Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Edifier du Jour-Acts 19:11-18(NASB)
11 God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. 13 But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, "I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches." 14 Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said to them, "I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" 16 And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified. 18 Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices.
I caught the intro of Billy Graham's radio show while getting ready for church Sunday; the teaser line was that people are looking for religion, but that religion is dangerous if you don't know Jesus. Those Jewish exorcists were a great case-in-point; they simply copied the formula of casting out demons "in Jesus' name," not realizing that they didn't have the authority to act in His name. You can only act as a agent of someone if you have been authorized to do so. If you're not authorized, passing yourself off as an representative is a fraud. In the physical realm, that's grounds for a lawsuit. In the spiritual realm, that's grounds for Satan to get out the industrial-strength can-o'-whuppin'. Even believers can be exceeding their authority when they start putting Jesus' imprimatur on topics that He never addressed. Before you act in the spiritual realm, do a quick prayer check and make sure you're not exceeding your authority.

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