Acts 19:18-20 (NIV)
Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. 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. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
It is one thing to profess faith in Jesus. But it is another thing entirely to come face-to-face with the power of Jesus. The story of the seven sons of Sceva had a profound impact on the people of Ephesus who had professed belief, many of whom were still practicing their old, idolatrous ways, including magic.
They were all powerfully convicted and surrendered even more fully to Jesus than they had before. They confessed the sins that they were still involved in, turning away from them fully. Some of them were even practicing magic, or sorcery. This was not what we would call magic tricks or illusions. These people bought and sold charms and magic spells that were supposed to be able to manipulate natural and supernatural forces.
A sign that this was true, heart-felt repentance and not mere profession was that these people brought their charms and formulas and burned them all together in a big fire. They had all paid significant sums for these spells. In fact, Luke notes that their value came to around 50,000 drachmas, about 50,000 cumulative days’ wages.
As a result of this true repentance and complete turning to the Lord, the Holy Spirit was freed up to work more powerfully in and through all these people. The result was that the word of the Lord spread more powerfully and more widely throughout Ephesus and the whole province of Asia.
Father, we don’t usually consider that the “little sins” that we hold onto after we believe in Jesus can actually damage the witness of the gospel and suck all the power out of our ministry and that of our whole congregation. But that principle is seen throughout the Scriptures. Help us, Lord, to continually stay open before You, so that You can point out to us anyplace that sin is lurking in our lives, and so that we can immediately and completely repent of it, even if that full repentance costs us a lot. Amen.
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