Recently, we warned you to be careful of false prophets, because they were basically “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15-20), out to deceive many.
“Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded” (Acts 19:13-16).
This is an interesting story about a group of Jews traveling from place to place casting out demons. They claimed to have healed people and drove out demons. These counterfeit exorcists decided to try something based on the terminology used by one mature believer, who had an ear to hear, named Paul. They decided they would copy what they had apparently heard him just use or saw him recently do. These seven sons of one Sceva decided to experiment using the name of the Lord Jesus to exorcise demons in their incantations. They were trying to match the power Paul had shown to those in Ephesus during those days. The incantation they decided on was, “We command solemnly by Jesus whom Paul preaches, to come out.” The evil spirit that they were trying to exorcise answered them saying “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” And the man in whom the evil spirit dwelled, leaped on them and beat them up. The beating was so bad that the seven brothers left the house badly injured and naked.
Though the seven sons of one Sceva did not understand, they tried to make sense of the information they had gathered from this mature believer, who had an ear to hear. They had built their belief system on a faulty foundation with information that they did not fully understand. They had “a theory, an idea, and a belief” that was arrived at through an assumption and was based on kind of wisdom that the world uses or the kind of wisdom that the rulers of this world use. Remember, “a theory” is “an idea of or belief about something arrived at through speculation or conjecture.” These men tried to manipulate the situation for their own selfish purpose by using the terminology and wisdom that was given to the spiritually and morally mature believer, who had an ear to hear and this is why the evil spirit in the man prevailed against them. As you can see, they failed miserably in their attempt.
Many believe this same “theory concept” applies to the things of God. These seven sons of one Sceva assumed they could copy what they had seen Paul say or do, thinking it would work for them if they just said the same words or did the same things as Paul. They did not understand the things of God. They did not have the Holy Spirit to share with them the wisdom of God, to share with them the thoughts and ways of God, or to share with them the truth. They tried to use an incantation with what appeared to be the right words, but they did not understand the true power of what they were trying to do. They tried to use an incantation with what appeared to be the right words, but they did not understand the true power of what they were trying to do. They did not know that God has fashioned special powers for Paul to use. They did not know that God was the force behind what they were seeing. They did not know that God was the one who was behind the healing. They did not know that God was responsible for the demons leaving. They did not know that God was using Paul to achieve all of these things for his, that being God’s glory. They did not know that Paul understood his role. The seven had no clue because they did not understand those things of God. When you lack the knowledge and you lack the understanding you will not get the wisdom that comes from God; you end up with the wisdom that the world uses and the kind of wisdom that the rulers of this world use.
This is why we are warned to be careful of false prophets. They may say things that sound godly or claim to do things that are godly does not mean that they are of God. Maybe they copied something they saw or terminology they heard, thinking these things were needed to manipulate the things of God for their own selfish purposes. The scriptures tell us many will say they prophesied in Jesus’ name, many will say they cast out devils in his name, and many will say they done many wonderful works in his name, but he will say to them that he never knew them (Matthew 7:21-23). Just be sure that the ones you follow are known by “The One” they claim to follow. You probably will not have a demon to help you get to the truth.
Once again, we pray that today’s commentary will inspire you as well as abundantly bless you. We also pray that this will inform you and be a blessing to you. If you truly blessed by this message, please share it with your family and friends so that they may be blessed as well. Amen.
Enjoy your blessings - KW