2017-08-13 – Luke 11.14-23 – Divided Kingdoms Fall
14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” 16 Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? —for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. 22 But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. 23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Good morning everyone. I am so pleased that you chose to spend the morning with us here today. Thank you and God bless you.
This morning we are continuing in the sermon series on The Parables of Jesus. Last week we read where Jesus answered a question about fasting. We discussed the dynamics of fasting, how Jesus fasted, the disciples fasted and how we too should consider fasting. But Jesus also brought up the fact that He was presenting a new paradigm for them and for us that doesn’t fit their old way of thinking. What He is presenting is like new wine and a new patch that just won’t work in old wineskins and old material. We likewise should be flexible to the Holy Spirit working in our lives and in our churches. I was inspired by that message and I hope you were as well.
Today’s message is entitled Divided Kingdoms Fall.
Please turn in your Bibles to Luke 11:14, Page 72 of the New Testament in the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God. Let us Pray…
This message covers several subjects. The first is demonic possession, then Jesus’ authority and the dynamics of a divided people.
We will talk about each of these, but the main focus today will be on the latter issue of a divided people. My prayer of course is that we are together and united. There is a quote I like that says “The reason mountain climbers are tied together is to keep the sane ones from going home” lol
This parable today is generally referred to as the Parable of the Strong Man, and it is listed in the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark and Luke.
The circumstance that this parable was given is about half way through Jesus’ ministry on earth, right after He fed 5000, and gave the disciples and us what is referred to as the Lord’s Prayer. Then in verse 14 it says:
14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed.
Demonic Possession – The Matthew version of this situation says that “Then they brought to him a demoniac who was blind and mute”; It is proposed that it was the Pharisees that brought to Jesus this man that was demon possessed. And He was mute and he was blind.
Although this message doesn’t focus on demon possession, I will tell you that it does still happen today. However, it isn’t like this is an everyday common occurrence; not everything that is evil is a result of being demon possessed. Most times people just are evil in themselves and they cause bad things to happen.
I have had people come up to me and ask me to help them with their demons, in almost all those instances it wasn’t actually demons, it was just their bad thoughts and actions that they want to attribute to anything, or cast blame on anything but their own selves.
The Bible tells us that true believers cannot be possessed by demons. You see believers are indwelled with the Holy Spirit at the moment they truly accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. And because of that, there simply is no room for Satan or demons in their person anymore. Now that doesn’t mean that we can’t be impacted or influenced by evil, because we all know that we can. But in those cases we effectively have invited Satan and his schemes to be part of our life, or we are simply subjected to the evil in the world. We live in a fallen world that is under the influence of Satan, but as Christians are believers in Christ and children of God, we are protected from Satan for all of eternity. Christians can’t be possessed by demons. Say it with me will you.. Christians can’t be possessed.
15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” 16 Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven.
The Pharisees and Jewish authorities were attempting to trip Jesus up over and over again throughout His ministry. In this case, Jesus had just healed this man who was known for being blind and mute. After seeing how Jesus cast out of this man demons and made him see and speak again, the Pharisees then accused Jesus of doing so effectively by the authority and power of Satan.
I love how Jesus responded to them here in verse 17:
17 But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? —for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul.
First you see the dynamic that Jesus knew what they were thinking. Jesus did this over and over throughout His ministry. He could read peoples minds.
Isn’t my Savior awesome! We are so fortunate to have a leader-Savior that we know personally, but that He was so cool as well. He was so amazing in His abilities and so compassionate and humble to boot. Have you ever been on a team or in a job where the leader of the group was somebody that you felt you could really lookup to? It makes you feel secure, it makes you want to get behind them and follow them. Jesus was wonderfully amazing in both His character and His abilities. I am sure it had to be humbling and incredible for the people there to witness.
So again, they Pharisees were attempting to come up with any excuse to belittle the miraculous works of Jesus. Here they were saying that Jesus was working for and under the authority of Beelzebul. So you might be asking, who is Beelzebul?
The word Beelzebul has two parts: Baal, which was the name for the Canaanite fertility gods in the Old Testament; and Zebul, which means “exalted dwelling.” Putting the two parts together, they formed a name for Satan himself, the prince of demons. Baal-zebub is a term signifying “the lord of flies” (2 Kings 1:2). Archaeological excavations at ancient Philistine sites have uncovered golden images of flies. The Jews changed the name to “Beelzeboul” meaning “lord of dung”. Some biblical scholars believe Beelzebub was also known as the “god of filth,” which later became a name of bitter scorn in the mouth of the Pharisees. As a result, Beelzebub was a disgraceful deity, and his name was used by the Jews as an nickname for Satan.
19 Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
Jesus is trying to get them to see is the error of their assertions. Why would anyone, let alone Jesus use Satan’s power to eradicate Satan’s demons. It doesn’t make any sense at all. I love how Jesus frequently turned the arguments around with such finesse and authority. Additionally, if it wasn’t by Satan’s power, then it would have to be through God’s power, and in that case it would be yet another proof that Jesus was exhibiting powers granted to Him by God Himself.
Jesus then said the parable of the Strong man starting here in verse 21:
21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. 22 But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder.
This parable was challenging for me to fully comprehend. So I decided to break it down to the different elements:
The strong man fully armed = Satan.
His court = the whole world is under Satan’s control.
His goods = the souls whom Satan holds captive.
His armor = the devices by which he enslaves men.
The Stronger Man = the Lord Jesus Christ.
The spoils = the souls rescued from Satan by the Lord.
Overcoming the strong man = the total victory of Christ.
Taking his whole armor = Eliminating all of Satan’s devices through the gospel of Christ.
So effectively it means this, when Jesus (the stronger man) rescues somebody from the Satan, He also takes away all power from Satan over the rescued person. Thus Christians have nothing to fear. Satan has no power over you any more. Amen?
And when Jesus expelled these demons, He was effectively walking into the strong man’s house and taking over. Satan, with all his powers and influence is nothing compared to that of Jesus Christ, God incarnate. Praise the Lord!
Now I want to call your attention back to verse 17, where Jesus said “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house.
With most any size group, whenever there is strife or division in the ranks then it is a good indicator that collapse is imminent. When you look at our good ole United States of America, you see so much division these days, I don’t know if we have had such division here since the Civil War. So sad to witness such division isn’t it? But this dynamic is not limited to government or church; it is also a factor in our homes and marriages all too frequently. Both sides think they have a monopoly on common sense, and neither is willing to budge or negotiate. Let me tell you that needing to be right all the time is not healthy. Sometimes people come to me with their family or marital arguments, and neither side is willing to budge an inch on an issue. Is it worth the destruction of your marriage that you have to be right all the time? It is so sad that some folks will attempt to stand their ground no matter what the cost.
You might recall, in our Bibles, the young Corinthian church members were suing each other in court, Jesus effectively said it would be better to be wrong instead of bringing your petty issues before a civil court. I think this is an important point for us here today. In that regard could you please turn to 1 Corinthians 6:1 #169 Lawsuits among Believers. This is the Apostle Paul writing to the church. He said:
1 When any of you has a grievance against another, do you dare to take it to court before the unrighteous instead of taking it before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels—to say nothing of ordinary matters? 4 If you have ordinary cases, then, do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to decide between one believer and another, 6 but a believer goes to court against a believer—and before unbelievers at that? 7 In fact, to have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—and believers at that.
Paul was scolding and correcting the young Corinthian church. He was pleading with them to stay united. And if there was ever a grievance or dispute between members, settle it with the church leadership, not civil court. Then Jesus in our last verse of this message says:
23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
You might find it interesting to know that this is actually an old farming term. If you are not gathering the flock you are scattering the flock. You see, Jesus is trying to convey that there is no real neutral position here.
This is such a sad circumstance. Jesus was right before them doing wonderful miracles, yet these Pharisees were so determined that they would go to any length to discredit Jesus including giving credit to Satan.
Can you say head-strong. I will confess that when I was younger, I have been guilty of pushing my agenda regardless of the damage it caused. I learned some hard lessons back then and it cost me dearly.
Don’t let your stubbornness create unnecessary casualties. We need to prudently count the costs. But Jesus loves you, and He always will, no matter what.
So here are the takeaways for you today.
- Jesus is more powerful than all the demons and Satan together.
- Jesus can save anyone regardless of their situation or circumstance.
- Division in the church (otherwise called the bride of Christ) or in the family is not healthy and can lead to destruction.
- If you find yourself being headstrong, then I plead with you to consider sacrificing that headstrong character for the sake of Christ and the glory of God. As like Paul was suggesting, it is many times better to be wrong then be divided. We need to stick together
As I started this message I gave you a piece of a quote about the mountain climbers, and I will close this message with it in whole. Gerhard Frost said:
“The reason mountain climbers are tied together is to keep the sane ones from going home” I don’t know who said it, or when, or where, but I’ve chuckled over it, thought about it, and quoted it too. With a mountain of mercy behind me and a mountain of mission ahead, I need you, my sister, my brother, I need to be tied to you, and you need me, too. We need each other… to keep from bolting, fleeting in panic, and returning to the “sanity” of unbelief.”
[Alter Call & Prayer] – Please Stand..