WHO ARE YOU? – PART ONE
Beloved friends, welcome to today’s broadcast. I implore you to please listen attentively. The entrance of the Word of GOD in the heart gives light.
The title of our message today is, Who Are You? Our text is from Acts 19:11-20.
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?”
16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. 19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
Let us pray.
Almighty GOD in heaven, the FATHER of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, we thank YOU for creating us in YOUR image. Thank YOU also for restoring our image which was lost when Satan lured Adam and Eve into sin. YOU have restored us to YOURSELF through our LORD JESUS’ death – and on the cross. Yet many are still having identity crisis. Grant, o LORD, that my hearers will properly identify with YOU in, other to avoid embarrassing questions by Satan and his demons…in JESUS Mighty Name I pray. AMEN!
Friends, the question is: Who are you? The question speaks of your identity. People are very conscious of their identity. The battle for identity is very tense. It makes people adopt several names and titles. The church in recent times has not been spared of this title-chasing syndrome. GOD is very much interested in our correct identity. Unfortunately, Satan and his demons are also interested in our identity. Your identity determines which authority you carry. For demons or witches or wizards to question the mantle you carry or question your identity is an indictment on your relationship with GOD. In our passage, in verse 14 to 15, particularly, the bible says, there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. What did they do that tempted to call the Name of the LORD JESUS over those who had evil spirits. They said, We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches
In verse 15, the bible says, And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?
Friends, the demon questioned their authority or right to exorcise or cast them out. Why did the demon question their identity? As far as the demon was concerned they were claimers of what they were not – they were fake. Sin distorts proper identity. Sin punctures spiritual authority and paralyses confidence. Sin deflates enthusiasm or zeal. The Kingdom of Darkness does not respect your title. They only respect your link with JESUS CHRIST. The integrity of your title as pastor or deacon or deaconess or reverend gentleman and apostle or bishop or knight means nothing to demons if they do not see the link you have with JESUS CHRIST. If the kingdom of darkness does not recognize you as a child of GOD or a Christian then you are not one.
In Psalm 8:3-8 the bible gives us the perspective of GOD in our identity. Let me read it out:
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.
You can see, friend, GOD’s perspective of man’s identity. But alas! Sin reduced man to the level that fallen angels question his identity. In the other of dignity man stood next to the angels and a little lower than they. That’s our identity, but sin distorted this and reduced us to a level that demons manipulate human beings, demand worship and sacrifices from them, and of course oppress or take over their personality. In consequence, some people serve them as priests and prophets.
Friends, who are you? Are you who GOD says you are? Do you know that you can be seated on high with other saints, far above principalities and powers? That’s where you belong. You are not created for demons to question your identity.
Let me highlight four areas your identity can be questioned.
In 2 Timothy 2:20-21, the bible says that, there are vessels, in a great man’s house, some vessels are for honor, some others for dishonor.
In Acts 9:15 the LORD JESUS said to Ananias a disciple, that Saul who later became Paul was a chosen vessel: not self-appointed or man-appointed. There are also empty vessels or vessel wherein is no pleasure. One Israel’s king was described like that in Jeremiah 22:28. His name was Coniah or Jeconiah. He was a vessel wherein GOD had no pleasure.
Friends, which one are you? Are you a vessel of honor or dishonor? Are you an empty vessel in the house of GOD? A vessel in whom GOD has no pleasure?
Do you know that your inside determines whom you are outside? The bible says, you can purge yourself of sin, bad attitudes and behavior, so that you can be a vessel of honor.
JESUS came to restore your identity and place you where you belong. Your barrier is your heart condition. The heart of the problem is basically the problem of your heart. Can you allow JESUS into your heart in all humility? Your identity will change.
Only JESUS can change the persecutor to become the persecuted; the oppressor can become the oppressed; the robber can become a saint, the immoral can become clean – only JESUS can change your battered identity. Money does not change identity: but JESUS does change identity.
In the family who are you? The bible specifies roles for husband or wife, wife or mother, children or youths. Are you conforming to the biblical models or are you conforming to the worldly pattern? Why are you stubborn and hardened? Why is change of lifestyle so difficult in your life? What example are you showing as a wife or as a husband or a child? Are you a betrayer? Notice that it was not an unknown person that betrayed JESUS. He [it] was an insider – a follower.
Why are you betraying Christianity and Christ? The church is castigated or ridiculed because of your behavior. You can change if you are sincere. You can be transformed when your mind is renewed.
Friends, we will continue this topic next edition. But before I sign off, you may be asking yourself, “How do I change my identity”? We are talking of Spiritual identity that will cause demons to bow before you. They say they know JESUS, they know Paul, but who are you. Only JESUS can restore your spiritual identity
Repeat after me: LORD JESUS, I come to YOU in all humility. I acknowledge my inability to live right and therefore mortgaged my identity. Today, I renounce my evil ways, and repent of my sins. I accept YOU as my LORD and Saviour. Create in me a new heart, and restore my identity…in JESUS’ Name.
Let me pray for you. Heavenly FATHER, as many as have acknowledged YOUR SON JESUS, as their LORD and Savior, I plead with YOU to save them and restore their identity…in JESUS Mighty Name. Amen.
I command you Satan to take off your hand in their lives. I lose them from every bondage…in JESUS Mighty Name I pray. Amen!