Friday, February 12, 2016

a past in ashes

Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 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. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.
Acts 19:18-20

Why did the Christians in Ephesus burn valuable books of their past pagan practices? Because Christians are a people of one book. Those past magic incantation collections had to go. Real repentance meant leaving that life and those books behind in ashes to follow Jesus and be people who are committed to saturating their lives with the Word of God. This was their new burning passion.

The context just before this account of burning pagan resources shows that demonic activity had a stronghold in Ephesus. The context after this event shows a city in riot because the gospel put a serious dent in the pagan worship industry. This was a big deal to burn these books. The pile of "magic arts" collection was worth about six million bucks. This is why serious waves of repercussions rocked the city. When that much information and value was removed from the market and reduced to worthless ash, those still controlled by pagan demonism retaliated.

Repentance is serious business. It is costly and has impacting consequences. Following Jesus is a very serious matter... not to be entered into flippantly. It involves a level of sacrifice, controversy, faith, and change. It is all worth it... Jesus is the supreme value. Just as following one book was worth burning six million dollars worth of other books, so any sacrifice we make for the kingdom is inconsequential in view of the glory that is ours in Christ.

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