INTRO: There are unusual things that happen in the assembly! I recall a couple of occasions when the quiet and calm of a worship assembly has been interrupted by some brief "out of the ordinary" happening! Even in the synagogues of the first century such out of the ordinary things could happen. There was an occasion when Jesus went to the synagogue of a Sabbath day at the beginning of His Galilean ministry. He had been teaching and no doubt speaking of the kingdom of God (Mk 1:15). The routine of the synagogue was shattered by the cries of a man possessed with an unclean spirit. Most of us who speak in public might have been unnerved by such an outburst ... not so Jesus!
I. WHAT OF DEMON POSSESSION?
A. It was a very real phenomenon
1. some seek to dismiss it as the superstition of the 1st century world
2. it was very different from what we know as lunacy - Jesus & the apostles treated them as having personhood
3. I may not understand it, but I cannot dismiss it since Jesus believed it!
B. Whence came these demons?
1. historically, we see them in profusion in and about Jesus' ministry
2. why? could it be that this was part of the all out attack of Satan?
3. Rev 12:3,4 - Satan was determined to undo God's plans
C. Interestingly, this man was in the synagogue!
1. was Capernaum so accepting, tolerant that he was allowed there?
2. some historians indicate that it was not a place of faithfulness
3. tolerance? are we tolerant of that which is evil, error? are we so affected by the pluralism of our culture that we give passive permission to sin? (Mt 12:30)
II. THE UNCLEAN SPIRIT ACKNOWLEDGED...
A. That he and Jesus had nothing in common
1. "Let us alone, what have we to do with thee...?
2. Jesus preached the kingdom of God, repentance
3. the demons were of the kingdom of Satan and sought to harm God's purpose (cf. Mt 12:24-26)
B. The identity of Jesus
1. "Jesus of Nazareth ... the Holy One of God"
2. he knew who Jesus was! are we reminded of Jas 2:19?
3. knowing who Jesus is does not always result in a good response ... how many are the people now knowing who He is but who do not follow Him?
C. The authority of Christ
1. "Hold thy peace, and come out of him ... he came out of him"
2. Satan and his henchmen are no match for the authority of Christ!
3. earlier, he had spoken "as one that had authority"
4. now, His authority is put to the test ... and stands the test!
5. notice that there were no elaborate incantations or ceremonies of exorcism as were typical of the magicians, religionists of that day - just a command backed by authority!
6. the Son of the Holy One of God simply commands - and it is done
7. Mt 8:23-27 - "...even the winds and the sea obey him"
8. it was necessary for Jesus to demonstrate His authority early on
III. THE REACTION OF OTHERS?
A. Of the unclean spirit?
1. "Let us alone" - the cry of those in error!!!
2. was this a battle for survival? were the beings of Satan's realm convinced they would be the "losers"?
3. note the question: "art thou come to destroy us?"
4. 1 Jno 3:8b - "...that he might destroy the works of the devil"
B. Of the people in the synagogue?
1. "...they were all amazed"
2. they had been amazed that He taught with authority ... now, they are amazed that "with authority commandeth ... and they do obey him"
3. Jno 5:32-36 - this was not "just for show" - there was serious purpose
4. and "his fame spread abroad throughout all the region..."
CLOSE: I certainly do not know as much as I would like about the demonic world which erupted into such malignant activity when Jesus came. But I do know that Satan's powers have been greatly curtailed by the victory of Jesus over death! And I know that through Jesus' atoning death I am granted victory, too.! I revel in the power of Jesus my Lord and Savior ... the Holy One of God.
Cecil A. Hutson
23 April 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)