Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday, May 29th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Kings 3-4, Psalm 107, Acts 18
Today's scripture focus is Luke 4:31-37

Luke 4:31-37

English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Heals a Man with an Unclean Demon

31 And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, 32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. 33 And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 36 Andthey were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” 37 And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

Accompanying Mark Driscoll sermons: Jesus and Demons, Q&A 1, Q&A 2
Accompanying Matt Chandler sermon: Being
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: Jesus' Authority Over Demons Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

And, no, I did not listen to or read all 7 sermons! :)

A few words from Matt Chandler....
during the time that Jesus walks the earth, there’s this massive amount of confusion about who He is. His family says at times He’s crazy. You’ve got the Pharisees that are saying He’s demon possessed. You’ve got His disciples who are unsure. And the only ones who consistently get it right in the New Testament are the demons. And that’s what you just saw happen. “I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”...y. Notice that there’s no dualistic battle for the universe going on here. Jesus tells the demon to be quiet, and there’s no more argument. This is not this kind of dualistic idea of good vs. evil, and whoever plays their cards right and maps out their strategy right wins. Nothing evil ever argues with Jesus, ever. “Be quiet. Get in the pigs.” And that’s what you’re going to see happening over and over and over. This man walks with an authority that, until the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, was unattainable.....There are such thing as demons. There are such thing as oppressive forces. Here comes a man, demon possessed, therefore would have been viewed by the religious ruling party as an unclean man, a man unworthy of the Torah, a man who is demon possessed because of his own vices, his own sin or that of his parents. And Jesus, with no judgment, simply goes, “Ah now, we’ll set him free.” Have we read anything lately about Jesus coming to set maybe oppressed, overwhelmed, beat up people free? So right out of the gate He’s kinda doing what He said He would.

Love that connection!

Mark Driscoll points out that people often have two extreme reactions to the idea of demons - they either outright reject the possibility that they even exist, or they give them far too much credit.  Both of which, are wrong.

Then he tells us some things about Satan (you can read more details in his sermon if you like, I'm just going to summarize the list quickly).
1. Satan is not equal to God and he does not share the attributes of God.
2. Satan is not our only enemy.  There are other demons, there is the flesh (things you are tempted by due to your sinful nature) and there is the world (and its system of thinking and corruption).
3. You need to know your enemy in order to fight him effectively.

He also had an interesting analogy....
Now some of you will want to know how in the world did this guy get demonized. The Bible doesn’t generally use the word demon possession, some of your translations will. It uses the word “demonized,” that can be internally influenced, externally oppressed, completely controlled, it’s a wide range of usage and meaning. But how does that happen? I’ll use an analogy building on a metaphor that Jesus uses. He uses the analogy about Satan and demons about a house. So let’s look at your life and your body like a house, you live in it. Now what happens to your house if you leave all the windows open, all the doors open and you invite all the wrong people over? They move in, they trash the place, they do horrible things, they torment you, they destroy your house. They take over your life. Your life is like that through sin, unrepentant sin, habitual sin, folly, general spirituality....What you’re doing is you’re opening the windows and you’re taking the hinges off the doors and you’re inviting unclean people and things in. At some point, it can go really bad for you, really bad for you.

See some of you don’t look at it that way. You just think sin is the breaking of a law, which it is, but sin is also the opening of a door. How many of you tonight would go to bed with all of the doors off the hinges in your house? But some of you do that spiritually every day. Unrepentant, habitual sin, folly, religion, and spirituality.

What happens then is if you’re a non-Christian, see your house belongs to Satan. You either belong to God or Satan. So if you’re a non-Christian, you might be nice, spiritual, moral, decent and good, and Satan wants you to believe that you’re wonderful because he loves pride and as long as you’re happy being on his team, he’s not going to disrupt anything. And so he owns you and then he possesses you. He owns you and your life and he starts to do devastation, his work always leads to death.

Now if you’re a Christian, does Satan own your proverbial house, yes or no? No, but can you open yourself up to all kinds of torment and influence by inviting people and things into your life that shouldn’t be there? Yes, yes. We don’t know whether or not this man was a believer, all we know is he had opened all the doors and windows to his house to the point where when Jesus shows up, there’s actually a demon connected to this guy. A Christian cannot be demon possessed, Jesus owns them, but they can be demonically influenced by all the openings in their life.

MacArthur, as usual, has some great insight as well.....
As we learn from the Bible, there is a wicked force of evil spirits in the world called demons. Originally they were created by God has holy angels. Their home was heaven and they served and worshiped God. But through pride and rebellion they became evil. Their leader, Lucifer, came known as Satan the devil, he was able to lead one third of those holy angels in his prideful rebellion. As a result of their rebellion and pride, they were cast out of heaven by God Himself. They number in the millions, they are eternal. Created by God originally they will live forever. In the future, they will be thrown into a lake of fire where they will be tormented forever, they cannot be redeemed, they cannot be forgiven, nor will they or can they repent. They are forever wicked.

They operate in the world today to achieve the purpose of Satan and thwart the purposes of God. They are behind the world's complex system of evil and they are the dominating powers in the lives of all people who do not belong to God through faith in Jesus Christ. The whole of humanity is in the grip of this force of evil spirits. They are real, they are personal and they are wicked.

Everybody who is not a Christian belongs to them in the sense of functioning under their dominating power...
They would rather operate in a clandestine subtle way. They don't really want to surface themselves if they don't have to. That way they can carry on the ruse, the deception. They can carry on the disguise. They are disguised as angels of light. They are disguised as ministers of righteousness. They don't want to manifest who they really are. And so you can go through your whole lifetime and never see a demon manifestation through a person. As I told you, in my whole lifetime and I've been pretty much at the cutting edge, at the front edge of the battle for the gospel, I've only perhaps three times actually engaged in verbalization with a demon speaking through a person. They don't like to do that. They don't like to manifest themselves. So demon...demon manifestation in a possessed person is a very rare phenomena. But it wasn't rare during the time of Jesus. Jesus was so powerful, His message was so powerful, His person was so powerful that when He came into the world and He began to preach the gospel and He began to come to people with the message of His Kingdom, demons in sheer terror began to expose themselves, I believe, involuntarily out of sheer trauma.

Usually they don't do that. They would rather operate in a person who is teaching in a liberal seminary. They would rather be a Methodist...they would be in a Methodist pastor who advocates homosexuality. They can get a lot more done subtly....If you listen to them, these liberal people, they tell you you can't believe the Bible. Isn't that what Satan said in the Garden, you can't believe God, He's not trustworthy? They tell you the God of the Bible is not good. Isn't that what Satan implied? God isn't good, if He was good He wouldn't tell you you couldn't eat of that good tree over there. You can't trust God. You can't believe God. God isn't going to look out for your best.

See, Satan from the very beginning did one particular thing, and that is to undermine the character of God and then along with that undermine the Word of God. And when anybody comes along today and undermines the nature of God and undermines the Word of God, you can be sure they're plying the trade of the kingdom of darkness....

is the first miracle that Luke records and it is a miracle of casting a demon out of a man. And the point of it is to demonstrate that Jesus has power over the kingdom of darkness. Remember, Jesus is God and He threw Satan out of heaven. He can certainly throw a demon out of a man. That needs to be demonstrated, doesn't it?, if we're going to believe Jesus is the Messiah. If we're going to believe that He can deliver us from the kingdom of darkness, if He can deliver us from sin and death and Satan and hell, then we have to see that He can get us and take us out of the kingdom of darkness. In other words, if Jesus is the Messiah, He has to be able to plunder the kingdom of Satan. In Jesus' own words, He has to be able to go into the strong man's house, tie the strong man up, take all his goods and that's exactly what Jesus did. He went into the strong man's, Satan's, house and He tied Satan up and plundered his goods. And what are his goods? The souls of sinners that he held captive. Jesus can do it. He proves that He can do it because He has total power over the demons. And Luke starts His miracles, the first of the miracles that he'll record here, with this miraculous demonstration of Jesus' power over the kingdom of darkness.
We can see by the demon's response to Jesus that they were frightened by Him.  What frightens demons?  They fear the gospel message being preached because it plunders their kingdom (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).  They fear the purpose of the Son of God which is to destroy the devil (1 John 3:8) and it spells their eternal damnation, first in the pit during Christ's thousand year reign, and then in hell forever.  And they were terrified this was it, this was the time.  And the third thing they fear is God Himself.  Ultimate evil cringes in the presence of perfect holiness. And, of course, they fear the power of God.

And though the demons know who He is and proclaim the fact that He is God - He silences them.  Why?  Because though they are speaking the truth in this instance, Satan is known as the father of lies, and demons proclaiming Christ to be the Messiah would not be helpful.  God doesn't need publicity from the kingdom of darkness, that confuses the issue.

If you are a believer, Christ dwells within you.  Your body is the temple of Christ.  You do not need to fear the devil, the devil is scared of you because of the presence of Christ within you.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 4:38-44
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Kings 5-6, Psalm 108, Acts 19

1 comment:

Miriam said...

Excellent reminder about demons being real, but limited in power. Thanks.