You might be known in your hometown. Perhaps you are known across your state, province, or territory. It is unlikely that you are known around the world. Have you considered if you are known in hell?
During the two years that Paul was in Ephesus, “God was doing extraordinary miracles” by the apostle’s hands (Acts 19:11). Seeing the great work that was being done in the name of Jesus, some fake exorcists tried their hand at it.
“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims’” (Acts 19:13)
When the seven sons of the Jewish chief priest Sceva attempted this, they were rebuked, beaten, and humiliated. Listen to the rebuke by the evil spirit to these imposters:
“Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize; but who are you?” (Acts 19:15).
This demonic being knew Jesus by experience (from the Greek: ginosko), and was acquainted with Paul (from the Greek: epistamai). They knew Jesus and knew about Paul, but they did not know these foolish men.
The result was humiliation for these seven, but glory for God.
“And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled” (Acts 19:17).
The true power of God placed against the fake magic arts convinced many to leave behind their pseudo religion and trust in the word of the Lord (Acts 19:18-20).
Let’s consider two implications and a probing question from the statement made by this evil spirit.
Demons know the authority of Jesus
In the country of the Gerasenes lived a man with a violent unclean spirit. He could be tamed by no one. But when he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and cried out, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me” (Mark 5:7).
This was not an isolated incident.
“Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God'” (Mark 3:11).
The demons not only recognized Jesus but they were afraid of him (James 2:19). They were afraid because Jesus came to destroy the power of the devil (Hebrews 2:14).
Demons recognize the power of Paul’s preaching
The work and words of Paul resounded far and wide. Paul and his companions were accused of turning “the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). Paul did not preach as one full of suggestions, but he spoke with authority (see Titus 2:15). In Ephesus, Paul “spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8). His preaching reached the ears of all the residents of Asia (Acts 19:10).
When Paul reminded the Ephesian elders of his work in their city, he said he “did not shrink from declaring” to them “anything that was profitable,” as he taught publicly and from house to house (Acts 20:20).
Felix was a vicious man who trembled at Paul’s powerful preaching (Acts 24:25), and when he could not oppose the message of righteousness, self-control, and judgment, sent the apostle away.
Is your work known in hell?
While we do not have discussions with demons nor cast them out, our work can be known in the depths.
We may be insignificant, but we proclaim a mighty God! Let us so act that the devil pays attention.
- May the world know that you serve the risen Savior (Luke 24:46-47).
- Do not be ashamed of God’s message of reconciliation (Romans 1:14-17), but daily live it out.
- Find those who have wandered from the truth speak a word to them, you may just bring them back (James 5:19-20).
You can be a faithful Christian without the world knowing your name. But if you want to live forever in heaven, they need to know who you are in hell.