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Friday, July 8, 2011

7/9/11- The Power and Abuse of His Name

The Ten Commandments: Third Command: "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God." 

His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. (Acts 5:40)

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 the 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 Paul I know about, 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. 17 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. 
(Acts 13:13-17)

(Seven Sons of Sceva)

Thoughts: There is power in the name of Jesus.  It is powerful enough for salvation (Acts 2:38).  We are to be baptized in his name (Acts 10:48). Signs and wonders were done in His name (Acts 4:30; 16:18). We are called to pray in his name (John 16:24; Eph. 5:20; Heb. 13:15).  At His name every knee will bow and tongue confess (Phil. 2:9,10).  To not use the name of Christ is to miss the gift given to us.  Calling on His name is calling on the person of Jesus. 
It is not, however, a magical charm.  The Seven Sons of Sceva used the name of Christ like an amulet to ward off evil.  But they did not combine the name with faith.  To use the name as a lucky charm, without believing in the person of Christ behind the name is spiritually unhealthy.  It is not unusual that one of God's great gifts is liable for abuse by human superstition. 

Prayer: Lord, give me grace to believe in your name, to be baptized into your name, and trust in your name, and call on your name.  Keep me from vain superstition, but always keep me close to you. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ben,

    What's your take on the guy who did cast out demons in Jesus' name but wasn't following Him in Mark 9:38-40? The disciples rebuke him and tell him to stop, and Jesus replies, "don't hinder him, whoever is not against us is for us." But He doesn't say, "oh yeah that's George; he's a good friend of mine." Also what about Jesus' comments in Matthew 7:21-22 about people saying they cast out demons in Jesus name and performed many miracles in His name.

    I don't disagree with anything you're saying, these scriptures come to mind when I meditate on the issue. Is it possible to, as you say, combine His name with faith, see miracles happen, but still be a worker of iniquity like Jesus says in Matthew 7:22 and never have had any relationship with Him at all?

    Anyway, thanks for sharing.

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