The Power of Confession

Acts 19 

May 7

No one wants to look bad. The perfect example of this is social media. No one is ever like I want to post that picture that is the most authentic version of me. We want the absolute best version of us on the internet, with all the cropping and filters and perfect lighting we can find. I definitely understand why. The internet is forever. This does go into our real lives though, too. 

We all have video cameras on the front of our phones. I am very thankful that I grew up in an era where if you said something dumb only the people within earshot knew. People in general are more afraid of trying new things publicly because they are afraid of it ending up on snapchat or insta or as a meme. I think most of us realize that many of the stories or memes we see don’t reflect that whole person’s life. 

We all make mistakes. I feel like our flow chart for mistake making is in the wrong order though. The first thought for me is either towards the person or towards God and then we normally don’t want anyone else to find out. Once again no one enjoys looking bad, not even me. 

In Acts 19.11-20 Paul is in Ephesus and an incident occurs where the sons of a Jewish priest try to perform an exorcism. Exorcists were common during this time period. Exorcists would claim a name of high power, during their exorcisms, thinking the higher power the name, the higher the percentage chance of an exorcism . The sons of Sceva made an error this time. They claimed the name of Jesus as the source of their power and they weren’t following Jesus. They said it works for Paul and it should work for us. That really isn’t how the name of Jesus works though. The man with the spirits attacks the sons of Sceva and beats them and sends all seven running away naked. That was a bad day for those brothers. 

Word of this incident spreads around the region and in v. 18 “Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.” People realized how wrong the magic arts were after hearing about the sons of Sceva. These were people who were already believers and still had these books and maybe were still practicing magic arts. 

I admire the people of Ephesus for this one. When they figured out something was wrong, they confessed and divulged their practices. When there is a sin that has more power in our life, we don’t come and confess it. We want to have victory over it or be healed of it before we confess it. We want to have a problem, fix it ourselves and then tell everyone about it. This is to our detriment. In darkness sin can grow. If you confess it to someone, your problem will not magically go away but, it’s the start in the right direction. 

Most alcoholics don’t think they have a drinking problem. The first of the twelve steps in recovery is admitting that you cannot manage your own life. (I actually wonder if many Christians get past this first step.) 

Admitting you have made a mistake is half the work. You can find a trustworthy individual to talk about what you are struggling with and in doing so you can take a little more ground on the thing that you are working on. 

Everyone likes confession until they have something to confess. It is worth the time and the embarrassment. The church in Ephesus after they burned their magic books kept growing. It says in v. 20 that “the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightly.” I want that for my church and for myself. Bite the bullet and let’s take some medicine and see God work.

Thank you for sticking around. I have enjoyed writing for you guys this week. 

-Daniel (Dan, Danny) Wall

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. How does this relate to your everyday life? What is your experience with confession – or not confessing?
  2. What is the problem with believing but not confessing?
  3. What is the power of confessing? Prayerfully consider if there is something you need to confess.

The Money Trail

Acts 19

There is a saying with some truth to it that if you want to know about a matter – ‘follow the money’. This means if you look at the funding sources of a matter then you get a picture of who is pushing what (aka agenda) and who has financial gain or interest or conflict of interest in the matter. This is not a new concept, but rather, an old one. It is even present in Biblical times. The incident with Demetrius in Acts 19 is the perfect example.

Demetrius is a silversmith idol maker and has a good business going making a lot of money in Ephesus. He is afraid that the message that Paul is sharing that there is only one true God and that Jesus Christ is His son will plummet his sales in idols of Diana. Ephesus was known for its worship of the goddess Diana and the god Zeus. So he incited his fellow idol makers towards anger and malice towards Paul and the disciples in Ephesus. This snowballed into a riot where half the people didn’t even know what the issue was and just joined in rioting just because. (Sound familiar?) The authorities of the city knew that Paul and the disciples had done nothing wrong and had not stirred up this great rioting mob by anything they had done so they refused to bring them to court to try them. Ultimately Paul and the disciples decided to leave town and go somewhere else where they could share the gospel.

All of this is due to Demetrius and his fellow silversmiths being concerned that they would lose their livelihoods making shrines that they made a great profit from selling to the people. They were not interested in hearing or considering the truth – they were only concerned with the almighty dollar as we might say today. It is sad that the truth of the gospel couldn’t be openly shared in Ephesus because of a handful of greedy men. Does this happen today? In our time? You bet. The names and the livelihoods may be different but the situation still rears its ugly head. So …if you want to know about a matter ‘follow the money’ and you will find out a lot. More importantly follow Jesus and gain discernment about situations that arise. One will never go wrong when truly following Jesus.

-Pastor Merry Peterson

Today’s Bible reading passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – 2 Samuel 19-20 and Acts 19

A Profitable Business

ACTS 19

Acts 19 25 26

Acts 19 tells about Paul’s ministry in Ephesus.  While there he performs many miracles and heals many people and “The word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing”.  While there the silversmiths who made the shrines to Artemis conspired against him because the Christian converts stopped buying their profitable shrines and they were losing their livelihood.  So of course they formed a mob and tried to get Paul and the Christians in trouble with the law and they tried to drum up religious fervor to protect their business. In the end it was ok for Paul, but this had to be a hindrance to his mission.

In this story the followers of Artemis were not just rioting against Paul and the other missionaries, but against their friends, neighbors, and family who had converted to Christianity.

If you are a Christian and have non-Christian friends then they will often try to bring you down to their level.  They see that you are changing and they do not want to change, just like the silversmiths, so they will try to do anything they can to go back to the “good o’l days” when you were living in sin.  You have to watch out because these people can have a strong influence on your life and will erode your faith if you let them. This type of thing happened to Paul several times, and in some instances he just had to leave that city and in others he was able to stick around and continue to minister in that city.  Maybe if you have given your life over to Christ you will need to leave some friendships, or maybe you can help that person to come to Christ themselves, it will take prayer to know what is needed in your situation.

-Chris Mattison

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