Acts 19:11-20 – “God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. 13 But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” 16 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. 17 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. 18 Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. 19 And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.” NASU
I have used this passage in preaching and teaching to illustrate the truth and drive home some points about “Second Hand Faith.” What I mean is that we can imitate what someone else has done expecting to get what they and become incredibly disappointed. I had someone tell me, “Well, we just need to fake it ‘til we make it.” That might work in some areas of life but not in the realm of faith.
This account illustrates that point powerfully, in my view. God was using Paul to perform some ‘extraordinary miracles’. I really don’t know what that entailed but for the Holy Spirit to prompt the descriptor of extraordinary to the miracles being performed they must have been extremely incredible and eye-catching. That prompted some of the Jewish exorcists to attempt to mimic Paul and I find it almost laughable that they would attempt to perform an exorcism with the words, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” I can imagine the devils laughing at them if not openly, secretly.
The Seven Sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, attempted this, and I can envision a Keystone Cops type scene or someone trying to baptize a house cat resulting. When they attempted this, the evil spirit turned on them and spoke incredible reality and makes my point. It said, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then the evil spirit prompted the man in whom it inhabited to physically attack them and overpower all seven. In fact, the Bible says they were left ‘naked and wounded’. How’s that for faking it ‘til you make it in the spirit realm and in faith. It didn’t turn out well then and won’t produce results now.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. It is like having a title deed to a piece of property or a written guarantee. It is not speculative but definitive. It is a commodity of heaven. It is the conviction or absolute confidence that those unseen or yet to be realized in the natural things or events are Assured! That’s not faking it. Had Peter and John been ‘faking it’ at the Gate Beautiful the lame man would not have walked. They would not have had the opportunity to keep repeating a charade and attempting ‘til it happened they had one shot and that shot required Faith, not Fantasy or Imitation.
How do we develop faith? According to Romans 10:17 it comes by HEARING, and hearing comes by THE WORD OF GOD! I argue that Faith is a commodity of heaven and originates with God and as He speaks, and man hears faith is received. When man acts upon what He has heard with confidence that it is true faith is released back to God. When man acts on the promises of God, God responds by confirming His word and fulfilling His promises. Faith then goes full circle of beginning with God and ending with God and we are the flow through channels.
If you do not have Faith for a particular thing or need, call others to join you in prayer and come into agreement with them. The effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avails much. We are the Body of Christ and not isolated islands. We need each other and as we pray one for another God responds. Does it really matter if it was your faith or the faith of another that touched the throne of God and brought about the desired result? Don’t pretend, but confess to God your doubt and fear and He will send the Holy Spirit to minister to you. Hold up the hands of your brothers and sisters in Christ and together we will overcome. Remember a three-fold cord is not easily broken. Don’t let your pride keep you for asking for help. Don’t try to fake it ‘til you make it but call on Him who can make it happen!
God bless you as you walk in His Light and Love!