#6 Seven Things That Build A Strong Christian Life
SEVEN THINGS THAT BUILD A STRONG CHRISTIAN LIFE
#6 Make A Clean Break With The World
Scripture: Acts 19:18-19
18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.
19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. (KJV)
Background – Ephesus was a center for black magic, magical incantations, and other occult practices (archeological excavations have unearthed some of these black magic scrolls). The people sought spells to give them wealth, happiness, and success in marriage. These books that were burned were filled with formulas, spells, and astrological forecasts (horoscope). Superstition and sorcery were commonplace.
Obviously something very deep must have taken place in the lives of these people in order for them to burn up the vast quantity that they burned. The Word tells us here that they believed. They believed the Word of God. They saw that their magic was no good on the demons that plagued them. They saw a power in Jesus name that so impressed them that they acted.
It’s one thing to say that you believe, but the Word of God says that “Faith without works is dead” – James 2:26
- notice in James 2:19 – the devil believes and yet has corresponding action
he trembles. He believes and he acts like he believes.
- If we say that we believe that Jesus died for our sins then it seems plainly obvious to me that there should be a turning away from the sin that sent Jesus to the cross in the first place!
This is exactly what these brethren did. They made a clean break with the world and they turned their hearts totally to Jesus.
The value of the books that they burned was 50,000 pieces of silver. In that market, at that time, it would take 400,000 man-hours to make that kind of money. That’s one man working 40 hours a week for 192 years! The value in today’s market would be somewhere around 1 million dollars!
I. STEP 6: MAKE A CLEAN BREAK WITH THE WORLD
A. They Showed A Holy Indignation At The Sins They Had Been Guilty Of
1. Isa 30:22
“Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.” (KJV)
a) They took revenge on those things that had been the tools of sin.
b) They proclaimed with conviction the evil of their lifestyle.
2. Remember this – only a radical and intense spirituality will keep you from worldliness, carnality, and sin.
a) You have to be doubly intent on not permitting sin in your life.
b) ILLUSTRATION: I was not involved in black magic – but I tell you what, many of the rock and roll groups I was listening to were. I wasn’t involved in drugs but I was listening to drug inspired music.
(1) Now catch this difference – nobody told me to do what I did with my Rock & Roll album collection. No one said that if I don’t destroy those records I wouldn’t make heaven. Now with certain groups that is definitely being implied. No one told me, but I just felt within myself that out of reverence and respect for Jesus that I didn’t want anything in my life that would possibly offend him and so destroyed a $1000.00 record collection. I didn’t sell the records, I broke them. I figured if they were bad for me, they would be bad for someone else and so I chucked them.
(2) It is hard to turn back to something you have destroyed.
B. They Showed Their Resolution (A Quality Decision) Never To Return To The Use Of Those Arts, And The Books Which Related To Them, Again.
1. Where sin is concerned there is something to be said about burning bridges.
a) They were so fully convinced of the evil and danger of them that they would not just throw the books away. It is possible to get weak and in that moment of weakness they might change their mind especially if the stuff is within arms reach.
b) Get the stuff that’s causing you problems out of your house.
2. The principle of ‘fleeing.’ - 1 Tim 6:11
“ But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (KJV)
a) The same Bible that talks about faith, healing & prosperity also talks about running or fleeing from sin.
b) Very strongly implying the fact that you will never be strong enough spiritually (because of the weakness of your flesh – the sin nature being in it) to stand in the presence of sin and toy around with it.
c) You deal with sin like you deal with a rattlesnake.
d) The lesson that Joseph leaves us is a good one to remember.
(1) If you have to leave your clothes leave them but get out!
(2) You can buy a new suit of clothes in 10 minutes time. But adultery may take you many, many years to overcome.
3. Resolution means they made a quality decision.
a) A quality decision is one from which there is no turning back. I made a quality decision not to listen to rock and roll – it is the reason why I have trouble with some Christian rock music (I’m not saying that it is bad or that it is not effective in reaching certain people). I made a decision and there is no turning back!
C. They Closed The Door To The Temptation To Return To Them Again
1. Had they kept the books by them, there was danger lest, when the heat of the present conviction was over, they should have the curiosity to look into them, and so be in danger of liking them and loving them again, and therefore they burnt them. Note, Those that truly repent of sin will keep themselves as far as possible from the occasions of it.
2. Eve in the Garden of Eden said to the serpent in Gen 3:3
“But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” (KJV)
a) Notice that God (Gen. 2:16-17) never said anything about not touching it but what a good idea Eve had in that she felt that she shouldn’t even touch it i.e. come close to it!!!
D. Thus They Prevented Their Doing Mischief To Others
1. If Judas had been by he would have said, "Sell them, and give the money to the poor;" or, "Buy Bibles and good books with it." But then who could tell into whose hands these dangerous books might fall, and what mischief they might do?
a) We say the same thing about our children and raising them up properly. Many children have been hurt and have had to deal with things in their flesh because their parents left material around that shouldn’t have been left around, did not monitor what the children were watching on TV reading in their spare time, and listening to over their head phones.
b) The best course is to remove all offending material. In this case they burned everything.
c) The Word of God is very plain about causing others to stumble.
(1) Matt 18:6-9
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones, which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. (KJV)
(2) Those that are recovered from sin themselves will do all they can to keep others from falling into it, and will be much more afraid of laying an occasion of sin in the way of others.
E. They Showed A Contempt Of The Wealth Of This World
1. There are things that are more important than money!
2. There is a right way and a wrong way to get money.
3. Selling sinful things is the wrong way to get money.
a) If you were foolish (as we all were in our unsaved state) enough to purchase sinful things then your only course of action is to destroy those items – no matter the cost.
One preacher gave the following recommendation (Evan Roberts – famous preacher – Welsh Revivals).
- Abandon all known sin
- Renounce anything doubtful
- Promptly obey the Holy Ghost
- Publicly confess Christ
This is what the Ephesian magician’s did when they burned their books.
Now here is a question for you: do you have some sacrifices to make – some deeds to show? Do you have some things that need to be burned? Have you built your fire’s today?