Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”
14Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15(One day) the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” 16Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
17When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. 19A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.[d] 20In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
So you have the background to what I am about to say. Some of the people in Ephesus were allowing themselves to get trapped by the pull of power. They were getting involved with witchcraft and sorcery in an attempt to access some control of the forces that they felt influenced their day to day living. What these sons of Sceva learned, is that there are forces that exist that you can’t control. Sceva’s sons attempted to manipulate Satanic forces by invoking Jesus’ name as if it were a magic word or incantation. Boy, they learned a lesson. Get too close to the fire and you will get burned or in their case beaten to a pulp.
These men had no faith in Jesus. Remember the demon personally addressed them and let it be known that it recognized the power of Jesus and the authority of Paul through Jesus. But it didn’t have the slightest idea who they were. They were messing with the real Satanic world and were ill-prepared for the encounter.
Some are doing the same today. They are getting involved in things which they do not understand and which they think are harmless. Wiccans, those into the New Age movements, the occult, the paranormal etc. are allowing doors to open in their lives and are exposing themselves to the demonic world. The books we read, the movies we watch, and the music we may listen to can influence us in ways we might not expect.
People will say that it is ok. They are just curious or that it is just a game. They mistakenly assume that demons aren’t real. What harm could a little experimenting with these occult practices do? Well, believe it or not, sorcery, witchcraft and demonic possession are real and you don’t play around with such stuff. If it weren’t real, then Scripture would not have talked about it and warned against its danger.
Maybe it is time to do a little ‘scroll’ burning. We have a lot of stuff in our lives that is not glorifying to God. Those Ephesians woke up when they saw the reality of evil. They saw its hold on their lives and they confessed their sins, but then they also got rid of the things that were influencing them. When we confess, we have to also repent and that means getting the junk out of our lives.
I heard of a church that actually did this one Sunday. They built a bonfire and instructed their congregation to bring the dark stuff that was not of God and to cast it into the fire.
What music, movies, books, magazines, internet sites, idols etc., do you need to release and cast into the ‘fire’?