WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Examining the city of Ephesus at a time when it was a center for the occult, Johnny Hunt preached on “Miracles, Exorcisms and Changed Lives” from Acts 19:11-20 at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“Ephesus was a major city with an unbelievable satanic grip upon it,” Hunt, pastor of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., recounted in a chapel service at the Wake Forest, N.C., campus March 8. “In that context the Lord did some outstanding works to authenticate His name and His Word.
Hunt counseled, “Be careful, young seminarian, when you’re looking at a church in a difficult area and you judge it by the energy of the flesh instead of by the wisdom of the Spirit and make a decision whether you ought to go there or not because it’s a difficult place. God may choose to send you there for the express purpose to glorify His name just to show people He’s a great God.”
Hunt, a graduate of Southeastern Seminary, described the miracles mentioned in the passage, noting that God chooses to work through mere mortals to bring about great changes in churches, cities and individual lives.
The exorcists were powerless in the Acts 19 passage, Hunt said, because they did not have a personal relationship with the Savior.
“Whenever God’s people minister the truth, Satan sends counterfeits to oppose the work,” Hunt pointed out. “Satan imitates whatever God’s people are doing.”
Demon possession is a reality even today, Hunt said, and demons observe everything that Christians do. Like they did with the Apostle Paul according to the passage in Acts, they watch for vulnerable areas in Christians’ lives and then attack.
Hunt lamented that many Christians fail to remember that demons are around them and seeking to destroy them. “We as Southern Baptists have gone so far on the opposite end to make sure nobody thinks we’re charismatic, we’re missing a lot of the spiritual war,” which must be waged with a reverential fear of the Lord, who is so much greater than Satan and his demons, Hunt said.