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Jesus the Warrior, Destroying the Devil's Works (19.01.27)

Life of Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:35
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Jesus exercises absolute authority over Satan & demons.

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JESUS THE WARRIOR: DESTROYING THE DEVIL’S WORKS) Matthew 8:28-9:1, 12:22-29; 1 John 3:8 – MHAFB, 27 Jan 19 Series: Life of Jesus Topics: Life of Jesus; Authority; Satan is defeated; Spiritual Warfare; Demon Possession; Compassion Introduction 1. Slide, Title: Attention: a. Any fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in here? i. How many like a good fight against good and evil? ii. Any of you twisted people out there like when the evil side wins in the movies? … iii. Of course in our real everyday life… 1. None of us want evil to win! 2. We see what it causes: pain, heartache, brokenness, death, depression, divided families, hatred, fear, shame, and so much more! 3. And none of us want that to win! b. Indeed, we actually have a very broken world! c. Does God care about it? Indeed! i. Not only does He cares, but He actually fights against it! 2. Big Picture: Today we’re returning to the Gospel of Matthew, looking at two key stories where Jesus battles evil, largely Satan and demons a. In this we will see Jesus as a warrior—destroying the devil’s works! b. And before we go much further, let’s stop and consider what Satan and demons are-i. We are introduced to these spiritual powers that oppose God in the Garden of Eden when a snake, only in Revelation identified as Satan, tempts humans to sin. ii. Later Old Testament passages references to ‘satan,’ perhaps the most popular of which is found at the beginning of the Book of Job 1. This Hebrew word, very similar to the Greek word, means “to oppose, obstruct, accuse” or “to be an adversary” iii. Old Testament references to demons usually identify them as the false gods that people would worship 1. You could define both Satan and demons as, 'supernatural beings, an evil spirit, & malevolent forces” (c.f. Lexham Bible Dictionary,) c. The Scriptures paint a picture of good vs. evil; God vs. Satan, Sin vs. holiness, throughout its pages. i. But something we must remember is this—while morally these sides are opposites, they are not equal in power ii. God vs. Satan—Opposite, but far from equal! iii. Slide: Thesis: As we look in these stories today, I hope that you will see that... 1. Jesus exercises absolute authority over Satan & demons 3. Verses: To see this we are looking at two stories that take place at different times in Jesus’ ministry. a. 3 Slides: Matthew 8:28-9:1, This is found in the second set of miracles stories that we talked about in brief last week. Jesus just stilled the storm that terrified the disciples; and here we find that Jesus willingly sailed into a Gentile region, in which He encounters two dangerous men… Matthew 8:28–9:1 CSB 28 When he had come to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him as they came out of the tombs. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 Suddenly they shouted, “What do you have to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 A long way off from them, a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 “If you drive us out,” the demons begged him, “send us into the herd of pigs.” 32 “Go!” he told them. So when they had come out, they entered the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water. 33 Then the men who tended them fled. They went into the city and reported everything, especially what had happened to those who were demon-possessed. 34 At that, the whole town went out to meet Jesus. When they saw him, they begged him to leave their region. 1 So he got into a boat, crossed over, and came to his own town. b. 4 Slides: Matthew 12:22-29, Now jumping forward in the timeline for Jesus a bit, we find that the religious establishment, who has now become aware of Jesus, is quite upset with Him… they frequently try to find or create reasons to discredit Him, such as what you will see in these verses when the feel threatened as the crowd begins to consider that Jesus may be the Messiah, or “Son of David,” as one Messiah nick-names was. Matthew 12:22–29 CSB 22 Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and unable to speak was brought to him. He healed him, so that the man could both speak and see. 23 All the crowds were astounded and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” 24 When the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man drives out demons only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” 25 Knowing their thoughts, he told them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive them out? For this reason they will be your judges. 28 If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 How can someone enter a strong man’s house and steal his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house. 4. Transition: And so the Kingdom of God has come upon us as Jesus destroys the works of the devil a. But before we look at that, let’s first consider... The devil’s origin, power, and followers 1. 2 Slides, MP 1a: Explanation: Many movies & theories out there add far more to Satan and demons than they should, & others add far less! a. So, what does the Bible actually teach? Let’s start at the beginning… b. MP1b: Where did Satan & demons come from? i. Early in Genesis Satan is already there & in rebellion against God, so where is his origins story? 1. Interestingly the Bible isn’t super-detailed here & good Christians can disagree on some of these passages. 2. But let me share with you three main passages that seem to share the origins of Satan and demons ii. When the Old Testament approaches this issue, we’re given a couple ‘two for one’ passages where prophets depict rebellious, arrogant kings who fall in a way comparable to Satan’s own demise 1. Ezekiel 28:12-18 starts by talking about the king of Tyre, but then bounce back and forth between descriptions that could relate to a king & then others that seem to relate to a far different being… For example: a. “You were in Eden, the garden of God” (v13) b. “You were an anointed guardian cherub, for I had appointed you. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the fiery stones.” (v14) c. “Your heart became proud because of your beauty; For the sake of your splendor you corrupted your wisdom. So I threw you down to the ground; I made you a spectacle before kings.” (v17) 2. Isaiah does similarly in Isaiah 14:12-15, while condemning the king of Babylon, he says, a. “Shining morning star,” (which the KJV translates as 'Lucifer') “how you have fallen from the heavens! You destroyer of nations, you have been cut down to the ground. You said to yourself, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will set up my throne above the stars of God. I will sit on the mount of the gods’ assembly, in the remotest parts of the North. I will ascend above the highest clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you will be brought down to Sheol into the deepest regions of the Pit.” iii. Then in the New Testament, Rev. 12:3-9 speaks of Satan as a great fiery red dragon 1. It shares that with his “tail swept away a third of the stars in heaven and hurled them to the earth” & then it speaks of “the dragon and his angels” a. MP1c: Apparently Satan led an rebellion in which 1/3 of the angels followed him & became demons i. That means for every one demon, there are two righteous angels (the odds are in our favor, even if our omnipotent God wasn’t considered!) 2. It seems that angels, like humans, could choose to love & follow God, or to rebel. a. However, unlike humans, they do not procreate & all were not broken by the "original parents’ sin" iv. So, this seems to be where Satan and demons are from, but now let’s consider this-c. MP1d: What can Satan & demons do? Or, what is the extent of their power? i. MP1e & f: Simply put, Satan & demons oppose God & set themselves up as adversaries to God & His people ii. What does this look like? There are several manifestations… 1. They accuse God & His saints of evil a. They scheme against them (2 Cor 2:11) to tempt His people to rebel against Him, b. As Satan did in Eden & as he attempted w/Jesus’ temptation 2. Peter talks about him as a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour in 1 Peter 5:8 3. Paul & James even speak of demonic teachings & wisdom that lure people away from godly faith (1 Tim 4:1 & James 3:15) 4. Jesus refers to the devil as a murderer & the father of lies in John 8:44 iii. MP1g: While a few Bible passages reference demons as living in certain regions (Daniel 10:13, Persia, Rev. 18:2, Babylon), the New Testament highlights how demons possess people— a. (Interestingly showing that demons, while spiritual beings, have limitations in the physical world of space & time—they cannot be in multiple areas at once) 1. MP1h: Possession sometimes causes all sorts of afflictions, including: a. Blindness & muteness (Mt. 12:22); lunacy, sever illness, & self harm (Mt. 17:15-18), seizures-like conditions (Mk 9:17-29), general torment (Lk 6:18), nakedness & dwelling in unclean areas (such as tombs & desolate places, Lk 8:27, 11:24) and more. 2. MP1i: Possession sometimes gives a human unnatural powers, beyond his/her natural ability, such as a. Incredible strength (Mk 5:1-4), special spiritual knowledge about who Jesus is & the truth of His message (Mt. 8:29), & even an apparent ability to predict the future (Acts 16:16) 3. MP1j: You even seen times when demons are teaming-up against one human, by having multiple demons together possess one human (Mt 12:43-45) a. As seen in this morning’s Mt 8 verses (Mk 5:9 references Legion) and seen in how Mary of Magdalene was freed from seven demons (Lk 8:2) iv. MP1k: Unfortunately beyond demon possession many people openly or unknowingly support demons, 1. These are those who have fallen to demonic wisdom, teachings, & their general opposition to God 2. The Bible refers to such people as being... a. “Of your father the devil,” or being “children of the evil one,” “the devil’s children,” being “of the devil,” or those who live “according to the ways of this world, ... the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient.“ (John 8:44, Mt 13:38, 1 John 3:8-10, Eph 2:2) b. The Bible even mentions people who honor Satan and demons (Lev 19:31; Deut 32:17; 1 Chron 10:13; 2 Chron 33:6; Ps 106:37; 1 Cor 10:20; Rev 9:20) 3. Perhaps in reflection of so many human allies and the overall power that Satan has been granted, a. Jesus calls him the ‘ruler of this world’ (John 14:30) & b. Paul calls him the ‘god of this age’ (2 Cor 4:4), the ‘ruler of the power of the air’ (Eph 2:2), and of the “rulers, authorities, cosmic powers of this darkness, evil, & spiritual forces in the heavens” that Christians need to don their spiritual armor to fight against! (Eph 6:12) 2. Transition: This is what Jesus stood up against as He walked on earth—demons, Satan and the devil’s children— a. This is what He faced down in this morning’s verses; and in this we see Jesus shine true as a warrior! b. For, indeed Satan and demons have power, but it is limited power and… Jesus destroys the devil’s works 1. 2 Slides, MP 2a: Explanation: This phrase comes from 1 John 3:8b, which shares “...The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s works.” a. Did you see this in this morning’s verses? i. The demons from the tombs of Gadarenes approached him in fear, “What do you have to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Mt. 8:29) 1. And with a single word, “Go!” Jesus cast out the legion of demons! (Mt. 8:32) ii. Similarly in Mt. 12:22, Jesus easily heals the man possessed & made blind and mute by a demon; casting out the demon and healing him physically! 1. And in response to the “devil’s children” accusation that Jesus was Beelzebul, a Jewish term at that time for the ‘head demon,’ Satan, a. Jesus points out that He drives “out demons by the Spirit of God" which is evidence that "the kingdom of God has come upon you" b. And then through a short parable Jesus highlights that He has tied up Satan and is plundering His house uncontested! (Mt. 12:28-29) b. MP2b: You see, Jesus has unlimited (absolute & sovereign) power over all evil—from Satan, to demons, to rebellious humans! i. MP2c: Jesus reclaims what is His; 1. MP2d: He restores what was broken by sinful rebellion 2. MP2e & f: He invades Satan’s domain & conquers him at every turn (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; Mk 3:23-27; ) ii. And so, let us consider… c. MP2g: How are demons limited? Let us never give Satan or demons more credit than they are due, though opposite from God, they are far from equal to Him! i. MP2h: God alone is omnipresent, 1. He is able to be all places at all times, fully present with all of His people 2. But as we considered earlier, demons have limitations in space & time ii. MP2i: God alone is omniscient, 1. He knows everything, even searching our hearts, knowing our intentions & thoughts! (1 Chron 28:9; Ps 94:11; Mt 9:4, 12:25) 2. No such power is ever attributed to Satan or demons—they are not mind-readers iii. MP2j: God alone is omnipotent, 1. He is all-powerful, able to do anything without permission from anyone! a. Demons, on the other hand, must gain permission from God to do things (Job 1-2, sifting Peter into denial of Jesus in Luke 22:31 & 53) b. Demons are far from this—as a matter of fact, they believe in God "and they shudder” as a result! (James 2:19) 2. As we saw earlier, simply one word of Jesus and a legion of demons are cast of people! a. And God even empowers many who bear His name & Spirit to do the same! (Mark 3:15, Acts 8:7, Acts 19:12, Mark 9:38) 3. MP2k: Christians can effectively resist Satan and demons, a. As James 4:7 shares, “Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (CSB) b. In Eph 6:10-18 we are even told about weapons and defenses we are given to conquer Satan & demons by God’s strength i. Truth, Righteousness, Readiness for the Gospel of Peace, Faith, Salvation, the Word of God, Prayer, & Fellow Saints c. MP2l, m, & n: The Bible presents demons as a very real power, but a very defeated power— due to Jesus’ work! i. And those who walk in Jesus, walk in victory over these evil spiritual powers 1. 1 Cor 10:13 shares how we can overcome any temptations he throws our way, 2. Romans 16:20 shares that “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet...” (CSB), & 3. Revelation 20:10 shares the final end for Satan and demons, a. “The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (CSB) (also see Mt. 8:29, 25:41, 2 Pet 2:4, Jude 6, Rev 12:3-9) 2. Illustration: With these understandings, a. I encourage you to consider the insight of theologian & philosopher C.S. Lewis in the preface of his work, “The Screwtape Letters,” i. “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race [mankind] can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” b. Disbelief or an unhealthy interest—Ignorance or obsession i. These are the extremes we can easily fall into. c. God’s Word clearly references to Satan and demons, giving us specific details that we have considered this morning i. However, with great intentionality God does NOT give us tons of in-depth details about Satan & demons! 1. We should not be ignorant of them, nor obsessed with them 2. We need to be aware of them, but not focused on them! 3. We must be careful not to go beyond God’s revealed word & build extra-biblical theologies on unbiblical claims about these beings ii. And we have to be careful not to attribute to Satan or demons that which is simply our own sinful nature 1. “The devil made me do it” is not a phrase for the Christian’s vocabulary. 2. Falling into such traps can be detrimental to our well-being 3. Transition: Now, let’s start to wrap this up… Conclusion 1. Slide, Conclusion-a: Reiteration: Jesus exercises absolute authority over Satan & demons a. Satan and demons originated from their angelic rebellion i. They oppose God & set themselves up as adversaries to God & His people ii. And sadly many people openly or unknowingly support them! b. However, "The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s works." (1 John 3:8) i. Jesus has unlimited power over all evil! ii. Christians can effectively resist Satan & demons iii. Due to Jesus' work, demons are a very defeated power 2. Application: So, how should we respond? a. Con-b & c: Do not be ignorant or obsessed with demons i. 2 Cor 2:11 highlights the importance that we not be ignorant of Satan’s schemes 1. And the single best way to do this is to better know God’s truth through... a. Digging into His word, b. Deep times of prayer, c. Sharing your life with fellow saints. ii. Know what the Bible teaches & stay within those teachings 1. You don’t need to fill in the gaps, there's a reason why God didn’t go there b. Con-d: Stand against the demonic schemes (Eph 6:10-18, 1 Cor 10:12-13, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8) i. Satan is known as... 1. The Father of Lies; and the scriptures are replete with warnings against his demonic wisdom, false teachings, & accusations against God and God’s people 2. The Tempter, being so bold as to even try and tempt Jesus! ii. Con-e: So, as 1 Peter 5:8 shares, we must “Be sober-minded, be alert." 1. Because “your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.” 2. Don’t be a lazy Christian! Keep spiritually vigilant and on guard for you and your family. 3. Keep a clear head (sober-minded), don’t be intoxicated by the world’s worries or pleasures! iii. Con-f: Resist the temptations to take part in Satan’s kingdom-work, 1. 1 Cor 10:12-13 reminds us that we can effectively do this very thing! 2. Stand firm in your faith, strengthened by the Spirit of God, deny sin & learn to walk in holiness iv. Con-g: As James 4:7 shares, we must “submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (CSB) v. Con-h: As Ephesians 6:10-18 shares, we must “be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength." 1. And we must “Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.” 2. Arm yourself with truth, Righteousness, readiness for the Gospel of Peace, faith, salvation, God’s Word, prayer, & fellowship with the saints c. Con-i: And finally, Receive Jesus as the Warrior that He is i. Consider how people responded to Jesus in this passage 1. Some received His healing & lived for Him afterwards, 2. Some saw His power but consequently lost prosperity—they rejected Him & begged Him to leave 3. Some were astonished and began to legitimately consider that He was the Messiah 4. Some saw His power but consequently lost popularity & power—they rejected Him, blasphemed Him, & even tried to turn others away from Him! ii. They did not realize that Jesus’ conquest over Satan is also what would lead to their salvation from sin! 3. Appeal: So how will we respond? a. I pray that each of us will be those who... i. ...receive His healing & live for Him afterwards ii. …are astonished by Him & consider what it means that He is the Christ iii. ...allow Jesus to champion victory over Satan in our lives, families, & communities! iv. Even when it costs us human prosperity, popularity, or power! b. May we be those who turn to our Champion Jesus at every turn, i. Seeing His power as the Warrior who destroys the devil’s works! ii. Let us be those who can proclaim that we have “Victory in Jesus!” c. For as 1 John 4:4 shares, “You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 4. Concluding Statement: Pray with me… a. “Heavenly Father, You are our Mighty Fortress, the Faithful One that never fails, our Helper within the storms of life. While our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe with great craft and power, armed with cruel hate--We will not fear, for Jesus as conquered him, He rose triumphantly from the grave, securing victory not only from Satan, but sin! And so we do not tremble for Satan, Through Christ we can endure his rage And we know that his doom is sure and one little word from You shall fell him. Christ, You have regarded our helpless estate You shed Your own blood for our soul And you conquered our enemy. Thank You for so great a victory that we have in You. Amen.” (c.f. Martin Luther’s song, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”)
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