Friday, July 22, 2016

Studying Acts

I just finished studying Acts. Every time I read a book of the bible, I come away with something new. The thing that stayed with me this time reading Acts comes from Chapter 19.
Here's the backstory:
God did extraordinary miracles through Paul,  so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. Acts 19:11-12
So Paul is totally filled with God. Doing all kinds of miracles. So filled with God that even touching his handkerchief would heal you! That's serious stuff!
Now, as is most always the case, trouble arose:
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 the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then 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. Acts 19:13-16
I LOVE this! Oh my word! HOW many times do we try to claim the power of someone else's faith in Jesus? This is another way of explaining why you cant get to heaven on Grandma's faith.  These guys thought that faith in Jesus was nothing more than one of the charms and spells they used to cast out demons. Since Paul's worked so much better than theirs, they figured they would just do what he did.
Thing is, Jesus doesn't work that way. HE wants each person to know Him fully and to have faith in Him.
And just like these guys, if we try to fight Satan by claiming the faith of someone else, we are going to lose the battle, every time. We will end up beaten and bloody. We have to know Jesus for ourselves and fight in the faith we personally have in Him.
Now, I LOVE what comes out of all this. As is ALWAYS the case, God is glorified!
When 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. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A 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. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. Acts 19:17-20
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