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Sunday, July 23, 2017

posted Jul 23, 2017, 10:18 PM by Site Administrator

THE KINGDOM OF GOD HAS COME TO YOU

 

Luke 11:14-28

Key Verse 11:20

 

But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

 

First, “Then the kingdom of God has come to you” (14-22). Look at verse 14. Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. But at this, people twisted the truth, saying, “By Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” They changed the work of God into the work of Satan. When God’s work occurs, and people find salvation and a new life in Jesus, there are always strange people who try to twist the truth, denying God’s work, and even describing it as Satan’s work. The people in the passage, just didn’t want to acknowledge Jesus as a servant of God, because when they did so, their action of rejecting him would be rejecting God Himself – a grave sin they never wanted to do; so in order to justify their action of rejecting Jesus, now they twisted the truth saying that he used the power of Beelzebub to set the man free from the demon; they were really miserable. When they rejected the truth that Jesus was a servant of God, they eventually became enemies of God. And their influence was indeed terrible. When people saw Jesus’ good work, their hearts were open to him and were about to accept him. Then, because of these evil people’s remark about what Jesus was doing, they were alarmed and closed their hearts. They were really Satan’s instruments. Jesus said of this kind of sin “the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit,” and it is “an unforgivable sin.” Jesus said to them in Matthew’s gospel 12:31-32, “And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Today, this is what people do. When they do not want to acknowledge the work of God as the work of God. They end up describing it as the work of the devil, even when what God is doing is very obvious. Out of bitterness, or out of their attempt to justify their action, they do so. Indeed, they do not know what they are doing.

 

     Look at verses 17 and 18. Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub.” Jesus pointed out the logical loophole of their remarks. It is nonsense that by the power of Satan, someone destroys the work of Satan. It never happens. Satan never fights against himself. Then, what was the meaning of Jesus driving out the demon from the man and setting him free? Look at verse 20. Let’s read this verse together:

 

But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

 

Jesus appealed to their logic, saying, “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God...” Actually, that was the only logical conclusion. God was working in and through Jesus the man experiencing deliverance from demons was the evidence of it. If that’s the case, then, God was presenting Himself among them through Jesus God’s kingdom had come to them; God was among them, so close, not far away, and thereby, they had a chance to meet Him, experience Him and have fellowship with Him. The kingdom of God had come to them! What an amazing conclusion it was!

 

Jesus’ point is, “If there is any hint or proof that what I am doing is the work of God, then, the kingdom of God has come to you.” For the proof, Jesus used the expression, “the finger of God.” He didn’t say, “the almighty power of God,” but “the finger of God.” The proof does not have to be a big one such as dividing the Pacific Ocean or raising the dead or healing a cancer patient, but just a small hint is enough. The finger of God means just a slight hint of God’s work. This makes us think about what’s going on and what we are doing. Isn’t there any hint of God’s work in our life? What about people receiving God’s word personally and finding the joy of God through our Bible study? Yes, it is the finger of God, an evidence that God is working among us. What about a lost soul who has wandered in darkness so long, finding God’s salvation and starting a new life as a child of God through our one to one Bible study? Yes, it is the finger of God. A drug addict, or a party animal becoming a shepherd through our one to one Bible study is the finger of God. Our new life itself is the finger of God. There are so many evidences of God’s work among us. If it is so, then, the kingdom of God has come to you. “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.” This proclamation of Jesus shows us who we are and what we are doing very clearly. Each of shepherds and shepherdesses is no longer an ordinary person, but a servant of God through whom God reaches out to many lost souls; then, our church is no longer a mere human gathering, but God’s church where God dwells and which God uses to save souls. And everyone who comes to us has a chance to experience God and enter his Kingdom and enjoy a beautiful life. Hallelujah! The kingdom of God has come to us!

 

       Now in verses 21 and 22, Jesus explains how he could drive out the demon and set the man free. Look at verses 21 and 22. It reads: 21“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe.  22 But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.” Here, a strong man refers to the demon. The demon was fully armed, and was guarding his own house, so his possession, the man, was secured. But when someone stronger than the demon, that was Jesus, attacked, and overpowered it, he disarmed it and saved the man from the demon.

 

     This explanation helps us understand the spiritual reality. Salvation of one soul occurs as the result of victory over demons or Satan. Satan guards his own possessions – people – with many powerful weapons. Some people cannot bear those who seem to do evil and thereby, they are angry and bitter, and violent, willing to do anything to satisfy their sense of justice. They are under the rule of Satan due to their sense of injustice Satan controls them with a strong logic. Some people are gripped with the fear of future security that they cannot help but doggedly pursue their career dream; some people are gripped with the desire for success – riches and luxury of the world have enticed them greatly; they just want to make a lot of money, or they struggle hard to be Hollywood stars, willing to do anything; some people are gripped with sorrows or bitterness due to their family condition or their childhood experiences; some people are driven by their sinful desires, wandering at night here and there. Satan, their ruler, their owner, never wants to release them; they are his possessions, and he guards them tightly, with many powerful weapons such as theories, isms, philosophies, logic, sinful desires, worldly dreams and lifestyles. Their value system, their way of thinking, their heart’s desire, their lifestyle are completely set up in the way their ruler, Satan desires that they cannot come out of his rule on their own at all. No one can liberate himself or herself from Satan on his or her own. This is the reality. How come then, salvation came to us? Salvation comes from outside, from above.

 

    When we think about this carefully, we can see that our salvation, our new life did not come to us by chance, but as the result of Jesus fighting for us and overpowering the enemy. Jesus attacked the strong man, Satan for our salvation! This fight shows that he knew each of us personally, and he was willing to raise a war against the strong man Satan for our sake. Our salvation itself is the evidence of Jesus’ love for us. Today, in order to save people from Satan’s rule, Jesus attacks Satan and fights; this is what he is doing today.

  

      Second, “He who is not with me is against me” (23-28). Look at verse 23. Let’s read this verse together:

 

He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.

 

     If you do not gather with him positively, but just sit back and relax, then, in Jesus’ eyes, you are against him; while Jesus struggles to gather, in his eyes, you are scattering. This is how Jesus sees – his perspectives. In Jesus’ eyes, there are only two groups of peoplethose who gather together with him positively, and those who are against him. In Mark 9:40, Jesus says, “Whoever is not against us is for us.” Jesus means that, as we go out and do God’s work, if anyone is not positively against us, that person is for us, letting us do evangelism in their places freely. And now Jesus says, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” This is for Christians. With this, Jesus shows us what we must do – we must be with him, gathering together with him wholeheartedly. You love Jesus; you are thankful to him; you have no intention to be against him at all. If that’s your position, if that’s your desire, then, you have only one way to go, that is, gathering together with Jesus positively. Thus, we can understand what kind of people Christians are – those who are with Jesus, struggling hard to gather together with him. Some people just sit back, and relax, going to church once a week, and doing Christian things, thinking that they do the requirements. But they are already against Jesus. While Jesus struggles hard to gather, these people scatter, giving bad influence to everyone around them.

 

   How come Jesus has this kind of extreme and exclusive perspectives? It is all because of his complete dedication to the business of gathering souls. No one wants to bother anyone, especially, a strong one. But Jesus is more than willing to raise a war against the strong one, for the sake of saving one soul. He fights the strong man wholeheartedly, in the hope of saving souls from his tyranny; he is completely dedicated in the soul saving business, even willing to lay down his life for this purpose; he is all in. While he is fighting so wholeheartedly, don’t you want to join in and fight together with him? While he works hard to gather souls, don’t you want to work together with him? It may be dangerous; it may be costly. But are you in? I am in! Psalm 110:2,3 reads, “The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. Your troops will be willing on your day of battle.” His troops are willing on his day of battle.

 

Look at verses 24 through 26. Let’s read these verses together:

 

24 “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’  25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order.  26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”

 

      Jesus here talks about what happens when an evil spirit comes out of a man. In the Bible, we see people being set free from demons by God’s grace. We have heard about evil spirits kicked out of people. Such things are really remarkable, but experiencing deliverance from the demons is not the end of the whole story. Instead, that’s the beginning of a real life. Jesus shows us how things go after that. It’s never the evil spirit’s desire to come out of the man. But because of Jesus who fought the evil spirit and overpowered it, it came out of the man, and the man experienced God’s salvation; as a result, he became like  a house that was swept clean and put in order – his inner world was swept clean and put in order all because of Jesus’ grace; now he can live a new life without being bothered by crazy ideas or desires. But in this new life, still he remains unoccupied, just like an unoccupied house. Even later, when the evil spirit comes back and checks out the condition, he is still not occupied. So, the evil spirit recruits seven other spirits that are more wicked than itself, and go in and live there. As a result, the final condition of that man is worse than the first.

 

    We humans are like a house to be occupied. When we experienced God’s salvation by Jesus’ grace, we must let him occupy us as the owner of our life by submitting and dedicating ourselves to His will and purpose, by living for him; that’s what we are about a human created in God’s image, to please God, to reveal the glory of God. But when people do not let Jesus be the owner of their life, when they do not live for God’s will and purpose, but live for themselves, pursuing their own dreams and desires, even after experiencing God’s salvation in Jesus, they simply remain like an unoccupied house. They think that, in that way, they will live their life for themselves, being their own boss. But things do not go that way. When they do not let God occupy their house, then, the evil spirits occupy them, and thereby, they do not live their life for themselves, but live for the evil spirits, pursuing and doing what the evil spirits desire. That’s the eventual condition of everyone who does not gather together with Jesus. The final condition of such people is so terrible, far worse than the first. We have heard that the divorce rate among believers in America is higher than that of unbelievers. Why do things go that way? There was a young zealous Christian couple they met each other while attending Moody Bible institution in Chicago; they married, had two sons, but several years later, they divorced, and a few years later, the wife committed suicide. Auch! Why did such terrible things happen? Once we experience God’s salvation, we must accept Jesus as the Lord, as the Owner, as the Master of our life, living for him, dedicating ourselves to his will and purpose completely this requires our conscious efforts; once we experience God’s salvation in Jesus, we must live to gather people together with him; then, as we have life together with him, pursuing the same goal of world salvation, we come to experience him and know him more and more. Remember that you are just like a house that is to be occupied by either God or demons. Whom do you want to occupy your house? Of course, God! Submit yourself to God’s will and authority! Bow down to Him and serve Him only! Gather together with Jesus!

 

    Look at verses 27 and 28. At Jesus’ message, a woman shouted, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” With this, she was showing her agreement to Jesus’ teaching, acknowledging him as a man of God. In her eyes, Jesus’ mother was really blessed to have such a great man of God as a son. She wished if God had chosen her to be the mother of Jesus, she would have certainly done it. But that chance was gone, and she would not be blessed. Even if she said such spiritual sounding words, even if she agreed to Jesus’ message, practically, she was not doing anything, even after hearing and understanding the word of God. How did Jesus respond? Look at verse 28. Let’s read this verse together:

 

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

 

       It seemed that, when she blessed his mother, Jesus should have thanked her, saying, “Thank you.” Or, at least, it seemed that he should have appreciated her acceptance of his message. But Jesus did not respond that way. Instead, Jesus showed her how she would be really blessed, more blessed than being chosen to be his mother, saying, “Hear the word of God and obey it.” Jesus gave her a clear direction of what she must do, that was, studying the Bible, understanding it, and struggling to obey it. When she made such efforts and struggles, she would be more blessed than Mary, Jesus’ mother. Jesus’ point was very clear: instead of thinking about “only if I were...” she must make practical efforts to study the Bible, understand it, and struggle to obey it. Such people are really blessed.


     Many Christians say, “Had I been in Jesus’ time, I would certainly have believed in him, followed him all the days of my life.” Some people say, “I don’t understand the Israel people in Moses’ time. If I had been there, I would have remained faithful to Moses, God’s servant wholeheartedly, just like Joshua, his aide. I would not be like the Israel people who complained to God.” It seems that they have some spiritual desire. But Jesus is not happy with such words of mouth; instead, he is more concerned about how they really do now and today. Often, these people don’t do anything for God, except going to church once a week, or doing some Christian things here and there not really passionate, not really obedient, not really thankful, not really loyal to God’s servants; and they complain a lot to God’s servants. Jesus gives them a clear direction, saying, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” What Jesus want us to do is not to offer that kind of spiritual sounding words to him, but to study the Bible, grasp what God wants, and struggle to obey it. He wants us to study the Bible and obey its teaching now and today. How is it to hear the word of God? It requires a lot of struggles despite hectic schedule, we have to set aside time for Bible study; then, we need to make effort to grasp and digest it really by meditating on it deeply, spending many hours in testimony writing; then, once we understand what God is talking about, we need to struggle to obey His word obeying God’s word is not easy; there is pains and sorrows; people may misunderstand you, or even persecute you; maybe, you taste losses and rejections, yet you still struggle to do what God wants you to do. Jesus says that such people are more blessed than his mother Mary; people who make such struggles today are more blessed than the people of Jesus’ time; such people are more blessed than the people of Moses’ time; such people are more blessed than the prophets of the Old Testament. Hear the word of God and obey it: This is what Jesus wants us to do. This is how we can be truly blessed.

 

     In conclusion, today, we learned that the kingdom of God has come to us. God is here among us, working in and through us. God is really near us. We also learned that we must gather together with Jesus that is the only way of life for Christians; otherwise, despite our desire for Jesus, we end up being against him, scattering while he is gathering. We also got a clear direction from Jesus: Hear the word of God and obey it. Today, the secrets of the kingdom of God have been given to us. Now let’s do what we have learned, and we will be really blessed.

 

One Word:  Blessed Rather Are Those Who Hear The Word Of God And Obey It

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