ACTS – The Acts of God
You can plan and prepare a great work but if God is not guiding the plan and preparing your heart then it is all you. It might turn out okay but not as good as if God were in it. As leaders, we have a scary temptation to see and hear a great speaker and decide to copy every word and deliver it ourselves to get the same results. That typically doesn’t work and you are disappointed and blame your listeners. Don’t get me wrong gleaning learning from a great speaker is good but what if God is telling YOU to take what you have learned as a way to do what HE wants to say and do through you?
When God guides the strategy for the best outcomes, He will top what you think will happen with even greater power and glory with actions that are beyond our imaginations and expectations. That’s how He works. He is not to be taken for granted. God is sovereign. God’s thoughts are higher than any man or woman could think. He even takes the bad missteps in our judgement and turns it to good to complete His best work. God is amazing. God is Creator. There is no one like our God.
So, don’t try to be God. Don’t try to copy God in someone else for your own glorification. Don’t mess with God. Even the evil spirits know you are a fake when you try to be someone you are not. Be whom God created you to be as a redeemed person of God.
The first sentence in our passage today stands out to me like a billboard in the sky. “God did powerful things through Paul, things quite out of the ordinary.” God was in Paul. Paul become popular because of what God did. Others try to copy Paul’s actions. Let’s see what happens to them…
Acts 19, The Message
Witches Came out of the Woodwork
11-12 God did powerful things through Paul, things quite out of the ordinary. The word got around and people started taking pieces of clothing—handkerchiefs and scarves and the like—that had touched Paul’s skin and then touching the sick with them. The touch did it—they were healed and whole.
13-16 Some itinerant Jewish exorcists who happened to be in town at the time tried their hand at what they assumed to be Paul’s “game.” They pronounced the name of the Master Jesus over victims of evil spirits, saying, “I command you by the Jesus preached by Paul!” The seven sons of a certain Sceva, a Jewish high priest, were trying to do this on a man when the evil spirit talked back: “I know Jesus and I’ve heard of Paul, but who are you?” Then the possessed man went berserk—jumped the exorcists, beat them up, and tore off their clothes. Naked and bloody, they got away as best they could.
17-20 It was soon news all over Ephesus among both Jews and Greeks. The realization spread that God was in and behind this. Curiosity about Paul developed into reverence for the Master Jesus. Many of those who thus believed came out of the closet and made a clean break with their secret sorceries. All kinds of witches and warlocks came out of the woodwork with their books of spells and incantations and made a huge bonfire of them. Someone estimated their worth at fifty thousand silver coins. In such ways it became evident that the Word of the Master was now sovereign and prevailed in Ephesus.
Think about it…
–God was in Paul. Paul obeyed God’s lead. God did powerful things through Paul. Paul’s heart and soul completely belonged to God.
–Be the person God created and redeemed you to be.
–See what God will do in and through you (and I).
–“Curiosity about Paul developed into reverence for the Master Jesus.” SEE the difference? What Paul did led to others seeing and knowing Jesus. God was in it. It was real.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We repent of seeing the success of others and wanting to copy what they do. Show us Your will for our lives. Be our strength. Help us to obey as we are challenge to do God directed, new things that you give us to do. Help us to learn and grow in reverence for You. May YOU be in all we think, say or do. Thank you Holy Spirit for directing, convicting and guiding our thoughts today. And always.
In Jesus Name, Amen