Acts 19:13-19:

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’?

6 Comments »

  1. Good post, bro. (Do I really need to say that everytime? They’re ALL good!)

    I think there are two parts to this. One, there are the things in all of our lives that are sin, pure and simple. And they can be good things to some, but to us, they are sin. Those, you throw out. Period.

    This is one of those subjects that everyone needs to address, but must do so in a delicate manner. In Romans, Paul goes to great efforts to show that some have no problem with one particular practice, while others do. The practice, in and of itself, might not be sinful (for obviously, that’s an easy “get rid of”), but if it offended another brother, you threw it out.

    I remember as a kid having a “record smashing” party at church. We broke I don’t know how many vinyl albums that, quite honestly, I today don’t think anything was wrong with. But we also broke some that were totally worthy of breaking!

    I guess what I’m saying is this: sometimes, we take a quick glance at our lives and think “Nope, I’m good.” Seeing nothing that’s overtly “sinful”, we think we’re ok. But more often, it’s the things that we DON’T think are sinful that can trip us up. The things that we deem as O.K. may very well lead us into things that are not. Discernment is key, and it is sorely lacking in many of us today.

    Did that make any sense? I feel like I just rambled on and on. Ask me tomorrow, and I’ll tray and flush it out more!

    • Yes, bro, that made a lot of sense. It is kind of ironic, but I was just talking about the stumbling block issue with a friend of mine yesterday. And I used a record smashing incident of my own today as an illustration in class. Guess we all did a lot of record smashing in our youth groups!

      The problem is that we often are not willing to put our brother’s needs ahead of our own ‘rights’. We simply make comments like, they shouldn’t be so judgmental or if they have a problem with what I am doing, then that is their concern not mine. The ‘do nothing to make your brother stumble’ is a hard issue for Christians. Believe me, I have had that conversation too many times with fellow Christians.

  2. You know what that means about the records, right? We’re OLD.

    I totally agree that more often than not the whole “what’s wrong for you may be ok for me” line of thinking goes astray when we fail to see that our brother/sister struggles with something we feel is ok. I have a good friend at church that helped me see the truth in that one. And it all comes down, like all sin, to selfishness. What’s more important? Someone stumbling in their walk? Or my own selfish desires?

  3. I totally agree with both of you. We live in a fish bowl and people are always watching to see what we are doing, as teachers even more so. The students what to know what we watch, what we listen to, what we talk about. We have to be the example for them to follow so they know how to live a holy life.

    But my thought that lingers is sometimes you don’t see the stumbling blocks of others unless someone has the guts to say ‘hey, I struggle with that.’ I know in college I had the “well i am not hurting anyone with what I am doing so why does it bother others so much’ attitude. Now (that I got a little smarter and a little more Jesus in me) I have seen how I can be a stumbling block, but still I don’t always know the issues that people struggle with. I guess we just have to keep on looking with God’s eyes and not our own:)

  4. This message has many points. What you talked about in class and what Mr. Dalton said. It teaches that first you should never take God’s name lightly, even if you are just kidding around. Second, things that are un-Christlike why would even want those things around you?? They take away time you could be spending with God and they take you away further spiritually from God. If you think about you life it is just one little dot on eternity, so why would you not want to spend it doing God’s work.

    Another, again what you talked about in class, people are always watching you, seeing what your doing and if your a Christian people are watching you more than a non-believer. People should be able to see the Christian in you. If they see you out somewhere you arent supposed to be and then they come to your church next week what will they be thinking,

    • Very good points, Rachel, and well written too. It is amazing how important the task of a Christian is. It is also amazing that God chooses to use us to be His messengers. Keep up the good work.

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