This Scripture exists to address a serious problem that happens in Jesus Christ’s Church. The problem at it’s root is we don’t understand things about Evil based on scripture. We can at times be confused about the spiritual world how it has only two sides. Jesus Christ wants to teach us about Evil, we need to listen and apply the biblical knowledge, not get sucked into emotional ideas about evil. Ideas about evil being less than intentional, less than diabolical, less than absolutely opposed to God and His Christ, less than divisive, less than opportunistic.
In this passage Jesus is going to specifically address some of the ways evil works. We need to pay attention, we need to build a culture that intentionally works against evil from a place of understanding and unity. We are all able to be infected with what is afflicting these people, Jesus is addressing. Whenever something is addressed in Scripture that means it pertains to you and me. Dear Christian, never tell yourself: ‘oh that can’t happen to me’. When something like that comes out of our mouth we give evil a place.
14 One day Jesus cast out a demon from a man who couldn’t speak, and when the demon was gone, the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed…15 but some of them said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.” 16 Others, trying to test Jesus, demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.
- Jesus does an amazing healing and for some it’s not ‘good enough’
- The result of a lack of grace & faith: cynical, jaded and demanding
- Who were the ‘some of them’ that questioned what side Jesus was on?
- On who’s side are the people questioning Jesus’ authority? Are they neutral?
- Because Jesus was not their tribe (The Temple) they labeled Him ‘Evil’
17 He knew their thoughts, so he said, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A family splintered by feuding will fall apart. 18 You say I am empowered by Satan. But if Satan is divided and fighting against himself, how can his kingdom survive?
- Since He knew what they were thinking He addressed the root issue
- Root issue for them & us is we don’t apply biblical knowledge of how evil works
- Evil is not haphazard. Evil is not obvious. Evil is subtle & intentionally deceptive
- Evil seeks to divide it’s opponents while banding together to survive
19 And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. 20 But if I am casting out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.
- Jesus tells them: ‘Your Bias is Showing’! If someone is in your tribe, they’re ok
- Jesus calls them out for using a double standard, not seeking objective truth
- Can we get this narrow minded about what is constitutes Kingdom work?
- They only see God’s work in a context they have deemed ‘appropriate’
21 For when a strong man is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe— 22 until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings.
- This is a story to show there are different sides and you are on one or the other
- One side can appear to be the one in power until the greater power shows itself
- We can’t always see God working, it appears evil has the upper hand
- But eventually God will show Himself sovereign over evil
- Because HE is stronger He can render evils weapons useless
- And HE can take what evil has stolen: SOULS!
23 “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.
- This is the main point of the passage and other teaching of Christ: ‘Pick a Side’
- Everything that is not Good is Evil by definition…there is no 3rd Kingdom
- The Myth of the 3rd Kingdom Book: Kingdom matrix by Jeff Christopherson
- Exposition of the Biblical teaching that there is no ‘middle ground’
24 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order.
(Move In Ready / Unoccupied Space)
- If ‘Spiritual House’ is Unoccupied, ie. Neutral, it is open to be inhabited by evil
- The unoccupied space is not neutral, it’s still evil’s territory until good replaces it
- What is not good, is evil…What is not evil is good
26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”
- If you don’t replace evil with God you are still basically evil
- All that is not ruled by good / God’s Ways is open to become ruled by evil
- If your ‘House’ (Life / Soul) isn’t aligned with Good it is de-facto aligned with evil
- Don’t leave your ‘house’ available to ‘squatters’
- Once entrenched, evil get stronger; when given place evil becomes the ‘Owner’
27 As he was speaking, a woman in the crowd called out, “God bless your mother—the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you!” 28 Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”
- Your linage is not what determines your blessedness
- True Blessings: Our receptiveness to God’s Word & practice of God’s Word
- Practice means to with regularity and the goal of improving
- As disciples this is how we are to approach God’s Word: becoming a practitioner
Those on Christ’s side don’t create division by making false claims & accusations.
Division is a killer of kingdoms & families; on our side we fight it with God’s Grace!
Evil can appear to be in charge, God’s ways are always able to overcome it.
All Spiritual things are either of Christ or of the enemy, there is no spiritual neutrality!
Jesus says: ‘You are either with me or against me’, there is no 3rd Kingdom!
When evil is expelled it must be replaced with good or evil will reclaim the territory.
There’s more blessings in practicing God’s Word than any heritage or tradition.
How can you avoid being demanding & instead be gracious towards God’s actions?
Understanding evil always seeks to divide, how do you proactively promote unity?
What things are considered ‘spiritually neutral’? How do you avoid treating them that way?
Have you ever recognized a place in your life you ‘swept clean’ but didn’t replace the evil?
What are some specific ways you can become more of a practitioner of God’s Word?