Do the Demons Know Your Name?
Man Up 2/1/2016
Do the Demons Know Your Name?
A lot of times when we think of demons, we think of the movies we have seen or stories we’ve read. We often think that demons are make believe or someone’s wild imagination. Some even argue that demons are mental diseases that people fight throughout their lives, but the Bible clearly defines demons and demonic possession many times throughout the Bible. We see multiple instances where demons are cast out or talked about. There is a passage in Acts that is so eerie that it will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck.
11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.[a] 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. Acts 19:11-20
First, we have to take a look into the history of Ephesus to get a little bit of historical background. Ephesus had one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, The Temple of Artemis. The temple was built for idol worship of the Greek goddess Artemis. Surrounding this worship was a lot of practices of magic and spell casting and it says even the believers were involved. I believe these things invited demonic activity into Ephesus.
When we look at the passage we see that Paul had been ministering to the people in Ephesus and some miraculous things were happening. We notice that some of the sons of a Jewish chief priest decided to go try their hand at casting out demons. They seemed to take the approach that casting out demons was a “spell” or series of words that caused the demons to flee. In the passage, they reference Jesus and Paul and demand that the demons come out, but what happens next leaves chills on my spine. The demon replied, “Jesus I know” ,the term know here means to personally know, “and Paul I know about”, the term know here means to have heard about them and recognize the name, “but who are you.” When we look at those last three words, we must ask ourselves “who are we?” Would the demons recognize our name? Are we being effective for the Kingdom of Heaven or are we repeating words like a spell?
Looking deeper into the passage we see that just saying Jesus’ name did not cause the demon to respond. This reminds me of a passage in Matthew, 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:21-24. I think of this passage and derive that words are not what is effective to building the kingdom. Saying a few words is not what gets us into heaven. This passage in Matthew clearly defines that. We must do the will of the father in heaven. His will is to know us deeply and have a full blown relationship.
A lot of people when you ask them about their relationship with Christ reply with “I believe in Jesus.” Is belief enough? 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. James 2:19. Do we, as Christians, sometimes throw out Jesus’ name without reverence, like casting a spell of words? Sometimes we get caught up in the institution of religion and traditions and lose the reverence for the name of Christ.
We look at the name the demons did recognize, Paul. Why would the demons recognize Paul? When we look at Paul we can easily see why the demons recognized his name. Paul was completely committed to the purpose of telling the gospel to anyone who would listen. He was sold out to the cause of furthering the Kingdom of God. When we look at Paul, a lot of times we think to ourselves “It was a different time” or “I could never do that because of my past”, but if we remember Paul was Saul before his transformation and Saul arrested, tormented, and killed everyone he could find like Paul. The times are different. In the time of Paul, you would be arrested, stoned, tormented, or crucified for preaching the Gospel. We don’t have the same problem now! What we have is a lack of commitment. Paul struggled, but his commitment never wavered. 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18. Paul wrote this acknowledging the fact that our struggles on this earth are nothing compared to the riches stored for us in heaven and we have to keep our eyes on that prize or we will surely fall in this world.
Paul tells us in Ephesians that we face demons every day. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12. We have an ongoing battle that has to be fought. We have to be committed. When we do those things, the demons recognize our name. When we are fully committed to the God of the universe and His purpose, the demons will put us on the most wanted posters in hell. That will cause struggle on earth, but we must keep our eyes on the true relationship that never wavers, God.