May. 26, 2022

Stripped, whipped and wounded

Stripped, whipped and wounded
Acts 19:13-20
But there were some itinerant Jewish exorcists who attempted to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus when dealing with those who had evil spirits. They would say, “I command you in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven brothers, sons of a chief priest called Sceva, were engaged in this practice on one occasion, when the evil spirit answered, “Jesus I know, and I am acquainted with Paul, but who on earth are you?” And the man in whom the evil spirit was living sprang at them and over-powered them all with such violence that they rushed out of that house wounded, with their clothes torn off their backs. This incident became known to all the Jews and Greeks who were living in Ephesus, and a great sense of awe came over them all, while the name of the Lord Jesus became highly respected. Many of those who had professed their faith began openly to admit their former practices. A number of those who had previously practised magic collected their books and burned them publicly. (They estimated the value of these books and found it to be no less than five thousand pounds) In this way the Word of the Lord continued to grow irresistibly in power and influence.

The passage above demonstrates that the name of Jesus cannot be weilded as a magic chant against the forces of darkness. We cannot use a formula used by others as a weapon against the enemy of our soul. Reading the preceding verses, we see that when Paul the apostle used the same name of Jesus, demons trembled and sickness departed. The problem was not with using the name of Jesus, however,  it was not being filled with the Spirit of God. The Jewish itinerants were not familiar with Christ nor filled with the precious Spirit of the Lord. They were trying to appropriate what Paul did to promote their own business. God does not operate that way. When one belongs to Him, he infills us with His Spirit and it is that Spirit which causes the powers of hell to tremble. I wrote in the previous section about God sealing us with His Spirit. We are branded as belonging to Christ. It is the same branding that causes chaos and fear in the powers of darkness. It is the branding which differentiates us from those who are not branded by His Spirit. It is that Holy Spirit power that dispels sickness and destruction. The scripture says If the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you He will quicken your mortal body by His Spirit who dwells in you. Once we have this we can act with authority wielding the Word of God and the name of Jesus as a sword against the forces of darkness and the darkness will retreat. However, those who are not signed  sealed and delivered by God's Spirit cannot use the name of Jesus as a magic chant. In the case of the sons of Sceva, the demon spirits left them stripped, whipped and wounded. However,  the fear of God fell on those watching and the gospel of Christ was propagated once more. A living example of how God turned around what was meant to discredit Christ to bring Him glory instead. Those who were previously into sorcery abandoned that and turned to Christ. On another note, just a reflection on even when everything seems chaotic, God can restore order by His Spirit.  People frequently say, I have read the end of the book, the Bible and God triumphs over darkness. An exhortation to set your mind on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Look at the world events through the lens of faith. Live victoriously as an overcomer. Christ in you is the hope of glory. Weild the word of God as a sword against every vicious attack against your health, peace of mind, finances, and every aspect of your life. Let God arise and His enemies be scattered. In Jesus name, Amen.