Happy Friday! As little kids my brother and I played a lot of games. This was definitely the era of outside play, reading books, and board games. We also played business people and on occasion we would play church. Playing church was fun because we did what people did in the church back in the day, it was a play-of-sorts from the preacher, to the tambourine player, to the testifier. During that time we were learning about Jesus in church and other church members were our examples of the church. Did you ever play church? Well today, we will continue our reading in Acts chapter 19 and see how others played church. Join me.
Bible Verse– Acts 19:13-22NLT
“ 13 A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. 15 But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.
17 The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored. 18 Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices. 19 A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. 20 So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.
21 Afterward Paul felt compelled by the Spirit to go over to Macedonia and Achaia before going to Jerusalem. “And after that,” he said, “I must go on to Rome!” 22 He sent his two assistants, Timothy and Erastus, ahead to Macedonia while he stayed awhile longer in the province of Asia.“
- The “know” used by the evil spirit, in Greek means to know by interaction and experience.
- The “know” used to describe knowing about Paul, in Greek means to know about, to understand.
- A true relationship with God is more valuable than anything you possess.
- Paul’s work was done. Jesus made himself known. Paul was being led to continue to spread the Good News in other places.
While the seven sons of Sceva appeared to be religious men,their father was a lead priest, but they were mixing sorcery and exorcism with the name of Jesus, and from the optics of others they were doing good things, such as casting out demons. But when they attempted to use the name of Jesus like Paul or other believers it back fired. The problem was: they did not know Jesus before he died on the cross and they did not have a personal relationship with him as believers.
While they positioned themselves to be known, the demon called their bluff. The demon knew they did not have a relationship with Jesus and were not operating in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Yet, the Lord used that moment to glorify His name, to ensure people knew His name was too be honored. What occurred to the seven sons, opened the eyes of the people and they quickly turned from their evil ways and burned the things that they worshipped that did not glorify God.
Sister and brothers, even in the present day we have a lot of “Christians” playing church. They speak a good game, but they are not reading the play book – the Bible. They have put social media feed articles above the 66 books in the Bible, and have made the articles the things they believe and worship instead of believing what Jesus said in the word.
Sisters and brothers, I want to encourage you to recognize when the enemy is trying to lead you astray, when the optics look good, but the root is not grounded in the word of God – check what you read and hear against the word you know – the Bible.
Don’t be caught playing church, be the church.
Questions to ponder:
- What is God trying to teach me in these verses?
- How have I been misled or have allowed the enemy/Satan to deceive me?
- How is my relationship with Jesus Christ my Savior and Lord?
- What example of the church are you setting for others?
Father God, we thank you for today’s message. Thank you for the reminder that Your name is to be honored. Lord, forgive us for the times when we have passively prayed, called on your name or half-heartedly given you the praise you deserve. Lord, we want to align ourselves with your word and what you have called us to do. We want to be the church. We want to be examples of Christ living within us, abiding within us and us in Him. Lord, whatever is blocking our relationship with you, we want to see you – so, remove the barriers, doubts and fears. Hold us up and begin to break off the branches that are dead, and prune back the other branches so that we can bear good fruit. Lord, lead us and guide us into a closer relationship with you, so that when the enemy tries to deceive us or put anger in our hearts that Your Holy Spirit will take over and remove anything that is not of you. Lord, keep working in us. Lord, we pray for those having surgery today. Lord, go before our sisters and brothers. Be with them and help them to feel your presence. Lord, be with the surgeons and give them wisdom, compassion, and discernment to perform medical procedures today. Lord, heal our sisters and brothers, and provide a healthy recovery period. In Jesus name, amen.
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