Question: Have you burned your books?
13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.”
14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds.
19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.
20 So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
In summary, the seven sons of Sceva attempt to use Jesus’ name to cast out an evil spirit, but instead they were overcome by the man with the evil spirit. This event gains the attention of the Ephesians which causes them to repent of their magic and burn their books.
Do you really know Jesus, or do you only know – of Jesus?
These seven sons of Sceva were traveling around trying to make a living on exorcisms. They learned of Paul’s story, and the miracles he did through the name of Jesus. Therefore, knowing that their own methods were truly lacking real power, they decided to use Jesus’ name as well. But the man possessed with the evil spirit overcame them, and they were beat up and sent out naked.
How about us? This story makes me think of teenagers and young adults. Young people who see the faith of their parents, but they don’t have a real relationship with Jesus themselves. I also think of older adults who attend church somewhat regularly. They trust in the church and the teaching of the church, but neither do they have a real relationship with Jesus personally. They don’t think about Jesus, they don’t serve Him, they don’t learn of Him through His word, nor do they pray to Him. They will profess His name if asked, but they don’t really want to be close to Him. Let us pray for them, for they may also be overcome by the evil one. In the end, their lives will be destroyed having no eternal hope.
Have you repented of your evil deeds?
This event with the seven sons of Sceva really caught the attention of the Ephesians. They heard how the evil spirit knew of Jesus and how it knew of Paul. They seen how this evil spirit was not their friend, but instead it was their enemy proved by the way the evil spirit treated the possessed man and the seven sons.
The Holy Spirit also must have granted the Ephesians repentance, for fear fell on them, Jesus’ name was magnified, they believed, and they came and confessed their deeds.
Do you remember your conversion? I remember when I finally believed that I was a sinner and that Jesus was my Lord and my Savior. I remember agreeing that I was a sinner in the sight of the Holy One. That night in my room, only I and God, I remember being sorry for my sins, regretting of my sins, desiring to do them no more. I remember believing on Jesus and receiving His forgiveness for my sins. I understood how my sins deserved punishment, and I understood how Jesus was punished in my place. The wrath of the Father was on His Son for my sake. Do you remember coming to this conclusion, do you remember your desire for repentance? Share your story below in the comments. But if you haven’t come to this place yet, please repent and receive Jesus. Your eternal life is a stake. This decision is why you are on the Earth.
Have you burned your books?
The Ephesians practiced magic. Their books told them how to practice their magical arts, how to receive what they wanted, and how to learn of their future.
The Lord was clear in Moses’ law to not practice these magical arts.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (NKJV)
“10 There shall not be found among you [any one] that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, [or] that useth divination, [or] an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things [are] an abomination unto the LORD:…..”
Are you involved in Tarot cards, Ouija boards, or witchcraft. These are an abomination to The Lord. Repent as the Ephesians.
Maybe witchcraft is not your thing. How about alcohol or drugs or pornography? Are you addicted or becoming addicted? After my conversion to Jesus, I remember seriously struggling with a few embarrassing vices. I remember taking those items to the corner on trash day. My friends said, why did you throw them away, why couldn’t you just give them to us? Well, I guess I thought they didn’t need those items either. In the same way, this is what the Ephesians were doing. They were burning their books. This meant they couldn’t be tempted with them any more, nor could any of their family or friends use them in the future.
Is there something with a hold on you; burn it, break it, throw it away; get all the help possible to have victory over it? The grace of God will motivate you. You will no longer want to participate in the things that killed Jesus. But when we fail, his grace remains. Then once again, repent and trust in Jesus’ sacrifice and His forgiveness. Start anew everyday.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
His Spirit will provide you progress against sin through sanctification in this life, but victory is assured in heaven.
God bless, Bob