The Danger of a God Who Is No God at All



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Acts 19:23–31

About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”

When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together. Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.


The gospel is offensive. The gospel offers very good news to those who believe and follow in the Way, but it portends doom for those who fight against it.

In today’s text, the gospel threatens to unravel an entire city’s economy and in its place plant the kingdom of God. How? The city of Ephesus organized its economy around the great goddess Artemis. People came from far and wide to visit the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The twin sister of Apollo, Artemis supposedly offered blessings of fertility and healing. Patrons and pilgrims would often purchase small silver shrines and images of the goddess to take home with them and likely a host of other items from the local craftsmen. It was a booming business.

Enter the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel can’t be content to be a player in the game alongside other gods. No, the gospel will not rest until the so-called other gods are exposed as “no gods at all.” I don’t think Paul spends much time defending the gospel against Artemis. Nope. He goes straight for the jugular, exposing the lie at the center of the whole system that made the city work.

 The core creed of the gospel is not “Jesus Saves”; the core creed of the gospel is this: “Jesus is Lord!”

This is an exclusive claim and quite offensive for those who have enthroned other so-called gods as Lord. It upends everything.

With Jesus, it really is all or nothing. Yes, he recognizes that all can take a while to get to, but if we are not actively going in that direction we can be sure that our life will amount to nothing. It’s a guarantee. It’s why false gods, despite the fact that they are “no gods at all” are the most dangerous thing on the planet. Why? Because when you worship a god who is no god at all, you are in a world of hurt—even if you don’t know it yet. 


Father, I hear the saying echoing in the recesses of my soul: “Jesus will be Lord of all or he is not Lord at all.” And it challenges me to the core. I welcome you to turn on the searchlight of the Holy Spirit to shine in my soul, to search out the little-g gods, who though they are not gods at all, have seduced my attention such that I have given them place in my life. They have become my permanent crutches to get me around and get me through. I want to repent to the point that I am done with them. I want to be wholeheartedly yours. Jesus is not just my Savior. He is my Lord. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen. 


Has the truth of “Jesus is Lord” upended anything in your life? Or have you slid Jesus into a comfortable place on the mantle alongside the pantheon of other gods we salute?


Today we will sing “Holy! Holy! Holy!” (hymn 23) from our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise. Get your copy here. 

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. The fact that we can place our faith in mammon, career, education, the political establishment, or any other god of this world, is simply the doctrine of demons. And God will not share His glory with any other “god”. It’s total surrender to Christ alone, nothing less will do. But, we can rest assured that in taking that radical step, we have indeed provoked the “god” of this world to anger. He and his disciples are sore losers. Thus, we see the situation described here at Ephesus.

  2. Roaring crowds like to gather to shout the greatness of sports teams and musicians for hours. Sports and music are treasured to the point of idolatry, but they are no gods at all. They are merely a focus for pleasure producing pride — a place to shout, “We’re number one!” “We’re the coolest!” “We’re the greatest!”

    There is one human being who is proclaimed as the greatest of all time — the Creator in human flesh. He’s not a sports or music “g.o.a.t.” He’s the lamb of God — the sacrifice for human sin who gave His life on the Cross, was buried, and rose to live again forever. He is Lord — the King, Sovern, and Master of the Universe.

    “I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying:
    “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’ Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever.'” (Revelation 5:11-13.) I love to join with that crowd throughout the day and boldly worship Jesus the risen Lord!

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