The Gospel To Asia
Paul’s exhortation to the saints in the letter to the Ephesians is an encouragement to believers today. The believers in Ephesus were surrounded by a culture bent on personal gain, idol worship, temple prostitution and practices of dark arts (witchcraft, divination ect.).
Paul previously had visited the city accompanied by fellow tent maker Aquilla and his wife Priscilla, who were Jewish converts. Paul would reason every sabath to try and persuade the Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Messiah. Paul was asked to stay longer but he declined, leaving Aquilla and Priscilla behind, saying that if God’s will, he would return. (see Acts 18:18-21)
Paul travels through the highland/inland country strengthening the disciples throughout the regions of Galatia & Phrygia on his second missionary journey , eventually returning to the city of Ephesus. There he finds disciples, potentially the fruit of Apollos, another believer who preached Christ and reasoned with the Jews. After being ignored, Paul takes the disciples with him and daily reasoned in the hall of Tyrannus for two years.
God’s work through Paul was displayed in not only the preaching of the Gospel, but also through extraordinary miracles. The sick and demon possessed were liberated through aprons, and handkerchiefs that had touched Paul’s skin. This caught the attention of many, even some of the itinerant jewish exorcists. These men were the 7 sons of the high priest Sceva, and attempted to cast out demons by saying “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims”.
They were unsuccessful and paid an embarrassing price for their actions, nevertheless the name of Christ was extolled and many who had heard about it were struck with awe and those who had believed, came divulging their former practices and repentance so genuine, they burned 50,000 pieces of silver worth of books of magic and dark arts. The word of the LORD continued to increase and prevailed mightily (see Acts 19:11-20)