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
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