“Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.” Acts 19.13-16
This is a bizarre but believable scenario. Too often we ignore the spiritual realm. But it is all around us, angels and demons, fighting for the souls of men and women. Heaven isn’t just idea or myth, it’s among us. I’ve often believed the floor of heaven is just a few feet over my head!
If we take what Scripture says seriously, we will believe in this spiritual world. A world where God has won the victory through Jesus Christ, but where Satan and the demons are still roaming free. God has given all people the ability to choose him and his way of holiness, or to dive into sin and debauchery. As we read in Ephesians 6, our battle is not again flesh and blood but about the principalities in the spiritual realm.
Which makes it very natural is that the supernatural would occur when Jews, who knew “about” Paul and Jesus, but did not know Jesus themselves, would attempt to cast our demons who would refuse to obey their commands. These Jews were going around driving out evil spirits from people by “invoking the name of Jesus.” They were half way correct! They just hadn’t submitted to the Lordship of Jesus themselves and thus had no authority to speak in his name. The demons who possessed the man recognized this and put a big whipping on these seven sons of Sceva. Sending them out of the house “naked and bleeding.”
Yesterday at the NextGen Ministry Summit I was hosting a breakout session with about a dozen students and leaders when I went off script. Rather than just talking about a call to ministry I went in on a long explanation of what it means to know and trust Christ as Savior. I felt led to follow the Spirit and offer an altar call right there in the pastors library at the First Methodist Church Waco South campus where we were attending. I don’t know if or how many students responded, as I led them in a silent prayer to commit and recommit their lives to Christ, but I do know that a call to ministry must begin with surrender to Jesus’ Lordship.
If we want to know Christ, to have authority over demons, over sin and over the flesh, we must claim the blood of Jesus for ourselves. We must repent and believe the gospel.
Have you repented? Have you believed? Call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!
“O Lord God, you are good. When my love fails your love remains steadfast. I thank you for loving me, calling me your own, sending Jesus to die and be raised to life for us. Thank you that salvation is found in no one else than you. I love you Lord and praise your name. You have given us power and authority to overcome sin and shame. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen