Year 2 Day 64
Read - Acts 19v11-20
Message - Scott Woodburn
The Lord's Apostles were able to confirm their message with signs and wonders. The Scriptures call these amazing acts the signs of a true apostle (2 Corinthians 12v12). Obviously there were many false apostles but Paul was certainly not one of those. Even handkerchiefs and aprons that touched him were taken away to the sick and they were healed (v12).
Such miraculous works didn't go unnoticed. There was a Jewish high priest named Sceva who had seven sons (v14). They fancied themselves as exorcists (someone who could drive out demons) and so seeing Paul's miraculous acts they decided to use the name of Jesus in their efforts to drive out an evil spirit (v13).
The response of the evil spirit was startling. "Jesus I know, Paul I recognise, but who are you?" (v15) We see here that demons are no fools. Who are the demons? When Satan (an angel) rebelled against God, he was cast out of heaven and carried a third of angels with him (Revelation 12v4). Satan and his demons are fallen angels who rage against the church because they know their time is short. They are sinful, they are wicked, but again, they are no fools.
This evil spirit knows exactly who Jesus is. He doesn't love the Lord or serve Him but he knows who and what Jesus is. He has even heard of Paul. Paul a true apostle was able to drive out the demons and so this particular evil spirit knew all about the apostles too. It's important to note here that Satan and his allies don't know everything. Only God is all-knowing, but Satan and his allies know some things.
So the evil spirit knows who Jesus is, he knows who Paul is but he has absolutely no idea who the sons of Sceva are (v15). The man possessed by the evil spirit jumped upon the sons of Sceva and mastered them (v16). They ran away beaten and bruised and naked and humiliated (v16b). The news of this spread around Ephesus and resulted in Christians repenting of their own dark works (v18). Some of them even brought their expensive magic books and burned them in the sight of all (v19).
Brothers and sisters, Jesus is not to be played with. His name is not a magic word that we can throw around for our own fame and fortune. The sons of Sceva saw the name of Christ as a means to an end. If His name helped them master the demons then good, but they didn't know Christ as their Lord. Neither should we seek to add anything to the Christian faith. Christianity doesn't require superstition about moons or star signs or crystal balls. We reject any notion that adds to or subtracts from Christ. We do not seek to create a "better" Christianity by adding bits and pieces of other religions.
Fellow Christians, if we find ourselves crossing our fingers, touching wood, praying to the angels, carrying a lucky charm or taking a masonic oath that threatens us with a cut throat or torn out tongue, then it is time to repent. Jesus Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith. Christ alone is our Saviour. Jesus alone is Lord. Demons fall before Him and Satan is bound by the Messiah. Christ is all we have and Christ is all we need.
Q71 What is required in the seventh commandment? The seventh commandment requireth the preservation of our own and our neighbor’s chastity, in heart, speech, and behaviour.