Acts 19: 8-20Written by kathleen on Nov 22, 2015 in - No Comments
One Message – Four Responses
8 And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. 10 And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
Paul had been preaching in the synagogue on a regular basis, but eventually, the influence of the Jews rejecting the message drove him out. Paul then took the disciples and his teaching to the hall of a Gentile teacher named Tyrannus who was a philosopher and had a school there in Ephesus.
According to one record Paul was there from eleven o’clock in the morning until three o’clock during the afternoon siestas. Then he would go back and make tents again, This went on for two years.
The first group was total rejection to the gospel message
Yet in the face of rejection Paul and the new disciples continued.
11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul. 12 So that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.
Ephesus was a place that had a lot of cults and a place where they had all kinds of magic practiced.
They had all kinds of little good luck charms & idols to ward off evil spirits and things of that nature dealing with superstition.
So, it should not surprise us that some people took a quite superstitious view of the miracles done through Paul.
Perhaps a person in need of healing took a handkerchief from Paul because of superstition and was healed.
This never means that God is pleased with our superstition, but that in His mercy He may overlook them to meet us where we are at!
This does not say that Paul did these miracles; but that God worked these unusual miracles by the hands of Paul.
How do you explain that God is working through these miracles?
There is merit, or importance in what we might refer to as points of contact for the releasing of faith.
So often we say, I believe that God can do this. Or I’m sure that God can do it. And I believe that God is going to do it, one day.
But there is a difference between that and saying I believe that God is going to do it the moment the pastor or elders lay hands on me. Or I believe that God is going to do it the moment I can touch the hem of His garment then I’ll be healed!
There is that place where you release the faith and it’s no longer a passive faith of waiting but an active faith of believing God is going to do it now.
The same way the shadow of Peter falling on people that were healed because their faith was triggered to be activated when his shadow fell on them.
Even at the pool of Bethesda when the water was stirred. The first one in could be healed. And again it was a point of contact where if I can be the first one in I know I’m going to be healed Simply because God honors active faith!
So as it was with Paul’s sweatbands and apron, when a person was sick. They would say, oh, we got this from Paul, and they laid it on them and the people would believe. So when the sweatband was laid them, their faith was activated and they were healed
When faith is activated, it is triggered into an active faith!
The second group is those who have experienced, recognize and responded to the grace and healing power of God with active faith! (Physical – mental or spiritual)
13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.”
14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was, leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
In those days, exorcists collected a fee whether or not they were successful; perhaps they did it for the money. Or perhaps they were sincere in their efforts to alleviate misery. Whatever their motive, in this case their choice was to copy Paul.
So there were these Jews who claimed to be exorcists and the seven sons of Sceva the chief priest were among those who began to use the name of Jesus to try an exorcise demons.
They would say “we exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches” but these Jewish exorcists would fail because they had no personal relationship with Jesus. They only know Jesus is the God of Paul, not their own God. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
The evil spirit knew exactly who Jesus was, and knew exactly who Paul was. But they didn’t know who the seven sons of Sceva were. Apparently, evil spirits know who their enemies are (in this case, Jesus and Paul), and don’t waste their effort knowing those who aren’t a threat to them
In this case the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them beat them and stripped them naked!
The seven sons of Sceva had no real relationship with Jesus, therefore they had no spiritual power against the evil spirit.
And so they left the encounter naked and wounded. There was no life changing power within them.
Second hand relationships with Jesus don’t work. It takes a first hand personal relationship with Him.
There are many people who are churchgoers – who have no personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They only know “the Jesus the pastor preaches” or of “the Jesus my spouse, kids, parents, or friends, believes in” instead of the Jesus of their own salvation
The third group would be those with a second hand relationship
18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. 19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.
20 So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
The incident with the sons of Sceva impressed the people with the reality of the demonic realm. It made them fear the Lord and the demonic (both in healthy ways) and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
“Ephesus was a stronghold of Satan where many evil things both superstitious and satanic were practiced. Books containing formula for sorcery and other ungodly and forbidden arts were plentiful in that city.”
Apparently, before the sons of Sceva incident, many believers did not know they were involved with or influenced by demonic powers They saw their actions in a more innocent light, until they knew of the reality of the spiritual realm of demonic influence.
Remember in verse 10 all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. That tells us there were many who had responded to the message of the gospel but had not begun to follow Jesus with a changed lifestyle.
The sons of Sceva incident prompted these people to renounce any remaining connection to the demonic realm.
As a result many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all:
It was important that these people who practiced magic came confessing and telling their deeds; for it was thought that the power of these magic spells resided in their secrecy:
Therefore that secrecy was done away with in their confession of these evil practices.
These books and scrolls full of magic charms, and incantations were well known in Ephesus, and they were very valuable.
The drachma was a silver coin representing about a one-fourth a day’s wage, fifty thousand of these coins is estimated @ $1 million!
By confessing Christ as Lord and burning their magic books, as an act of repentance disregarding whatever value they might have it became an act of worship to the Lord.
Even if the cost or repentance may seem high; In Gods economy it is just a reasonable act of worship!
The end result was obviously worth it all:
The fourth group would be those who recognize that some things they may be practicing are considered as sin by the Lord and when they confess it and the repent of it by showing a change in their life no matter what it cost.
This allows them to be part of the fifth group which are those who are loving God and loving their neighbors and enjoying their gift of salvation through their relationship with Jesus Christ.
This fifth group will find The word of the Lord will be growing mightily and prevailing in their life!
Rev 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.