Sunday, May 16, 2010

Acts 19:11-22

11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 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.
13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 [One day] the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" 16 Then 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 and bleeding.
17 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. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 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. 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
21 After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. "After I have been there," he said, "I must visit Rome also." 22 He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.

Questions to consider:

• What extraordinary results does God produce in Ephesus? Why, do you think, do he work
in this way?
• Of what significance is the incident of verses 14-17 to the exorcists and to the people?
• What are some modern counterparts of Ephesian superstition and magic?
• What difference does being a Christian make in your practices? In what ways can God use
you to rout basic evils in the culture in which he places you?
• What long-range plans do you have for your Christian service? What steps will you need to
take to fulfill those plans?

Possibilities for prayer:

I think it’s worth noting that the beginning of this passage, which references the extraordinary miracles done through Paul, comes right after Paul’s discussion of the importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. God is still active in our world, and those miracles that were done through Paul can totally be done through us as well. Let’s ask God to give us a vision for the things He’s doing in our world, increased faith that He wants to do great things through us, and the courage to actually try some things that might look a little crazy to the outside world.