Going Through the Motions
September 29, 2010 • By Ed Wrather
Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. - Acts 19:11-16 NKJV.
You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-and tremble! - James 2:19 NKJV.
In Duncansville, Pennsylvania there was an attempted robbery at a book store by two women both in their twenties. The robbery failed even though they pointed a gun at the clerk. It failed because the clerk recognized the gun as being just a toy, and he told the two women to “get a real gun.” Then he told them “First, if you're going to rob someone, get a real gun. Second off, you're not getting any money.” The clerk then ran the women out of the store and chased them until they escaped in a van. The police were able to find the van and arrest the suspects through the clerk's description. (This story was reported in the Altoona Mirror.)
The two women in the failed robbery, can be thankful that the clerk recognized that their gun was fake, and they can be very thankful that he did not have a real gun behind the counter to open fire on them. This story reminded me of the story in Acts 19 of the sons of Sceva. The sons of Sceva had the ritual down; they knew what the apostle Paul said when he cast out demons. It is likely that they had seen Paul, as through the Name of Jesus, people were healed, and demons were cast out. However, they discovered that just knowing about Jesus, and just knowing about the ritual of using the Name of Jesus, was not enough to actually cast out a demon. It just took one demon possessed person to completely overwhelm seven men; so much so that not only were they wounded, but they had their clothes torn off in the attack.
Evil spirits, aka demons, aka fallen angels know who knows Jesus as their Savior, and who doesn't. If the sons of Sceva had known Jesus, the demon possessed person would not have been able to overpower them. Because not only do demons tremble at the knowledge of there being a God, they also flee if we resist them, as is written in James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” In addition, 1 John 4:4 says, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
The question for each of us, is whether we know the real Jesus as our Savior, or whether we only know about Him. We may know the rituals, we may know to pray in the Name of Jesus, but would a demon possessed person laugh in our face if we confronted them like the sons of Sceva did in the Book of Acts? Would they say to us, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” 1 John 5:13 says this, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” Do you really know Jesus? Or, are you just going through the motions?