A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million of dollars. So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect’ Acts 19:19-20.

THERE is no gain saying to the fact that when the message of God is preached, men and women have no option, but to bow, surrender, and yield willingly unto the Lord. I know the city of Ephesus found it difficult to forget what the Apostle Paul did in their midst. How come that in a single day, incantation books for sorcery and magic were burned? According to Life Application Study Bible, it’s worth was several million dollars. Maxwell Leadership Bible was blunt and said that the amount involved ‘totalled fifty thousand pieces of silver.’

  However, it is said that Ephesus in the time of Paul was a centre for black magic and other occult practices. The people cooked up magical formulas to give them wealth, happiness and success in marriage. Superstition and sorcery were commonplace.

   Today, magic and occult practices are still on the increase and to a reasonable extent may not easily be pushed outside by those who patronise it. Sadly, some of our members are neck deep into such and there are some accusing fingers that some men of God are also involved. God clearly forbids such practices: ‘when you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.  Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord… you must be blameless before the Lord your God,’ Deut. 18:9-13. One cannot be a believer and hold onto occultism, black magic, or sorcery. This is not a case of giving to God what belongs to God’s and to Caesar what rightly belongs him.

  Yes, once one begins to dabble in these areas, one may become obsessed by them because Satan is very powerful. The bible told us that the devil prowls about seeking whom to devour. As people of God, we need to resist the devil and all his old tricks including sorcery and magic for it does one no good at the end of the day. We are confident that God’s power is greater (1 John 4:4; Rev. 20:10). If people are mixed up in the occult, let them learn a lesson from the Ephesians and get rid of anything that could trap them in such practices. That was the confidence of Paul and so when he preached, the power of God came down and the people yielded themselves and also gave up their books of incantation to the glory of God.

  The message of God in every generation must come with power for perishing souls to returned to the Lord. Apostle Peter once preached and the message pricked his hearers and they said: ‘what shall we do’ Acts 2:37. God is expecting us in this time to preach the word with power so that men and women will be pricked to return to Him. There is no doubt that some people, today, by the way they are conducting themselves have wondered away from the faith. We have a great task in our hands to bring them closer to God.

  Some may say ‘my aim of going into occultism is for protection, power or for position.’ But sometimes some people may not know what is actually involved and, so, when they get in, all these things promised them may not be automatic. Even at that, they would discover sooner or later that they are standing on sinking sand.  Jesus is our protection, He gives power, position and when He does, it lasts. A child of God is called upon to cling to Him and no other. For Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Delta State.

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