The Posers

"But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, 'I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.' " Acts 19: 13

Hollywood's love affair with exorcism and evil spirits is a mixed bag of cashing in on both commercially, while denying any belief in either socially. Since the release of "The Exorcist" there has been a steady seepage from the cesspool, most of it sensational, but not substantial in nature.

The Scripture makes it clear. There is a a spirit world of good and evil forces that do battle on a regular basis with one another, and have an impact on the lives of people who yield jurisdiction in their lives to them. Flirting with evil spirits or pretending they don't exist are two extremes of a very dangerous pendulum.

"Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this." v. 14

Whether for notoriety or for financial gain, these men were traveling around the country casting out evil spirits and charging people a fee for doing so. Their livelihood was being put in jeopardy, by Paul's powerful preaching and his ability to cast out evil spirits from people's lives. They wanted to cash in on his notoriety, and his methodology. Posers always do. It never ends well.

"And the evil spirit answered and said to them, 'I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?'" v. 15

It is a wonderful thing to be known in Heaven, before you arrive there. Those who have embraced the love relationship with Jesus offered to them by The Father, can count on having a reservation in Heaven, and being readily recognized by the Welcome Committee when they arrive.

"The Seven Sons of Sceva" sounds like a working script for a Hollywood western or action movie. To put it mildly, these boys weren't ready for their closeup. When they took the name of Jesus in vain, and dropped the name of Paul on the evil spirit, they were exposed as powerless posers.

"And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded." v. 16

Since these seven sons were not operating under the authority of Heaven, they were not feared by Hell. They saw a movement of God, and wanted to get in on it, by cashing in on it. People do this all the time. It is a fool's errand, and a dangerous way to live, posing as a snake charmer without access to any anti-venom. Sooner or later it ends in humiliation or death.

"This became known to all,...and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified...So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing." v. 17-20

This is the point. Notoriety, and name-dropping are never worthy life goals. Jesus will not share His name or His glory with those who have no use for His Lordship. Even the enemy camp knows the difference between someone who wants to act like they are IN authority, but are not UNDER authority.

Evil spirits are unleashed by Satan himself, to intimidate, humiliate, dominate and annihilate people. They have no authority over the children of God. They must yield ground when confronted with the name of Jesus, spoken by those who have an intimate relationship with Him as Savior and Lord.

Evil spirits are not impressed by name-dropping, but they yield ground to the Presence of The Champion. They tremble when they hear God's children praying, in the name of Jesus. They know that help is on the way, and they must get out of the way.

A believer is not someone who has a celebrity relationship with Jesus, but someone who has an intimate relationship with Him. It is marked by a yielding to His authority and jurisdiction over their lives, not a quick photo-op at the baptistry.

I know Arnold Palmer, not the beverage, but the man. I have met him. I have a note from him. He shook my hand. If asked, "Do you know Arnold Palmer?", I can honestly say, "Yes." The problem is this. Arnold Palmer doesn't know me. I have no authority to show up uninvited and unannounced to play golf at Arnold Palmer's home course, "Bay Hill." To walk around the Country Club and drop Mr. Palmer's name, and expect to be treated as his friend, would be presumptuous, and invite embarrassment. Dropping his name gives me no authority to claim his name. I have been given no jurisdiction over "Bay Hill." This is especially true when playing from the Pro Tees. But I digress.

Believer's have authority and jurisdiction over the evil that is in this world. The problem is that they yield too much ground to it, instead of taking a stand against it. Paul stood tall, against the forces of evil, because the only position he sought in The Kingdom was a kneeling one.

When Paul rose to proclaim the Word of God, it was not about dropping the name of Jesus, but glorifying the name of Jesus. His preaching was always spoken from a fresh conversation with Him. Paul's claim to fame was no celebrity photo-op, but the life-changing, life-giving Presence of The Person of Jesus Christ released through Him, by The Spirit of God.

The legacy and the progeny of the sons of Sceva are still with us today. Too many people want to drop the name of Jesus, by wearing a T-shirt or jewelry. Jesus may be on the outside, but He wants to be on the inside. Big difference. Learn the difference. Evil spirits know who does, and who does not. Prayer always reveals whether a person is just seeking a position, or speaking from a kneeling position. Strike fear in the heart of hell today. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!