Monday, 6 August 2012

Acts 19:13-22. No cost is too great.

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This passage covers a number of events which occurred while Paul was in Ephesus. We see 7 Jewish men overpowered by a d
emon, and we see how God uses this to glorify himself by causing the people to fear him and turn from sin.

First up, verses 13-16
 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and Paul I recognise  but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
So when I read this I had no idea what to make of it, but after doing some research I think I might have a few answers. These Jews were not Christians, it seems they were just men who were casting out demons, and thu see Paul's power and try to duplicate it. So they use Jesus name, trying to cast out demons by it. Problem is there is no true faith there. We cannot fake a relationship with God, hypocrisy will not save us. Only genuine faith in God can save - otherwise it is worthless. True faith in God bears fruit, as we will see next.

Verses 18-20 give us a clear example of what true faith results in.
 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.
We have people who are believers and they confess their sins and change there lives. That's what true faith is: trusting God an putting him first in life - giving up sin and fighting satan instead of living as slaves to sin. These actions are a direct result of the fear produced by the failed attempt of the Jews to exorcise the demon, and so we see that God works everything for his glory and the good of his people like he promises in Romans 8:28.

The money which these scrolls was worth is equivalent to 50 000 days wages. That's a lot of money. How much are we committed to God? Being a Christian will cost us. It will result in loss of friends, persecution and perhaps even loss of money. But look at it from the eternal perspective - money, friends, work, earthly things are meaningless and vain without God, and eternal life is certainly worth it.

What do you give up for God? Do you read the bible? Do you challenge people with the gospel? What are you prepared to give to a God who has done so much for us?

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