An Unforgettable Day in Church

Luke 4: 31-37

What was the most unforgettable day you have ever had in church?

Funny: Day the roof leaked - guy who fell over the altar Unusual - lights went out dark Sheila singing unique service - Chip and I did the ESPN panel - first person Samson sermon setting - Westminster Abbey lot of dead people Joyous Best friends Buddy Mixon accepted Christ/baptized Three sons being baptized

Today we are going to begin a series of life lessons from Dr. Luke. He tells us some stories about Jesus that have principles that help us in our day to day life experiences. The first one involves church.

Setting is the Jewish synagogue in Capernaum; a little town in north Galilee. Every one had on their Saturday best; decorum was polite; an itinerant rabbi got up to speak and suddenly things turned wild: Here's the story in Luke 4: 31-37  

 31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. 32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.

 33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

   35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

 36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.  (NIV)

In the midst of his message a man possessed by an evil spirit yells at the top of his lungs. At this time, most people would be knocking over grandma to get out of there. He speaks to the demon who releases his grip on the man and comes out without injuring him. If that ever happened at Bayside, I'll bet we would never miss church again. WOW What is this story about?

What do we know about Jesus and demons? One: the demons know who He was . I am not sure what this says about the spiritual condition of the congregation but the only one who recognizes that this man is Jesus is a demon. He's the Messiah and the religious people miss it. The leaders of the synagogue don't get it. But the demons call his Jesus of Nazareth and the Holy One of God. The demons recognize their adversary. Do you?

Two: Fighting against demons is not new to Jesus Earlier in this chapter; He has just gone toe to toe with Satan and overcome three temptations, now he deals with his subordinates.

Three: Jesus had authority over demons Jesus message was one of authority - at the beginning of this story in verse 32 and again at the end in verse 36 they recognized his authority In every sphere of our existence, the expert bears an air of authority. Medical field -doctors and nurses - If I ever need serious medical attention; I don't really want a wonderful Christian without medical knowledge operating on me. Problem in the area of the law, I don't call a doctor to help me - call an expert - a lawyer.

sphere of life Jesus is the expert. He was the authority. In teaching it was the custom of the speaker to quote a rabbi and said Rabbi Goldstein says: when the prophets spoke they used the phrase: thus saith the Lord but Jesus speaks he says: but I say.

What do we know about demons?

When we talk about Satan and demonic activity, there is always a bit of suspicion - is this real? Made up story like Star Wars. Alien abduction story? We have a tendency to go to one extreme or the other. On one hand, we see Satan behind everything and demons behind every bush. I stubbed my toe - oh demon of stubbed toes get behind me - maybe you should just watch where you are going. The tendency is to dismiss demons as being a fairy tale not in line with our enlightened mindset. Yet 23 different times in the gospels, demons are mentioned and on at least 5 of those occasions, they are distinguished as being different from illness. The truth is we all live in two worlds - one seen and one unseen; one physical and one spiritual and both are real. You may say: I don't believe in Satan and demons. Take a look at the history of the world. In recent years, the purge of millions of innocents by Stalin in Russia, the Holocaust of Europe, the My Lai massacre, the 9/11 bombings, and mass murderers and tell me that these peoples have not been under the influence of a Satanic or evil force. Read about the physical and sexual abuse of our most vulnerable people - our children. Just read in Saturday's paper, the government in Syria was going down the streets and gunning down anyone out in the open in a certain town. We live in a violent and sin filled world where atrocities continue to happen at an alarming rate. Here is what we know for sure from scripture: A. Satan and demons are created beings. 

Isa. 14: 12-15; 12 How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne  above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” 15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.  (NIV)

Rev. 12:7-10; 7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.  10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:  “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.  (NIV)

II Cor. 11:14-15  14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.  (NIV)

In many verses of scripture, we find Satan described as a deceiver, a thief, a murderer, a roaring lion, a serpent, and a dragon. So how did Satan and his demons get here? If we believe in Col. 1 that all things were created by Christ and through him; then God had to have created them. Now we have two choices: he created them evil or he created them good and they rebelled against him and became evil.

In the OT we often find a story about a king or person of prominence and although there is a historical setting for that person, there is an implied meaning dealing with someone in the future- especially in Isaiah, Daniel and Psalms - we call these stories Messianic stories -

We also find these in the story of the adversary. In the midst of this prophecy about the king of Babylon, Isaiah throws in this section in 14: 12-15

Ezekial 28:11-19 prophecy concerning the king of Tyre as we look at these verses God is speaking not only about a man but about what controlled this man- angels cast down - their sole purpose is to keep us connecting with God. If there were no satanic influence in our world we wouldn't sin. Rev. 12: 7-9 war in heaven. Satan and his demons are created beings who because they had the ability to choose wanted to be in control and they lost their fight with God. Ever since that time, they roam the earth not caring one bit about you but hating God and everything he stands for and attempting to draw you away from his glory and goodness.

B. They have limitations Job 1,   

Job 1

 1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.

 4 His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.

 6 One day the angels[a] came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan[b] also came with them. 7The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

   Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

 8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

 9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

 12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

   Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

 13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

 16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

 17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

 18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

 20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:

   “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, 
   and naked I will depart.[c] 
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; 
   may the name of the LORD be praised.”

 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.  (NIV)

James 1:13-16 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.  (NIV)

 Story of Job 1: 6-7 angels come to see God and Satan pops in for a visit. God says: I thought you were gone - what are you doing back again? Roaming the earth - Satan unlike God can't be everywhere at once. Limited by time and space.

Satan cannot control your mind - you never have to say: I couldn't help myself - Satan made me do it. Satan cannot make you do anything. Does not have that power - he can influence you - tempt you but he can't make you do anything because greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world. Since he has limitations he tries to attack us at our weakest points. Rob bank hundreds of thousands of dollars Sarcastic tongue little patience with ignorant people

All tempted in different ways: alcohol, greed, sex, pride, gossip. James says that God doesn't tempt us, Satan does. But here is the good news found in I Cor. 10:13 we have the power to resist that temptation. I Cor. 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man; and God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

C. They all lose in the end Rev. 20:7-10 Not a fair fight - God can't lose. Occasionally in the world of sports a big underdog will win over a heavily favored team. Not in this fight.

Satan causes us much headache in this world. He will use any means possible to discourage us. There will be setbacks along the journey of faith. Illness premature death loss of finances loss of health The book of Revelation, despite all of it's difficult passages, gives us one outstanding theme: God wins in the end. He will prevail.

How do I deal with spiritual darkness? I Peter 5: 8-9 A.  8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  (NIV)

Be alert When you have a child in your family - you use the phrase "be careful" a lot because you know things that can hurt them but they aren't aware of them Teenager starts driving - be careful - aware of the terrible consequences of a bad accident - flush with the excitement of driving they often ignore those warnings.

In both of those cases we have knowledge that they don't. God has knowledge of the viciousness of spiritual darkness that we don't. He warns us to watch out for Satanic influence. Satan would love for you to believe that he doesn't exist. Don't allow the forces of spiritual darkness to lull you into its trap. Satan masquerades as an angel of light - this won't hurt you - no one will know - one time won't matter - deceiver and he will draw you into his web. Be alert to his schemes. Don't be fooled by false promises. Ever see this get rich schemes: tv ads - magazines Bernie Madoff example.

B. Resist how do you resist spiritual darkness? You don't put yourself in situations which can lead to spiritual disaster. You know what your temptations are; don't see how close you can come to them. Eph. 6: 10 struggle - Christian life is not all easy street - spiritual battles -

C. Stand firm in your faith When Ephesians talks about us putting on the full armor of God, it isn't to prepare us for a pie baking contest, it is a battle - a serious battle - one we must be prepared for.

We stand firm in the faith and we intake God's word; worship with His people; we wrestle with the scriptures; witness to our faith; every time we exercise our faith we strengthen it like a muscle.

So what lesson does Dr. Luke have for us today? Here's the principle you can take with you this week. We are in a spiritual battle with the forces of darkness. He that is in us; God's holy spirit, is greater than our temptations.