Acts 19:17-20 – All of the people in Ephesus were awestruck, both Jews and non-Jews, when they heard about what had happened. Great fear fell over the entire city, and the authority of the name of Jesus was exalted. Many believers publicly confessed their sins and disclosed their secrets. Large numbers of those who had been practicing magic took all of their books and scrolls of spells and incantations and publicly burned them. When the value of all the books and scrolls was calculated, it all came to several million dollars. The power of God caused the word to spread, and the people were greatly impacted.
Apparently, there was considerable demonic activity in Ephesus. It was considered a highly immoral town. Immorality and the occult seem to go hand in hand. The interest in the occult is no surprise with the darkness so prevalent in that city. Thankfully, where sin abounds grace much more abounds. Here is how Adam Clarke described the occult activity in the times of the early church.
“Exorcisms or adjurations of evil spirits were very frequent in the primitive Church: the name of JESUS was that alone which was used. The primitive fathers speak strong and decisive words concerning the power of this name; and how demons were tormented and expelled by it, not only from individuals, but from the temples themselves. Exorcists formed a distinct class an the Church; hence we read of presbyters, deacons, exorcists, lectors, and door-keepers. The adjuration was commonly used over the catechumens, before they were admitted to baptism. Gregory of Nazianzen, and Cyril of Jerusalem speak much of this rite.”
Every time I read this account of the burning of occult books, I am reminded of a record and occult material burning we had in the early days of Victory Church. I gathered together all of my old secular record albums (I had already burnt my Krishna garbage), and started a pile in back of the church. Church members gathered their stuff and added to the pile. Literally thousands of old music albums went up in smoke that day as well as Ouija boards and other occult materials. My collection alone was worth several thousands of dollars.
What is the point? Obviously, there was a major control on our lives caused by the spirit that was active in that worldly paraphernalia. For the church in Ephesus, this was a clean break with the past life. That worldly music carried an evil presence that had had control in all of our lives. I was glad to see it all burn. I love the freedom of the Holy Spirit. Maybe you have some relics from the past that need to go up in smoke.