20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
When the apostle Paul and his team arrived in the city of Ephesus, they preached the Gospel to the Jews first. Paul went into the Jewish synagogue and “spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8). But some of the hearers “were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude” (v. 9). He was forced to move out of the synagogue, and thereafter taught in the school of Tyrannus. The hostility notwithstanding, Paul undauntedly preached the Word, influencing the Jews as well as the Greeks in that city and its surrounding region (v. 10).
Another giant obstacle to the Gospel advancement in that city was its enchantment with sorcery and witchcraft. Ephesus was renowned for the statue of Artemis and her temple. The statue had mysterious engravings on the crown, girdle and feet. Those mystical writings, referred to as “Ephesian scripts”, were considered to have magical power. Sorcery was part of the Ephesian culture. Some of the Jews also practised wizardry, as revealed in Acts 19:13 – “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.” When seven sons of Sceva, the chief of the Jewish priests, tried to exorcise some demons in the name of Jesus, they were violently attacked by the demonic man. This incident brought much fear among the people.
Nonetheless, the preaching of the Word of God turned many away from their diabolical practices. “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” (Acts 19:18, 19). Mightily did the Word of God grow and prevail in that city, where unbelief and fierce demonic activities stood in its way.
In our own day, many dabble with horoscopes, tarot cards, crystal balls, Ouija boards, séances and other mystical and demonic activities, which are dangerous to their minds and emotions. If the church is preaching the Word faithfully and fervently, we will see some people being delivered from unbelief, and the enticement and enslavement of the devil. The preaching of the Word shall prevail over all demonic powers!