Paul spent more time in Ephesus than he did in any other city.† Almost two and a half years, and as you look at that, Ephesus was sort of like Devil town.† The most satanic of most of the towns, if not all of them, that Paul had ever been in.† And a flashlight does an awful lot better in the darkness.† And Paulís light really did well in Ephesus.† If you would like to look a First Corinthians, why did he stay there so long?† Chapter 16 tells you in verse:8 the reason that Paul spent so long in Ephesus.† It says in verse 8, ďBut I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost because a great door for effective work has opened to me.Ē† What was that door?† Well, this was the time of the great Artemisian Games.† These games were scheduled.† They were going to come to town and a good deal of the whole Roman Empire would be in Ephesus, and Paul could preach to great crowds, and so he said, ďI need to stay.Ē† And so he did.† He stayed and preached to the crowds at this great festival..
His lectures were first in the synagogue, and they kicked him out.† So he found a room in a local college and rented the room between 11 A. M. and four in the afternoon, when it was siesta time because of the hot weather there in Greece, and the hall he rented was the school of Tyrannus.† Come over here to Acts 19.† I want you to look at verse:9.† ďHe took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.† This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.Ē† How many people in Asia?† All!† Thatís quite an† accomplishment!
Whole churches base their principal belief on healing in the next two verses.† You never, ever want to base all of your doctrine on one or two verses.† Thatís where you get haywire.† So look now at Acts 19, verse 11.† ďGod did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.Ē† Paul had a handkerchief.† Now if you were to give me your dirty handkerchief, would that cure me?† It would probably infect me and I would end up with the swine flu.† I donít want your handkerchief, but Paulís handkerchiefs actually healed people.
Now Oral Roberts, remember him?† That great healer.† He would knock people in the forehead, and ďYouíre healed!Ē† He† used healing handkerchiefs, and you can get on the internet and you can find these healing handkerchiefs, theyíre still there, for sale.† Theyíre 16 inches square and the last one that I read was yesterday, 14 95 on sale for a limited time for 13 95.† And you can buy cancer cloths that you can place over a cancerous part of your body and you can be healed.† You can purchase Pentecostal monogrammed prayer cloths.† You can even purchase a Prayer Fleece to put out to determine Godís will in your life.† ďShould I marry her or not?† I better get on the internet and order my Pentecostal Prayer Fleece.Ē† Now thereís a Catholic Miracle Medal for sale supposed to cure everything.† These things are nothing but hocus-pocus.† Thatís all it is.† In fact, they are dangerous.† And why are they dangerous?† Because they take away the real reason that you get healing and that is because of prayer and faith.† We donít depend on a piece of material.† Not at all.† We depend on Jesus Christ and our faith in God.†
Now here in Tennessee there are a lot of people, thousands of people, that base their whole religion on these two verses, and they believe such nonsense.† When we moved to Collegedale in 1987, we noticed that people were believing in pendulums.† Even Adventist people.† They were swinging pendulums, and this is nothing but spiritualism, and this is a method of divination where you attach a crystal to a thread or a string or something and you swing it, and Satanists swing these Pendulums over a map, for instance, and they can find gold or water or the location of lost persons, places, things or elements.† Satan knows the location of a lot of things.† If I have to resort to his power to find stuff then I will forfeit.†
Paulís cloths were actually sweat rags.† What was Paulís occupation?† He was a tent-maker.† And so, he would labor making tents out of animal skins, and the Greek word Luke chooses here actually means ďsweatĒ.† And so thatís what he was giving to them, laying on these people, and the aprons were leather aprons, because remember Paul made the tents, a lot of them out of leather.† They didnít have some canvass factory.† They had to make their own things and so they cut them with a sharp knife and he wore an apron to protect himself from that.† And they placed these things over the sick people and somehow Paulís presence and Godís miraculous power were combined and people were healed by that means.† God was authenticating that Paulís message was true.† And I think Paulís zealous preaching also added to that.†
To base your whole religion on one verse or two is to invite heresy into your church.† For example: to find out what the correct method of baptism is, what should you do?† I would suggest that you look up all 31 references on baptism or baptize in your Bible.†† They will line up like posts pointing to one unmistakable conclusion that the correct method of baptism is in the name of Jesus Christ and the Father and the Holy Spirit and that itís by immersion and you will come out with that conclusion.† Thereíll be maybe one or two verses that are off in left field or right field, but if you hammer those posts down, theyíre going to point in one direction and one direction only.†
Have you ever been to Sedona Arizona?† Beautiful.† I love that.† Those rocks, the colors, Oak Creek Canyon.† Thatís a beautiful place.† But as we walked down through the main drag of Sedona, we discovered that itís a place thatís devoted to the New Age, and there were people there selling crystals, and we ate at a restaurant and they have all kinds of wonderful vegetarian food because a lot of those people, I guess, are vegetarians.† But there was a guy right beside us trying to heal this baby that was in this motherís womb, and he was rubbing her abdomen and I thought, ďmmmmĒ, and we finished our meal.† It just gives me the spooks, a little bit.† In Paulís day, in Ephesus, this was the mecca, the headquarters, for occultism, magic, astrology and fertility rites and temple prostitutes.† In fact, I think the demons headquartered there.† I am aware that you fully realize that demons are fallen angels that each have a far off memory of the time when they used to live up in heaven before sin.† After the Millennium they will be destroyed forever.† Even though Iím a Pastor,† I pray every day, ďLord, put a box around me.† Keep the Devil and his demons far away from me.† You come into my heart.† You inhabit me.† I donít want the devil inhabiting me today.Ē† Every day I pray that prayer.
There was a Jewish High Priest that had seven boys, and he was envious of Paul.† Paul was having all this success and of course, his sons were Jews.† And so he said to his sons, ďIf you want to be famous, you go out there and you cast out demons in the name of Jesus.Ē† They of course did not believe that Jesus was the Saviour, but notice what they did in verse 13.† Acts 19:13.† ďIn the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out!Ē.
Well, It backfired on them.† Look at verse 15.† One day the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?"† Did you know that the Devil knows your name?† He knew the name of Paul, he knew the name of Jesus, but who are you?† He knew, but he wasnít going to let on.† Youíre not famous in my book.† And then in verse 16.† ďThen the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked & bleeding.Ē †Seven men were beaten up by one Devil-possessed man.
The 7 sons of Sceva attempted to fake Paulís miracles.† They pretended to be the real McCoy but were hypocrites trying to perform lying signs and false wonders.† Godís power did not come upon them.† The Devilís power came upon them.†
I like to buy cereal thatís whole grain and doesnít have any of the junk in it, but itís loaded with omega-3.† I try to buy good stuff, and when I read the box, there on the box I can tell the entire ingredients in that box.† I sometimes wish that people had a label on them so we could tell whatís in people.† What their heart is like, and everything.† These people were hypocrites, faking religion.† Too bad people donít have labels.†
You can know if you are real or fake
By the friends you seek,
By the very manner in which you speak,
By the way you employ your leisure time,
By the use you make of dollar and dime.
You tell what you are by the things you wear,
By the spirit in which your burdens you bear,
By the kind of things at which you laugh,
By songs you listen to while on the path.
You tell what you are by the way you walk,
By the things of which you delight to talk,
By the books you choose from your shelf,
In these ways & more, you tell on yourself,
The seven sons of Sceva.† Their motivation was probably money or fame.† They wanted to be popular.† They wanted to be successful and so they imitated Paul.† But you never want to fight the devil by yourself.† You want Jesus to be with you in that battle.† You will always lose unless Christ is with you.† They ran away screaming, beaten and naked.† Satan loves public nakedness.† An absence of proper clothing must excite him.† When you attend the club and watch the stripping and disrobing you donít watch alone.† I believe Demons are there.† They love that type of thing.†
These bloody wounds frightened the church.† They saw what happened.† Look at Acts 19:18,† People were afraid of the Demons.† They were afraid of the Devil and it says ďManyĒ believers came to a special confession meeting.† They decided to protect themselves by really getting into Jesus.† You see, the new church still had a bad problem.† They were believers.† They had been baptized.† BUT they had not cleaned out their closets.† To be a believer is wonderful.† But until your belief compels you to clean out your closet, or refrigerator, or bookshelves you are just a half way Christian.†
The new Christians attended church.† They no longer practiced sorcery.† But back at home they still had all the paraphernalia for practicing sorcery.† The Ouija boards were still under the bed.† The tarot cards were still there in the drawer. The books on channeling, and† occultism, magic, spiritualism and the supernatural were still on the shelves.† The Harry Potter books were still on the desk.† They hadnít made changes.
Are you willing to make the necessary changes in order to defeat sin and get closer to Jesus Christ? †We must get our house in order.† Are you willing to light a fire to some videos or DVDís or magazines?† Each of us must throw something bad or destructive out of our life.†
Paul Stiller, 47, was hospitalized in the Newton Memorial Hospital in Andover Township, in New Jersey, on September 30. 1996.† He and his wife Bonnie were injured by a quarter-stick of dynamite that blew up in their car. While driving around at 2 a.m., the bored couple lit the dynamite and tried to toss it out the window to see what would happen, but they apparently failed to notice that the window was closed, and it didnít go out the window.† It exploded in the car and nearly killed them.† We often try to throw things out of our life, but so often we do not roll the window of our life down.† A bad sinful habit that is not thrown out will sooner or later blow up the very things we treasure the most.
That early church scheduled a Saturday night veja-link roast powered by a scroll burning.† At this massive book burning the believers threw into the fire any and all appurtenances that had to do with the Devil.† Here in Acts 19 they had an exceptional repentance!† It caused people to burn things they could have sold on Ebay for a ton of money.† Their stuff was extremely valuable, especially in that city because of the alleged spiritual power that the stuff represented.† Now look at verse 19 of Acts 19.† ďA number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.Ē
A drachma was a good sized silver coin that was worth about a dayís wages.† It was also the going price of one sheep.† Today you can buy, for instance, one Shetland Sheep for $100-$200.† In our day, a going wage is from $100 to $200 per day.† Multiply that† times 50,000 and you have a value of $5 to $10 million.† That is what went up in smoke that wonderful night.† Ditching sin sometimes carries a big expense.† But clinging to sin is even more expensive.† It will cost you eternal life.† Jesus caused a tremendous deflation in the worth of the Devilís Scrolls.† Why?† Because people realized those things were powerless once they found true Power in the Lord Jesus Christ.† What a Paradigm shift!
Standing there at the bonfire it must have been quite revealing to see the size of other church memberís wheelbarrow loads of Devil scrolls.† They were really into Satanism.†† Many struggled with the same temptations you† face.† But now the sins are all up in smoke.† That night they gave the Devil a migraine.†† Your life should always give the Devil a headache.† Make him nervous.† Never live so that the Devil smiles at what you are doing.† You want Jesus to smile when He thinks about you.†
True repentance always involves two things:† You have to have a rejection of sin and youíve got to confess your sin.† You have to do these two things.† As Protestant Christians we confess our sins to God.† Then we honestly and openly tell someone else.† You need to have an accountability partner.† If you keep it hidden your sin will continue to control your life. Be honest with your parents.† Be honest with your spouse.† Do not hide your sin.† Proverbs 28:13† ďHe who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.Ē† So letís apply this to today.† They burned evil books.† What must you do?
Letís apply this.† Maybe you need to call Comcast and cancel a few channels?† Cancel a few magazine subscriptions?† Confess to your wife or husband what youíve done?† Flush some pills down the toilet?† Burn some pictures?† Destroy some videos?† End that sensual affair?
The Demon attack motivated the members of the early church,† When these seven people came running out beaten and naked it put the fear of God into them and they had revival.† Notice what happened in Acts 19:20† ďIn this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.Ē† The Holy Spirit came with His mighty power and the truth spread big time.† Converts joined in big numbers.† The church wonít have power and grow until personal sin is flushed out.† Hidden sin is like cholesterol, clogging the free flow of Godís power.† Sin is like trash, choking off the spiritual energy God wants you to have.
They lit up the night by burning $10 million dollars worth of satanic books.† I wonder what they put back on those empty shelves?† You canít just leave them empty.† Evil must be replaced by good.† Maybe they rushed down to the Bible store and got a complete set of the best Christian books.†† You have to quickly replace sinful things with good things.† Jesus said in Luke 11:24-26† ďWhen an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.'† When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order.† Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.Ē
Youíve got to replace evil with good.† It has to happen.† Now letís apply that.† You need to pitch cigarettes and chew gum.† Substitute broccoli for candy.† Supplant sexual lust with love for your spouse.† Toss drugs and get high on aerobic exercise.† Stop sinning and start obeying.† Shred the romance novels and dust off the Bible† Delete from your Favorites and Bookmarks the evil that is there and replace it with what will lead you toward Jesus.† Clean out your shelves and put Jesus front and center in your life.† If you do that, youíll be successful.† You want nothing between you and Jesus.
322†† Nothing Between
Dear Father in heaven.† My desire for each member, each visitor here right now, is for us to go home and separate permanently anything that is preventing us from coming in a full relationship with Jesus.† Please bless our homes, our lives, our schools, our workplaces, and may we get fully connected to Jesus.† Dismiss us with Jesus, we pray in His name, Amen.
Hymn of Praise: #6, O Worship the Lord Scripture: Acts 19:13-16 Hymn of Response: #322, Nothing Between
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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 11/12/09