thoughtless pastor I knew years ago who distributed his false teaching books to his friends who were still trapped in the theological system he had recently renounced as void of the truth, the saints at Ephesus burned those books for everyone to see. Not only so, the value of those witchcraft volumes was estimated to be 50,000 pieces of silver. These were likely drachmas, each silver coin worth about a day’s wages. In total, the price of these works was as much as 137 years’ salary!!

However (please note, again), instead of selling them and thereby harming others, these saints burned those books. Their hearts were not materialistic but spiritual, quite mature in sound Bible doctrine. Again, as opposed to distributing the literature to people who wanted them—relatives, neighbors, and friends who were still pagan—they destroyed those books so no one else would be polluted with the Satan worship that had deceived them! (Brethren, if we have an eye to see, an ear to hear, and a heart to believe, we can learn something here as well.)

The Holy Spirit closes the narrative by underscoring Satan’s loss:So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed!”

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