Sunday, November 18, 2012

From Acts to Revelation Part 53 – Blessings and Demons

From Acts to Revelation
Part 53 – Blessings and Demons
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Last week we looked at how Paul became frustrated with those within the Synagogue, and after working there for three months, trying to help them come to an understanding of Christ and the Gospel, he met nothing but opposition and frustration.

He left, taking the disciples with him, knowing that the people there rejected Christ, and there was no use giving them anyone to teach them further.

This week, we see in the scripture, blessings of objects, and possession of humans.

The blessing of objects is nothing new in modern times, but it's abuses and misuses have made it a joke, as opposed to its original intent, the power of God through His servants.

Possession as well has been misconstrued, and misrepresented in movies as well as campfire ghost stories and the like.

Today is scripture, we will see the correct definition of these, as well as the purposes and correct manner in which to deal with them.


Acts 19:11-22
11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 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.
13 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.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 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.
17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
21 After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. “After I have been there,” he said, “I must visit Rome also.” 22 He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.

a.      What the scriptures say about these objects
i.       This was an extraordinary miracle of God through Paul
ii.    They were objects that Paul touched
iii. They were taken to those who were ill because of evil
iv.   they were healed ad the evil spirits left them

b.     Why did God do this “extraordinary miracle”?
i.       Because people could not travel then as they do today

ii.    God wanted Paul to be recognized as one with authority and who truly spoke for God
a.      Remember: Apostles were those who witnessed the resurrected Christ, and was given special authority and miraculous abilities to establish the fact that they had the authority by God to author the foundation of the New Testament Christian Faith and Church.

iii. God wanted the power of Jesus' name to be know far and wide, so as to spread the truth of the Gospel, which in turn saved the lost.

c.      What does the world think of these “objects”?
i.       Some faiths teach these items are to be worshiped.
a.      They build shrines to the objects, carry them around on special occasions, and parade them before people, who touch, kiss, or pray to them.

b.     Some denominations collect them, thinking they are “holy”
1.      nothing is to become a idol

d.     Some teach that this miracle of God can be done today, simply because they “want to”
i.       Why would they do this?
a.      Blessing cloths, or oils, or “holy water”

b.     It has been abused as a means of control or greed.

c.      In nearly all modern day cases, this “blessing” is done for others in exchange for a “love offering”, “donation”, or as a means of control to give the impression that “they” speak for God, and are the “only” authority and only church, therefore you must be with them, and no other church.

e.      It is true, God “can” still perform extraordinary miracles today.
i.       However, we cannot control the Holy Spirit, or the how or when or why of God's works. To try and use God's blessings for control, manipulation or financial gain is a horrendous sin.

a.      In verses 13-20, we are introduced to exorcism.
i.       The casting out of demons.

ii.    The fact of this matter is this, we are created in God's image.
a.      We have three parts, our body, our mind (or soul/being), and our Spirit.

b.     If we do not have the Spirit of God within us, we have a void.

c.      Demons will try to fill this void, in hopes of destroying our lives, and the lives of those around us, as well as keep us from ever coming to a knowledge of Jesus Christ and the truth of the Gospel.

b.     Remember, this is the New Testament, the Church Age, and people in scripture here have been possessed by demons.
i.       There are quite a few accounts of possession in scripture.

ii.    We see examples of Jesus Himself casting out demons, more than once.

c.      Though the name of Jesus holds power and authority, those who are not sons of the Most High, do not have access to this power and authority.
i.       We see here how these sons of a high priest try to cast demons out using the Name of Christ.

ii.    The possessed man turns on them, beats them all, and sends them off bloodied.

d.     The scripture says, “One day the evil spirit answered...”
i.       this tells us they had tried more than once to exorcise the demon.

ii.    He remained silent before now.

iii. For whatever reason he decided to speak.
a.      “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”

e.      To me, this cries out, that without Jesus as our Lord and Savior, who are we?
i.       We are of no consequence to evil.

f.       However, if we are in Christ Jesus, we, as sons of the Most high, have Christ's authority and power, through His Name!

g.      The evil spirit sent the sons of the High Priest off, naked and beading.
i.       This is here in scripture, because God wants the world to know, there is no power or authority in the Old Covenant!

ii.    These sons of the High Priest, were trying to operate in the Old Covenant, and did not have Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

iii. There is only condemnation in the Old Covenant, which was given to point man to the need of a savior, Jesus Christ.

iv.   And it is ONLY through HIM, we have salvation from the Old Covenant, acceptance into the Kingdom, and given the full rights and benefits of the Kingdom, which is the power and authority in Christ's Name.

a.      We see that after this took place, the people realized the power in the name of Jesus alone!

b.     Many turned from their witchcraft, and burned their scrolls, which were worth $50,000 Drachmas, or $63,718.62 in U.S. Currency.

c.      Paul then traveled to Jerusalem, wanting to go to Rome
i.       He sent Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.


So we see in scripture that the blessing of objects serves God's purpose, not man's, and that it should only be by God's Will, through His blessing and power, not by man to control, or manipulate God's people.  And it should never be done specifically for obtaining financial gain!

We also saw how possession is not only real, but should be taken seriously, and only one who is in good standing with Jesus Christ should attempt to cast out a demon.

Remember, the disciples tried and failed, and after Jesus cast them out Himself, they asked what they did wrong, and Jesus answered them, "some can only be cast out after fasting and prayer."

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

From Acts to Revelation Part 52 – Paul Continues On

From Acts to Revelation
Part 52 – Paul Continues On
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


Last week we talked about the water baptism of John for repentance, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit (or being baptized into Christ).

This week, we will take a look at how Paul continues his missionary trip, traveling to another
Synagogue, where he stays for three months, trying to convince them of the Gospel.

Afterwords, Paul takes his Disciples to another town, where they end up staying for two years, where he continued to preach and teach the Gospel.

Today, we will see how some people, even after being shown the truth, with scriptural back-up, still deny it.

There is no shortage of stubborn people, and no shortage of people who chose to remain ignorant.

People who refuse to listen to the truth, always have a reason. And that reason is always prideful, selfish and self-centered.

Today we will see that when someone is willfully ignorant, we are to move on, simply because there is always another place, another person, who is ready to hear the truth.

We will also see, that despite the rejection of truth, Paul continues to share the truth with those who will listen.


Acts 19:8-10
8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 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.
a.      Paul spoke for three months in the Synagogue
i.       This was longer than his usual stay in a Synagogue

b.     Paul argued about the Kingdom of God.
i.       Arguing here means persuading and disputing falsehoods, not fighting.

ii.    Paul brought reasonable proofs from the Old Testament Scriptures to show that the Kingdom [ruled authority] of God is revealed in Jesus.

iii. And Jesus is now ascended to the Right Hand of the Father and seated at the father's Throne.
a.      Acts 2:29-31 29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay.”

c.      However, some became obstinate, or  stubborn.
i.       They refused to believe
a.      They rebelled against the Gospel of Christ.

ii.    They publicly maligned & rebelled against the Gospel of Christ.

a.      So Paul left them.
i.       He broke with another Synagogue because of their denial.

b.     Paul took the Disciples with him.
i.       Seeing their stubbornness, Paul takes the Disciples with him.

c.      And had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.
i.       Scholars believe that this was a lecture hall of a Greek Philosopher

a.      This went on for two years.
i.       Paul spent a total of three years in Ephesus, (Acts 20:31) two of them preaching and teaching here in the lecture hall.

b.     The Jews and the Greeks living in the province of Asia heard the Word of the Lord.
i.       This doesn't refer to every single person hearing the Word, but rather to people from all walks of life, and from surrounding areas.

c.      Paul continued preaching and teaching there, where he was accepted.


We see in scripture today, that sometimes, despite all of our efforts, some people choose to remain willfully ignorant of the truth.

Scripture tells us that if someone refuses to listen, we are to dust ourselves off, and move on.

We are not to waste time on those who do not want the truth, because time is short, and there are many out there who are ready to hear the Truth.

We also see that, Paul was fulfilling his calling to preach and teach the Gospel. And although the people were stubborn and refused to accept the truth, Paul did not take that disappointment with him, nor did he become discouraged, simply because regardless of who did or did not accept the Truth, Paul was still serving the Lord, and his calling.

We too need to stay diligent, getting past those who refuse the truth, dusting ourselves off, and continuing to serve the Lord in the manner in which He has called and enabled us.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!