Summary: Naming Jesus is no substitute for knowing Him.

Naming Jesus, knowing Jesus 27/10/02 am WBC Acts 19:8-21


You know- when Jesus does something in you- you just

- can’t get it out of your head

- can’t stop speaking about it…

o comes out in every sermon

Last week I was struck about this image of ‘getting closer to Jesus’

…. Desire to get closer to Jesus

And here I find it coming out in my sermon, again.

- find it in the passage when I look at it:

- it’s about knowing Jesus and drawing close to him

o don’t even want to use the word ‘intimacy’ with Jesus

 too hijacked for gushy stuff, nowadays

- it’s about knowing Him. Drawing close to Him

Naming Jesus

There’s nothing new, under the sun, you know

- not such a great difference between people then and people now

- even their culture/our culture

Paul goes to Ephesus (W cost of Turkey, Asia Minor)

- very spiritual place. Place of ‘spiritual pilgrimage’ almost

- if you were into ‘spiritual things’ that’s where you could go

- Famous for its ‘Ephesians letters’

o Written charms, amulets, talismans that could ‘help you out… help you get what you wanted’

- Home of the goddess Artemis (Gk), Diana (Latin)

o temple in Ephesus. one of 7 wonders

 supported on 100 massive columns

o worshipped in Gk culture. Daughter of Zeus and Letto and twin of Apollo. Goddess of fertility

o thought to be triggered by meteorite

All in all a very ‘spiritual’ place.

- actually: our culture is v ‘spiritual’, now

- it’s not all bad. At least people searching/thinking

- Illustr: funeral at Basingstoke ‘v spiritual but not religious’

Can understand why there’s the issue of demon possession, here- and it’s to them Paul writes about principalities, powers and spiritual armour in Eph 6

To me our culture= like searching sheep without a shepherd. If only you knew my good shepherd!

- but many of them don’t here:

o v8, Paul spoke in synagogue for 3 months

o things get shirty

o goes nearby to the teaching room of ‘tyrannus’

 (lit ‘despot’, tyrant. What a name for teacher!)

o 2 years of daily discussions

 so, basically- everyone heard! Knew the facts!

But there’s a difference to knowing the facts, naming Jesus and Knowing Him

- ‘spiritual cultures’ are often high on ‘the sensational’

o as long as it doesn’t affect our lifestyle, ‘restrict me’, make me feel guilty or bore me.

- So it’s not surprising that God works the way He does, there

o V11 ‘extra-ordinary miracles’

 Ie not very ordinary

 Doesn’t work with me! Want my hanky?

• Actually: not so dissimilar. ‘Hankies and aprons’ = sweat bands!!

o God does do these things. Still does. Be open to it

 Illustr: someone got letter with cloth. ‘be open! It’s in the Bible’

 Illustr: Hannah assures me happens in Lagos

• Would expect it in that culture

• Should expect it more in ours!

So it’s not surprising that copy-cat events followed (always do!)

- ‘exorcism’ nothing new. Practiced

o trying to exert ‘exousia’ (authority

o mechanistic. Magical. Get the ‘formula right’

 (realise how much WE imbibe that approach!)

 Josephus: putting ring near nose & pulling demon out

o often to do with ‘name’

 name the demon. Name means power

 Illustr: Vanuatu names. ‘me here’

 Or ‘name of authority’

Jesus’ name DOES have authority. ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we drive out…? Depart from me I never knew you’

- seems to infer that Jesus’ name makes the heavens shake, even when misused

But that ain’t happening here!

The most ‘spiritual of spiritual’ try to

- use the name

- get what they want. Come up with the goods

… without knowing Him whose name it is

‘seven sons of Sceva’

- well. Firstly. You’re pretty spiritual if God gives you seven sons

o Sons, for one thing. Secondly 7 of them

- Sons of a chief priest, no less (v14)

- Probably means dad belonged to a high priest family

The spin doctors wouldn’t have to work to hard to make this lot look good

- had all the flashy equipment & spec… and probably sequined jackets

o (to start with, anyway)

But Jesus is really just a name to them. Something by which they can get what THEY want.

Now- before we go any further. Easy to think ‘I’m not like that!’

- but let me contextualise it:

o Jesus mainly a name. For getting what we want

o With minimum relationship… commitment

 If you like: A talisman

 A cross to keep you safe

 A church to make you feel safe. Like you’re serious with God

o To keep me safe, now: but the thing with a talisman, ‘name’, formula – is how quickly we get the hump and bin it when it doesn’t work

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