The Danger of the Harry Potter Approach to Supernatural Ministry

October 1, 2019

Acts 19:13-16 (NIV)

Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.


Now it’s starting to look more like Hogwarts and Harry Potter with sorcery and magic.

Let me offer a truism when it comes to the Holy Spirit. Where’s there’s fire there will always be wildfire. Wherever the genuine charismatic activity of the Holy Spirit springs up you can always expect to see a cadre of charlatans trying to get in on the action. Unfortunately, those guys will also seem to get all the television air time.

I think in part the stuff in today’s text is what Jesus was talking about when he made the stern warning in his most famous sermon:

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:22)

In the kingdom of God it’s not invocations and incantations that get the job done, but a day in and day out abiding relationship with Jesus. These seven sons of Sceva wanted power without relationship. They wanted the authority of Jesus without being discipled into the life of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t work like that. Sure, there may be some counterfeit spiritual phenomena spring up here and there, but sooner or later those who play around with the fire of the Spirit will get burned . . . or maybe they will get lucky and escape with a good old fashioned butt-whipping. Check out Exhibit 1A.

Friends, far from some kind of spiritual idealism, the Holy Spirit is real. He is not an impersonal force but a divine person. He is not “power on-tap” but the presence of divine love. His way of working is to transform people into genuine disciples of Jesus Christ before authorizing them to exercise the power of God.

If you choose to get involved in this life changing work, expect to encounter the likes of the seven sons of Sceva doing their best to pronounce words like expelliarmus or even using the name of Jesus. Don’t let the counterfeit scare you away from the genuine. Sure, their antics give all of us a bad name, but we must remember, our name is not what this is about. This is about the name above every name; the name of Jesus.




Have abuses of the ministry of the Holy Spirit scared you away from the genuine article? Why would you let the fake keep you away from the authentic?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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