Acts 19 tells us that the ministry of Paul had caught the attention of all manner of those performing "curious arts." These would be witches, warlocks, and wandering Jewish exorcists.
One particular group of wandering exorcists were the seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva they decided that they would jump on Pauls' bandwagon and take some of his notoriety for themselves. They found a possessed man. They tried to cast out the evil spirit saying, "I command you by the Jesus preached by Paul!"
You know, we talked last week about how Peter used his Faith and exercised his Hope putting a requirement on the name of Jesus to heal the lame man outside of the temple, and the man stood up and he was healed. It reminds me of a story I heard about the son of Oral Roberts, Ronnie, he was a young man and had just gotten out of the military.
Oral Roberts had made a name for himself in ministry and founded a university in Oklahoma that bears his name. His son, Ronnie, was tired of the notoriety of his fathers name. Basically he was tired of living in his daddy's shadow and had decided to keep who his father was quiet. He went to get a car loan, and even though he had a job, he didn't qualify for the loan.
"Son," the banker explained, "the problem is we don't know you. We don't know anything about you."
"Well," Ronnie said, "I didn't want to do this... but would it matter to you if you knew my daddy is Oral Roberts?"
At the sound of that name suddenly things changed. "Certainly it would matter!" exclaimed the banker. "We all know Brother Roberts around here. Why didn't you say before that you're his son? Just sit down here and fill out this paperwork and you can go buy yourself a car."
Ronnie learned the lesson that day that he could put a requirement on the name of his father and make things happen. This is the same for us with the name of Jesus.
Remember we talked about how Abraham started the covenant with God and Jesus finished our covenant with God and fulfilled the law so that we could enter into that relationship. So that we could be, how the bible puts it, co-heirs with Christ. So that we are at the status of Sons of God, just like Jesus was. So that we could on the Earth do the things that Jesus did and greater things.
Now when we think about greater things than what Jesus did it's hard for us to imagine what that could look like. But, if we stay in this same place in Acts, Acts 19, earlier in this same chapter it says that people were amazed by the miracles that Paul performed and started bringing handkerchiefs, scarves, you know, pieces of cloth and touching it to his skin and then taking that and going to the sick and touching them with that cloth and they were recovering.
Now there's only one story about Jesus where something similar to this happens and it's the woman with the issue of blood. When she touches the garment of Jesus in Matthew 9, you can also find it in Mark 5, and Luke 8 the dunemas power of God. Remember we talked about that word being where we get the word dynamite from. Well, the dunemas power of God, flows through her body and heals her.
Now I hear you sayin' I hear it, I hear it, "That was Jesus, and that was Paul." But, here's what Jesus and Paul had that allowed them to do things like that. It's called the Holy Spirit. And if you go and you look when the apostles led someone to salvation they always talked about the infilling of the Holy Spirit as part of the package. The two go hand in hand. And it's the Holy Spirit that is a power house that will allow you to do greater works than Jesus did when He was on the Earth.
So let's talk about the Holy Spirit for a minute because I know it's been a touchy subject for some in religious circles, but in true Berean fashion, we don't shy away from touchy subjects. In Acts 2:38 through 41 Paul leads three thousand people to salvation and the filling of the Holy Spirit.
In Luke 11:13 Jesus says, "So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him." And In John 14:26 Jesus says, "But when the Father sends the Comforter as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you." And in Acts 1:8 Jesus says, "But you will receive power (that's that word dunemas again) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
So this Holy Spirit is a power house who comforts us, teaches us, reminds us of what Jesus said, and is freely available to everyone who puts their faith in Jesus by simply asking God for it.
At the beginning of the podcast we talked about the sons of Sceva. What do you think happened to those seven guys when they put a requirement on the Jesus preached by Paul?
Well, the evil spirit in the man took over and he responded to the group, "I know Jesus and I've heard of Paul, but who are you?" The possessed man then jumped on the group of seven, beating them and ripping off their clothes. They got away as best they could, but not before they were bloodied and they did it without their clothes. So what went wrong? They had no relationship with, as Peter puts it in Acts 3, The Prince of Life.
They thought they would use the platform of another man's ministry and use that to line their pockets. They would use that to Quote-un-Quote create miracles. But they didn't know The Prince of Life, they didn't have that relationship. They we're impostors.
Until next time...