The last two weeks we pick up Paul’s journey back to Jerusalem in Acts 21: Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. He came over, took Paul's belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, "The Holy Spirit declares, 'So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.'" When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
We have been discussing how the Gifts of the Holy Spirit were important to the early church and how we need the nine manifestations of the Holy Spirit personally and corporately more so today. It’s so important that I want to continue looking at the nine manifestations of the Holy Spirit before we continue in Acts 21: The Nine Gifts are divided into three categories of three: First week we discussed the Gifts to Say (Speak). Last week we studied the Gifts to Know Gifts or Revelation Gifts and how they can often work together. This week let’s look at the Gifts to Do! A lot of the material comes from the great teacher Kenneth Hagin who is now with the Lord.
The Gift of Faith is not... 1. Saving faith. (Ephesians 2:8) 2. General (ordinary) faith: faith in God's Word, faith for believing God for your needs, etc. The gifts of the Spirit operate by faith - general (ordinary) faith on the part of the believer through which the gift is being
manifested. A person must step out in faith and yield to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. (Mark 9:23) 3. Faithfulness - the fruit of the Spirit which is for character. Faith, or faithfulness, is a fruit that grows in the life of a Christian to establish him in godly spiritual character. I realize we have taken a whole week to discuss this gift but once again we need to understand how each gift operates.
Prayer Points: Today, let’s commune with the Holy Spirit asking Him to lead us into all truth concerning the Gifts of the Spirit. We don’t need to be ignorant concerning the supernatural manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit because they were given to the church to profit spiritually, mentally & physically. Let the Holy Spirit know you are a willing vessel!
Last week we picked up Paul’s journey back to Jerusalem in Acts 21: Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. He came over, took Paul's belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, "The Holy Spirit declares, 'So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.'" When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
We discussed how the Gifts of the Holy Spirit were important to the early church and how we need the nine manifestations of the Holy Spirit personally and corporately. I want to continue looking at the nine manifestations of the Holy Spirit before we continue in Acts 21: The nine Gifts are divided into three categories of three: Last week we discussed the Gifts to Say (Speak). This week we study the Gifts to Know or Revelation Gifts and they can often work together.
2. Gifts to Know (Reveal or Revelations Gifts):
The Word of Wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8): The supernatural revelation by the Holy Spirit concerning the divine purpose and plan of God. It is a divine communication, a message to the Church or believer from God, conveyed by the Holy Spirit to the believer speaking. A word of wisdom is only a fragment of the wisdom of God, given for a specific purpose. The word of wisdom tells about something that is going to happen - certain facts about the future to man. The word of wisdom is always FUTURE TENSE - that which is yet unborn: hidden things we would not normally or naturally know. A word of God's wisdom makes you wise to the future and you know what is going to take place rather than to worry about it or using your own strength to make it come to pass - it will happen exactly as the Lord told you it would. A word of wisdom might be accompanied by a word of knowledge, as spiritual gifts often work together. A believer who consistently speaks out, foretelling the future, is speaking by the word of wisdom. He sees into the future and possesses the gift of the word of wisdom (God's wisdom) to tell the future. This gift is foremost in a Prophet's (Seer's) ministry but can also manifest in the life of a believer for a certain purpose and time even if that believer doesn’t have the call of a Prophet.
The Word of Knowledge (1 Cor. 12:8) The supernatural revelation by the Holy Ghost of certain facts in the mind of God. God is all knowing and possesses all knowledge. A word of knowledge then is a fragmentary part of the entire knowledge or counsel of God. He imparts to us what he wants us to know at a specific time and for a specific reason (such as to meet a need or emergency). Someone working in the gift of the Word of Knowledge at times can see things in a person’s past as the Holy Spirit wills to demonstrate to a person of the omniscience of Father God. Many times a word of knowledge might be accompanied by a word of wisdom, as spiritual gifts often work together. A manifestation of a word of knowledge might be used to reveal sickness or an evil spirit (as opposed to the Gift of Discerning of Spirits where you would actually see the (evil) spirit with your eyes). The revelation that the word of knowledge brings is NEVER future tense, it is either present or past tense. The gift of a word of knowledge deals with that which exists, either past or present – something that a servant could not discern in the natural.
The Gift of the Discerning of Spirits (1 Cor. 12:10): The discerning of spirits gives supernatural insight into the spirit world. "To discern" means to perceive by seeing or hearing. Therefore, the discerning of spirits is the same as seeing or hearing in the realm of the spirits. The discerning of spirits gives members of the Body of Christ insight into the spirit world, a realm which their five senses, feeling, hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting cannot reason. It takes this gift to penetrate the dividing of soul and spirit within a person. The discerning of spirits has to do with an entire class of spirits: good spirits (discerning the similitude of God, the risen Christ, the Holy Spirit, or angelic beings/angelic activity), bad spirits (devils, demons, Satan himself), or human spirits (good and evil tendencies). "Familiar spirits" are included in this class of spirits. God talks about these spirits in the Old Testament where he forbids the people of God to have anything to do with them. Familiar spirits are familiar with people and they pass on information about one person to another. Familiar spirits, I believe, are used by psychics and spiritualists.
Prayer Points: Father we need all the gifts working in us personally and as a church corporately. Allow the Holy Spirit to begin to use us as He will in the gifts. We empty ourselves so you can pour into us!
We pick up Paul’s journey back to Jerusalem in Acts 21: Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. He came over, took Paul's belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, "The Holy Spirit declares, 'So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.'" When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
It was not uncommon for the early church to be operating in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and I know the Gifts of the Holy Spirit will become more and more active in the lives of believers in these last days. We need more of the supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit personally and corporately than ever before. Let’s take a quick look at the nine manifestations of the Holy Spirit:
The nine gifts are divided into three categories of three:
A. THE GIFT OF PROPHECY (1 Corinthians 12:10) Definition: "The Gift of Prophecy is the special ability that God gives to members of the Body of Christ to hear & speak an immediate message of God to His people whether the message is for a group gathered together, or any one of His people individually, through a divinely anointed utterance . The Greek word for prophecy, "propheteia," implies that one is speaking for another; speaking on behalf of God. We are exhorted to specifically desire to prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1, 31)
Prophecy is designed by God to:
B. MANY KINDS OF TONGUES (1 Corinthians 12:10): Definition: The Gift of Tongues is the supernatural ability imparted by the Holy Spirit to speak to others and/or to God in a language or utterance never learned by the speaker.
There are two reasons for speaking in tongues:
C. THE GIFT OF INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES (1 Cor. 12:10):
Definition: The Gift by which God made understandable the mystery which was spoken/prayed in the Gifts of Tongues.
The word "interpretation" here is from the Greek "harmeneia" meaning "explanation" or "full interpretation". It is the ability through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to bring understandable meaning to an inspired public message in tongues. Interpretation can occur in congregational meetings or even in private prayer where you pray in tongues and the Holy Spirit gives you the meaning of what your prayed which gives you clear direction. We can pray and interpret the will of the Father for our lives.
I think this subject is so important and critical right now that we will continue it next week.
Prayer Points: Father in Jesus Name I want everything you have for me & I want to be used in your Kingdom, so allow your gifts to be manifested in my life!
We continue our study about the early church in the book of Acts this week as we get into Acts 21. I love Acts because the latter church will see more, do more and accomplish more than the former church. We continue to follow Paul’s missionary journey as he journeys back to Jerusalem where his life will be in danger.
Acts 21 After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia. We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo. We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week. These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem. When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including wives and children, left the city and came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed, 6 and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home.
It’s amazing how quickly the gospel was spreading throughout the known world since the day of Pentecost. Christians were popping up seemingly everywhere Paul went. The same should be true today as we help gather the harvest that is so ripe (never has there been so many lost and hurting people as today). The gospel message is powerful and a real relationship with Jesus is contagious. Sometimes the greatest message is preached without a single word being spoken. When our family and friends see the difference salvation has made in our lives they will want to know the secret and the secret is Jesus. We are saved by grace to allow others the opportunity to be saved and it becomes a domino effect. One tells one and then they tell one and they tell one and soon everyone is hearing the good news.
Our focus must remain on the lost. There are so many who have never had an opportunity to even hear the truth about the gospel or about salvation. We must continue to Reach One More!
So Paul ran into a group of new believers in Tyre Syria and he had the opportunity to stay with them and teach them for a week. This week formed a special bond between them and in one of the prayer meetings the Holy Spirit once again warned Paul about going to Jerusalem, that his life would be at risk but Paul continued the journey because he knew this was his lot in life.
After the week was over, the whole group of believers including women and children went down to the ship dock to see Paul off, even kneeling in front of everyone to have a word of prayer for his journey.
The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed for one day. The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.
Again we see the spread of the gospel with Paul finding other brothers and sisters in the Lord at Ptolemais. I would have loved to hear some of the conversations of the early Christians with so many of them risking their lives to serve and follow Jesus.
Then after traveling another day by boat, they were in Caesarea and here we see where Philip, who was one of the first seven leaders in the early church, had settled and he had become an evangelist, going from place to place telling everyone about Jesus.
Notice this truth which is such a testimony to the Christian lifestyle of Philip; all four of his unmarried daughters were serving the Lord and being used in the gift of prophecy. I love it when whole families are serving the Lord together.
Our promise is that not only would the Lord save us but He would save our whole household. Pray it, believe it, confess it and watch the Holy Spirit begin to change households.
Revival with Pastor Wendell is coming up in a few weeks so take the next few weeks to seriously fast and pray for your lost loved ones as well as friends and this region. We are believing for a mighty move of the Holy Spirit to change some things.
Prayer Points: Father God in Jesus Name we pray that you would save our whole household and that we would serve the Lord as a family on fire for your Kingdom. Use us as vessels in the harvest field to bring many into your Kingdom in these last days!
Last week Paul was giving his last address personally before he went to Jerusalem and this week we read and discuss his instructions to the church at Ephesus.
Acts 20:28 "So guard yourselves and God's people. Feed and shepherd God's flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders.
Notice his first instruction to the leaders at Ephesus: Guard Yourselves. Before we can help and guard others in their faith, we must first guard our own faith.
Paul told Timothy whom he mentored: 1 Tim 6:20 And oh, my dear Timothy, guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life. Avoid the talk-show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts…The Message
Guard the Word of God, Guard the truth, don’t get involved with those who want to water down the truth or want to build their own kingdoms. In the world we live in we must make it a priority to guard our faith since in the last days there are many deceptive voices in the world.
Secondly, Paul told the leaders in verse 28 to: Guard God’s people whom the Holy Spirit had set them over. Leaders have to live by a high standard and pay a price greater than others are willing to pay because they will give an answer on judgment day of how they led Father God’s people (to whom much is given, much is required). Leaders will never please everyone so they must continually make a constant effort to please Father God in all their decisions (the secret is hearing His voice, knowing His Word and complete obedience). We must protect and guard against doctrine and those who have their own interests above the interest of building Father God’s kingdom.
Paul also reminds the leaders that the church was purchased by the blood of Jesus so the church doesn’t belong to man but to Father God. Then he reminds them that the Holy Spirit chose them to be the leaders/elders, not man. America has a problem understanding the word kingdom and kingdom authority because we live in a democracy where everyone should have a say. In the kingdom, Father God sets up and sets down, Father God choses who will be part of the five-fold ministry and who has the authority to help oversee His church. In the Kingdom there is a King (Jesus who is the King of Kings) and He still appoints leaders under His leadership.
29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. 30 Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. 31 Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.
His concerns were false teachers and never has the church seen as much false teaching as right now. I love mercy and I love grace but it’s not so we can live a cheap lifestyle of ungodliness but rather exhorts us to holy living. Grace leads us to the cross and then invites us to get on the cross.
Then he warned that even people from their own groups would rise up to draw a following for themselves. I need to say this plainly, rebellion which causes a church to split off another church is not Kingdom. So many churches have split because someone didn’t like something going on and then started their own church just to see it split again because it was birthed out of a wrong spirit. If you find leaders you agree with all the time, then you are probably not human. You don’t have to agree with every decision to be in unity and in God’s proper order of authority. The same is true for family relationships and even business relationships.
The Bible warns of those who will cause division in the body of Christ, great will be their punishment. God is not the author of confusion.
32 "And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.
Paul said there isn’t much more I can do to help protect you since I will probably never see you face again so I put you in Father God’s hands and He is able to strengthen you and keep you set apart for his Kingdom. I’ve taught you, I’ve spiritually fed you now it’s time for you to lead the way not giving in to false truths and the doctrines and opinions of man.
Prayer Points: Father God help me to walk in the truths of your Holy Word and never fall into false doctrine which will destroy my soul. I bind any spirit of deception that would try to deceive me into rebelling against your Word or the God given leaders you gave me in my life. Father God used my life completely to help build your Kingdom in Jesus Name!
Last week we discussed how Paul was trying to get to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 20:16). Let’s read:
Acts 20:17 But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him. 18 When they arrived he declared, "You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now 19 I have done the Lord's work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. 20 I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. 21 I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.
Paul called for the leaders at the church in Ephesus to come meet him and began to testify of his labor of love for Father God’s Kingdom. I love the focus of his message regardless of who he was ministering to (verse 21); Repentance and Faith. Friends, it’s time we quit majoring on the minors and major on getting people to repent and then live by faith in what Jesus did for us.
Repentance, receiving forgiveness for our sins and turning from our old lifestyle. Father God changes us but we also must be wise and change some things ourselves like who we hang out with, where we hang out, etc…. We are not saved by works but when we truly get saved our works will change.
Living by Faith in Jesus was the second message Paul focused on sharing. For the Jews it was a hard message to accept because under the law there is a lot of works (sacrificing animals, etc) but under grace the one sacrifice Jesus made was sufficient and we receive it by faith not works. Our works follow our faith.
Living by faith, knowing Jesus not only took our sins and the shame of our sins but He also took the curse of sin. Now we are free and are entitled to the blessings of Father God.
22 "And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don't know what awaits me, 23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. 24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
What a powerful testimony! I know I’m destined to go to Jerusalem where imprisonment and suffering awaits me but I’m willing to go because that is the will of the Lord for my life and I know I will have opportunity to tell others about the Good News and about the Grace of Father God. The temporality pain and hardship is nothing to be compared with the eternal joys which await me. In fact my life is not worth living unless I finish the work assigned to me, finish the purpose for which I was born so I press forward.
Paul had the mentality of Jesus when He prayed in the garden I don’t want to die the death I was destined to die but NEVERTHELESS not my will but thy will be done. Paul pinned these words, to be absent from this body is to be present with Christ so he knew death was not an enemy but rather his transport into paradise.
25 "And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. 26 I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it's not my fault, 27 for I didn't shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.
These were sad words because of the bond between Paul and the church at Ephesus when Paul said we will never see each other again. Then he said words that we all need to strive after, if anyone suffers eternity in hell it’s not my fault because I told you the truth in love caring for your eternal souls. Whatever Father God wanted me to tell you I told you so your blood is not on my hands.
It’s sobering to think about someone else’s blood being on our hands because we refused to share the truth with them. It’s more than sobering to think about someone spending eternity in hell because we were not obedient in sharing the full gospel with those the Holy Spirit put in front of us. I want to be able to say like Paul, if you spend eternity in hell, it was not my fault because I was obedient to the calling Father God had on my life. In this pleasure sin driven world it’s not a time to water down the gospel but we must preach it, live it, tell it without compromise.
Prayer Thoughts: Father in Jesus Name, continue to give me the boldness to tell the truth in love to everyone you have ordained me to witness to. I don’t want to stand before you with their blood on my hands. Help me to see everyone through your eyes with your love.
Before we get into this week’s devotion, let me say how thankful we are that so many allow this devotion to be part of their weekly lives. Every Sunday I see people before service reading it, while others read it online, etc.
Last week Paul was about to leave the church at Troas so they were having an all-night service before he departed, not knowing if they would ever see him again. Instead of having just physical food and fellowship they were investing their last few hours fellowshipping in natural food and spiritual food. Let’s pick up the story in this setting:
Acts 20:8 The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps.
A good reminder that you don’t have to have a perfect setting to have church. The early church did not have AL Power or T-Mobile but they knew how to have church and how to host the Presence of the Lord.
9 As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below.
Forget the part about Paul preaching on and on and on because many may feel that way about preachers today. Paul preached so long till Eutychus, who was sitting next to the window in the upper room, which was on the third floor, went to sleep and fell out the window.
Can you imagine the chaos? Paul preaching for hours and then a sudden sound of someone shouting Eutychus has fallen out of the window! His family and friends undoubtedly screaming and running down the stairs. Paul stops preaching and runs down the stairs with them to find him dead. Panic sets in, this church service is canceled! Seemingly defeat has invaded the atmosphere but God!
10 Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. "Don't worry," he said, "he's alive!"
The anointing and life in Paul was greater than the death in Eutychus. When Paul grabbed him, life came back into him and what the devil had meant for destruction turned into an everlasting testimony and a lot of fun conversation. Can you imagine how they joked with Eutychus every time he sat near that window where they met for church weekly? I can only imagine the conversation and laughter. Friends, what a miracle! What should have destroyed the service turned into a celebration of Father God’s power.
11 Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord's Supper, and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left.
12 Meanwhile, the young man was taken home unhurt, and everyone was greatly relieved.
Notice the first thing they did was to re-assemble and partake of communion; remembering what Jesus had done for them through His death, burial and resurrection. Then they ate and fellowshipped together before Paul taught for a few more hours before leaving Troas. I love verse twelve as it bears witness of Eutychus falling three stories, that he went home unhurt, GLORY TO GOD!
13 Paul went by land to Assos, where he had arranged for us to join him, while we traveled by ship. 14 He joined us there, and we sailed together to Mitylene. 15 The next day we sailed past the island of Kios. The following day we crossed to the island of Samos, and a day later we arrived at Miletus
Don’t take these verses lightly, this was not easy travel in those days; there were neither cars, buses, trains nor were there cruise ship comfort on their boats. Just the travel was enough to physically and mentally weaken a person but Paul was up to the challenge because we see in the next verse he was on a timetable.
16 Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn't want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost.
It was important to him to be at the Feast of Pentecost because it was Father God’s feast. He wanted to celebrate this year in Jerusalem if possible. He wanted to celebrate because it was Father God’s set time to: 1. Time to thank Father God for His Blessing (His Provision)
2. Time to thank Father God for the Torah (Revelation through His Word) 3. Time to thank Father God for and receive a Fresh Touch from the Holy Spirit (His Power)
Prayer Points: Father never let the distractions of this life interrupt my personal and corporate time with You in Jesus Name!
Just as it is today, the early church consisted of real people with real emotions, real problems and real life. Don’t ever read the Bible as fictional but place yourself in the setting. The setting today comes right after the idol worshippers had tried to stop the gospel from being spread so it’s not a great environment for an early church.
Acts 20:1 When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them. Then he said good-bye and left for Macedonia.
During this persecuted time, the Holy Spirit directs Paul to leave for Macedonia. What a shock, what a let-down for the church in Ephesus but God always has a plan and we read later that the church there is still successfully building the kingdom. I can’t imagine the tears and the disappointment as Paul was leaving them but God always has a plan. They were human and undoubtedly attached to Paul and his ministry.
2 While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through. Then he traveled down to Greece, 3 where he stayed for three months. He was preparing to sail back to Syria when he discovered a plot by some Jews against his life, so he decided to return through Macedonia.
Paul was radical for Jesus from the time he was converted on the Damascus Road; always traveling, teaching, preaching and walking under an open heaven. Seemingly everywhere he went two things happened: 1. Riot 2. Revival. There were so many threats on his life but just like Jesus no one was able to kill him before his time.
4 Several men were traveling with him. They were Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. 5 They went on ahead and waited for us at Troas.
As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about how it must have been to have ministered with such a wonderful man of God. May we never take for granted those Father God has placed around us. We should value their calling and anointing.
6 After the Passover ended, we boarded a ship at Philippi in Macedonia and five days later joined them in Troas, where we stayed a week.
Once again, Paul observed Passover not because he was a Jew but rather a Christian who wanted to observe the Lord’s Feasts. Then it sounds like they had a week long revival.
7 On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord's Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight.
Notice, they met on the first day of the week which was Sunday and they also partook of the Lord’s Supper. Communion is a supernatural weapon the Lord has given us. I urge you to take communion in your daily time of intimacy with the Lord and as you do your personal time with Him will go to the next level spiritually. Notice the hunger of those who were in this meeting, he was teaching until midnight and we read later that they were there until dawn.
Two requirements for revival: 1. Humility 2.Hunger
Humility: the Bible says for us not to think more highly of ourselves than we should. Yes, we should know who we are in Christ but we also should recognize the Christ in others; never becoming prideful or self-exalting, since it’s Father God who exalts. With Father God we can do anything but without Father God we can do nothing and we must remember that.
Hunger: the Bible says in Matt 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. No one should ever think they are so close to the Lord that they have arrived. Our love and our hunger for Father God should keep us seeking Him more and more not less. Without humility and hunger you will never experience true revival personally or as a church corporately. There is always more of Him to be obtained but we must decrease so He can increase.
Prayer Points: Father, let us decrease so you can increase in us. We desire more of you and less of us and we desire a revival that will totally change the spiritual atmosphere which will change the physical state of where we live. We realize Father God that you are our only hope of change. Start with me Lord, send another Awakening to America in Jesus Name!
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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!