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Created for More

One of the major recurring themes of the Bible is that the core sin of man is idolatry (rebellion). God created us to love and worship Him above everything else – and in our sin, we choose all kinds of other things to love and worship more than Him. The story of the Bible is about God challenging us and rescuing us from our worship of false gods. In our study of Acts 19, we come to the Greek city of Ephesus where Satan and his minions have had a stronghold for millennia. The ancient city of Ephesus was a world-class city with opulent wealth. The city gleamed with white iridescence as marble paved the streets and channeled rainwater to the sea. Houses that have been excavated show that some of the wealthy residents even had indoor plumbing! People came from all over the world to Ephesus to do business, and more importantly, worship at the temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Ephesus was the "world headquarters" of this Greek mother goddess of fertility and almost every aspect of life was impacted by her worship. Evil held the city of Ephesus in its grip as the people were enslaved to the occult. Despite all the temptations and challenges, Ephesus became an ideal location for Paul's base of operation in Asia. It was said that "roads from Ephesus radiated in every direction along the coast and through the interior of the province." Here, Paul challenged the people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, teaching at the school of Tyrannus for two years. God was working through Paul in a unique way during this time validating Paul's message through numerous miracles. In one of the most incredible interchanges in Scripture, a demon-possessed individual reacts to a group of phony exorcists attempting to cast it out in the name of Jesus. The demon responds, "Jesus I know and Paul I recognize, but who are you?" This is really a question about authority. It’s always amazed me that we humans continually question and debate who Jesus really is, and the demons have no doubt. The implications of that are literally life-changing. To deny Him and reject Him is the most foolish and dangerous decision one can ever make. The reality is that we are in a battle! We are waging war against a powerful enemy every day of our lives. This doesn’t sit well with our scientific, rationalistic understanding of the universe. We look to the laws of physics to explain everything, which leaves little to no room for the spiritual realm. So angels, demons, souls, and even God are dismissed as fiction – and that’s exactly what Satan wants! If he can convince humanity that he doesn’t really exist, then he is free to infiltrate every part of the culture with “invisibility.” Scripture alerts us over and over to the fact that we are to be sober, serious, vigilant, and alert. It’s amazing how we often brush over those warnings and ignore the warnings. The good news is that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil! His death on the cross assured Satan’s defeat. As a believer, you are victorious over the enemy through Christ. You and I are not equipped to do battle with this enemy on our own. We cannot see him, or touch him - so we stand in the power of Christ – not our own! I urge you to start your day by asking Him for help. "Lord, this is Your day, I cannot face it on my own. I cannot do battle on my own. I ask You to control my mind, my emotions, and my will." You don’t begin your day with an attitude of defeat. You begin your day knowing that you can be victorious because He is the One at work. Press On! Pastor Brian Richard


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