Summary: We can make a decision to use God’s gifts of Justification and Sanctification to the fullest extent humanly possible. We can decide to let Jesus remove our demons.

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January 31, 2010

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany Series C

Text Luke 4: 31-37 (ESV)

Jesus Heals a Man with an Unclean Demon

Luke 4:31-37 ESV

And (Jesus) went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, "Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are— the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. And they were all amazed and said to one another, "What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!" And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

I think we can all easily agree that God the Father wants us to talk about him, to believe in Him and to trust God the Son as our only savior. Scripture repeatedly supports this position. As an example look to Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Or in Deuteronomy 4:12 “be careful that you do not forget the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” We could spend days reading scripture to support this view. It is only natural for Christians to want to talk about Christ.

Satan and his legions of demons on the other hand want us to forget that they even exist. They would like nothing better than for me to stand here this morning and give you the latest medical information about dopamine, serotonin, or nor-epinephrine receptors in the brain and convince you that this was not a demon that Jesus drove out of the man -- why it was a chemical imbalance that Jesus “tweaked” back to normal.

How ridiculous can you get! The God of the universe says it is a demon yet Satan thinks that I am going to stand here with my copy of the latest scientific theories and call this a chemical imbalance. What a lop sided contest -- The Triune God vs. sinful man aided and abetted by Satan and medical research that most likely will be laughed at in a few years whereas the word of God endures forever. Fast forward to Luke 8:26- 33. This is the story of the demons asking to be transferred to the herd of pigs. Why would Jesus inflict a chemical imbalance on a herd of pigs? These were in-fact demons and today’s lesson is talking about demons not chemicals, not mental illness. The word Demon or Demons occurs 78 times in the New Testament. Mental illness is not mentioned at all. We are talking about Demons -- evil spirits reporting to Satan who would like us to forget that they do exist. Look at what St Paul says in Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Jesus in Matthew 6:13 tells us to pray for deliverance from the evil one.

I think our constant awareness of these dark powers is so important that we should consider adding a line to the creeds saying that we believe Satan and his legions are real and an ever present threat to our walk with Christ.

The good news is that while Christ was crucified, Satan was nailed, -- defeated -- we know his final outcome. However, never underestimate power of a dying enemy -- he is defeated but able to lie and deceive us or to flatter us causing us be self centered and to forget Christ.

Satan wants us to think that there is a secular life and a spiritual life. He wants us to compartmentalize God -- give him an hour or so once a week.

C.S. Lewis once wrote “ There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.”

We are in a spiritual struggle -- both God and Satan want to control our lives. The truth is that every person on the face of Planet Earth serves, worships, witnesses to, and supports the work of God or the work of the demonic. These are the only options. This struggle should not upset us, it’s absence should. It’s presence indicates that our faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord is alive and that we are fighting a genuine war against the satanic realm. If we feel no struggle, then we are under Satan’s control.

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