The devil made me do it.
JUNE 19, 2023
The devil made me do it. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Key Life is all about God’s radical grace. Grace that has dirt under its fingernails and laugh lines on its face. If you want the Bible to be a book of rules, you may want to stop listening now, but if you’re hungry for the truth, that’ll make you free. Welcome to Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. I hope you guys had a great week-end. And I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as mine. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying the book of Acts. We took a break, to look at a book I had written, and then we’ve come back and we’re going to land the plane in Acts. And when we finish this, just so you know what’s going to happen in the future. We’re going to look at the book of Proverbs and the wisdom of the ancients, the wisdom of God as applied to real life. But now the task at hand, and we’re looking at the Book of Acts, and if you have a Bible, you might want to open it to the 19th chapter of Acts. It’s our practice to pray before we study, so let’s do that. Father, we come into your presence and we come with great joy, not joy in how good we are, or joy in how obedient we are, or joy in how smart we are. But joy because we’re yours. You have called us to yourself and you have said you will never say I’ve had it with you. And Father, that gives us joy in your presence. You know the people who are listening to this broadcast and you know the hard places and the soft places, the laughter and the tears. We come recognizing, at least in our heads and sometimes in our hearts, that you are sufficient for both. You join us in our laughter and you taste the salt of our tears. Father, come alongside those who are going through tough times, grant your presence and your peace and your confidence. And then Father, remind us too of the laughter, the laughter of the redeemed, laughter that the world needs to hear. And then father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast. Forgive him his sins cause there are many. We would see Jesus and Him only and we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Alright, let me read that passage from Acts that we looked at last week and we’re going to look this week. It’s a very interesting, and by the way, it’s a very funny passage too. Luke, I believe when was writing this, said to himself, you know, I don’t care who you are, that’s funny. And I suspect he thought about leaving it out, but decided to include it so that we could benefit by the wisdom of it and at the same time, maybe laugh a bit. Starting at the 11th verse, Dr. Luke writes as follows.
And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the itinerate Jewish exorcists undertook to pronouncing the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches. I adjure you that the demons come out.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, mastering all of them and overpowering them, so that they fled out of the house naked and wounded. And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ was extolled. Many also of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the side of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew and prevailed mightily.
That text has extreme relevance for us because I believe that we are living in an evil time. And I believe a lot of the very harsh and evil things going on in our country, and I’m including Canada, a lot of that is from the pit of hell and it smells like smoke. And I think it’s very important that Christians be aware that Christians talk about this issue and that Christians understand that there is an evil power and it’s personal and it’s in the world, and that evil power doesn’t like you or anything you believe. So, when you see that happening by the talking heads and the news media and other places, it’s coming from shallow people saying shallow things, but it’s also coming from the dark side. And Christians need to be aware of it, but without becoming weird about it. This text is great and it allows us to see a number of good things that are important. And we started talking about those last week. And we saw that first, you ought to note the danger of Satan himself. Look at Acts 19:11 and then 12b.
And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons
I’m trying to get this right, but I’m old and doing the best I can,
were carried away from his body to the sick and diseases left them
And here it comes.
evil spirits came out of them.
And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of the house naked and wounded.
And then the 18th verse
Many also of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.
What were the practices? The practices of the occult, of dangerous stuff from the dark side. And so, last week we saw that you ought to be aware of that sort of thing. C.S. Lewis and I probably mentioned it, wrote a book one time called The Screwtape Letters. A letter about an uncle and a nephew who were demons and the uncle is giving advice to his nephew. And Lewis said, it was the hardest book he ever had to write because everything was reversed. As he gave this advice, from the uncle to the nephew, he said I had to reverse everything that I believed and everything that I knew to be true. But in the introduction to that book, he said there are two great problems with Christians. One is we give too much credit to Satan, and secondly, we ignore the reality and the teaching of the Bible about Satan and demons. Don’t do that. Be sure that what we know about the dark side, we didn’t just dream up. It wasn’t a ghost story we told at campfires to the other campers. It was in fact a reality that God wanted us to know about. Jesus said to Peter, Satan has desired to have you, but I’ve prayed for you. That’s still going on. Hey Bill, Satan has desired to have you. Judy, Satan has desired to have you. Steve, Satan has desired to have you. But Jesus is praying for you and it will be okay, but don’t notice, don’t fail to notice the reality of Satan. And then secondly, we mentioned the danger of playing games with God and spiritual things. This particular text, when we get into it, says some things that we’re not familiar with, it says.
That handkerchiefs that had touched the body of Paul were taken to the sick and the sick were healed.
Hmm. I don’t think I ever did that in the church that I served cause we were more into theology and philosophy and metaphysics and religion. And then it says.
The evil spirits fled from them when they were touched by the handkerchief of Paul.
Hmm. I don’t think I ever did that either. And so, we move into a very unfamiliar place, and it’s this, that the Christian faith is not just theology and doctrine, as important as that is, the Christian faith has to do with the supernatural. When you get that, you’re halfway there. When you get that, some amazing things start happening. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown continuing our unhurried tour through the Book of Acts, specifically Acts chapter 19: verses 11 through 20. Good stuff, but so much more to enjoy tomorrow. Sure hope you’ll join us for that. So, if you have been a part of Key Life for a while, likely you know the name Jenni Young. She writes some wonderful articles for Key Life, one of which is featured in the 2023 edition of Key Life Magazine. And I have tried several times to summarize it, but I, I cannot do it justice. Honestly, your best bet is just to order your free copy of the magazine today. And bonus in the magazine, you’ll also find details on a popular new subscription service from Key Life called Key Life Book Box. Just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of Key Life Magazine. And finally, would you prayerfully consider partnering in the work of Key Life through your giving? You could charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950. And as always, if you can’t give, we get it. But if you would, please do pray for us, okay? It is needed and always appreciated. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And as always, Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.