A good butt-whoopin'If you haven't read the book of Acts then you are missing out. Acts is the story of the early church. It's fascinating to see how the church got it start and then spread like wildfire in the first century.
One of the most off-the-wall stories in the book of Acts comes from chapter 19.
13 A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this.15 But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.
I love this story. These guys tried to co-opt Jesus' name for their own agenda and end up getting their butts kicked.
What I love the most, however is what happened as a result of the butt-whoopin'.
17 The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored.18 Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices. 19 A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. 20 So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.
That whole paragraph is my prayer today: That a solemn fear would descend on us. That Jesus' name would be greatly honored. That many would become believers and confess (and renounce) their sinful practices. And that the message about Jesus would spread wisely and have a powerful effect.
Would you join me in praying this prayer.