JESUS I KNOW
Acts 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. 11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. 13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. 19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
The title of our lesson comes from an “evil spirit!” For there are no atheists among the demons! They even come up to the standard of those who simply, religiously believe that there is a God! And they even go beyond the human response to this knowledge, for they tremble at it! James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
But how do we come to the place of the demonic being used of our Sovereign Lord to afflict those of the religious harlot spirit? Let us see what we can learn.
First, there was A Rejection – Acts 19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
The apostle goes first to the house of Israel, into the Jewish synagogue in Ephesus, as he was commanded. But upon their rejection he withdraws all believing Jews and Greeks from their synagogue and finds a neutral place for the word to go forth unhindered by the resentful attitudes. But remember that it was from the evil influence of those vagabond Jews that this event occurs. For any remix of that influence from which the Spirit has first removed his people is always detrimental! Jeremiah 15:19 …let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.
Isaiah 8:11 For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, 12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. 13 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
Secondly, we see that there was A Revival – Read Acts 19:10,11, listed above. There was the power of the word with confirming miracles. Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
These two (preaching and miracles), went together at the time of transition from the Old Covenant until the scriptures were written for the confirming of the New Covenant. But as the Body of Christ matures from “a child,” into the form of “a man,” they shall put away childish things, such as miracles. (1 Cor. 13:8-13).
But how could such a powerful revival have anything to do with with these demon spirits? It is because they were dispossessed by the powerful preaching of the gospel of the One who destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil! (Heb. 2:15). Matt. 8:16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:
And the preaching that has not faith enjoined to it produces spiritual death! Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 2 Corin. 2:15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
We must be aware that the preached word without the Holy Spirit’s presence is a very dangerous thing! 2 Corin. 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 1 Corin. 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
Here is our Lord’s account of one such religious person, who was involved with the word, without the Spirit! Luke 11:24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.
In light of this, we next see A Reprobation – Acts 19:13-16. In your reading of the scriptures, never fail to emphasize such important words as Then, which begins this section! For it was only “when” the above considered things had transpired that this present event could occur. For the spiritual power of the gospel not only is used to effectually call God’s elect, chosen in Christ from the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), but it also enflames the baser passions of the religious, but Harlot church, who preforms her religion from her inordinate affections (Col. 3:5), of her unregenerate soul! Thus, these seven sons of Sceva were caught up in the overflowing passion of the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit to excite them to enact their pagan magic as vagabond Jews, practicing their exorcisms.
Incidentally; do you remember who was the first “vagabond” on the earth? It was Cain! (See Genesis 4:12-16). And after becoming so, it states, And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord! For the word vagabond in Greek is the same word translated, wandering about, in 1 Timothy 5:13. But since God is omnipresent, one can’t actually go out from his presence. It just means that Cain no longer had any God consciousness! He lived his life like Mr. Bunyan’s man in the iron cage in Pilgrim’s Progress, who had sinned away his day of grace!
But notice how these seven sons of a high priest used the name of the Lord Jesus, incorporating it into their incantation, attempting to obtain any leverage possible in their black arts. They do not call him “Lord.” And they do not savingly believe in him! It is just Jesus whom Paul preacheth! And, sad to say, that is about all there is in present day denominationalism! It is just, “Jesus whom some modern day popular preacher preacheth!” Or in some circles, it is, “Jesus whom Spurgeon, or Calvin, or John Gill preacheth!” Were it otherwise, the demons would have been overcome. For Christ indwelling the true believer is greater, by far than any and all powers of darkness! 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
We also know that they did not know the Lord, personally, and in a saving way by another passage of scripture. Consider these verses: Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. There will actually be some acquainted with religion, who have thought themselves very spiritually powerful, even to the casting out of demons, who will therefore strongly assume to have a place in heaven. But to their shock the Lord will not just inform them that they didn’t know him! He will shock them by instructing them that he does not know them! Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Again, the demon spirit knew that which these vagabond exorcists only thought to know. The demon had a better testimony that they did! They only said, Jesus whom Paul preacheth, but the evil spirit testified, Jesus I know! And just as we had scripture to confirm that the exorcists did not know the Lord, we have scripture to confirm that the demonic spirits did know him! Consider these verses:
Mark 1:23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. 25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. 33 And all the city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.
Luke 4:41 And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.
Amazing isn’t it?!? Human beings, made to be the highest in God’s created order; made in His image, can become so full of religious pride that they don’t even know they are deceived! The Apostle Peter says that they become so low as to be like natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed. (2 Peter 2:12). And the Apostle Paul informs us that once a human has been enlightened by the gospel, if they fall away, it is impossible to renew them again for any repentance! (Heb. 6:4-6).
There is one last thing we must take note of. When Peter tried to prevent the Lord Jesus from going to the cross, the Lord addressed him as Satan! Matthew 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest (to be mindful), not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Let us all be very careful that we Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Gal. 5:16). God’s purposes may often be at cross purposes with our religiously trained, but base affections, as was Peter’s at this time. Let us stay on our crosses in order to mortify these deceptive emotions! Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Now we come lastly to A Reformation – Acts 19:17-20. We especially need to compare verse ten with verse seventeen of this chapter. For in the former we see the glorious work of regeneration by gospel evangelism. But by comparing the latter verse, we come to see the glorious work of the Holy Spirit in bringing a reverential fear upon many that believed (V. 18), to effect a powerful work of sanctification!
The entire oak tree is in the acorn! But it has to be planted and watered, that it might spring forth from the ground. Then it takes many years of both sun and rain for it to reach the maturity to support a swing for the children to play on. And so the seed of Christ (Gal. 3:16), implanted within the soul by the operation of the Spirit of God, brings forth the spiritual birth in regeneration, and then matures the believer in sanctification, never ceasing until it brings him to the full stature of the Person of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13).
Having seen the powerful effect that Satan had in putting to flight these pious, self-centered, self-appointed exorcists, those who truly believed now sought to divest themselves from every vestige of demonic attraction. In other words, They got rid of any “demon bait!”
Christian, read these verses as a saved believer: 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The proof of our salvation is the continual confession of our sin, and a reliance upon the Lord to continue to cleanse us!
Jeremiah 31:18 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God. 19 Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. 20 Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD.
Ezekiel 36:31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.
Let us never have it said that any demon actually has a better testimony that we do, just because we have assumed upon our religious practice! May the Lord awaken his sleepy virgins!
Pastor Gene Breed