We are beginning to see a pattern in the early church and it’s still true today; where there is real revival there is persecution and riots but GREATER is the ONE WE SERVE. A spirit of revival stirs up spirits of religious tradition. Too many times people want what used to be instead of what Father God is doing today and that’s the way it was in the early church. Father God was doing something new and those bound in traditions were not able to accept the new so they persecuted those who were willing to move with the Spirit of the Lord. Watch it again today in this devotion:
Acts 19:23 About that time, serious trouble developed in Ephesus concerning the Way. 24 It began with Demetrius, a silversmith who had a large business manufacturing silver shrines of the Greek goddess Artemis. He kept many craftsmen busy.
So we see the trouble started when the move of the Spirit started affecting people personally (personal agenda and influence) and many times it may be influential people whether it’s a church, community, or family etc. The enemy always has a desire to stir confusion in families so he desires to use people with influence and in this story he is using a business man named Demetrius who employs a lot of people in his region and probably is well thought of. He has a business of building worship shrines to the Greek goddess Artemis.
A little history concerning Aremis (Nelson’s Dictionary) Diana
(Acts 19:24,27-28,34-35), in Roman mythology, was the goddess of the moon, hunting, wild animals, and virginity. Diana is the same as the Greek goddess Artemis, virgin goddess of the hunt and the moon. When Paul preached in Ephesus, the Ephesians were in an uproar because the gospel threatened to destroy the profit of the artisans who crafted silver shrines of Diana.
25 He called them together, along with others employed in similar trades, and addressed them as follows: "Gentlemen, you know that our wealth comes from this business. 26 But as you have seen and heard, this man Paul has persuaded many people that handmade gods aren't really gods at all. And he's done this not only here in Ephesus but throughout the entire province!
I’ve learned over a few years of ministry when the enemy starts to use someone to cause division they always find others to join in on their personal crusade and justify why they are doing what they are doing. Over the years I’ve watched it in families, in businesses and in many different churches so one way I check myself is this, am I talking to anyone about anything that would cause division in my personal family, our church or our region (because I want to sow good so I can reap good). Notice his wording, “you know OUR wealth and as you have seen and heard”, notice how manipulative his wording is. Then the accusations stated that, “Paul had persuaded”, but the truth was, the Holy Spirit persuaded people they were wrong in their beliefs. Let’s read on.
27 Of course, I'm not just talking about the loss of public respect for our business. I'm also concerned that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will lose its influence and that Artemis—this magnificent goddess worshiped throughout the province of Asia and all around the world—will be robbed of her great prestige!"
Hopefully you can see more manipulation, which is the spirit of Jezebel, because now he turns his reason for the upheaval on not just losing his personal influence and finance but supposedly protecting the temple of the great goddess. He knows he is making the god they worship so I’m sure he knows Artemis is not a great god but it gives him more leverage.
28 At this their anger boiled, and they began shouting, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" 29 Soon the whole city was filled with confusion. Everyone rushed to the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, who were Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia.
Now we see the riot started against those contending for revival. They are now mad over things that have been twisted and notice the whole city is filled with confusion. We know the Bible plainly says Father God is not the author of confusion. They are to the point of physical violence, but God still has a plan. Remember friends, when in conflict never forget the God you serve.
Prayer Points: Father God search my heart, know my thoughts and if there is anything in my heart that would hinder revival in this region, in my family, or in my church please reveal it & remove it from me in Jesus Name!
We read in one of our previous devotions where Paul was doing unusual signs, miracles and wonders as the power of Father God worked in him and through him. Learn this truth, everything that is miraculous is not from heaven because if there is a REAL MOVE of the Holy Spirit, the devil will always send a counterfeit move that looks like the real deal.
Paul was casting out devils in the name of Jesus so some Jews who were trying to make money from casting out devils decided to duplicate what Paul was doing. I think it is hilarious but yet we need to take heed to important lessons we can learn from this group of Jews.
Acts 19: 13 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!” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. 15 But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 16 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.
I’ve always thought this would make a good comical part of a movie but yet it’s so real. These seven sons of a leading priest had heard Paul command demons to come out of people using the powerful name of Jesus so they thought they had found another religious ritual that would produce the power of God.
Lesson 1: There are no formulas. There is only obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit when it comes to the supernatural. Very seldom did Jesus heal the sick the same way; sometimes He would simply speak to the sickness, another time He would lay hands on the sick, another time He would make new eyes out of dirt by spitting in it, another time He told the lepers to just go show themselves to the high priest. The reason is that Jesus never wanted the supernatural turned into a formula.
Never think that the creator will give the creation a formula to control and manipulate His power and His presence. Yes, there are keys but never a certain way to manipulate the presence of the Lord. Keys like praise and worship sets the atmosphere for the presence of the Lord, prayer and fasting allows us to prepare our bodies for His service but only as we do it with pure hearts and clean hands and not with a manipulative spirit. Too many only pray, only praise, only fast when they have to have a breakthrough but real praise, real worship, real prayer, real fasting is when we just want less of us and more of Him.
The seven sons of Sceva wanted a formula (ritual) not a relationship with Jesus Christ. They wanted to use His name, demonstrate His power without taking time to know Him.
Lesson 2. You can know and say the right words and still have no power backing your words up and that’s all they are, WORDS without the anointing! The power to operate in the supernatural (such as casting out devils, healing the sick, etc.) comes from two things:
1. Relationship with Father God which only comes through the blood of Jesus. The more you know Him, it produces hunger and humility which are keys to flowing in the supernatural. 2. Obedience to the Holy Spirit! We are commanded to never lay hands on any person suddenly (1 Tim. 5) but we should be led by the Holy Spirit because He knows the will and purposes of the Father and also the condition of the person we would like to pray for and help. Sometimes the person we desire to help is not ready for help, does not really want help or the timing may not be right. We must be led by the Spirit!
So the seven sons of Sceva find a demon possessed man and start saying in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches come out and the demon answers back, “Paul I know, Jesus I know but who are you”? Then it gets worse, the demon comes out of the man and jumps on them, overpowers them, strips them of their clothes and they run out the door hurt, confused and defeated.
Catch it, the greatest thing on earth is knowing heaven knows your name but don’t you love the fact that the demonic forces of hell not only knew about Jesus but knew Paul and when Paul spoke they had to listen (that’s Kingdom Power and Authority). The demons knew Paul because Paul took the time to know Jesus personally through prayer, fasting and study.
Prayer points: Father in Jesus Name, I don’t want to just know about you but I want to know you personally. Anything in my life that would hinder the flow of the supernatural in my life, I repent of and turn from now in Jesus Name. Use me to help build your Kingdom!