Summary: The story of a demon-possessed girl’s salvation in Acts 16 cautions us about dabbling in the occult, exposes the real motives of the purveyors of evil and teaches us that true salvation is accompanied by life transformation.
God Saves a Tormented Heart
April 30, 2017
NOTE: A PowerPoint and ProPresenter 6 slide presentation is available for this sermon upon request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adapted from a sermon by Jerry Shirley on SermonCentral.com.
TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Acts 16
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas launch into Europe on their second missionary journey. In this chapter, as I pointed out last week, we see three remarkable conversions.
1) In verses 11-15, God saves a TENDER heart—a lady named Lydia, Paul’s first convert on the European continent.
2) Today, in verses 16-19, we will see that God saves a TORMENTED heart.
3) Next week, in verses 19-36, we will see how God saves a TOUGHENDED heart—the story of the salvation of the Philippian jailor.
Today’s sermon, “God Saves a Tormented Heart” is the story of a demon-possessed slave girl who was a pawn of greedy masters. Notice with me three things from our text today:
I. FIRST WE SEE IN OUR TEXT A CONTROLLING SPIRIT – Acts 16:16 – “And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying.”
The word “soothsaying” means “fortune telling.” This woman was a psychic. She had supernatural powers, but remember, not all of the supernatural is of God. Hers was from Satan’s kingdom. She had a demonic spirit, and her masters were getting rich off her. They were literally “pimping” her out as a psychic, astrologer, palm reader. She was the forerunner of those who today who are Ouija masters, people who hold séances, summon the dead and channel spirits.
This woman, whether willingly or by force of her masters, was under satanic control. People scoff about these things and take them lightly, but let me be perfectly clear: THESE THINGS ARE OF THE DEVIL, and they lead to Satanic control. Satan desires control, and he has multiple ways to suck people in to what seems innocuous or safe, but any dabbling in the Satanic world is dangerous.
This is why all through the Word of God, we are warned not to have any involvement with the occult
Look with me at what God says in Deuteronomy 18:10-12 about these things: Deuteronomy 18:10-12 – “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire [this was a ceremony related to the magical arts, perhaps involving human sacrifice], or that useth divination [a fortune teller], or an observer of times [an astrologer], or an enchanter [an interpreter of omens], or a witch [a female devotee of the magical or demonic arts], 11 Or a charmer [someone who casts spells using charms], or a consulter with familiar spirits [a spirit channeler], or a wizard [a male devoted to the magical or demonic arts], or a necromancer [someone claiming to consult with the dead]. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.”
I do not believe that a true believer can be demon-possessed, which is why we will see in our text that this girl lost her clairvoyant powers once she believed in Christ. But whether you’re born-again or without Christ, if you play around with the supernatural apart from God Almighty, you’re playing with fire! And though Satan cannot possess a true believer, by being involved in the occult, we open ourselves up to demon control and destabilization in our lives!
Illus. – A survey was done of 1,700 high school kids in a Christian school, of all places, and the results were shocking. 416 of them admitted to being involved with Ouija boards. This is not some harmless board game like Monopoly or Tetras It’s a form of divination and it’s a slippery slide that could easily plunge a person into the realm of Satan! Even the manufacturers know this, and in their instruction booklet they say: “If you use the Ouija board in a frivolous spirit, asking ridiculous questions or laughing over it, you naturally will get unnatural influences around you.” Folks, those unnatural influences are DEMONS! Stay away from anything dealing with these things! God says in Deuteronomy 12 that they’re an abomination to Him.
Out of those 1,700 Christian high school kids, 321 admitted to dabbling in astrology or horoscopes, which originated way back at the Tower of Babel. The Bible calls these activities “observing of times” and they’re repeatedly forbidden in the Bible as occultist practices! They’re counterfeit guidance systems that leave out the direction of the Holy Spirit who promises to lead and guide believers in all things. God help the believer who dabbles in such things!