A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered. (Acts of the Apostles 19:13-16 NLT)
Spiritual warfare is real!! There is an unseen spirit realm that is alive and active. To deny it's existence is foolishness. Ephesians 6:12 declares "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." In the gospels (Matthew-John) we read the accounts of Jesus casting out demons from people. One of the most recognized cases was when He came to the area called Gadarenes in Mark 5:1-20. There a man lived among the tombs and was tormented night and day with many demons. When Jesus came to the area the man fell in worship and the demons began to cry out saying
"...What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. (Mark 5:7 KJV). Jesus asked the demons to identify themselves. They replied "...My name is Legion: for we are many. (Mark 5:9 KJV). Legion, by definition, means a unit of Roman foot soldiers totaling 3000 to 6000. This man was infested with demons. He needed deliverance and no one was willing to get near him except Jesus. Jesus didn't call for a special crusade in an arena to have a deliverance service. He didn't make public announcement about His special gift or power. He didn't burn incense or use anointing oil. He simply walked as God in human flesh. He was, literally, the power of God incarnate (see Matthew 28:18). The demons recognized His authority and submitted to His Lordship. They even begged Jesus to send them into a herd of pigs that were nearby (see Mark 5:12-13). Jesus commanded them to do just that. They entered the herd of pigs and the whole herd ran violently off a cliff and into the sea. Pigs were an unclean animal under Jewish dietary laws (see Leviticus 11). Since demons were unclean spirits, it stands to reason that Jesus would allow this. He would never send them into another person. He came to set us free, not shackle us. (see John 8:32 and 36). The man who was set free by Jesus was now sitting clothed and in his right mind. This is the power of Jesus Christ!!! In John 10:10 Jesus said that the thief (the devil) has come to kill, steal, and destroy but He (Jesus) had come to give us life and give it more abundantly.
In this account of Acts 19, seven sons of a Jewish priest named Sceva were trying to use the name of Jesus like Paul did to cast out demons. They learned the hard way that you can't use Jesus name in authority unless you are under His commission. You must know Jesus personally. You can't use His name and power if you don't know Him. Even if you know Him, you must be submitted to Him in consecration in order to battle in the spiritual realm. Jesus said in Matthew 17:21"Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." There is power in the name of the Almighty God, Jesus Christ our Lord! I John 4:4 says "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." We are His ambassadors and representatives. We can live and move under His authority. We must suit up in the armor of God (see Ephesians 6:10-18). The battle is real. There is a Conquerer. His name is Jesus! Can I hear the church rise up and give a great big, thunderous shout of an Amen!!! We are more than conquerors through Christ! (Romans 8:37).
Let us submit to His Lordship and let us allow His power to flow through our lives. We are His temple. (I Corinthians 6:19-20).
Rev. Curtis Norris