Luke: Spiritual Warfare (Part 1)-04-08-18

‘The Gospel of Luke: Encountering Jesus’

Message: ‘Spiritual warfare’ pt.1                    Text: Luke 11:14-28

Introduction: Have you ever wanted to pull back the curtain of reality to see what’s going on behind the scenes, in the spiritual world?

  • Kind of like what Dorothy does when she pulls back the curtain that was hiding the Wizard of Oz.

I think if we could actually see into the spiritual realm, it might encourage us… at times, but I think fear would be the predominate emotion.

  • Because we would become much more aware of the work Satan is doing all around us…
  • And, how what goes on in the spiritual realm does effect what we experience here in the physical realm.

Spiritual warfare is being fought all around us, all the time. The Apostle Paul remind us of that in Ephesians 6:12

PP: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Allow me to read a summary of one of the books that changed my perception of the spiritual warfare the Apostle Paul wrote about.

  • Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a prayerful, hardworking pastor begin to investigate mysterious events, they suddenly find themselves caught up in a hideous New Age plot to enslave the townspeople, and eventually the entire human race. The physical world meets the spiritual realm as the battle rages between forces of good and evil.
  • This Present Darkness is a gripping story that brings keen insight into spiritual warfare and the necessity of prayer.
  • The companion volume, Piercing the Darkness, continues the story of the battle between spiritual forces. (Goodreads.com)

PP: The books ‘This Present Darkness’ and ‘Piercing the Darkness’ were instrumental in helping me gain a better understanding of the spiritual battle that’s being waged

  • behind the scenes,
  • just under the surface of what we can see.

Frank Peretti’s books are fiction. But he creatively uses story to challenge Christians to see the big picture of Satan’s plan to undermine and destroy the works of God on Earth.

  • So, if you enjoy a good novel
  • or if you want to get a clearer picture of the spiritual battle going on all around us,
  • I highly recommend the books.

Next Slide

Background: In Jesus’s day, the spiritual battle wasn’t so ‘behind the scenes,’ it was ‘upfront and personal.’ And every picture we get in Scripture of the spiritual warfare being waged, reveals Jesus as victorious.

  • Satan, the devil, is NOT an equal with God the Father or Jesus the Son or the Holy Spirit.
  • Satan is just a fallen angel. A very powerful fallen angel, but a created being, and therefore under the complete authority of its creator.
  • Demons are also created beings, fallen angels who rebelled against God in heaven,

also under God’s complete authority.

Through our journey in the Gospel of Luke, we’ve found that to be true.

  • Time and time again, when Jesus encounters a demon, they immediately submit to His authority.

PP: So while the world may teach a ying/yang principal that holds the universe together:

  • Good/Evil, God/Satan,
  • in complete balance, and total equality.

PP: Be assured, the Apostle John reminds us that:

for He who is in you, is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4b)

  1. Luke 11:14-16 The source of Jesus’ power

Holding on to that truth, let’s take a look at our text for this morning.

 PP: Read: Luke 11:14-16

Now He was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” while others, to test Him, kept seeking from Him a sign from heaven.

Jesus is doing what He has always been doing, caring for the hurting, the oppressed. This time He casts out a demon from a man who couldn’t speak.

When the demon left the man, he immediately spoke. That miracle, like all of Jesus’ miracles, elicited different responses from the people who witnessed them.

They all acknowledged that a great miracle had taken place.

  • Some marveled.
  • Some, already convinced Jesus wasn’t who He said He was, attributed His miracle to the power of Satan.
  • Some, still not convinced, wanted another sign, another miracle to prove Jesus was in fact the Messiah.

And Jesus will address each of those responses in verses 17-28. But before we get there, let’s take a closer look at the how the crowd tried to explain the source of Jesus’ power over demons.

The people marveled.

Now this could mean that some believed in Jesus.

But since we’re not explicitly told that, we can’t assume it.  In fact, I think this is yet another way people deny Jesus:

  • They marvel, they’re amazed at Him and what He says and does… but from a distance.
  • They get emotional about Him, but that doesn’t result in a changed life.

More on that next week, but I believe Luke 11:27-28 is Jesus’ response to those who marvel at Him.

Some said He cast’s out demons by Beelzebul.

That means they attributed Jesus’ power to Satan and not to God.

Now, we know from Scripture that’s not true. What we see here is nothing less than those who opposed Jesus, slandering Him, in an effort to hurt His credibility with the people.

  • Slander often sticks to a person, even when it’s false. Why, because generally people tend to think the worse of others.

Sidebar: We raise self-righteous fists at those in the crowd that day who would slander, think the worst of Jesus. But if we’re honest, might we be guilty of thinking the worst of others, even Christians, because we don’t want to acknowledge their successes?

  • It was wrong when the people did it in Jesus’ day, and it’s still wrong when we do it today.

Back to the text. Some said Jesus cast out demons by Beelzebul.

  • Perhaps your text says Beelzebub, other translations just paraphrase it to say Satan.
  • They’re all OK. In Matthew 12:24 Beelzebul is also called the Prince of Demons… another reference to Satan.

They must have truly hated Jesus to say that He was working for Satan.

Others, to test Him kept seeking from Him a sign from heaven.im, kepHim kept seeking from Him a sign from heaven.Himhhhhhhhhh

Some people that day refused to believe that Jesus was the Messiah unless they saw yet another sign from Him.

  • And Jesus gave them that sign, but they completely missed it.
  1. Luke 11:17-19 Jesus’ response

PP: Read: Luke 11:17-19

But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.”

First, Jesus addresses those who asked for another sign.

There is no indication in the text, that what the people said in response to Jesus’ miracle, was heard by everyone, especially Jesus.

  • Scholars believe that what was said was hushed, spoken perhaps into the ears of those standing close. Which is why Luke tells us But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them.
  • If everything was yelled out or spoken loudly in protest, there would’ve been no need to mention Jesus’ omniscience.

And thereby is their sign from heaven.

  • Only God knows the thoughts in a person’s mind or the feelings in their heart.

Sidebar: I wonder how many of God’s miracles we’ve missed, how many signs God has given to us for direction, or comfort, but because we weren’t expecting them or were looking for something else, we missed them.

Second, Jesus addressed those who attributed His miracles to the power of Satan.

Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?

Jesus uses simple logic to refute the claim that He casts out demons by the power of Satan.

  • He tells them it’s ludicrous, it’s completely illogical, to say that someone working for Satan, had the authority, the power to destroy the work Satan was doing on earth.

Think about it…It would be like during a time of war with another nation, our government gives say, the navy, the authority to start shooting up the other branches of the US military.

  • It just doesn’t make sense!

As an aside, what this reveals is that Satan does have a kingdom.

  • It’s the physical realm, the here and now, what we can see, touch, smell, taste and hear.

Scripture confirms this many times like here in Luke and also in Matthews gospel:

And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? (Luke 11:18)

And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (Matthew 10:7)

So, here’s the hard truth. Something I have a hard time getting off my lips because it breaks my heart to think it. And because it’s not only true for me and you, but for members of my family, and yours, whom I’m sure we all love.

Since there are only two Kingdoms;

  • The kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of God

Then we are a part of, members of, residents of, just one kingdom. And we follow just one king.

PP: While I don’t know the name of the artist, I believe they’ve graphically illustrated the principle of the two kingdoms.

PP: Luke 11:17-19

Back to the text. By attributing Jesus’ ability to cast out demons by Satan’s power, they were acknowledging there was in fact, a spiritual battle taking place.

  • A battle between two kingdoms.
  • A battle between the forces of evil and the forces of good.
  • A battle between Satan and his fallen angels and God and His holy angels.

And, that the battle was taking place on earth, right in front of them.

  • The clear response from the Jewish people, from God’s chosen people,
  • was to fight on the side of good, of God
  • and not to fight against it… like they actually were.

I hope you noticed the grace in this passage. In every word, Jesus is offering His adversaries grace,

  • The opportunity to put aside hate, distrust and pride,
  • and to place their faith, their life in Him,

and to enter, His kingdom.

Makes me think:

  • Even to those who are far away, God extends His extravagant and amazing grace… perhaps we should too.

Third, Jesus addresses something not mentioned by the crowd, but would serve to further prove His point. He speaks of those fellow Jews who the religious leaders acknowledged also cast out demons.

For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.

Jesus was saying

  • that by accusing Him of using Satan’s power to cast out demons,
  • they had to accuse their own people, the ones they supported,
  • that they too were getting their power and from Satan.

Strong arguments refuting their claim that He was in cahoots with, on the same side as, Satan.

  • But they were arguments from a negative perspective.

Next week we’ll begin by seeing Jesus graciously give a positive argument, one that if accepted would bring the hope Israel was waiting for.

Jesus will tell them: But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Luke 11:20)

  • I would love to talk about this amazing offer of hope… but you’ll have to wait till next Sunday.

 Conclusion: Folks,

  • Satan’s real. He’s not some impersonal force. And Satan is powerful. This is his realm, his kingdom.
  • Satan has an army; fallen angels, demons, evil spirits, who assist him in his plan to destroy the things of God here on earth, including all of humanity.

PP: John 8:42-47 (FF)

And everyone, everyone, who is not a follower of Jesus Christ; is under Satan’s power, influenced by Satan’s desires, pawns in Satan’s evil plan. Everyone.

Think for a moment; who in your family, who in your circle of friends, who in your workplace or neighborhood, might be included in that everyone?

Let’s pray.