Casting out demons!
Scripture reading for June 28th: Acts 18:22-19:12
One of the major ministries of Jesus Christ was dealing with those bound by demons. He told His followers that they would also cast out demons in His Name. (Mark 16:17) The Kingdom of God is always opposed and in conflict with the kingdom of Satan. When there is a clash of the kingdoms, those who know Christ always win. Those who are not properly in God’s kingdom don’t come out as well!
Paul left Apollos at Corinth and went to Ephesus. There he found some disciples who were baptized in John’s baptism of repentance. He asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit and they had not even heard about Him! Paul then told them about Jesus Christ and their need to be baptized. They were baptized and as Paul prayed for them, laying his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied just like they original day of Pentecost! This was over 20 years after that first Pentecost!
While there preaching in the synagogue for about three months, Paul stirred up more opposition. He left the synagogue and went to the lecture hall of Tyrannus and spent two years there preaching. “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 19:11)
There were seven Jewish exorcists going around using the name of Jesus whom Paul preached to try and cast out demons. One day they tried to cast out a demon and the evil spirit spoke back to them. “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, 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 19:14-16) This incident caused many who were involved in the occult to bring their occult materials to be burned and to repent. The result was an even greater revival!
Two lessons we can learn from this story. One is to not be afraid to deal with the demonic if you truly know Jesus Christ as Lord. The second is that the devil and demons know whether you are really a Christian. They don’t treat impostors very well!