POWER ENCOUNTER 3: BURNING SORCERY BOOKS (Paul in Ephesus 4)
Several power encounters between Paul and the forces of Satan took place in Ephesus (Acts 19). We have looked at these in previous blogs. Satan isn’t giving up, though. The battle gets stronger and stronger, but God always wins!
As it became more and more obvious that God’s power shown through Paul was much greater than that the followers of Artemis claimed, many came to God for salvation. “When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A 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. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power” (Acts 19:17-20).
LESSONS FOR TODAY 1: “Sorcery scrolls” refers to magic texts, adjurations, formulas, protection rituals, curses, incantations and similar things. Such things exist today as well and have an amount of power behind them – demonic power. Keep away from such things. If someone you minister to has them, they must be destroyed – anything that can be used by demons to gain access to their lives or family must be destroyed.
When the Jews took possession of Canaan under Joshua, they were told to not keep any of the objects they captured. Even animals and children were to be destroyed. They had been dedicated to Satan and were claimed by him. Those who used these things would be opening themselves up to the demonic powers to whom they had been dedicated. Today we must watch for things like literature and objects from other cults and religions, Ouija boards and other occult paraphernalia, pagan objects from primitive cultures, objects from Masonic or other secret societies, some Native American artifacts and the like. Pornography, drug or alcoholic supplies, music with a black or evil dimension, even certain movies or articles of clothing dedicated to darkness can allow access.
The solution is to remove and destroy such objects as being openings for demonic access. Ask for forgiveness for having them, cleanse the room from their presence, take back any access the enemy may claim and dedicate the space as well as yourself to Jesus. Ask Him to reveal to you anything else that may need to be dealt with.
When a room or object is under the control of an evil spirit for whatever reason they claim, dedicating it to God by painting crosses by dipping a finger in oil and making them on a wall is a good practice. Playing Christian music and leaving a small light on also are offensive to the forces of darkness. Of course, praying and quoting scripture while making the crosses is important, too. We as a Christian have great power in blessing people, especially our own families. ‘God bless you’ is more than a slang or shallow comment. There’s real power in it when one means it that way. It’s a privilege to use and repeat it often to people. Distance doesn’t seem to affect it at all. Of course, there is something even more special about touching a person when we pray or ask God to bless them, but when at a distance it carries just as well. The power is in God Who is everywhere (omnipresent). Satan and demons are limited to one place at a time so they are at a distinct disadvantage in this, too.
This extended time in Ephesus turned out to be Paul’s last freedom of movement for some time. From Ephesus he went to Jerusalem (Acts 21) where he was falsely charged and arrested (Acts 22). He spent the next several years in prison, finally being transferred to Rome (Acts 23-28) where the book of Acts ends. Paul was eventually released to travel some more, but his health had been broken and the brunt of the load of ministry which he had carried was now spread to many new evangelists and missionaries. Paul was again arrested and this time put to death in Rome. But during his travels and imprisonment he wrote letters to churches to stay in touch. We can learn much about spiritual warfare from these letters.
LESSON FOR TODAY 2: It must have been very frustrating for Paul to have to write letters to people and places he wanted to see in person. No doubt he wondered what purpose God would ever have in that. However, that is what God used to form the majority of the New Testament and its teaching. Were Paul free to visit these places in person, millions of Christians for two thousand years would not have had these priceless letters and their teachings. God always has a purpose in what He does. When things don’t seem to make sense to you trust that God knows what He is doing (Romans 8:28).
Ask God to make you sensitive to anything you have in your possession that may be an opening for demonic attack. It could be a pagan artifact, a book or token from another cult or religion, even something harmless in itself but that comes from an evil person or was used for evil purposes. Listen to anything God may put in your heart or mind. If there is something, pray about what God wants you to do with it and obey what He says.
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
Copyright © 2021