“This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear dell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified” (ACTS 19: 17)
Once I was asked to pray for a young lady who was possessed by an evil spirit. I didn’t feel that I was the right person to do that, but after praying for divine guidance, I agreed to do so. When I arrived there, the girl looked at me and began to say unintelligible mutterings. I invited her to pray, and she mocked me because of my fear. I took her by both hands, we knelt, and although she kept interrupting me, I held her hands firmly and exclaimed, ‘Jesus, same her, free her, clean her, by Your blood!“ The girl became calm and then fell to the floor.
Paul was in Ephesus preaching and performing miracles. Even his handkerchief or his tent-maker’s apron was placed on the sick and they were healed. Ephesus was a city that was famous for its predilection for magic, spells, and the practice of exorcism. God carried our miraculous healings to demonstrate His power over any spell. On an occasion, a group of exorcises saw these miracles as an opportunity to earn money. They wanted to use the ‘Paul formula» and obtain the same results, so they invoked the name of “Jesus, whom Paul preaches,” added to their magic and spells, to cure and expel evil spirits (see Acts 19:13). When they faced a wild demon-possessed man, ‘the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ ” (verse 15). God does not respond to expressions and prayers used as formulas, but only to genuine hearts that seek Him with humility.
So, the impostors were unmasked and mocked by the same evil spirit, who attacked them savagely. They had to flee, “naked and wounded” (verse 16). The story spread throughout Ephesus, and fear fell on them all, Jews and Gentiles alike. The name of Jesus was magnified over every other name, and they learned not to use it lightly.
“Thus unmistakable proof was given of the sacredness of the name of Christ, and the peril which they incurred who should invoke it without faith in the divinity of the Saviour’s mission.”—The Acts of the Apostles, ch. 27, p. 213. Even those who had converted had been mixing the holy with the profane, Christianity with magic. They confessed their sins, and there was a revival and a reform. They even made a bonfire with books of magic that they had secretly been keeping.
Never play with the power, fearsome name of God. «those who truly love and serve God will fear to descend to the world’s level by choosing the society of those who have not enthrone Christ in their hearts.» -Messages to Young People, ch. 132, p. 389.