Spiritual Weapons, Part VI: The Name of Jesus

philippian-slave-girl

The Name Above All Names

The marketplace was hot, compounding the heat of the arguments that continually arose over prices and alleged cheating  The dust hung over the heads and bodies in the crowded area like a dark shadow, gradually settling on the baskets, the bread, and the tables laden with wares.  It lay like a thick mat over everything in sight until the swish of a donkey’s tail or the robes of a group of buyers sent the dust skyward once more.

Occasionally, the tension in the air broke as the crowd laughed at another foreigner who had been shamed by the young, female fortune teller,whose owners continued to goad the people to test her powers of soothsaying and divination.

Suddenly, the crowd broke forth as one in a torrent of mocking laughter as the girl, under the influence of the evil spirit within her, pointed and said loudly, “Behold the servants of the most high God!  Let them show the way to salvation!”

As she had before, she followed to mock Paul, Silas, and Luke as they passed through the marketplace to their place of rest and prayer.  And as before, her sarcastic remarks, blasphemously spoken, raised the levity of the people who continued to pour forth other ironic remarks and laugh uproariously.

Suddenly, however, Paul turned and faced the crowd being led by the young soothsayer.  Taken aback, the crowd retreated a step, then finally regathered to continue their mockery.  Paul, however, with a loud voice said to the spirit within the girl, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!”

The girl looked as though she had been shot by an arrow.  Gradually, however, the angry contortions in her face faded, and it became apparent to all that she had been freed from the evil spirit that had tormented and kept her in bondage for so long.

The Name of Jesus

In recent articles we have discovered the secrets of engaging in spiritual warfare through the weapons God has given us to fight the battles, learning what they are and how they are used.  These weapons are not carnal, or fleshly.  Instead, they are mighty through God!

Is there a conflict in your home or church body because of strife or unforgiveness?  Is there a rebellious child?  Is there a husband or wife who has deserted the family?  If so, use the Spiritual Weapons God has given to you.  Using carnal weapons will only make the situations worse.

In the example of the Apostle Paul and the girl with the evil spirit of divination, the Name of Jesus is a mighty weapon!  In the name of Jesus is the fulness of Christ, including the all-encompassing power of His cleansing and atoning blood.  As Jesus said,

These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.  (Mark 16:17-18)

We have been given all authority in the name of Jesus to meet and defeat the enemy in every spiritual battle.  We have been given the “power of attorney,” so to speak, to use His name, and when we speak in His name, it’s just as if Jesus Himself is speaking!  

Speaking of the times following His resurrection, Jesus said,

In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf;  for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father.  I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father. (John 16:23-28)

Although Jesus often spoke in secrets, or “mysteries,” here Jesus makes clear that His words are not to be taken allegorically or interpreted figuratively.  He is saying that since we are His Body, we can speak in His name, and when we do, it is just as though the words are coming out of His mouth.

Unauthorized Use of the Name of Jesus

This is the power and authority Paul used when speaking in the name of Jesus to the spirit of divination inside the servant girl in the city of Philippi.  This is the same power delivered to the Church on the Day of Pentecost when the Apostle Peter spoke of the Holy Spirit’s being poured out on the gathered believers:

Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.

And these promises are made to all believers who have been commanded to go into all the world to preach the good news, as Jesus Himself said:

These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mark 16:17-18)

However, this Spiritual Weapons may be used only by those who have truly been given this weapon, the name of Jesus, to use.  

Jesus authorized His disciples to cast out spirits, and He gave the same authority to all true believers in Him, members of His Body,  who have been born again into His Kingdom. The Seven Sons of Sceva, however, learned that simply using Jesus’ name without true authority to do so was disastrous.  

With no true authority, they attempted exercise control  over the evil spirit using the name of Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” However, they were met with a strong reaction from the spirit:

And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified. (Acts 19:13-17)

The many lessons in this story should be clear.  The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, including Faith and Discerning of Spirits need to accompany the use of this Spiritual Weapon, and it should only be used as guided by the Holy Spirit.  Too many have unadvisedly gone about looking for demons behind every bush, and they have reaped thorns and thistles, rather than true fruitfulness and deliverance, as a result.

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