Filled and Fighting
Father God, I come now to listen to You speak through Your Word. Share Your heart with me today.
Read Acts 19:1-20
 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples  and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”  So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.  Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”  On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.  There were about twelve men in all.  Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.  But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.  This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.  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.  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.  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. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat was the result of Paul’s ministry in Ephesus (17,20)?
In this passage we see Paul reasoning with unbelievers (8), teaching believers (9), healing the sick and casting out demons (12). Ephesus was evidently a very “spiritual” place, with people involved in all kinds of sorcery and witchcraft. Even the Jewish leaders seemed to have a warped perception of spiritual things, attempting to cast out demons by a power they did not understand. How is it that Paul had spectacular victories while the sons of Sceva had spectacular failure? Why did the demons fear Paul, but mock the sons of Sceva when they copied Paul’s formula? The answer must surely be relationship. Paul knew Jesus; and the Spirit of Jesus was living in Paul. It was not the name of Jesus itself which made demons and sickness flee, rather that the presence and power of Jesus flowed through Paul whenever he spoke Jesus’ name. Whatever your view of speaking in tongues and prophesying (6), or healing and deliverance (12) in our day, the reality is that we are still in a spiritual battle like that faced by Paul. Like him, we need to be so filled with the presence of Jesus that people notice and demons tremble.
Ask the Lord to fill you afresh with his life and power today. If your relationship with him is cool, take time to repent.
Lord, I want to know You, not just know about You. I want people to know that You live in and through me.
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