Message: In Acts 19 there is an interesting
mix of events that completely disrupted Ephesus. The itinerate Jewish exorcists
saw the miraculous things going on when Paul ministered in the name of Jesus.
They weren’t believers, but they saw it was working so they tried to use the “name
of Jesus whom Paul preaches” to cast out some demons. This did not go well for
them because the spirits recognized that they had no spiritual authority whatsoever
and they overpowered these men. This brought fear and opened up the gospel to
lots of people. When they turned to Christ they turned from their idolatry and
this greatly impacted the business of selling idols. The silversmith in Ephesus
was very upset about the loss in revenue. He was so upset that he riled up the
townspeople and they rushed into the amphitheater in a state of confusion. They
fought for the goddess they served-not because they believed it, but because it
was a money-making business to them. In the cases of both the Jewish exorcists
and the craftsmen of Ephesus, they saw the power and evidence of Jesus Christ
at work, but they looked past it and chose what they knew. It seems like this
is the case for a lot of people. They see the power of Jesus at work, but they
don’t want to disrupt what they have worked so hard to achieve so they deny it.
Command: Let it go. What we think we are controlling
or gaining from is a false security anyway!
Promise: If we surrender absolutely everything
to Jesus and accept the loss of our own control, he gives us something even
better and it comes with peace and freedom from guilt.
Warning: When we surrender, we will certainly feel
the loss of the perceived benefits of things we were holding onto. This could
be power, financial gain, our false sense of security or even relationships.
Application: This story had more to do with
salvation, but I believe even those of us who are saved see things in God that
we recognize as powerful and life-changing and are afraid to surrender to the
change. We are afraid of how it will disrupt our comfort zone, or disrupt the
things that we believe we are gaining from-whether it be power or income, so we
don’t fully surrender ourselves to the change. We might even talk about it from
the outside, but deny the power of change on the inside. Our surrender costs something.
There is no question about that, but our soul is worth the sacrifice of
anything that would stand in the way. The most miraculous part of it all is
that if we sacrifice those things for he sake of gaining our soul, we find that
the rewards beyond our salvation are even better than what we once held onto-and
there is no longer any guilt attached. My challenge to myself is to pay
attention to the things I’m hanging onto and check myself for things I know are
true, but haven’t surrendered over completely. This could be an attitude or a
mindset, or even a behavior.