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Sermon #5499

The Sons of Sceva

A Sermon on the Sons of Sceva from Acts 19:13-16


Acts 19:13-16 ESV KJV
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.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, …

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Sermon Description

Many in the modern church are like the seven sons of Sceva who know of Christianity, but they are not truly regenerate. As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches in this sermon on the Sons of Sceva from Acts 19:13–16, they have yet to give up their worldly ways and believe in the truth of the gospel. Many associate themselves with the church for social or financial gain. They are self-deceived hypocrites who try to use Christianity for worldly gain and pleasures. Many of these people are simply humanists or socialists who use Christianity as a platform for their ideologies. This kind of association for gain has been prevalent whenever Christianity is viewed as socially expedient. But this has the terrible effect of creating false believers who have never truly believed in the gospel of Jesus Christ or repented of their sins. This is why there are so many Christians who resemble the world more than Christ. The answer to this is a call to true faith in the only gospel that can save. It is a call for all to turn from their sins and hypocrisy and be born again to a new life in Christ. The church must be clear that to be a Christian one must have been regenerated and given a new nature that comes from the work of the Holy Spirit.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The passage describes the failure of the sons of Siva, Jewish exorcists, in casting out an evil spirit.
  2. Their failure is contrasted with the success of the Apostle Paul in performing miracles.
  3. The sons of Siva represent those with only a secondhand belief in Christianity. They have only heard of Jesus through others and have no direct knowledge or experience of him.
  4. The sons of Siva thought Christianity was something they could take up and put down as they chose. They picked and chose parts of Christianity that suited them.
  5. The sons of Siva tried to use Christianity to serve their own ends as exorcists. They were not truly interested in Christ or the faith.
  6. The attitude and approach of the sons of Siva led to their failure, ridicule and defeat. The devil mocked them.
  7. In contrast, Paul did not take up Christianity of his own accord but was apprehended by Christ.
  8. Paul came to have a true belief in Christ as the Son of God, the atonement, the resurrection and the Holy Spirit. This was not added to his Judaism but replaced it.
  9. Christ became Paul's Lord. Paul surrendered fully to Christ.
  10. Paul's belief in Christ, experience of the Spirit and surrender to Christ led to his success and the performance of miracles.
  11. The church and individuals today need to follow Paul's example, not the sons of Siva. They must repent, believe the gospel fully and surrender to Christ.
  12. If the church denies the truth about Christ, she will have no power or success. The devil will ridicule her.
  13. Individuals can know power, comfort, forgiveness, victory and new life by fully believing in Christ, confessing sin and surrendering to him.

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Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.