Friday, 24 April 2020

Elymas the Sorcerer

Scripture: Acts 13 v 5-12: "And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.
6  And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:
7  Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.
8  But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
9  Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,
10  And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
11  And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
12  Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord."

Whenever you are doing something effective for the Lord, the enemy sends in his opposition.   He is so full of hatred for human beings that his sole purpose is to destroy us.  When we challenge his authority it must be in our right standing with God through Jesus.  Trying to fight him in our own strength will bring on disaster.

The seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish exorcist, tried this out and found out the hard way in Acts 19 v 13 - 16: 
"Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
14  And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
15  And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
16  And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded."

These people had seen Paul successfully casting out demons in the name of Jesus so they thought they could do that too.  They name-dropped Paul to add emphasis but the evil spirit recognised that they had no authority over him and taught them a lesson.

If we are in the ministry and do not know what it means to be attacked by Satan through various good and bad people, perhaps we should become more spiritually aggressive. If we are not disturbing the enemy nothing much is happening on our patch.

Paul was so formidable that an evil sorcerer was necessary to confront him and interfere in his ministry. Paul was making a good impression on the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, who wanted to hear the gospel.

Elymas was a Jewish false prophet, who was involved in sorcery. His surname was Bar-Jesus, but he was definitely not a follower of Jesus.  More like a barrier. He used his evil powers to withstand Paul and Barnabas and to try to turn the deputy away from the faith. This man had no idea who he was messing with!!

Those words - then Paul filled with the Holy Ghost put his eyes on him! O what a look that must have been. And the words that poured from his mouth were withering, "O full of all subtilty (evil) and mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord."

Paul also punished him with blindness for a while to show him the error of his ways. The deputy got saved being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. He saw the difference between right and wrong doctrines and practices manifested before his eyes. He saw the power of God and the authority of Paul to completely overwhelm a warlock and render him powerless. 

Our God is mighty and will always demonstrate His might to the forces of satan. It is the way confidence in God is built up. We need to see this power in action today. We need to have this same authority because Jesus died to give it to us.  It secures our homes, our family, our environment from harmful influences.  

God set apart Israel for the Jewish nation to have their own land.  When they left Egypt and came to the border God said, Go in and possess the land.  He meant that all the other tribes living there must be ousted.  Then Israel could dwell in safety.  Even today a false god sits upon the Temple Mount and the Jews cannot go up to pray there.  It is dominated by the great golden Dome on the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque.

Jesus defeated Satan and all his demons by His death and resurrection. He stripped them of all weapons leaving them only able to bluff and con and lie to us. We must learn to know how they con us because when we listen to them and agree with them, we suffer for it.

They know how to attack with symptoms of illness. Do you know how to resist those symptoms and deny the enemy victory over you and your family?  Jesus wants you to live an abundant (more than enough) life.  He wants us all to be free of diseases, mental problems, phobias, and every type of demonic harassment.

Secure your environment!  Possess your land.  Does incessant barking by neighbourhood dogs disturb your peace.  Use the name of Jesus to take authority over those dogs and send His peace to calm them down.  Do you spend a fortune on security companies, alarms and electronic fences to ward off intruders?  Psalm 127 v 1: "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."

When we live righteous lives and God promises to protect us, do we think He needs any help?  He sent His Son to save us, what more would He not do to keep us safe.  We have to trust Him to the uttermost to see Him at His very best.  And from my own experience, Our God is an awesome God, He reigns over Heaven and Earth with wisdom, love and power.

You say you believe in Jesus for salvation so you will  go to heaven when you die. That is true but pitiful. Jesus broke every curse, every sickness, every sin, every poverty, every demon, every plan of the enemy for everyone for ever. Do you believe that? Do you act on that? Do you stand against the wiles of Satan with your armour on? Do you resist him and have the victory?

Fight the good fight, fellow Christian. Live the life of a believer in overcoming power over all the works of the enemy. Break the devil's heart daily by your pure and unshakeable faith.  

Prayer: Heavenly Father, there is nothing that can overcome Your children if they walk in Your light, faith and power. Let us know our authority, and use it, so the enemy trembles to cross us. In Jesus' name. Amen.