Have you ever been in a group conversation and someone mentioned a scene from a movie? They talked about the action, romance or comedy and the emotions they experienced during that scene. However, because you didn’t see the movie, you really couldn’t connect with them or fully grasp their concept of what was happening during that scene. You may have felt “lost” because you had no personal knowledge of what they were talking about. You may have heard about the movie scene but you did not experience it for yourself.
I know that I have had this happen to me. Someone will describe a luscious meal that they had in great detail. So much so that my mouth will begin to water thinking about how wonderful it must taste. Yet I cannot tell you what it tasted like to me, because I did not have the actual experience of eating the meal.
In the Bible, there is an account of men who had heard of the working of the Holy Spirit and the miracles happening through Paul and the apostles. So they tried to do something similar based upon what they had heard not what they had experienced.
Acts 19:11-15 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 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. 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.” Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
The Jewish exorcists tried to “call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits”. Notice though, that they said, “by the Jesus whom Paul preaches”. They did not say “by the Name of the Lord Jesus whom we know”.
Their knowledge of Jesus was through Paul’s teaching and through hearing of the miracles. Preaching of the Word is the way God speaks to people and reveals Himself to us. However, if we do not experience for ourselves, first- hand knowledge, it is just words spoken.
I can share my testimony with you and you can be inspired by it, and even become a little excited by my experiences. And our testimony should inspire and excite others. It should point them to Jesus and His marvelous miracles.
However, if you hear my testimony and all it becomes is just a testimony, words spoken with little or no response, then my experiences never become your experiences. You can never know the presence of Jesus and the power of His Holy Spirit if you stay at hearing and not move beyond that to experiencing Him for yourself.
Notice that the evil spirit said, “Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you?” Who are you? Are you a Child of God, known in heaven by God and known by the evil spirits as God’s Son or Daughter? Or are you like the sons of Sceva?
I encourage you to move beyond hearing about HIM to having a personal experience with God. If you have never asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, you can do it right now. It is not too late for you to experience "first-hand" a wonderful relationship with Him.
Romans 10:9-10 says, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
If you believe in the Lord Jesus and confess him as Lord, you shall be saved.
Pray this prayer:
Father God, I know that I am a sinner and I need to be saved. I ask you to forgive me and cleanse me from sin. I acknowledge that Jesus is the only way to You. I believe that He died for my sins. I confess that I am making Jesus my Savior and my Lord right now. Thank you for forgiving me and saving me from eternity separated from You. Amen
Lynn Jones, Co-Founder of HHMI enjoys reading, studying and sharing God's Word. She believes that every Word in the Bible is Holy Spirit inspired and profitable for daily living. Her prayer is that as you read the newsletters and blogs, that you will be enriched and equipped for every good work of the Lord's.