Monday, September 16, 2013

GIVE AND IT WILL BE GIVEN

Hallmark's motto is - When you care enough to send the very best.  Do you approach your relationship with God with this amount of effort?  Do you daily respect God the very best you can?

For the true believer in Christ Jesus there are many ways we can display our best means of respect to God, but allow me to magnify a couple -

  1. Having God's dynamite Holy Spirit living within you so He can work through you
  2. Respecting His Holy Name
Christians can see both these challenges in Acts 19:1-20.  I encourage you to look up and read the whole passage on your own before I pull out the necessary verses here.

In Ephesus, Paul established the standard operating procedure for a new convert to Christianity.  It is first belief in Christ Jesus as your personal Savior through verbal repentance, then a public baptism into His Name, then the receiving of the Holy Spirit as your guide, comforter, and power in life.

In verses 1-7 Paul finds twelve men who were disciples of Christ, but baptized in John's baptism which means that the men believed in Christ but were confused about the timing of His coming.  Until John baptized Jesus, John's baptism said to repent for the kingdom of God is at hand or still to come.  Paul corrected this and "told the people to believe in the one coming after him [John the Baptist], that is, in Jesus."  So, they were baptized in the name of Jesus.  Then "Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied."

Some interesting events start to unfold starting at verse 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." Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
Evidently these experimental Jews were successful at first.  "Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits..."  The verse does not say what method they used on the evil spirits as opposed to the demons, but the assumption is that the Jews used the name of Jesus on the evil spirits as well as the demons and were successful at first. However, when the Jews turned their attention to the demon-possessed - the situation turned.  
  • [One day] the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" 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.  When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.  Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds.  A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.  In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
Perhaps this is because the demonic spirits wised up to the fact that these Jews did not believe in Jesus, were not baptized in His Name, nor filled with His dynamite Holy Spirit power.  These Jews obviously did not respect the name of Jesus.  They treated it like an experiment.

So, here it is - IF we are to be the light and salt of the world (Matthew 5:13-16); IF we are to be Christ's Ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20); IF Christians are to be Christ's body on earth (His hands, feet, heart, and words extended) (Ephesians 5:23) THEN we have to be filled up with His Holy Spirit power to do the work He has called us to do, using His Name effectively and appropriately and in so doing giving Him the proper respect.  

This calls for a lifestyle of persistent desire after more of God's presence in our daily life and the training of ourselves in the respect and proper usage of God's Name(s).  If we respect God this way then He will respect us in our times of testing, trials, or even exorcisms.  Give and it will be given.  Give God your respect.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." - Luke 6:38