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Discover the Book - May 14, 2009

  • 2009 May 14

Don’t Give Place to the Devil


As we open to Acts 19:19-20, we meet a group of people convinced that any contact with demonic materials is deadly and to be avoided at all costs. 

In the last hundred years we have made great strides towards understanding how dangerous germs and viruses really are. We know that even the smallest breach of our protective layer of skin can become the invasion point for deadly armies of microbes; and those germs once inside the defensive walls, can multiply into million in a matter of a few hours, overwhelming our bodies with toxins and disease. 

Because of that awareness, if you were walking down an alley behind the Mall and you spotted a used syringe with a razor sharp needle filthy and stained with blood, we would be alarmed if your small child walking beside you picked it up and began poking their arm with that needle. Wouldn’t any of us stop everything and keep them from such a dangerous action? Of course we would. 

We respond to these situations because we are all convinced of the devastating effects those pathogens can have if they get into our bodies. Deadly disease producing germs (as in viruses and bacteria) are what we would fear that needle might get into our child’s body--sickening them or even endangering their life. 

Germs were behind every fever, runny nose, ache, pain and other sign and symptom of every cold and flu you've ever had. When you're in the midst of such symptoms, you might not stop to think about the germs (microbes) that are causing them. Not all germs will harm you, but knowing more about germs — including bacteria, viruses and parasites — can increase your chances of avoiding infection. 

Germs: A multitude of microscopic invaders 

Bacteria, viruses and other infectious organisms — germs — live everywhere. You can find them in the air, on food, plants and animals, in the soil, in the water, and on just about every other surface — including your own body. These microbes range in size from microscopic single-celled organisms to parasitic worms that can grow to several feet in length. 

Most of these organisms won't harm you. Your immune system protects you against a multitude of infectious agents. However, some bacteria and viruses are formidable adversaries because they're constantly mutating to breach your immune system's defenses. Often the most dangerous are the viruses. 

In its simplest form, a virus is a capsule that contains genetic material — DNA or RNA. Viruses are even tinier than bacteria. To put their size into perspective, consider that, according to the American Society for Microbiology, if you were to enlarge an average virus to the size of a baseball, the average bacterium would be about the size of the pitcher's mound. And just one of your body's millions of cells would be the size of the entire ballpark.

That information is a fascinating reminder of the real world we are called by God to live in and serve Him in, each day. The bottom line is this: there are two relentless wars waged against us each day. Both are usually unseen.  

One war is physical the other war is spiritual. The physical war involves our bodies; and the spiritual war involves our minds. 

Physically, the war targets one of the most amazing systems of our bodies, the immune system. Almost always unseen, this amazing defensive system operates 24/7 warding off untold legions of deadly attackers in the form of germs that enter our bodies through cuts, scrapes, punctures of our skin, breathing air, or eating food. 

Spiritually, we are likewise under continuous bombardment and attack. And one of the most amazing systems of our spiritual lives is the immune system God has also built into us in Christ.  

Our spiritual immune system is laid out in Scripture as having three factors: spiritual health (eating and drinking in God’s Word, plus exercising each day by walking in the Spirit); spiritual armor (understanding and using the armor Paul commands us to use in Ephesians 6:10-18); and spiritual warfare (resisting the devil and his demons). If you neglect any part of your spiritual immune system—Satan and his army have a point to target in their relentless campaign. 

So what is the direction we get from God's Word? When we open to the book of Acts we see that Paul served the church at Ephesus longer than any other New Testament church. His epistle or letter to the Ephesians is the chief insight into spiritual warfare. One of the key insights we get about Ephesus was their attraction to the occult (as with most of the ancient world). 

The most remarkable facet of Paul’s ministry to this church is that when Paul taught the Ephesian believers about the strategies of Satan in Acts 19:19-20, they collected and burned all of the objects associated with demonic and satanic contact.  

Please read again with me those powerful words of the Gospel’s powerful entrance into Ephesus as stated in Acts 19:19-20

Acts 19:19-20 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. 

The level of their desire to repent and follow the Lord was seen in this costly choice to rid their lives of anything that displeased Him. Their example recorded by God in His Word should stir us to ask, "Have we likewise carefully purged out of our lives any of these landing places of the devil?”  

As you look back at v. 19, doesn’t that verse amaze you? What did God lead Paul to do to prompt such a huge response in public with such great sacrifice involved?  

Have you ever wished you knew what exactly Paul told them that made them respond so dramatically to the evil around them? What did Paul say that made them go home, search out, gather and BURN all that expensive media? 

Did you know that the Holy Spirit has captured for each of us Paul’s message that those saints heard and responded to? It is in the Epistle to the Ephesians, where Paul wrote down the messages God wanted them to remember and us to hear with them. Turn in your Bible to Ephesians 4:17-27 and 5:1-12 and read those verses. 

We want to empty out any part of our life that grieves, quenches, and displeases our God; and shut the door to any place for the Devil and his demons in our lives. 

Satan is not interested in a head on confrontation with Christ's Church. He usually does not kick down the front door and walk in. Rather he quietly slips into unguarded areas by way of doors left unlocked, windows left open, and any other means of establishing a beach head. 

Satan and his demons are alive, awake, and at work relentlessly, tirelessly, and devastatingly 24/7 as the ultimate spiritual terrorists. Paul preached, taught, discipled, and reasoned longer and deeper than in any other church. The response was amazing, but the message was simple. Always guard against the… 

Landing Places For the Devil 

Paul warned the new believers in Ephesus that they must not surrender any part of their lives to the Devil. Once he gets a foothold he can defeat us in other areas of our lives. That is why they rid themselves of everything that could be used by Satan to distance them from God. We must do the same. 

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