The song, "There is power in the name of Jesus, to break every chain..." came to my mind as i read this chapter. There is power in Jesus. In the battlefield of spiritual warfare, claiming the name of Jesus, claiming the power of Jesus, claiming to be in Jesus through the presence of the Holy Spirit in you is the ultimate weapon. But the Holy Spirit is a consuming fire. He is not a lap dog that you can beckon to come and go, and there is nothing domesticated about Him. So you do not "play" with Him or flippantly throw out the name of Jesus. Like handling a powerful, explosive weapon, there is a sense of awe, respect, and fear involved.
Acts 19:13-16 (NASB)" 13But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, "I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches." 14Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15And the evil spirit answered and said to them, "I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" 16And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded."
When I went to Darfur, Sudan, the region was then and still is now a extremely dangerous and violent region. Some team members requested permission to carry a hand gun. We were told you can bring a hand gun, but once you carry one, in the view of the military forces in the area you are no longer a civilian on a mission trip, you are a soldier on a mission, and they do not play around. You do not carry it for show. If you are going to carry a gun, you better make sure in your inner being that you are willing to use it, without hesitation on another human being because the Islamic military personnel will not even blink an eye at using their weapons on you.
What you need to understand, is that when you accept Christ's call to participate in and grow a church and choose to carry a cross, the way you are viewed in the worlds eye is changed. You are no longer a civilian in the world’s economic and political system under Satan, the Ruler of the World, empathetic and selfishly withdrawn and docile. You are viewed as a soldier under the command of Jesus your Lord. You enter into the battle field of spiritual warfare. And just as real and plain as my Darfur illustration, is the seriousness and the life and death consequences of your decision. You do not carry a cross and follow Jesusfor “show." We are trying to take back territory and communities from the enemy. We are trying to liberate families and individuals from Satan’s rule. We are part of the revolution of Christ. If you are going to carry a cross you need embrace the serious military and warfare implications of Ephesians 6:10-18. Take seriously its call to put on the full armor of God and arm yourself with the sword of the spirit. For there is an enemy who has come to kill, steal and destroy (Jn 21:25) who also will not blink an eye in using weapons at his disposal on you. He wants nothing more to see good hearted people get hurt and hurt each other. Press into Jesus who's battle it is and who's victory it is. So when the evil spirits look at you, with terrified eyes they will see Jesus, and tremble with fear.
If were one of the 7 brothers in the story in vs 13-16 and the evil spirit looked at you, would he recognize you as a disciple of Christ?
Pray into a full understanding of your answering your call to follow Christ. Not that all the details and timings involved in it need to be made known. But an understanding of the new view as a cross bearer for Christ you now have in the world's eyes.
Read Ephesians 6:10-18, pray yourself into the full armor of God. Then close your eyes and visualize the victorious Christ reigning in your family, your neighborhood, and Huntsville and Madison.
Read Ephesians 6:19-20. Pray those two verses over yourself, and each member of ODC. Pray them also over 5 people you know who are Gospel bearers.
Please share your reflections on your time in Acts 19 in the comments box below.
I have included Ephesians 6:10-20 below. I added to it other verses in Scripture that support its message. Read through it and meditate on it as you have time.
Ephesians 6:10-20 (in italics) with corresponding Scriptures inserted.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
- “No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:20-21
- “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” 2Tim 2:1
- “I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” 1 John 2:14
- “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban.” Job 29:14
- “The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Rom. 13:12
the whole armor of God,
- “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” 2 Cor.10:4
that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
- “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” Eph 4:14
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,
- “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” Col. 1:13
but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
- “When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:53
- "in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” Eph 2:2
Therefore take up the whole armor of God,
- “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” 1 Pe 4:1
that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
- “making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Eph. 5:16-19
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth,
- “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” 1 Pet. 1:13
“Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
- and faithfulness the belt of his loins.” Isa. 11:5
- Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
- “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,” Isa 61:10
- “He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.” Isa 59:17
and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
- “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation,” Isa 52:7
- “And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Rom 10:15
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith,
- “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 1Joh 5:4
with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
- “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.“ Heb 4:12
- “He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away.” Isa 49:2
praying at all times
- "And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart" Lk. 18:1
in the Spirit,
- "But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit" Jude 1:20. "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." Romans 8:26
with all prayer and supplication.
- "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak" Col 4:2-4
To that end keep alert with all perseverance,
- "But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake." Mark 13:32-34
making supplication for all the saints,
- "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people," 1 Tim 2:1
and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth
- "At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—" Col. 4:3. "Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you," 2Th. 3:1
boldly to proclaim
- "And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness," Acts 4:29
the mystery of the gospel,
- "how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly." Eph. 3:3
for which I am an ambassador
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" 2Cor. 5:20
in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak."
"For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.” Acts 28:20