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Holy Handkerchiefs Part 2
February 27, 2006
What possible verse could be taken out of context to convince people that in order to receive the blessings of God all they had to do was order their personal blessed Holy Handkerchief?
And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Acts 19:11-12
When you read the rest of this chapter you will discover that some Jews took notice of the miracles that were taking place because of Paul's faith in Christ. They decided to invoke the name of Jesus to cast out evil spirits out of a man. This is what happened: 13 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. 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you? 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 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. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.
Why were the articles of cloth that were taken by Paul to the sick and diseased effective cures? It was because of the faith of the people in Christ. The linen had nothing to do with it. God was confirming His power to save through miracles. The church was just beginning and this needed to be done. Matthew Henry's Commentary on this verse states, "When arguments and persuasions only harden men in unbelief and blasphemy, we must separate ourselves and others from such unholy company. God was pleased to confirm the teaching of these holy men of old, that if their hearers believed them not, they might believe the works. "
Concerning the fact the sons of Sceva were overpowered by the demon possessed man, Matthew Henry comments, "It was common, especially among the Jews, for persons to profess or to try to cast out evil spirits. If we resist the devil by faith in Christ, he will flee from us; but if we think to resist him by the using of Christs name, or his works, as a spell or charm, Satan will prevail against us. "
When a ministry promises to send you a Holy Handkerchief so you can receive God's blessings, then they are using the name of Christ to invoke good luck. For the ministry, it is just a means to make a quick buck. These are wolves in sheep's clothing whose only desire for the flock is to devour it.
Catholics claim only their ordained priests are capable of performing exorcisms or the casting out of devils. They use the name of Christ to accomplish the exorcism. To them, it is their "good luck charm" similar to the crucifix being a deterrent to the fictional vampire. It is faith in Christ that causes demons to flee which means all who know Christ have the power to cast out demons.
How do you receive the blessings of God? The most important step is become His child. You do that by believing in His redemptive work on the cross by asking Christ to come into your heart to wash your sins away. Your reward? Eternal life in heaven with your Creator. Is that not blessing enough?
Copyright 2006 by Gary Goodworth
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