Wisdom in person 1 - Luke 11:14-28

This is a sermon by Lee McMunn from the evening service on 3rd July 2011.

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Chronological snobbery. A term invented by CS Lewis. What does it mean? The view that the thinking, art and science of an earlier time is inherently inferior because it is older. They never quite got it.

No one is denying that we have made progress in many areas. No iphone or ipad in 1st century.

Chronological snobbery is dangerous! Why talk about it tonight? Because we are in danger of this when we try and interpret what we read about in Luke 11:14.

Demon was linked with the muteness. The muteness left as the demon left. This is where chronological snobbery kicks in. If we’re not careful we end up saying things like this…the ancients didn’t understand what we know about mental illness and physical sickness. And so look at them. They have concluded that this person was possessed by a demon.

The ancients did make a distinction. Look at the Gospels. Not every sickness was blamed on demon possession. However, they did realise that spiritual possession could lead to physical symptoms.

This passage is not supposed to remind us that we are involved in a spiritual battle and that Jesus is the powerful victor that everyone needs to break free from the slavery imposed by Satan. We may not be used to thinking like this. So let me show you more about the enemy we face and the tactics he uses

First of all, the enemy we face. Look again at verse 14. Read vs 14-15.

An introduction to this unseen spiritual world. Many demons. They had a commander in chief. An organiser. A prince. He has different names. Here is called Beelzebub or Beelzeboul. Lord of the flies.

We don’t know a great deal about how this happened.

The evangelical Christian view is that these are created angels who rebelled. Now they are hell bent on ruining the human race.

What are their tactics? Many. Usually very ordinary. We’ll start with this dramatic tactic used in Luke 11.

We don’t know much about this man. Was he married? Did he have children? Matt 12 – blind.

At this point he was controlled by a demon and this impacted his physical health. He could not release himself.

When did this happen? From birth? Later on? Why did this happen? Did he dabble? We don’t know any of these answers but look at what we do know from verse 14. Jesus drove out the demon. There is no close finish in this battle. The question is why?

The crowd were amazed. Some tried to test him by asking for a sign. Others offered an explanation.

By Beelzebub, the prince of demons he is driving out demons. Quite an accusation – to be on the payroll of Satan. To be taking instruction from the prince of darkness.

Notice how Jesus responds. Says two things.

First, he points out that such an accusation is irrational. Look at vs 17. Read vs 17-18. This would be civil war.

Secondly, he points out that they are being inconsistent. Read vs 19.

Their own followers carried out exorcisms. They were teachers from Jerusalem (Mk 3). They would be the judges. They would testify that just because someone was driving out demons didn’t mean that he was on the payroll of demon.com

Could it that there were other hidden motivations that had led to this conclusion?

Followers and a king. How often is that the case? People reject Jesus because they are threatened by his control. We must not minimise this. But we must maximise the goodness and blessedness of his rule.

What was the real reason? Vs 20-22. Finger of God from Exodus 8. Spirit of God from Matthew 12:28, “If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.”

Why has the kingdom of God come? The powerful Messiah filled by the Spirit has come.

I think this explains why there is such a concentration of this in the Gospels.

There is a distinction to be made between what is descriptive and what is prescriptive. How God spoke in OT and today. Just because it happened in the Gospels doesn’t mean we should automatically expect it to happen today in the same intensity.

This tactic is very unusual today for us.  Only one front of the battle.

Satan has many ordinary ways. Doubt God’s word. Deny God’s word. Distort. Snatch away God’s word.

He is keen to enslave and trap God’s people. Think of that Hebrews reading. Fear of death. Why do people fear death? Meeting God as a sinner. What next?

Our world brings on the jesters. Doesn’t liberate us form the fear.  Cannot get rid of it. Satan will bring it back.

Jesus is the conquer who can liberate us from the fear of death. His death and resurrection.

We must surrender personally to the king to benefit. When we have we must get our assurance.

Coke machine illustration. Let the implications sink in.

It’s very popular to think that we’re on the same page as Jesus even if we don’t follow him. Look at what Jesus says in vs 23.

Either with him or against him. No spiritual Switzerland. Why? He is the king who has come to gather people to his rule. He is not simply offering general morality that you can also commend even if you don’t follow him. He wants those who will also gather people to him. Not to a general idea but to him. That’s why if we are not for him we will not gather – instead we will scatter people in all sorts of other directions.

Many reasons to follow Christ but let’s focus on the reason Jesus gives in vs 24-26. May not be pertinent to all of us but maybe for someone we know.

Spooky house situations. They want the Hogwarts magician to come in with some magic water, say some magic words and leave. Jesus says we need the evil spirit replaced by his presence. We need the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Have you dabbled? Do you know others like that? We need the presence of the Spirit to protect us.

What a day? A women shouts out. VS 27. Mary was blessed.

What of us? Hear and obey it. What might this mean?

Not a Christian. Join the king. The king is gathering a people. With him or against him.

A Christian. Hear the gospel again. Let the implications of this gospel penetrate. Be joyful that Jesus is the Conquerer.

The battle to be fought. Different fronts. Stand and trust in the gospel. Communion.

And since we have heard and obeyed the gospel we are blessed. Every spiritual blessing in Christ.

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