Year 2 Day 40
Read - Acts 16v16-24
Message - Scott Woodburn
As the fellowship made their way to the place of prayer they met a slave girl who was possessed by an evil spirit (v16). This spirit enabled the slave girl to tell people their fortune and as such she made her masters quite a bit of money. The demons we meet in Scripture are fallen angels who follow their ruler Satan. They are wicked and they are evil but they are not fools. This particular spirit recognised Paul and the God whom he served.
The girl cried out for many days “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” (v17). The spirit was telling the truth but we shouldn't think it was on Paul's side. James tells us "You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!" (James 2v19). The demons do not believe in a saving way. Instead they know who God is and what He will do. They understand that He is one and they know that one day they will meet the Lord in judgement. No wonder they shudder! It is a terrible thing to understand the magnitude of our God and still shake an angry fist in His all powerful face.
Paul became annoyed at the constant utterances of this evil spirit and so he turned and said "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." (v18) Needless to say, the demon did what Paul commanded. Paul's action caused great trouble for the girl's owners. Their cash stream was suddenly stopped (v19) and so they told the local magistrates that Paul and Silas were trouble makers, advocating practices that went against Roman customs (v21). The crowd turned quickly into a mob and Paul and Silas were badly beaten and thrown in prison (v22-24)
Nothing about this should surprise us. Satan's fingerprints are all over this incident. He keeps this slave girl in spiritual chains and he blinds the eyes of her owners so all that they can see is money. Indeed the anger of the crowd is quickly kindled by lies and soon their fists fly. Satan is a bitter and vengeful foe. In Revelation we read "Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!" (Revelation 12v12)
His time is short and so he rages against the church of Christ each and every day. Brothers and sisters I write this today to encourage you and inform. Understand that "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6v12) Be wise to the devil's schemes. Have nothing to do with those who supposedly can contact the dead or tell your fortune. Flee from anything that has the whiff of the enemy. Satan roars like a lion, resist him and he will flee from you.
Finally be encouraged. The unseen cosmic battle is not an even struggle nor is the outcome in doubt. Christ has bound Satan. He has destroyed his works at Calvary. Satan may rage but Christ Jesus reigns. When Christ speaks the devil and his legions flee. Christians may be beaten, mocked and thrown in prison but they will not be defeated nor will they be lost. Brothers and sisters, the foe may seem strong and in control but the victory belongs to Jesus. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." (Ephesians 6v10-11)
Q51 What is forbidden in the second commandment? The second commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his Word.