Reading: A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, "I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!" Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, "I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?" Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered. 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 honoured. Acts 19:13~17
We read this scripture last week. I am repeating it this week because there is something important here for us to learn & remember. The first thing I want to point out is that these sons of Sceva were not ignorant men, nor were they scripturally & spiritually ignorant. Firstly they were Jews. Traditionally the Jews have always been very well versed in their scriptures. Secondly they were the sons of a Priest so they knew their scriptures & religion better than most because they belonged to a family that could afford to educate their sons. Thirdly they knew something of the supernatural because they earnt their living as exorcists.
Already we should have learnt that being scripturally educated is not enough, being religious is not enough, knowing about is not the same as knowing!
We have spent a lot of time over the past few weeks discussing the Holy Spirit & there is a reason for this. When we are born again into Christ & baptized into the Holy Spirit we are made a new creation & this has certain implications.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! ~ 2 Cor 5:17
The Sons of Sceva were still operating from a religious viewpoint. They were not born again. They did not personally know Jesus Christ & so when they invoked the name of Jesus it was from a superstitious belief but there was no authority behind it because they had no authority in & of themselves & were not backed by the one who did have that authority.
It is not like that for spirit filled born again believers & we need a real revelation in our spirits of the difference the Holy Spirit makes in our lives. Just stop & think for a minute: exactly who’s spirit is it that now indwells inside you? It is the Spirit of God Himself, is it not? 1 Cor 2:16 tells us that now we have the mind of Christ. So we have the mind of Christ & the Spirit of God. We are a new creation. If Christ is the head & we are the body then we are one with Christ.
The implication works like this: remember that little word tov we find in the Genesis account that most translators render good & which actually means functional? When we are saved we are made *functional* again ~ that is, enabled to operate according to the way God originally meant for us to operate. When we listen to the Holy Spirit & co~operate with Him we can do the good things He planned for us long ago ~ Eph 2:10
2 Peter 1:3-4 tells us:
3 For as you know him better, he will give you, through his great power, everything you need for living a truly good life: he even shares his own glory and his own goodness with us! 4 And by that same mighty power he has given us all the other rich and wonderful blessings he promised; for instance, the promise to save us from the lust and rottenness all around us, and to give us his own character.
We have everything we need available to live according to God’s will but wait; there is more!
In Matthew 28:18 Jesus says: "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth… The word is exousia in the Greek & carries the meanings of dominion, rule, authority, power, ability, faculty. This is clarified further in Mark And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Signs = Sēmeion: a sign, a mark, token, by which anything is known or distinguished ~ a proof, evidence,..
The thing is you cannot cast out devils if you have no authority to do so but every believer has that authority because they are part of the body of Christ & Christ already has the authority which comes to us through Him. If the head has authority so does the body because the head & the body are a single unit. They are not separate. That which Christ can do His followers can also do because they are His body. They have His mind & His spirit.
Jesus couldn’t be any clearer than John 14:12~ "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father”
What did Jesus do? He healed. Thus we have the authority to heal in Jesus name. He taught. We have the power to teach with authority. He cast out demons. We can cast out demons by the authority invested in us through Jesus Christ. Anything Christ can do we can do also.
James 4:7 says...Resist the devil, and he will flee from you…
Every week when we pray here we crush satan’s head underfoot; we take our God given authority & put satan under our feet because we are the head & not the tail Deuteronomy 28:13 Luke 10:19 verifies that we have all power over the enemy.
Over the coming weeks Rabqa is going to be teaching on faith because without faith it is impossible to please God & we need a revelation of what the exercise of our faith can accomplish!
Ephesians makes 2 statements that are particularly relevant.
Eph 2:6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.
Eph 1:22-23 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.
Paul makes it very clear that we were buried with Christ in baptism & as we were buried we are raised. Being raised we are seated & the Greek makes it clear we are seated in the company of Christ & the heavenly realms. We are sons, heirs, friends & as such operate in exactly the same way as Christ. I am NOT saying we are Christ. I am NOT saying we are gods. I am saying that the Spirit of God operates in & through us in exactly the same way He operated in & through Christ & because that is so we can operate in exactly the same way that Christ does with exactly the same authority.
Now the Spirit & the Word are one & because they are one they will always agree. Therefore we need to be firmly established in the word because the word is our fighting sword according to Ephesians & praying in the Spirit is our secret weapon. When we employ both we position ourselves in a position of power. When we know who we are in Christ & what belongs to us we don’t quibble with the devil. We tell him to git ~ & he has to go! He is under authority & he knows it!
Philipians 2:10 says at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Now some Christians get around to telling the devil to git but don’t exercise their faith. They don’t really believe he has to do what they tell him because they are using a formula without understanding, rather like the sons of Sceva. Not only is satan sneaky, he knows our weakness, so he will try & convince us that he doesn’t really have to do what he’s told & if we buy into that we give him permission to go right back to doing what he was doing ~ laying sickness on us, meddling in our finances & our relationships, creating havoc, death, destruction, decay. That is what he does & if we don’t exercise our authority he will continue to do it in our lives & the lives of our friends & family.
1 Peter 5: 8 tells us Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. The thing is, we don’t have to be devoured.
Kenneth Hagin, the founder of the Word of Faith movement, tells what happened when he began getting scriptural. He talks about praying for people for years with no results ~ & who knows what that’s like? Then he began praying Ephesians 3:14~19, firstly over himself, then over his friends & family.
When we line our mouths up with God’s word & exercise our faith we can access all the *spiritual blessings* that Ephesians has in mind. See our faith is based on what God says in his word because God cannot lie. If He says a thing will be so, then it will be so.
Hebrews 11:1 is the definitive verse on faith: Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
We speak the word. God will always honour His word but we must not doubt just because we may not see immediate results in the physical. Things will always be dealt with in the spiritual first, & we can’t always see what’s going on in the spiritual. We have to trust that not only has God heard, He is quick to answer. He says He is. He tells us we have been blessed. He tells us we have both power & authority. He says we are to rule.
My friends, I encourage you to talk to the Lord & ask for greater revelation in this area. It will indeed bless us but the even more wonderful thing is it glorifies the Father.
Look what the Lord has done for me! We can exclaim. And the thing is our circumstances no longer dictate our outcomes. We have been raised with Christ so whatever the devil throws at us we are already victorious & he is a defeated enemy. This is a truth, not just something Christians say but don’t necessarily believe.
He has been paraded through the realms of heaven & hell & throughout the earth as a defeated foe. Why on earth would any Christian give him even a vestige of power or authority over or in their lives when Christ has made it very plain he is defeated, we are victorious. We need to live in the power & the joy of that victory!