Monday, November 8, 2010

Is your name known in hell?

Well, the mid-terms are over, the first reminder to keep the fires going has been posted, now we can get back to more important things.  

I heard an account about an evangelist by the name of W.P. Nicholson.  He was associated with the Salvation Army in Ireland at the turn of the 20th century.  In this tale, he invited an unsaved man to a prayer meeting.  The man's response was that he had no idea what to do at a prayer meeting.  Nicholson told him to go home, read Acts, and that would prepare him for the meeting.  That evening, the man came to the prayer meeting, and after several people made their long, passionate prayers, the new comer finally stood up and said "Dear God, I want everyone in hell to know my name!" Now, this was quite a shock and Nicholson pulled the man outside the meeting and asked him what kind of prayer was that, why did he say that?  The man replied that he had read Acts, and read the account of the seven sons of Sceva, (Acts 19:11-20), where the Jewish priests had tried to cast out a demon by invoking the names of Jesus and Paul, and the demon possessed man answered "Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you?" and attacked the priests.  The man finished with "Mr. Nicholson, I want the Devil to know who I am!"

We don't often think like that do we?  We focus on making sure that God knows our name, and that our name is written in the Book of Life, but what about the other side of the coin?  Do the demons know your name?  Do they tremble when you come near?  Or are you just another somebody blowing hot air that is of no concern to their goals?

Besides the account in Acts where the demons declared they knew Jesus and Paul, the Gospels also tell us that the demons recognized Jesus.  A specific story is the two demon possessed men who Jesus healed by casting out their demons into a herd of pigs. (Matt. 8:28-34)  There the demons called Jesus the Son of God when they saw Him and begged for mercy.  Mark 3:11 and 12 tell us this happened several times, that the demons saw Jesus coming and fell down before him, announcing His proper title. 

We know why the demons feared Jesus, but what about Paul?  Paul was just a man, correct?  What made him so special that his name was known in hell?  Paul was known by the demons because he was a solid soldier of God, a man who took his orders and performed them, a man who laid his own life in God's hands, who preached Jesus and Him crucified to the non-believer.  The priest who got attacked by the possessed man seems to have only seen Jesus as another name to chant in order to cast out the demons.  He didn't accept Jesus, there was no Jesus in him, which meant this priest was no threat to the demon.

The devil doesn't keep track of non-threats.  If we aren't doing anything that shrinks his kingdom, neither the devil or his demons is going to bother knowing our names, because he knows that he'll have plenty of time to get to know those folks later.  But, when we are doing Kingdom work, following our directions, be that as evangelists or prayer warriors or worship leaders or any of the myriad of jobs on the Fellow-ship, then we are dangerous to the devil, we are enemies, and he makes sure to know his enemies.  So, the question falls to us, are our lives entwined with Jesus' enough to be known in hell? 

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