Chapter Nineteen — Part Four: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 08/07/2022Foundation Scriptures:
1. Repentance and Revival.
a. The fear of God fell upon the whole community—Jews and Greeks—because of the power of God manifested in the consistent preaching of the Word (Jer. 23:29), and in healings, miracles, signs, wonders, and deliverances in the Name of the Lord.
b. Acts 19:18 AMPC — Many also of those who were now believers came making full confession and thoroughly exposing their [former deceptive and evil] practices.
c. A great conviction of the Holy Spirit came upon those who were now born again and baptized.
d. In God’s holy presence, all hearts, secret thoughts, and wicked deeds, are uncovered—we see exactly who we are and what we’ve done.
e. And that is when we need to come clean with God so that we can be delivered and forgiven of all those things.
f. We must hate evil and love the good (Amos 5:14-15).
g. Romans 12:9b KJV — Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
h. We must depart from evil—despise it; turn away from it; go out of our way to avoid it, stay away from it; stay aloof from it; and shun it (Ps. 34:14; 1 Pet. 3:11).
i. Their hearts were moved to thoroughly repent and fully confess and expose their former sins and their evil deeds.
j. No one compelled them to confess; they did it voluntarily, from the heart.
k. This is a true revival—a cleansing of heart and soul—allowing God to do His sanctifying work in us.
l. They felt true contrition—genuine sorrow and repentance for their wickedness—and began to openly confess all.
m. True contrition leads to a straightforward and open confession of sin to God, and to others—wherever any offence had been committed.
n. Confession is an unburdening of heart and soul—simultaneously admitting fault and letting it go.
o. The sin we hold onto is a horrible and heavy burden—repent, release it, and let God deliver you of that thing.
p. When people genuinely repent and confess, they walk away feeling much lighter and freer—which was one of the things Jesus meant when He said He would take our heavy burdens.
q. It is only through confession and genuine repentance that we can be washed clean and eternally forgiven.
2. Curious Arts.
a. Acts 19:19 KJV — Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men…
b. Curious arts (Greek periergos) — working all around, i.e. officious; meddlesome; busybody, curious arts.
c. It is interesting to note that the same Greek word is interpreted as “busy-bodies” and also “curious arts” (1 Tim. 5:13).
d. Some operated under demonic power, and some made a living manipulating people, and pretending to have spiritual abilities and special powers.
e. They were busybodies who traded in the study of magic and divination, in books of astrology, fortunetelling, contacting the dead, interpreting dreams, predicting future events, spells, amulets and charms for protection, healing, or inflicting disease, etc., and other demonic, impure and unclean things.
f. These curious arts, spells and charms were called Literae Ephesiae, because Ephesus was notorious for their use.
g. Almighty God forbade the Israelites to participate in the abominations of the nations that he drove out before them, such as these things the Ephesians were known for.
h. Deuteronomy 18:9-14 NKJV — “When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. 14 For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.
3. Purging Fire.
a. Acts 19:19 AMPC — And many of those who had practiced curious, magical arts collected their books and [throwing them, book after book, on the pile] burned them in the sight of everybody. When they counted the value of them, they found it amounted to 50,000 pieces of silver (about $9,300).
b. One piece of silver weighed around half an ounce—in today’s currency, about $10.
c. Therefore, 50,000 pieces of silver would be worth around $50,000 today.
d. Although some estimate their combined value to be worth closer to $125,000.
e. They burned all these evil objects openly, where everyone could see it.
f. Just as their hearts were purged and purified by God’s holy fire, now they purged themselves of their demonic books and objects—by burning them in the fire!
g. These things had wicked attachments and they did not sell them or give them to somebody else—it was far safer to thoroughly destroy them.
h. In a sense, they were getting revenge on all these things that previously held them in bondage and deception.
i. And they were demonstrating their resolve to never return to those wicked things again.
j. You can take something and set it aside, away from yourself, but at a future time you could take it back up again.
k. Whether it is sin in your life, or a physical object, the only way to thoroughly get rid of it, so it does not return to tempt you again, is to burn it with fire—God’s fire and/or natural fire.
l. That is why we, personally, need to keep ourselves in the fire of God—so that those things can never reattach themselves to us.
m. Acts 19:20 AMPC — Thus the Word of the Lord [concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God] grew and spread and intensified, prevailing mightily.
n. Again, there was a mighty acceleration in the growth, impact, and reach of the Gospel.