Acts 19 tells the story of seven sons of Sceva (a Jewish priest) at Ephesus. They saw the signs and wonders wrought in the ministry of Paul, and they wanted to get aligned with that.
“Yeah, gimme summa dat.”
They had some familiarity with exorcism. Ephesus was full of the black arts. Simply perform their function “in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches”. The result was disastrous. They were chased and stripped by the demons in humiliating fashion.
This seems at first blush to be a remote episode out of the culture of the past. But is it?
Many assemblies today name that Name without a vital connection to the Saviour. There is no emphasis on the inherent depravity of human hearts needing a transformation, a new creation. Pulpit messages are “bloodless”. The scriptures are read tongue in cheek as if no one takes them literally anymore. Or equally evil is the tendency to pick-and-choose out of the Canon the parts remaining “appropriate” for this generation. The ministry of the Holy Spirit remains obscure.
The result inevitably is loss of conviction and obedience, and consequently loss of true wisdom and power (1 Corinthians 1: 27-31). The fleshly desire for power and influence is out of balance.
Lord strengthen the ministers and believers who refuse to fall into the trap of the seven Sons of Sceva!
And let us not forget that every vital understanding of a message of scripture has come through the ringer of testing, reproach and pain. There is no easy street to power; because Godly power is at its root compassion, aligned with the heart of the Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief.