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Summary: A study of the book of Acts 19: 1 – 21

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Acts 19: 1 – 21

You Can’t Name It and Claim It Here

19 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. 7 Now the men were about twelve in all. 8 And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. 10 And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. 11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” 16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. 19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed. 21 When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”

Something I do not understand nor want to mess with is exorcism. A movie which was popular 40 years ago was called the Exorcist. The Exorcist was released theatrically in the United States by Warner Bros. on December 26, 1973. The film was initially booked in only twenty-six theaters across the U.S., although it soon became a major commercial success. The film earned ten Academy Award nominations, winning Best Sound Mixing and Best Adapted Screenplay. It became one of the highest-grossing films in history, grossing over $441 million worldwide in the aftermath of various re-releases, and was the first horror film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

A person who I know loved this film. In fact he went numerous times. As a practical joker one time he went to the movies and took a container of pea soup. At the end of the movie he played the part and walking out made all kind of weird sounds and then spit out the green soup scaring those leaving the theatre. In truth I did not go to see it. I am not interested in these types of movies.

In the world we live in today this condition is explained away as being caused not by spirits but by mental issues. Psychiatric illness has been present for thousands of years. During those years, the symptoms were thought to be related to demonic possession. Modern psychiatry and psychology teach that symptoms and behaviors once felt to be related to demonic possession are related to disturbances in brain chemistry.

How do they determine that these symptoms and behaviors are related to brain chemistry? First, they can artificially duplicate almost any recognized symptom or behavior by using medications and chemicals that are known to change brain chemistry. They can create paranoia, hallucinations, etc. Almost all paranoid individuals feel they are being “possessed” in some manner — typically that something is trying to influence, monitor, or control their thoughts. Second, they can reduce and sometimes eliminate these same symptoms with the proper medications. Third, when treating folks with severe psychiatric illness, the same symptoms return when they stop their medications — then go away again when the medications are returned. Lastly, this current model works across cultures. While each culture has specific demons and labels for unusual behavior, the psychiatric process is the same and can be treated with the same, universal medications.

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