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False Revival

False Revival
Words of Faith 7-1-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Acts 19
[13] Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." [14] Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. [15] One day the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" [16] Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

There were powerful things going on in Ephesus. The power of God was so prominent at Ephesus that even Paul's sweat-cloths and work-aprons were healing people. Such an atmosphere is extremely conducive to both revival and charlatanism.
Sadly, there are always those lurking in the religious world ready to pounce on the opportunity to exploit the vulnerable. This was no exception.
Jewish magicians and exorcists were highly esteemed in the ancient world. The seven sons of Sceva were apparently such people who had bolstered their reputation by claiming connection to a priestly family. They saw a great opportunity to use the same words they had heard Paul say as if they were an incantation. One problem. The evil spirit they were attempting to control did not take kindly to the effort and beat them senseless. Apparently, the power of the Name lies at least partly in surrender to the Name.
There are several things to note here.
One is that there have always been and likely always will be religious charlatans, those who rip off the name of Jesus for profit. It should not surprise us the long ago there were those who saw the name of Jesus as an opportunity for manipulation. This should not discourage us. They gathered around the Apostles like moths drawn to a light (Acts 8:9-24).
Second is that we must resist the temptation to reduce the journey of faith to some sort of Christianized magic and incantation. We are often tempted to work out "just the right words" and activities in order to bring about answers or healing. There is a temptation to pray "in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches" rather than "in the name of Jesus to whom I surrender". Big difference.
Religious name-dropping will get you nowhere. We think that if only we can get the words and rituals right we can make God do what we want done, like a Genie in a bottle. In fact, our goal is to surrender to the Lord God Almighty and ask how we can serve Him.
Third is that dabbling in the occult can be dangerous. When we seek "power" over evil or circumstance rather than simply surrendering to the Lord over evil and His wondrous grace, we are in a dangerous place. If we attempt to command the demonic world in our flesh we may get battered severely. When we go to war we must be fully armored by the Lord for the battle of prayer. "Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes (see Ephesians 6:10-18)."
Finally, false revival sometimes precedes or is intermingled with genuine revival. Tomorrow, we will see that genuine revival broke out in Ephesus. Some would have pointed to the antics of the sons of Sceva as signs of revival, but something key was missing, repentance. What appeared exciting was, in fact, only a cheap imitation devoid of power.
How do we respond to all this? Surrender daily and trust. Yes, trust that God is indeed at work and in control even when that which is false seems to be victorious. God is at work even when strange things go on. Today is HIS day no matter who has tried to take it over. "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24)."

Lord, give me a discerning heart. Help me always to see the difference between the genuine article and the cheap imitation. Shod me with Your full armor today. Help me to see the glimpses of genuine revival as I await Your coming. In Jesus' name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2001, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.