19:23 And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way. 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen. 25 He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: “Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. 26 Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. 27 So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.”
28 Now when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” 29 So the whole city was filled with confusion, and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul’s travel companions.
Every day we are bombarded with messages: advertisements, news stories, religious messages, political messages etc...
I encourage you strongly to filter them carefully. We are only taking one step further in the story of the uproar in Ephesus. I want you to see this. The riot was started by a silversmith who began to feel the economic pinch as idolatry became less popular. However notice how he spun the story. What began as an economic concern quickly turned into an issue of religion and national pride. He gathered those he knew would sympathize with his plight and used their frenzy to turn the while city into confusion.
Note that word: confusion. It is what happens when truth is mixed with lies. Always turn away from confusing messages. Truth is never confusing. It is simple and clear. If a stranger calls you or sends you an email with a "deal just for you!" you can be certain the deal is just for them but they make it sound so good. It's confusing. When a political candidate goes to one group and tells them what they want to hear and then goes to another group and says something very different it's confusing. When a politician or religious figure or even an insurance salesperson uses your fears, doubts, and vulnerabilities to convince you of their 'product' walk away. If we don't learn to discern the motives behind the many and confusing messages we are likely to find ourselves swept up in movements or even mobs that are up to no good.
Be proactive not reactive. Know what you believe, what you stand for and against and know why. Filter the messages that come to you. Sleep on it if you are genuinely unsure. Trace a message to the root. Is that smooth talking silversmith really worried about your religious wellbeing or is it really his wallet he is protecting?
God's Word says: "Be sober, be vigilant, for your adversary goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour."
Lions only roar when hunting if their prey is safe and they are trying to induce panic to get them to run. Panic inducing messages are not from God.