Acts Series #36
Who Are You?
Let me tell you something that is interesting …
as long as there has been currency, there have been counterfeits. From wooden nickels, to quarter sized "slugs" for vending machines, to counterfeit bills.
People impersonate celebrities and steal our identity to get perks and get ahead.
You can go online and pay for a degree …
You can download codes to cheat your way through a video game instead of learning how to play it
You can buy research papers and reports
You can buy cliff notes so you don't have a read a book
Last year an author wrote a book and sold millions of copies only to find out that he made up most of it and exaggerated the rest
A Harvard Student recently published a novel that was found to have whole passages copied from another writer
Wherever the Word of God is preached … wherever the truth is proclaimed, you will also find counterfeiters.
They look good, they dress well, they sound right, they use Jesus' name
There is a famous televangelist who encouraged his listeners send "prayer cloths" in along with a monetary faith gift and he would pray over them and return them … However, a local news team found 1000's of these envelopes, clothes etc. in a dumpster in the back "faith gift removed"
There are charlatans in every age, snake oil salesman, people who try and prey on the superstitions of people and they will USE whatever the people believe in to turn it to profit for them.
Now, Paul has left Corinth and gone to Ephesus.
There are some things you should know about Ephesus, it was a town DEEP in occultism, magic arts, and the worship of the goddess Artemis. She was a goddess of fertility and was worship with all kinds of sorcery and immorality. The Temple of Artemis was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world. And Ephesus was supported by the tourism of people coming to see and worship at this pagan place. It was a place of false signs of power.
As the Jews of the town didn't receive Paul's message, he moved into the local public teaching facility, perhaps using it during the day from 11-4 when the students and professors would have been resting. Paul stayed and taught there for 2 years. And EVERYONE in the region KNEW about the name of Jesus Christ.
Now, if you were to do a study of the supernatural moves of God recorded in the New Testament, whether by the hand of Jesus or through the Apostles, it ALWAYS served the purpose of validating Jesus Christ as Lord, Messiah, and God. It was the way that God proved himself to a world in need of something to believe in.
So, in this dark place, with the power of evil so strong, God moved in a powerful way …
Now let me also set the stage and say that where there is opportunity, the charlatans arise. There were people that would make money by casting out demons.
In a superstitious society, every time someone had a problem they would blame it on demons, so a fake exorcist could come along, say an incantation and talk the person into believing he had been freed from a real demon.
Ephesus was FULL of books of incantations and spells. They believed in the power of imparting the name of deities in their incantations.
Jewish exorcists had gained a reputation and earned a good living no doubt.
But … what happens when a FAKE exorcist runs into a REAL Demon?
Let's READ vv11-20
Let me start by saying ...
1. The Power is NOT in the Activity, it is in the PERSON …
- the power is NOT in what you do, but in who you follow
Just because someone goes to church doesn't ensure the power of Jesus Christ
Just because someone preaches and names Christ doesn't mean that Christ is in the message nor that he is in them …
Notice that what was happening, with the handkerchiefs and aprons and healing in their touching, were EXTRAORDINARY miracles. This was NOT the normal for Paul's ministry, this was NOT the way it always went. It was something wrought by the Power of the Holy Spirit, at God's discretion and direction.
The power is NOT in the activity of sending handkerchiefs and aprons to the Man of God to be touched.
God was showing his power to a world that did not even know who he was.
If it was the exception, in Paul's ministry, in a world largely ignorant of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, how much MORE would anything like this be an exception in a world that has had 2000 years of the proclamation of Christ, and in a country that has had more Christian Ministry than any country in human history.
God doesn't have to reveal himself any more than he already has, he is not required.
God's power is NOT in the activity it is in the PERSON of Jesus Christ.
We don't need more revelation we need to BELIEVE the revelation we've already received
Matthew 12:38-40 - then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you." 39 he answered, "a wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth
It's a dangerous thing to demand a sign … as if God has not shown us enough in the resurrection of Christ.
Do not get me wrong … I believe we worship the SAME God, I BELIEVE in Miracles, and I believe in God but we cross the line when we DEMAND signs, when we DEMAND God to do something that he has done for someone else
The Power is NOT in the Activity it is the in Person of Jesus Christ
2. The Power is NOT in the formula or the title, it is in the PERSON
These 7 Con-artists these 7 brothers
They tried to invoke "the Jesus whom Paul Preached"
This was NOT the Jesus that they knew, the resided in their hearts in the Person of the Holy Spirit, this was the JESUS they had HEARD of, by the Preaching and Experience of Paul
They were just trying to use a formula as if to say Abracadabra, Alakazam, hocus pocus.
- but the power is not in what you know, but who you know
These men cannot take on the power, authority or appearance of God because he was not THEIR God
Ps 50:16 - but to the wicked, God says "what right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant to your lips"
"Jesus I know" - ginosko - come to know, understand, intimate knowledge
Col 2:15 and having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross"
"I know about Paul" epistamai - to catch one's attention .. to be acquainted with, -- we know about Paul, he has caught our attention
Who are you --- The Literal translation here is … "BUT YOU? Who are YOU?" "what authority do you have over us?: - "we may not Like Jesus but he is GOD … and we may not WANT to but we will stay out of Paul's way because of Christ IN him … but we have no reason to fear you" … and
"..Let me show you what authority you have … NONE …"
And I LOVE this story, as the REAL Demon Attacked the FAKE Exorcists and showed them that they were NOT to be messed with.
Demons are NOTHING to be trifled with … The ONLY power is found in Jesus Christ
There is no power in a formula … there is no power in a title …
3. The Power is in Who You Are
We are people with authority, with power, NOT because of WHO we are but because of WHOSE we are …
If you do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you are helpless against the Evil One
You belong to him and you are enslaved to sin …
But If You belong to Jesus Christ … If you have given your heart to him, surrendered to him as Lord, His Spirit lives IN you and you ARE Somebody … You are SOMEONE with authority, spiritual power, you need to know WHO YOU ARE …
You are either … HIS … and a Spiritual Somebody … or
Or you are not …
The Reason for you to know WHO you are is that people might know WHO JESUS is and have an AWE for his name
When you know WHO you are in Jesus Christ and his Spirit operates in you, people will come wanting to know the truth and how to have it themselves
Salt of the Earth
Light of the World
You are worth more than the birds of the air and God even numbers the hairs on your head
You are Friends of Christ
You are chosen by Christ
You are disciples
You are children of God
You are co-heirs with Jesus
You are NOT a slave to sin
1 Cor 1:30
You are IN Christ
1 Cor 3:9
You are God's fellow workers, God's field, God's building
1 Cor 3:23
You are OF Christ
1 Cor 6:19,20
You are the Temple of the Holy Spirit
1 Cor 12:27
You are part of the body of Christ
You are gifted with Spiritual gifts
Heirs of the promise
Blessed with every spiritual blessing
Eph 2:19 -
Foreigners of this world but citizens of heaven and members of God's household
Saved by grace and You are seated with Christ in Heavenly places
You are children of the light
1 thes 5:5
You are sons of the day
1 pe 2:9
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may DECLARE the praises of HIM who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light
1 john 2:14
You are overcomers
Let me take you into the lightning round
Created in the Image of God
Recreated in the righteousness of Christ
Loved with an everlasting love
Seated in Heavenly places
Salt of the Earth
Light of the World
A City on a Hill
Foreknown by God
Destined to be like Christ
Called into a relationship with him
Justified and blameless in his righteousness
Glorified in his presence toward an eternal dwelling
On our way to Heaven
Indwelt with the Holy Spirit of God
Part of a Royal Priesthood
Part of the Body and Bride of Christ
A Child of God
Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb
Holy and Set apart
There is no accusation Satan can bring against you
No Weapon formed against us shall prosper because
We are a Redeemed
Child of God
That's who you are!
That's WHO you ARE!
That's who you are.
Now that you know who you are …
Now that you know that it is NOT about the activity but the person within you
Not about the Formula but the Person
It's about who you are … in Christ
Now … I want to give you something free … something extra today …
Because the sermon today is on how NOT to battle in the spiritual realms …
Before I close today … let me give you a pattern to make sure that you are ready for the Spiritual warfare
Remember Ephesians 6 says that we do not struggle or wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil.
That makes it clear that our enemy is well fortified and well structured … so you should be well prepared
Be 'Fessed Up - known sin confessed
Rom 10:9 - you are not ready for battle until God's Spirit lives in you as a redeemed forgiven child of God
Pr 28:13 - He who conceals his sin does not prosper
Ps 66:18,19 If I had cherished sin in my heart the Lord would not have listened; 19 but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer
And let praise follow Confession
Be Dressed Up - Since we struggle with those in the evil realm …
Eph 6:13 put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand … 14 stand firm …
Dressed in the armor of God …
The Breastplate of Righteousness,
The Belt of Truth
The Shoes that are being prepared with the Gospel of peace, which ground you and give you the foundation in which to stand
The Shield of Faith
The Helmet of Salvation and
The Sword of the Spirit the word of God
You would not go to war without protection and ammunition and you cannot go into spiritual warfare without the armor of God
Be Prayed Up - walking in continual communion with God
Eph 6:18-20 - pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests … be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints … pray … that words will be given me … pray that I declare it fearlessly …
Be Lifted Up - you need intercessors that are praying for you
When you feel the pressure or are under the attack
You need the body praying for you … you need fellow believers praying for you
1 tim 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone
Know that Christ is ever interceding on our behalf as is the Holy Spirit of God
Be Read Up - Know Your Word - it is authority, and ammunition
The Word of God is you only Offensive weapon … when Jesus battled Satan … every time … he said "thus saith the Lord"
When Jesus Christ returns to defeat his enemies once and for all in Rev 19 … his weapon, will proceed from his mouth, it will be the Word of God
Heb 4:12 The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
The Word of God is the strong foundation in which you stand firm … it is your shoes
Be Called Up - If you have God's calling there is no need to fear, but if God has not called you there …
2 Pet 1:3 - his divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness
He called you and by his GLORY (who he is) and his GOODNESS (what he can do)
He has called you and will provide for you
Then Stand up - Eph 6 …
1 Cor 15:58 my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain
Do not SHUT UP when the Lord tells you to stand and speak … be not afraid of man, beast, devil or demon
Paul prayed in Eph 6:18 that whenever he opened his mouth, words would be given, and he would speak fearlessly the mystery of the gospel
Do Not Shrivel Up (Shrink Back)
Heb 10:38,39 my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back I will not be pleased with him. 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved
Rev 12:11 they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death
Believer … Greater is the one who is in you … than the one who is in this world
Do not Shut Up or Shrink Back
And you will walk about in Victory and the power of the Lord!