Standing Strong against Satan
Going through the parables of Jesus and today we will be discussing to the topics that were very high on the list of things you wanted to know about, Standing against Satan and the Power of Scripture.
One of the most often repeated exhortations in the NT for Christians is to “Stand firm, to resist, and to give no opportunity to the Devil.”
If you don’t know why, you haven’t been paying much attention to the world around you.
Unspeakable evil exists in the world today.
Turn on the evening news sometime and try to work past
OKC bombing - 9/11 - Mass shootings
and even when something doesn’t make national news, we turn on the local news and nightly learn about murders, sexual abuse, physical abuse, pain and suffering.
I think what happens to our hearts over time after being cut over and over by this kind of news is that just like our skin, our hearts can become calloused to the reality of the world we live in. After all, often times these things aren’t happening to us or to anyone we know so though we might hear of the evil around us, we kind of let it bounce off of us and keep moving forward with our lives.
How can we possibly hope to stand strong against the overwhelming evil that exists in the world around us?
The Parable of the Strong Man
The Parable of the Strong Man
It is that question that brings us to our text this morning that was read for us from beginning in v. 14.
Now last week we mentioned 3 rules that we want to adhere to as we study through the parables.
Hear the parable as if you are hearing it for the first time as we sit at the feet of Jesus
Take note of how the parable conforms to the teachings of Jesus elsewhere in scripture
Look for the big takeaway.
Recap of last weeks context
The Parable proper is contained within v 21-22
Look at the preceding text - 14-20
Before we dive into the text, we need to become up to speed with what a first century Jew sitting here around Jesus would have understood about one of the key figures in the lesson this morning, Satan
OT - as a verb Satan means Accuser, slanderer, or adversary
Over time the verb came to describe the actions of some spiritual entity that accused and slandered God and his people
This can be seen in and 2 as the writer has God address “Hassatan”, “The accuser”
He is also referenced in as “hassatan” the accuser standing to the right of Joshua the high priest where God rebukes him directly
And in we find satan being used without the article the and used more as a name.
So I tell you all this because inherent in Satans very name is who he is. He’s an accuser of mankind and God, a Slanderer of God and his People on earth, an adversary to God and everything that he has made.
By the time of the events recorded in the NT, Satan had become a proper name along with diabolos or devil and is revealed to us more fully by the texts of the NT.
He is often referred to with titles that describe his status and power such as
Prince of this world - prince of the demons - and even God of this world.
He is the prince of the power of the air, the ruler of the darkness of this age.
He is also negatively referred to as
an enemy, the evil one, a tempter, an adversary, the father of lies, a murderer, a liar, a deceiver, an accuser, and even one who disguises himself as an angel of light.
So the NT tells us that the accuser, the adversary, the devil, or Satan has a cohort of demons at his disposal, and they apparently do his bidding.
And apparently had the power during Christs time to possess, or take control of, people.
Now I don’t know this and I can’t prove it, but I like to believe that this wasn’t just an absolutely widespread problem.
I think that the times when the demons were allowed to possess people it was only done because God allowed it, and it was allowed for the purposes of proving to the people that he God had total authority over the evil in this world.
3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Yet not only is Satan attributed the ability to take over someone’s body, but to also to so influence their thinking that they essentially become an adversary themselves.
23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
So make no mistake about it, Satan is a strong adversary for us.
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
The lion even then, was considered the king of the jungle, at the top of the food chain.
And so, knowing this about Satan, we turn back to the text
At a Christian camp in Colorado, a woman Bible teacher gave an illustration that changed my life. She said, “If the distance between the Earth and the Sun, 92 million miles, was reduced to the thickness of a sheet of paper, then the distance between the Earth and the nearest star would be a stack of paper 70 feet high. And the diameter of the galaxy would be a stack of paper 310 miles high. That’s how big the galaxy is. And yet, the galaxy is nothing but a speck of dust, virtually, in the whole universe. And the Bible says Jesus Christ holds this universe together with the word of his power. His pinky, as it were.” And then she asked the question: “Is this the kind of person you ask into your life to be your assistant?”
Church, if we want to stand strong against Satan, we must stop thinking that we can do it alone!
You want to stand against racism? You want to stand against bigotry? You want to stand against hatred, bullying, slander, gossip, same sex marriage, premarital sex, slavery, sexism, thievery, police brutality, and mass shootings?
Great! You better stand with Jesus!
Read the parables as though you are sitting at the feet of Jesus hearing them for the first time
We often stress the importance of placing scripture into it’s historical and literary context, but it is especially easy with the parables to try to see them through modern lenses instead of looking at the primary meaning for a first century Jewish hearer.
I’m not saying that we can’t make application of the parables for us today, but the best application must first have the proper understanding for what it meant for the original audiences.
So as we read the parables, try to clear your mind of your preconceptions. See yourself sitting at the feet of this amazing man Jesus who has just healed you or your friend from some terrible ailment, and is now speaking to you with authority from the scriptures
Take into account what he has just said before, what he will say after, where he is and who he is speaking to.
Take note of how the parable conforms to the teachings of Jesus elsewhere in scripture.
This is important because it keeps us from drawing conclusions from the parables that contradict the other teachings of Christ.
The parables are sometimes an illustration, yet sometimes are the sermon.
Look for the big takeaway.
What does the parable reveal about God, about Jesus, about his kingdom, about what he expects from us and what we can expect from him.
14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” 16 while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22 but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. 23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
24 Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of a tyrant be rescued? 25 For thus says the Lord: “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children. 26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. Then all flesh shall know that I am the Lord your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”