A church that is built with plain speech sermons and teaching and all in the power of God, not only sees the tide of a fallen world turn around, but in itself it becomes part of the wave that “tsunami’s” the local geography with the Word of God. This is New Testament apostolic ministry.
Christianity is bigger than we see it in the West. We have Americans thinking that we are too small minded in the UK. We have many Christians in the UK refusing to listen to American preachers because too many of them look and sound like second hand car salesman when viewed in the context of English culture. We have the leadership of the high profile State Church in the UK unable to make a clear and concise statement on euthanasia, abortion and homosexual – so called- marriages, and we wonder why folks do not listen to what Christians have to say. Paul just knew Christ.
New Testament Christianity took the whole issue of God and His relationship to man out of the high intellectual strata, and down into the mundane practicalities of life. It ceased to be a cerebral adventure of concepts and ideas of the Divine, and became a discussion of, “How does this blind man see?” And “How does that crippled woman now walk?” It took the whole “God-talk” out of ethereal prognostications, and into the practical reality of changed lives. The Apostle Paul in Ephesus was only a slightly scaled down model of Jesus of Nazareth in Judaea.
The next part of his passionate and effective routine was plain and simple: secular work. He needed to pay his way. “You yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me,” is plainly what he said. From other verses concerning Paul’s trade as a tent maker, we can only assume that his tent trade was so significantly successful that he was paying the expenses for his entire team. Whether that was merely the twelve disciples from Acts 19:1-7 or other members of the team like Timothy, and others we are not 100% certain. What we are told is that he worked at a trade that fed, clothed and roofed him and others, while he lived at Ephesus. It seems that he worked like that from the first day he arrived there. “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you,” The example for others to follow was truly astounding.
We are aware also of how Paul taught, preached, and testified wherever he was in Ephesus all through this period. “I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks.” So where did he fit this into his daily routine? It would seem that if he wasn’t working on his tents, or ministering at the school of Tyrranus for five hours, he was busy ministering to people in the comfort of their homes. He declares that he held nothing back that was profitable for them. That would mean everything we have in the New Testament from his hand and more. It would also seem that here in Ephesus he was utterly freed from the persecution of Jewish legalists persecuting him. He may have gone to a Jewish household here and to a Greek (gentile) house there. No friction! No riot from the Jewish quarter! Paul had freedom of movement and freedom to minister. He said to them all afterwards that they needed to, “Remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.” Day and night! Convenient or not convenient! House to House! “To warn everyone!” We are talking here of prophecy, and not just the warnings of the Gospel message.
Three aspects of activity utterly filled his life for three years in Ephesus. 1. Tent making. 2. Public ministry for a set time of five hours every day. 3. House to house. The pressure on the apostle physically, mentally and spiritually must have been utterly phenomenal.