There are no shortcuts to enter the kingdom of God and there are no shortcuts to receiving His power and using it in ministry. The only way to come to God is thru Jesus Christ and the only way to be able to receive and use the power of God is through receiving the Holy Spirit and through faith in Jesus Christ.
But man being what he is will always seek the easy way out. Man will always look for a simple way to do it…that is, until something happens that stops him in his tracks.
In these few scriptures we see some Jewish ministers attempt to find and use a shortcut to use the power of Jesus Christ and of God. And they were not the only ones for the scripture tells us there were others trying to do what these men did. But we see they were foiled and the practice stopped for fear of what happened to these men.
The Power of the Name of Jesus
What was happening here is that there were these seven sons of a Jewish man named Sceva. They were practicing and ministering as exorcists and casting out demons from those who were afflicted. But they along with others had seen the success of Paul and the apostles who were also doing this ministry and so they tried to take the easy way out and do the same thing.
Paul and the apostle were casting out demons and doing healings and other miracles in the name of Jesus Christ. They recognised and understood there is tremendous power in invoking the name of Jesus when doing healings and the like. In fact in all things we are told to do what we do in the name of Jesus Christ.
We see the power of Jesus' name in other scriptures but most notably in Acts 4:12 which says,
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
It is in and by the power of the name of Jesus Christ that we are being saved and there is no other way by which we can be saved except through His name. Likewise we utter the “Amen” through the name of Jesus so that we will receive the things we ask of God. The power to receive all the gifts and promises of God come through faith in the name of Jesus Christ.
Now what we see here in these scriptures is that these seven sons of Sceva saw that Paul and the apostles were using the name of Jesus when they healed and more to the point, when they cast out demons. So rather than go and learn about this and come to Jesus to be saved, they tried to take the easy way out. They simply began casting out demons and using the name of Jesus even though they were not believers. They were saying things like,
Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.”
Sceva was a high priest in the temple and these sons of his were attempting to cast out demons using the name of Jesus whom Paul preached about.
But the evil spirits recognised that these men had no faith. They had no power to cast out demons using the name of Jesus and so the demons ignored them or did worse as occurred with these seven men. In the next scriptures in verses 14-16, we see how the demons responded to this shortcut the seven sons were attempting to carry out.
14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
The evil spirit was so powerful in this afflicted man that first it ridiculed the men telling them it did not recognise their authority for they had none and then it proceeded to physically fight and overpowered the seven men showing them and anyone else the foolishness of taking a shortcut.
Of interest though is what the evil spirit said about Paul and Jesus. It knew who they were and recognised their authority and power. But it just ridiculed these seven men. The outcome would have been much different had Paul or the apostles or Jesus cast the demon out. Then it would have fled when it was commanded to go.
The Hard Road
There are no shortcuts in our walk with Christ. There are no easy ways out by which you can skip certain things and jump straight to the end game. There is no “Recognition of prior learning” that we see in human educational institutions when we are walking with Christ.
No. We all must walk the path He sets before us and seek the truth through faith and the working of the Holy Spirit. Jesus warned us when He was on the earth saying in Matthew 7:13-14,
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
The path we walk as Christians will be hard and narrow. It will be a difficult path to walk sometimes for we will suffer for the sake of what we believe. We will also suffer as The Lord works out the problems and weaknesses of passion in our human nature.
And to make it worse as we see in that scripture, not only is it a narrow and hard path to walk, there will be few who even find it! Not many people will find and be able to walk the narrow path to life in this lifetime. That does not mean many will not be saved, but the pathway of the truth will be hard and difficult and fraught with challenges and difficulties.
So as we can see, there is no easy way in. There are no shortcuts. And trying to take shortcuts will lead to grief, as the seven sons of Sceva discovered.
If we are to live with Christ we have to put the effort, time and energy into our walk with Him. We need to learn what He can teach us and seek out the truth, for there is a great deal of error and falsehood in the modern church let alone in the world.
But God has promised that if we seek Him out we will find Him. if we knock on His door seeking the knowledge that lead us to life, He will open the door and show us in. All we have to do is have faith and ask and He will show us the way.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Steven Dunn)
You might also like:
In Jesus Name
One Important Reason To Receive The Holy Spirit
The Power Of A Prayer Of Faith
Crumbs From The Masters Table
Casting Out Demons
Power And Authority Over Demons
Jesus Chooses The Twelve
Knowing Gods Will A Good Rule Of Thumb
There Are None So Blind
I Am The Door
Help Me Father God
The Power Of Jesus Conquers All Things
Enter By The Narrow Gate