Luke: Spiritual Warfare (Part 2)-04-15-18

Series Title

‘The Gospel of Luke: Encountering Jesus’

Message: ‘Spiritual warfare’ pt.2                    Text: Luke 11:14-28

Introduction: We live in desperate days.

  • Anxiety, depression, fear, anger, withdraw, brokenness; all signs that people are truly living, w/o any real sense of hope.

What they don’t know is, the hope they desperately want; is not wishing, or even wanting something to happen. What they need is biblical hope, spiritual hope, the hope of God.

  • It’s the joyful expectation of what God will do on your behalf.
  • It’s faith in God that looks ahead and believes that God will always act according to His nature. That He will always do what is good and right in the world and in your life.
  • It’s an enriched life… hope is not an intellectual concept, it’s living, because it’s a part of the very nature of God.

PP: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

Certainly sounds like an enriched life.

  • To get there, we need to be reminded of where we started last week.

PP: Luke 11:14-19

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. 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.”

Last week I said that Jesus wasn’t just correcting the crowd’s erroneous, even slanderous claims, He was giving them hope, the hope all Israel wanted…  What was that hope?

  • Living under the reign of the promised Messiah.
  • And becoming residents, citizens of the Kingdom of God.

I said that each word of correction, was an outpouring of grace, flowing from the heart of loving God.

Jesus’ rebuttal, was not just intended to set the people straight, it was to give the people hope…

  • Hope, that even though they were pawns in Satan’s work,
  • they can be freed from his power and become beloved and protected children of God.

Why hope?

  • Didn’t Israel know they were God’s chosen people?
  • Didn’t they know the promises of God to His people?
  • Didn’t the festivals and feasts they observed remind them of God’s grace / faithfulness?
  • Wouldn’t all that give them hope?

It did… for some. And for those few, they saw their hope realized in Jesus, and placed their faith, their trust, in Him.

For the rest, it’s not as though they forgot what God said and did,

  • they just got tired of waiting
  • or got sucked in to placing their hope in worldly things… money, success, power…
  • only to become disappointed.

Jesus saw their hopelessness, and even though they ridiculed, slandered and rejected Him, He still chose to extend grace to them, offering them yet another opportunity to find the hope they so desperately needed.

  • And folks, listen. Jesus still offers hope to all those who are anxious, depressed, afraid, angry, withdrawn, and broken.

And we see that in our text this morning.

PP: 3. Luke 11:20

But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

BUT… a HUGE word of comparison in scripture.

  • For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul….
  • But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

We see the same comparison here… and for the people in the crowd, had they seen it, accepted it, their lives would have been transformed and their hope realized.

It’s as if Jesus was saying:

Your ways, your thoughts, your beliefs, reveal that you’re a part, a resident, a citizen of the kingdom ruled by your father, the devil.

BUT, there is hope

  • When you believe Me, when you place your faith, your trust in Me, that I am who I say I am.
  • Then you’ll be forgiven your sin, then you’ll be accepted by God, then you’ll be a part, a resident, a citizen of the kingdom of Almighty God.

Jesus just didn’t correct the people, He didn’t just give a rebuttal to their slanderous attack, He extended grace and offered them hope. And that got me thinking…

  • What are we doing to extend grace and offer hope to those around us who have no hope?
  • Are we, by how we live and what we say, revealing the joy of living in the kingdom of God to those around us who are broken?

 PP: 4. Luke 11:21-22

When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, He takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil.

Anyone have a friend, a neighbor, perhaps a relative who’s not saved, who has not yet placed their faith in Jesus..

  • who has more money than you,
  • who’s more successful than you,
  • who has a nicer, larger house than you,
  • who have all their hair or teeth?

Have you ever thought ‘That’s not fair.’

Every day you look at the world around you and see evil… doing quite well:

  • You see powerful people get more power and then abuse it.
  • You see crime, not only increase, but get more heinous.
  • You see more and more people have less and less regard for the value of human life.

That is the physical manifestation of the spiritual warfare that’s going on all around us. And from a rational, realistic perspective, it looks like evil is winning.

Yet… yet, our text shouts out to us that there is hope:

  • Even though we’re bound to Satan.
  • Even though we unwittingly do his bidding.
  • Even though Satan’s power is great and we can do nothing to defend ourselves against him or to free ourselves from him.

Jesus is stronger! Amen?

Jesus is greater! Amen?

Jesus has defeated Satan at the cross! Amen?

And Jesus will take you out from under Satan’s  bondage and free you to live in His kingdom, as Children of Almighty God.

Here’s what this text is saying:

  • Satan is the strong man who guards all that’s his… and what’s his? You and me! Before you came to Christ, you belonged to your father, the devil, you lived in his kingdom, doing his bidding.
  • Jesus, is the One stronger than he. Jesus attacks the devil and because He’s infinitely stronger, He overpowers him.
  • Jesus ends Satan’s power by eliminating his armor.
  • And Jesus takes what belonged to Satan. And what was that? YES! You and me!

Listen to what Jesus said in something that I believe is directly related to this text.

PP: So the Jews gathered around Him and said to Him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about Me, but you do not believe because you are not among My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:24-29)

  • The reason no one can snatch or take us from the hand of God,
  • The reason no one can reverse what God has done and take us back to the kingdom of Satan,
  • is because Jesus has already defeated Satan.

Can I get an Amen?

 Read: Colossians 2:15

  • He (Jesus) disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them…

Not even Satan, the ruler of this world, can take us from Jesus.

  • Jesus, is stronger, is greater, is mightier, is more powerful than any of the evil that is in the world, then, now and in the future.

How’s that for reigniting a passion for Jesus and restoring hope in your life?

PP: 5. Luke 11:23

Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters.

Pretty clear, wouldn’t you agree? There’s no place in the kingdom of God for those who are neutral towards Jesus.

 PP: Cow on fence pic

You can’t be on the fence with it comes to Jesus. It’s all or nothing.

  • You’re saved or you’re not.
  • Your sins are forgiven or you’re still being held accountable for them.
  • You’re a citizen of the kingdom of Satan or a citizen of the kingdom of God.

You can receive Jesus or reject Him, but you can’t ignore Him.

  • And make no mistake, ignoring Jesus is rejecting Him.

But, I hope you see it. The words of Jesus here are  strong, forceful. Yet, I see that the door of grace has not yet been closed.

Once again… hope is offered to those who are w/o hope. There’s still time, Jesus is saying,

  • Yes, you may have been ignoring Me.
  • Yes, you may have rejected Me.

BUT,

  • If you trust that I am who I say that I am
  • If you place your faith in Me for the forgiveness of your sin.
  • Then, I will take you from the kingdom of this world and place in the kingdom of God.

The most important question you will ever be asked is this: Have you… will you, accept Jesus’ gracious offer of hope and place your faith, your trust in Him?

PP: 6. Luke 11:24-26

  • When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

From the earlier chapters in Luke’s gospel, we know that the religious leaders were following Jesus to try to trip Him up. No doubt they were in the crowd that day.

We also know that the religious leaders, especially the Pharisees, were all about following the Law of Moses and about personal morality.

  • You see they believed that was how you were accepted by God.

So they worked hard to clean up their lives, at least on the outside.

Jesus described their efforts in Matthew 23:27

  • Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.

In essence Jesus was saying that there’s no hope for those who try to clean themselves up by living according to the Law or by living a moral life.

  • Truth is, you just make more room for Satan to work in you. How?

We,

  • through attempting to following the letter of the law,
  • through making sacrifices to appear morality pure,

try to clean up our lives… and we might do a good job of it…

  • But what comes back to fill our lives is pride over our ability and success to live according to the Law and to have a morally clean life.
  • What comes back is a judgmental/critical attitude towards those who choose not to live as we do.

And, that’s not faith, that’s not hope, that’s not the Gospel. It’s not how someone is accepted by God. That’s what Jesus is saying.

The religious leaders promoted a negative approach to God’s approval.

  • In other words, they emphasized and taught all the things we are NOT to do.

Jesus is saying that something needs to replace the void in our lives. And in the context of Jesus’ casting out the demon, He’s saying

  • When I clean someone up, by grace, I don’t leave them empty and vulnerable to further oppression.

 

From a positive perspective, Jesus fills the void in our lives… with the Holy Spirit.

  • And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him. (Acts 5:32)

What Jesus is talking about here is the hope of restoration, of being restored to a right relationship with God the Father.

PP: 7. Luke 11:27-28

As He said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which You nursed!” But He said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:27–28)

Now, this sounds like an honest expression of praise, considering the other comments made by the crowd. But… she too was off base.

Here a woman gets caught up in the moment, in marveling at what she saw Jesus do. But Jesus corrects her as well.

Truth is, it’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of the moment.

ILL: I still get choked up at just that moment in the movie

  • where the guy finally get the girl
  • or the dog, after a lot of trials, finds his way safely home
  • or the town is saved from economic disaster because a former resident turned executive in the big city, comes back, then falls in love with her high school sweetheart

and they find a way to save the business and the town. (BTW, that’s the plot of just about every Hallmark movie)

Look, it’s even easy to get caught up in the emotion of a particularly moving Christian song or worship service.

  • But, emotions aren’t enough to change the direction of your life.

What changes your life, Jesus says, is obedience, commitment to God’s Word

  • In this case, the Living Word, Jesus.

How do I know that? Remember at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry the Father said this in Luke 9:35:

  • And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!”

In this context, listen to Him means to obey what He says. Back in Luke 6:45 Jesus said the same thing:

  • Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

And Jesus is saying

  • if you want to be blessed,
  • if you want your sin forgiven,
  • if you want a place in God’s kingdom,
  • if you want a living, powerful hope,
  • place your faith, your trust in Me.

Hope doesn’t come from an emotional moment in time,

Hope comes from a continual relationship of obedience to Jesus.

Conclusion

I think what we see in our text this morning is a lesson about restoration.

PP: Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:12–13)

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

(1 Peter 2:10, ESV)

The you here in both texts represents all those who have rejected Jesus; like those in the crowd in Luke’s text and like so many today who have not yet placed their faith in Jesus.

  • you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. Once you were not a people, once you had not received mercy,
  • But now in Christ Jesus you have been brought near by the blood of Christ. But now you are God’s people, but now you have received mercy.

To you, God extends grace, mercy, love… forgiveness and offers hope.

Even if you’re a follower of Jesus but you’re going through what seems like a time of discipline from God. Understand His desire is not to hurt or punish you, it’s to restore you. God’s Word assures us in 1 Peter 5:10

  • And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, restoration… hope, flow freely from the very heart of God.

Reach out and receive it all, by faith in Jesus.

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