Acts 19:11-15, “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?”
I have been moved in the last few years seeing a generation of young Christian men and women going back to the rock from which we were cut. By that I mean going back to sound biblical teaching. That the current fads in the land are not moving them, in fact they are refuting those who contradict the word of God including big names. I have listened to radio programs, read blogs, listened to sound teachings and I am amazed at the depth of knowledge. And while this is good and most necessary, I am concerned that little is wrote, mentioned or encouraged concerning praying. The danger I foresee in my judgment is becoming a generation that has light (the word) but no heat (prayer) and you cannot separate the two. You cannot separate heat and light from the fire.
The Lord is speaking to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2. He talks at length great things about this church. Revelation 2: 1-3, “1 To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, …2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary”. This would have been a church I would want to be part of, an ideal church for believers, but then the Lord drops a bombshell, He has something against this church, vs. 4, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” While this church had great things highlighted, it was considered a loveless church. From what we read, they spoke about truth, preached it, even defended it, what they were lacking was love. The first love here I would speculate to be loving God, communing with Him, praying to Him among other things. They lost the foundation on which everything else was built upon. Something known about the ministry of Christ here on earth was His prayer life. When the house was turned into everything but a house of prayer, we are told the zeal of His house consumed Him to do something about it. His service did not cloud His communion with the Father. If anything, He would often withdraw from the crowd to be alone with the Father. The rest were result of that time.
This church in Ephesus may have loved doing God’s work without God’s spirit revealed and empowered as we pray. In Acts 19, we read of Paul in Ephesus exactly where this church mentioned in Revelation was. Paul had all the things mentioned about the church in Ephesus, however he had more than that. He had the love for Christ to seek Him. In 2Corinthians 5:14 he says, “For the love of Christ compels us…”. He constantly died to himself and made Christ the object of his faith, the one whom he sought even concerning his ministry. On the day of his conversion we see him right away becoming a man of prayer. God sent Ananias to go Paul (Saul), Acts 9:11, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying”. The miracles performed like that of Jesus were the outworking of the internal. In the next devotion we will see if this passage give us more clues of Paul as a praying man, that he not only had light but he also had the heat. Blessings Ev