Burning Bridges – Acts 19:19

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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During the Revolutionary War, it was customary to burn bridges after troops crossed over them, to prevent the enemy from slipping up behind an army, and to prevent soldiers from deserting in the heat of battle. On one occasion, General George Washington led his troops across a bridge as they were nearing a battle. One of his officers asked him whether or not to burn the bridge behind them. General Washington reportedly looked at the bridge, then to the battle, and said, “Burn the bridge, it is either victory or death.”

When Paul came to the city of Ephesus, God blessed him with an open door to “…speak boldly for the space of three months…” in the synagogue, “persuading them the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts.19:8). When many “hardened” their hearts, God opened another door “in the school of Tyrannus” where, for two years, Paul proclaimed Christ. The result was, all in Asia, both Jew and Gentile, “heard the word of the Lord Jesus” (vs. 10), and many were saved. During this time, Paul was also able to work miracles. Then, unsaved “vagabond [or traveling] Jews” sought to cast out demons, presumably for hire, “by Jesus whom Paul preacheth” (vs. 13). God did not honor lost men making merchandise of the Savior’s name. Instead of being cast out, the demons beat them so severely “they fled out of the house naked and wounded” (vs. 16). Once all Ephesus heard of this event, great conviction occurred, particularly on those who had already trusted in Christ. “And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds. Many…which used curious arts [occult type practices] brought their books together, and burned them before all men…” (Acts 19:18-19). These believers had not cut their ties to previous sinful things that would greatly dishonor Christ, and hinder their daily Christian walk. When convicted of these wrongs, they had a huge bonfire, effectively burning their bridges to prevent their easy return to sinful things.

Today, serious-minded Christians likewise need to burn bridges to previous sins and get sinful things out of our lives. We need to “burn” pornography, immodest clothing, worldly beverages, and other things we know hinder our walk with Christ. Today is a good day for a bonfire. What sinful bridge would God have you burn?

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."