Sunday, March 06, 2011

Good Infamy

Acts 19:15 But the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?"

15 ἀποκριθὲν δὲ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ πονηρὸν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· τὸν [μὲν] Ἰησοῦν γινώσκω καὶ τὸν Παῦλον ἐπίσταμαι, ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνες ἐστέ;

I have pretty much always read this passage the same as Matt Chandler's take on it.That is well-worth 2 and a half minutes of your life to watch as he unpacks this quite well. I too have been fascinated by this brief dialog. The evil spirit actually speaks to these itinerant Jewish exorcists with this great line. They acknowledge the power of Christ (they kind of have to) and they of course know about the problems Paul caused them, but they had no idea about these guys.

Why is that? Well, part of the problem is that they were Jewish and not Christian. They did not have the Holy Spirit so they were really no threat at all to these demons. Why should the demons listen to them? I am sometimes reminded of a scene from one of my favorite vampire movies where the vampire tells a terrified Peter Vincent, "You have to have faith for that to work, Mr. Vincent."

In other words, these men had no power because they did not really believe. They just wanted to ride the coattails of what they saw happening in Jesus' name. They wanted the effects without the cost of discipleship. That should sound familiar to anyone paying attention to the American evangelical scene.

What it tells me is that I want to be known among the evil spirits. I want to be doing enough for the kingdom that at least I'm someone that they recognize. Of course, whether they do or not I still have the Holy Spirit indwelling me. But the point is that I would not want to be a complete nobody to them. I don't want to leave the fight bloodied and naked either. Basically, I want the name of Christ to be glorified in me.

How about you? If you were one of these men would any evil spirits know anything about you? I'm not talking about doing spectacular miracles in the name of Christ, but just for the work you do for the kingdom of God which will naturally oppose the kingdom of Satan. What are you doing to advance the kingdom?

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