Summary: A sermon about allowing Jesus to silence the demons which seek to destroy you.
"Silenced by Jesus"
Pastor Neil Cole tells the story about a young man named Sean.
Sean was an outstanding musician before drugs took everything from him.
Sean had sold all his instruments to feed his speed habit.
He had lost all his jobs because he would often steal to buy more drugs.
Pastor Cole invited Sean to come to his church and was surprised when he came.
He was even more surprised when he came back again and again.
Eventually, Sean decided he wanted profess his faith in Christ and join the church.
So, a couple of weeks later, Cole baptized Sean in the ocean.
After Sean was baptized, he celebrated by getting high on speed.
Cole got Sean into an accountability group and even had Sean move into his home for a brief time.
Cole writes, "He stayed clean while he lived with my family, but as soon as he moved back home he fell again to the bondage."
Then Cole had an idea of how Sean might break his addiction.
He said to Sean, "I want you and I to get in the car right now and drive over and tell your drug dealer about Jesus. Maybe if your dealer gets saved it will cut off your source."
It took a bit of coaxing, but Sean did it.
From that point on, Sean never took any drugs.
He was finally free.
Jesus' Word in action transformed his life.
In our Gospel Lesson for this morning Jesus is preaching in a synagogue.
And there in the synagogue, listening, is a poor man who had somehow been invaded by a force from outside of himself, and he apparently had no control of it.
I wonder how frightening life had become for that person.
I can't imagine.
One thing that stands out to me is that he was in the synagogue in Capernaum that Sabbath day that Jesus entered and started teaching.
Had he somehow heard about Jesus, and thus, somehow made his way to the synagogue with the slim hope that Jesus might be able to free him from the chains that bound him?
Had a friend invited him that day?
Had he surprised the friend by actually showing up?
In any event, Jesus was speaking God's Word, and not like the legal experts taught the people.
The legal experts only read from the Law.
They didn't "preach" so to speak.
Jesus wasn't reading from the Law, Jesus was the Law made flesh.
Jesus was GOD speaking.
Therefore, we are told that "the people were amazed by his teaching for he was teaching them with authority, not like the legal experts."
And while Jesus was teaching, and amazing the listeners, suddenly this poor guy with the "evil spirit" screamed: "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are.
You are the holy one from God."
It has been noted that these words may have been less a question than a challenge.
The evil spirit sees that Jesus is invading its space.
The evil spirit knows who Jesus is and where He belongs.
Jesus belongs in the kingdom of heaven, not in this fallen world given over to Satan.
What is the Holy God doing invading the world of darkness...
...the sphere which belongs to the prince of the power of the air?
The power of the Word of God has awakened this demon.
It has stirred it up like an ant hill which has been disturbed by a stick.
It can't contain itself, so it screams in shock, outrage, horror, fury and fear!!!
"What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
Have you come to destroy the hold we have on the people you love?
Have you come to set the captives free?
We are here to destroy those You love.
This is our world.
This is our domain.
[We] know who you are.
You are the holy one from God.
Have you come to destroy us?"
One of our great Christian writers, C.S. Lewis had this to say about the devil: "We make two mistakes regarding the devil.
One is to have an unhealthy interest in him.
The other is to deny that he exists.
With both, Satan is equally happy."
In any event, it's impossible to ignore his work—broken hearts and homes, abuse, disease, racism, hatred, murder--everything that is bad; everything that causes us to act less than human...
...everything that distorts the image of God, in which we were created.
How are demons seeking to destroy your life and the life of the ones you love this morning?
In what ways are you being attacked?
Are you being held in bondage by that which seeks to destroy you?