07/15

July 15

Acts 19:1-20

Paul found Christians who had not been baptized in the Spirit, only water baptized for salvation. We see the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a separate work from salvation. In verse 6, when they laid hands on the Christians, they spoke in tongues and prophesied. Paul stayed in Ephesus for two years so that all who lived in Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the message of salvation in Christ.

Ephesus is a city that was filled with paganism and wickedness, but God knew if they could see His power, they would believe in Him. With great mercy, God did miracles, but not just ordinary or expected wonders. God would do miracles in unusual, special, extraordinary ways to show Himself as God. In verses 11-12, it says, “so that even” as to say, “the miracles were so wild and crazy that this happened:”

SO THAT EVEN cloths from Paul’s body were brought to the sick and they were healed. That was different. Some say these cloths were sweat rags that were tied around Paul’s head. They were taken off and placed on the sick and demon possessed. The people were miraculously healed and delivered.

In addition, there were Jewish exorcists, men who would try to help the demon possessed. Keep in mind that Ephesus was a pagan city where demons were thriving. When the Jewish exorcists saw this power was available, they also used the name of Jesus to take authority over spirits. They were amazed to see demons leaving bodies.

In addition, there were seven sons of a Jewish high priest casting out spirits, and one of the evil spirits used the possessed body to speak, saying, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” It is likely that the Jewish sons were not surrendered to Jesus as their Lord and Savior. A human being is no match for a spirit, only in the authority and power of Christ. This spirit knew the sons were not born again, and they jumped on the sons to torment them.

Take notice that the demons recognized Jesus, perhaps had encountered Christ or heard about Him through other spirits. They also either encountered Paul or heard about him through their kingdom of darkness. This tells us that spirits are organized and have strategy. This tells us that they mark who we are, knowing the authority and power we have against them.

In verse 17, because of the unusual, special, and extraordinary miracles, Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus recognized Jesus and surrendered to Him.

Also, those who practiced magic, also recognizing the power in Jesus’ name, brought their books of divination and burned them. God did unusual, special, extraordinary miracles that even the magicians surrendered their lives to Christ.

“The word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.” The Gospel message and spiritual truth was given attention and received because of miracles. If God did it then, He will do it today in order to win the people He loves. When we are certain of God’s love for people, we too will have confidence to step out and win people for Christ.

Today, Christians will sometimes pray over cloths and send them with people to take to the sick and bound. We know that what happened in Ephesus was unusual for the purpose of winning pagan worshippers to Christ. Some say this should not be practiced today; however, we do know the anointing travels through fabric, so why wouldn’t we? It worked for Paul, and it worked for Jesus. Consider the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. We don’t know how long fabric will conduct the anointing, but we have heard many stories of people who did get healed after the anointing from the fabric was applied. May God see our faith, and may His power bring the victory, whatever method is used for His glory to be seen.

Psalm 17-18

Psalm 17 is David’s prayer of salvation against enemies who have set their heart on worldly things and earthly possessions, while David’s value is in the Lord, to see His face. Again, we see the dependency and obedience of faith in David’s life, a man after God’s heart. In verse 15, David says he is satisfied by awaking in God’s likeness. This is actually one of my favorite verses in the Amplified:

As for me, I will continue beholding Your face in righteousness (rightness, justice, and right standing with You); I shall be fully satisfied, when I awake [to find myself] beholding Your form [and having sweet communion with You].

Psalm 18 is the song David wrote in 2 Samuel 22, when God delivered David’s life from Saul. If we can imagine coming face-to-face with the possibility of dying, we can see the deep thoughts and feelings of a humble man who is thankful in a God who rescues.

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