Clinton church of Christ

Do all in the name of the Lord

January 17, 2010

Blake Watson

Acts 19:11-12 mentions “unusual miracles” which God worked by the hands of Paul. In that passage the Bible specifically mentions the sick being healed and evil spirits cast out by handkerchiefs or aprons being taken from Paul’s body to the sick. It is easy to see why they are called “unusual.” This is not the sort of thing you read about regularly in the Bible.

As is the case with virtually anything good you can expect somebody to try to duplicate it. “Itinerant Jewish exorcists” knew what Paul was capable of doing and tried to exorcise evil spirits “by the Jesus whom Paul preaches” (Acts 19:13). Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were also involved.

Their attempt was unsuccessful. The evil spirit said “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” (Acts 19:15). This was followed by the man possessed by the evil spirit leaping on them. After this violent outburst the men fled the house naked and wounded.

Why were they unsuccessful? The answer to that lies in verse 13. They “took it upon themselves” to try to cast out evil spirits in the name of the Lord. They had not been given the miraculous ability to cast out demons. They did not have authority from God to cast them out. Yet they presumed they could and gave it a shot.

They are a reminder to us that when go beyond the authority God has given us failure will result. We might not notice the failure right away, but if our action is contrary to God’s will we will suffer the consequences.

Whether it was Israel trying to do something when God told them not to or somebody today trying to do something in worship that God has not authorized: to go beyond God’s authority is to “take it upon ourselves.” Let us remember that God’s word, the Bible, is our guide and subscribe to the admonition Paul gave the Christians at Colosse: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17; NKJV).

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Sunday, January 17th, 2010 at 5:35 pm and is filed under Bible.

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