"After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. 'After I have been there,' he said, 'I must visit Rome also.' He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer." NIV translation
So, Paul got the ministry started in Ephesus and prepared to go to Jerusalem and Rome. Paul was great at turning hearts to God and moving on to the next area that didn't have Christians. He often passed through areas where he had started a work just to check in on them and to encourage them. In this case, he sent a couple of helpers on ahead to check on things.
"About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way." NIV translation
It is interesting to note here that following Jesus is called "the Way". First of all, that can remind us that there were no denominations of Christ as He was and is "the Way" and you either follow Him or you don't. Second, it can remind us that Jesus is the ONLY way to a right relationship with God and avoiding eternal punishment for disobedience. No matter what the world says today, we are not all going to get to heaven in our own way. There is One who can get us there and that is Jesus!
"A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen." NIV translation
So, because of God's work through Paul, people's lives were being changed and they turned away from idols and therefore didn't buy these statues from this man. This hit him and others in the pocketbook and so he decided to put a stop to the spread of the Way. The grace and forgiveness that Paul was sharing with the people was available to Demetrius as well but he could not see it because of the money that was involved. This is an example of what Jesus was talking about, in Matthew 6:24, when he said "You cannot serve both God and Money". If you choose money, then you will eventually come to learn the same lesson that Solomon learned in Ecclesiastes.
"He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: 'Men, you know 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 man-made gods 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.'" NIV translation
So, Demetrius is not happy with just rejecting the gospel himself; now, he must convince others to resist God as well. He not only uses the issue of money to raise opposition to Paul but he also appeals to them to protect their goddess. He fears that she will be "robbed of her divine majesty" but does not see how ridiculous that is. If she was a goddess, then why would she need a mere man to defend her majesty? Sadly, the same sort of thing happens today with us as Christians. We get into our minds that we have to defend God and His word but the simple fact of the matter is that God is the Creator and Sustainer of all and He can take care of Himself. We are to simply proclaim His word and let Him work in the hearts of men.