Acts 16:17 – The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
Let’s set up the scenario around this encounter. Paul and Silas had come to Philippi, and remained for a period of time, ministering to the people. Then a young woman, possessed by a spirit of divination, also known as a spirit of python, came on the scene. Note closely that she did not come attacking Paul and Silas. Rather, she came on the scene seeming to herald the coming of two great men of God, showing them the way of salvation.
Now on the surface, it would seem that she was doing Paul and Silas a great favor. They were getting great volumes of free publicity from her, and no doubt, many people were attracted to their meetings because of it. But there was something wrong, and by Holy Spirit, Paul knew it. It was revealed to him that she was operating under the ownership and leadership of demon spirits. While we rejoice in the outcome, we should also learn a valuable lesson from this event. It has been said that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. While probabilities may point to that as true, reality says it is not. Take another look at our Text for Today.
The young woman in question was demon possessed, and deceiving many people. Yet she was not attacking or defying Paul and Silas. Instead, she was pointing them out and signifying that they were “servants of the most high God.” Wouldn’t it be great if you were recognized by well-known people wherever you go as a servant of “the most high God?” Think about it. That could be of awesome benefit to the kingdom of God and your ministry. But in this case, that was not the ultimate intent. The intent of this demon possessed soothsayer was to show that she had deep ability to recognize spiritual authority, so that when Paul and Silas had gone their way, she would be recognized as someone of great spiritual prowess. And that would lead to gross deception throughout the young church of that region.
That same scenario is played out too often in today’s church. Someone who looks sharp, dresses well, speaks intelligently, and acts kindly towards others, all of which are traits sought out by people, comes into a church. They are well-received, fit it well, seem to bring great assets to the church, and soon find themselves in a place of influence. But the question that needs to be answered, that must be answered is, what fruit are they producing?
Manna for Today – Acts 16:6-40; Matthew 24:4; Mark 4:23; Luke 8:18; Luke 11:36; Matthew 7:16-20