Imposters Exposed

This week we’re looking into some of the happenings on Paul’s missionary journeys.

Now some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists also attempted to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I command you by the Jesus that Paul preaches!” …. The evil spirit answered them, “I know Jesus, and I recognize Paul – but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them, overpowered them all, and prevailed against them, so that they ran out of that house naked and wounded. When this became known to everyone who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, they became afraid, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high esteem. (Acts 19:13-17)

What a visual!

Obviously, some of the traveling exorcists knew of Paul’s reputation and had heard that he had cast out evil spirits in the name of Jesus, so they decided to give it a try. It’s almost as if they were saying, “We don’t know Jesus ourselves, but using His name certainly has worked for Paul – so let’s give it a go!” As it turns out, it didn’t work out well for them. They were recognized as imposters.

Here are some thoughts from this encounter:

1 – No one can borrow the faith of another. We might admire the faith of someone we’ve met, we may be blessed watching how they do life, we may be amazed with how they trust God in tough times – but we cannot borrow their faith. We cannot borrow the faith of our parents or our grandparents or our spouse. Our faith experience is personal – repenting of our own sin and receiving and believing for ourselves the gift of salvation.

2 – No one can act in the power of the Holy Spirit if the Holy Spirit is not in them! These guys thought they could latch onto Paul’s faith and do what Paul did. Only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and continual growth in that relationship will allow the power of the Holy Spirit to work in and through believers.

3 – Even unbelievers can tell whether you’re a genuine follower of Christ. In this passage, even the evil spirit had to ask these guys, “I know Jesus, and I recognize Paul – but who are YOU?” A fake faith is obvious even to those who don’t know Christ.

4 – When the power of the Holy Spirit is working in the lives of believers, Christ will be glorified. In today’s passage, the word quickly got out about the imposters – “and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high esteem.”

Think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

By Judy Shrout






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