In out last post we saw that an actual revival began in Ephesus. The Holy Spirit began to move on folks who had been involved in various sins and the occult and they were so impacted by His work they threw their books and paraphernalia into a fire and had a great bonfire.
Then the pagans around them in the city began to take a second look at their own practices. Many of them who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them when they became Christians under the influence and power of the gospel. They were infused with the Spirit of God—they were set free from their own deadly delusion. This is what happens when light breaks out through the church. It is the church that is the light of the world. It’s not your political party or PACs. It is the power and anointing of the Spirit of God! When The Church begins to straighten out and clean up its own life and act and live as God has called men to do, then the world will begin to see itself as it is. It will see its errors. It will start straightening up and being freed from the practices that are darkening and blinding it, hounding and inhibiting, blasting and ruining. This is what happened here in Ephesus. They surrendered all their occult literature—and that was a costly thing to do—they threw out their CDs; their adult books and magazines; the addicts threw out their drugs—it was an all out liberating revival!
When they sat down and totaled up the value of all their trash that was brought to be burned, it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. These people were giving up their livelihood. They were actually changing the total pattern of their lives as they saw that they could no longer practice the evil things anymore and live as Christians, at the same time. It revealed how willing they were to be free from all their “stuff.”
This same thing has happened in every great revival—through the ministries of Mooney; Whitfield; Finney; Spurgeon . . . and the list goes on and on. Even in Idaho, several years ago, there were huge crowds of young people who gathered in Boise. As they heard the gospel and were convinced of its power, many of them brought their drug paraphernalia and their books on astrology, their ungodly records and T-shirts and had a public bonfire. The gospel had set them free of those things.
When there is a true move of God in your life it will affect every area. When Jesus becomes your Lord he will want to have a say as to who your friends are; what music you listen to; what movies are appropriate; what language is suitable. He will want to indeed, by your Lord!
In the case of Ephesus, it made very clear the means by which witchcraft seizes hold of people. You see, human beings aren’t easily invaded by demonic force. God has made man to be a king, and has built into us certain safeguards which operate naturally to keep us independent, free from control by these demonic forces which are supernatural and present all around us. So they can’t force their way into a human life. They can’t overpower us and take possession, (although they would love to do it). They have to be invited in. What they do is deceive us. They find a way to get us to yield our wills to their influence and power. And when we voluntarily give way, then they move in, possess the mind, control the thoughts, and dominate the whole life.
I’ve told people this over and over—Satan’s only weapon against you is your mind. He feeds you “TIS,” Thoughts; Ideas, and Suggestions. He feeds you thoughts, or gives you an idea or suggests something to your mind and instead of taking hold of those thoughts, you begin to think about them, to meditate on them, consider them over and over . . . eventually he’s got you!
Here in Ephesus, Paul and the other Christians, by the power of the Truth, broke through this deception. They assaulted this stronghold of evil. They cracked it wide open, so that Luke says, “The word of the Lord grew and prevailed mightily,” and the city was shaken to its core. In fact, the very next account tells us that a riot was precipitated because of the way the Christians had demoralized the strongholds of evil in this community.
That’s how your church should be operating—in the power of the Spirit and the authority of the Word. God longs to deliver people from their strongholds, and he has given the church this power.
“Father, wake us up to what we can do today, to how the whole nature of life around us can be drastically altered by your Truth and by the sharing of accepting Love, by the living demonstration of Righteousness, and by faith in a living God who opens doors and gives access, not just for leaders but for anyone, anywhere, who is part of the body of Christ. Open our eyes and minds to understand how much can be done by Your Church.”
Now that reminds me of a descriptive definition of a Christian I once heard: A Christian is completely fearless, continually cheerful, and constantly in trouble.
(I send out messages like this to about 70 people each morning. If you are interested, let me know. However, you can also find these messages at: Thought For The Day)