Monday, September 1, 2008

Acts: Results in Ephesus (19:13-41)

In Ephesus, Paul experienced huge success. It has already been said that his time there saw the entire province hear the Gospel. Now, Luke goes on to describe several other measures of success. Paul experiences supernatural power and success in extreme spiritual warfare. The people turned away from their magic and religious beliefs and embraced Paul’s message of a relationship with God through Jesus the Messiah.
The incident that really seems to have sent the people over the edge is that of the Sons of Sceva. They were some Jews who tried to practice magic and wield spiritual power. They saw the power that Paul possessed but misunderstood it; in much the same way that a lot of people do today.
There is power in the person of Jesus Christ, but not simply in the name Jesus. Regardless of what Romans says about calling on the name of the Lord, that does not mean that one need simply to cry out, “Jesus!” to be saved. People need to understand the nature of sin, their culpability and the sacrifice Jesus made. They need to decide that they believe these truths and accept them in such a way that they surrender their life to God. Jesus needs to be their Lord not their connection.
With that in mind, where did evangelism and missions ideas go so wrong? When did we start to package the message of the Gospel in simple four point leaflets? Whose idea was it to quit working on relationships and ambush total strangers with questions we have no right or business asking people?
Isn’t it strange that Jesus never shared without being asked a question first? Perhaps not.
Finally, Paul experiences in Ephesus the same thing that all successful witnesses should expect: Opposition. Never look for the highs without keeping a guarded watch out for the attacks.

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