Faithlife Sermons

How God Used a Smart-aleck Demon

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I want to show you something very interesting in the Bible today about the way God works in mysterious ways ...... absolutely crazy ways ..... to break through to certain people.
Involves: magical aprons and handkerchiefs,
exorcisms,
7 guys running down the street naked … after getting beat up by a demon
DO I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION????
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples.” (Acts 19:1, ESV)
Ancient Ephesus = Amazing, beautiful, port city
Celsus Library - built on top of tomb of Celsus
Ephesus theater - seated 25,000
Temple of Artimus (Greek goddess) (Diana) = daughter of Zeus, twin of Apollos, warrior woman = goddess of fertility = 127 columns 60’ tall
Pagan worship. Temple prostitution.
If you were a typical farmer or fisherman, visiting, LAS VEGAS
Ephesus was a beautiful, wealthy city filled with epic sites and spiritual marvels.
Small group of Christians = THE WAY
The Apostle Paul arrived was teaching them all about Jesus
But not having too much success
And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.” (Acts 19:8–9, ESV)
(Tyrant) = Mom probably didn’t give him that name
Now he is using his building for church!
This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” (Acts 19:10–12, NIV)
So this story just got weird!
But it is about to get more weird...
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.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.” (Acts 19:13–14, NIV)
Seven Sons of Sceva = Sounds like one of Pastor Chris’ punk bands
Traveling Jewish exorcists = claiming to do miracles
= even tried to by like Paul
= using Jesus’ name
= but were counterfeits.
Our enemy can’t CREATE; they can only COUNTERFEIT.
Holiness - Happiness
Love - Lust
Relationship - Religion
Look at what happened one day...
One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 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 19:15–16, NIV)
You probably didn’t get a Sunday School coloring page for this one!
Is there any other chapter in the Bible filled with so many crazy stories????
But here is what you have to realize, that God doesn’t waste ink … there is something here that He is teaching us.
Is it about how to exorcise demons? Or even how not to?
no
… even though it reminds us that demons are real
And they know Jesus personally because they are fallen angels who must obey Jesus (God)
Is it how proof that those Televangelist that try to sell you magical prayer clothes are legit?
no
… You know why God was using so many weird magical miracles in that city? == because that was the language of that city.
The lesson here is not about demons or about miracles ....
.... the lesson is about God.
The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored. Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices. A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.” (Acts 19:17–20, NLT)
That’s the point of this text!!!!
THE POINT IS HOW GOD REACHED A CRAZY CULTURE.
Paul had spent years trying to reach this city.
God reached them … and He used a smart-aleck demon to do it!
It’s OUR job to SHARE the Gospel. It is God’s job to OPEN people’s hearts.
Paul had to wait for years to see real results.
Everything he was doing, the culture mocked and mimicked.
We have youth ministry == so does the world.
We have recovery ministry == so does the world.
We have small group fellowships == so does the world.
WHY WOULD ANYONE COME HERE???? Because what we are doing is real, accurate, and not counterfeit!!!
If we don’t compromise...
If we don’t quit...
One day, God will OPEN THEIR EARS AND EYES...
He may even have to dramatically get their attention.
Those who think evil and darkness and sin is fun and funny ... will have a rude awakening.
They have no idea that they are playing with a real, deadly force – that can at any moment destroy you.
LET ME CLOSE WITH THESE THOUGHTS
The people in that city had been chasing after mythology and pagan spirituality.
They had rejected the gospel of Jesus.
Many people want a God who is a Cosmic Coke Machine.
put in prayers – and out comes His workings and answers.
Many people want a God who is a Cosmic Life Coach.
gives us verses that make us feel better and have hope
The only true God is the LORD God.
not viewing God as someone who serves me
but viewing God as someone whom I SERVE and OBEY and RESPECT and HONOR.
True evidence of salvation ...
The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored. Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices. A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.” (Acts 19:17–20, NLT)
honestly confessing.
actively repenting.
publicly professing.
sacrificially worshipping.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21–23, NIV)
Don’t wait for a demon to hurt you...
Get out of those counterfeit religions...
Quit giving your money and trust to counterfeit spiritual experts...
Stop being duped by spiritual scam artist you claim to have divine powers...
Humble yourself before the true God …
Obey His Word...
Confess, repent, and follow Jesus as God and Savior.
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