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A Weak Man, a Strong Man, and the Stronger Man

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
January 19, 2022 9:00 am

A Weak Man, a Strong Man, and the Stronger Man

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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January 19, 2022 9:00 am

Pastor J.D. talks about the cosmic struggle between God and Satan, a struggle that bears on our lives every day. We’ll see that apart from God’s power, even the best attempts to change are ultimately doomed to fail.

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Today on Senate Lane with Jeannie Greer. Religion and self-improvement apart from Jesus, opens the door to more deceptive and more dangerous statements, religious change, aliquot, or good-looking. The person that is probably US religious changer self-improvement is often accompanied by pride and judge mentalism and a sense of self-sufficiency and those things are infinitely worse than alcoholism were met with Pastor Arthur and I'm your host Molly made a batch today in the program. Pastor Jay will be talking about the cosmic struggle between God and Satan a battle that has direct impact on our lives every day and will soon see that apart from God's power. Even our best attempts to change are ultimately doomed to fail. With the strength and the wisdom of God. Not only can we survive we can actually plunder the enemy. Now if you miss any part of the study that we began a few weeks ago called.

Instead, remember that you can always catch up right now let's dive on in this message is titled a week and a strong man and the stronger man is castigated.

11. If you got your Bible with you this weekend if you're joining us their home possibly do what you want, grab your Bible and dilute Chapter 11 as your attorney there. It is hard for me to believe that this year will mark 20 years since the 9/11 attacks.

They say that those attacks rewrote the book on how nations think about warfare in previous four floors.

You have an identified entity like Germany or Japan, but the 9/11 attacks were carried out by the citizens of countries who were our allies, some by by by people who live right here within our own borders after the attacks, Congress felt like a declaration of war was appropriate but but the dilemma was they were quite sure what to call this war. Previous wars have been called the war with England or the war against the axis powers. But this was a war against terrorist so the media dubbed it the war on terror. The strategies for fighting it were different. You could just amass an army and go after the enemy there were no territories that that the enemy really called hold.

So we started to hear about things like sleeper cells and race radicalized operatives be reading these realities require different strategies for fighting in different security protocols and of course I give rise to a new dangers like the invasion of privacy or racial profiling. Many of the hit drama shows of that era.

Shows like 24 or alias played on the premise that this new war is very dangerous. We better learn the new rules of engagement are we just will not survive sure that because I think you can find parallels and how Jesus instructs instructs us the church to approach the Christian life.

In Luke chapter 11 says we don't realize the real nature of the enemy were ill equipped to survive the battle. She just like in the war on terror. Our enemy in this battle was not one entity that we can isolate and identify it and have a headquarters somewhere like Hollywood or the New York Times or Wall Street is not at work in only one particular culture or people, nor is he isolated to one political party, you're certainly not find him at work in all of those things but he's also good to be at work in our churches and our small groups in our families, and even in our own hearts, and that requires different rules of engagement by the way in eliminating these things for us.

Jesus also is going to answer a question that a lot of us ask, particularly around the new year and that is why we struggle so much to bring to affect real change into our lives.

I would say that one thing almost all the seven, maybe all of us is that is that there are things in our lives.

We would love to change, but many of us are are are so discouraged at our persistent inability to do so that some of you didn't even make a New Year's resolution this year because you didn't need anything else to feel guilty about failing at that after 2020 Addison want to come out with some big wins and so that means I'm not even a play the game. A man, Jesus explains that. That's because spiritual forces are at work in us and around us. And so, apart from his power.

Any attempted changes, doomed to fail, even if for a while it looks like it succeeds.

But little let's take a look at Luke chapter 11 verse 14.

Now Jesus he was driving out a demon that was viewed or that was making the man you want to stop right here and and and because I have a feeling that some of you might might read that what Sen. to say, really.

I mean, Jesus actually believe that some physical and psychological problems were caused by demons. Short answer yes and that is consistent throughout the Bible.

There's a lot more going on behind the scenes in situations like this than many of us realize. And maybe that strikes you as nave and you like what we now know we now know that diseases have viral causes emotional and even spiritual problems can be explained by psychological or physiological causes are the result of past trauma.

By the way, I don't think Jesus would disagree with you all. That is certainly not inconsistent with what the Scriptures teach about these things is why God gave us the scientific method is to discover there's next.

But Jesus would say that if you think that all of life's issues can be explained by merely physical factors, then maybe you maybe you were actually the nave one. Do you really think that the root of the Holocaust was just a man with chemical imbalances about forgot article. Do you really think that the strife and division. We experience in our own society simply owes to differing political ideologies when we see the rage that animates the discussions that we are in. How can we not see the evidence of spiritual evil spiritual forces at work whose intent is to divide and destroy for today when we look at our societies disregard for the for the lives of innocent babies in the womb and the dogged determination to celebrate our right to discard the how we not see evidence of spiritual forces at work we think about anything about the tragic history of our blindness on racial injustice.

How do we not recognize that and the yes evil in our world has physical causes. But if you think that physical factors alone explain all human evil and suffering. Perhaps you're the nave point and that's why the vast majority of people throughout history. Even today I recognize the reality of supernatural spiritual forces at work. That's not because everybody else around the world so nave and we alone are so sophisticated now, just to be clear with you. This is not to say that every problem, every problem is directly connected to demonic activity is not what I'm saying at all. Just that, according to Jesus, these things are sometimes at work back to verse 14, when the demon came out the man who had been mute spoke and the crowds were amazed at some of them said no. He drives out demons by the eligible ruler of the demons now quick note here be eligible, means the ruler of the demons or some translations say Lord of dung scholar say was a bit slain calling someone the Lord of dung, but using the curse word for dunk calling Jesus the Lord of the demons or the Lord dung with the weight of the religious leaders could explain away his power. Jesus obviously had supernatural powers but they didn't want to acknowledge that he was from God to the only way to the only alternative. The only way around.

That was the say that he got his obviously supernatural powers had to come from Satan. Verse 17. Knowing their thoughts. By the way you noticed how many times in in the book of Luke at that phrase occurs, that's another hint by Luke that Jesus is God because he always knew what everybody was thinking so he tells them every kingdom divided against itself was headed for destruction in a house divided against itself falls if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand now know this is as logically simple as it gets right. How does it make sense that Satan would empower Jesus to destroy his other works. If Satan is the one behind certain diseases and afflictions if he loves to spread dung be eligible if you love to spread dung into people's lives in the form of disease and death and strife. Why would he empower Jesus to clean up those very things. Jesus's works are going the opposite way of Satan's verse 19 he continues, and if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons drive them out.

For this reason they will be your judges. Right now, here's the second piece of reasoning. The second reason reason is if I cast out demons by Satan's power, thereby whose power to your people cast them out by what standard do you say that my power is from Satan and beers is from God.

If my powers to do the things are from Satan within maybe your people's power to do those things are from Satan. Also, he's showing them the inconsistency of their accusation bears is not an honest intellectual objection there just making up objections because they don't like Jesus. By the way I have found that same insight really helpful when talking to people about the gospel today. Some nice people come up with objections to the gospel but they're not real objections because they would never apply those same standards to themselves. Many Muslims, for example, apply a historical cynicism to Christian history that they would never apply to their own. They believe all these crazy conspiracy theories about the Bible, but they would never look at their own history to that same lens for you college students on your college campus you'll hear Prof. apply a cynicism to the historical evidence for the resurrection that they would not apply to any other event in history.

They assume that for this one event for this one event that there was some elaborate almost inexplicable historical roots or they'll raise objections from Christian history like what about the Crusades and all imply that those things invalidated Christianity itself, and when you respond wherefore yes the Crusades were a tragic chapter were Christians departed from Jesus teaching but but see what I'll see your Crusades and I'll raise you mouse at times, China and Stalin's Russia, which, in the name of atheism committed genocide exponentially larger than anything that happened in the Crusades and you say that Bill respond to say well that's got nothing to do with the intellectual integrity of atheism and Jesus would say to them, just like he says of these people.

Why are you applying a cynicism to me that you would never even apply yourself. This is not a real objection.

This is a AAA rationalization for decision you've already made that as you like. Jesus perhaps her cynicism has less to do with intellectual honesty and more to do with the dislike of Jesus and his claims about authority over your life. That's the point Jesus continues verse verse 20 if I drive out demons by the finger of God within it's logical for you to conclude that the kingdom of God is come upon you this finger of God image. Here is a reference all those religious leaders would immediately have recognized the phrase finger of God was a phrase that was used by the Egyptian sorcerers in Exodus 8 to describe the power that Moses was displayed in the Exodus and the Exodus God had done a series of miracles to convince Pharaoh to let the Jews leave Egypt, remember this for the first couple of plagues the Egyptian magicians use some trickery to replicate some of those things. Moses, for example, Thursday on a staff of the ground comes a snake and the Egyptians magicians. They got little trick rod where they could make it look like they also had that power. It was it was it went. By the way the Bible and tell us about was just an optical illusion or fill some kind of actual sorcery about either way. In Exodus chapter 8 Moses raises the stakes. Moses then take the staff and he throws it on the dust is a dustproof stop. The turns into into what your member version and that's and from their naps multiplied and covered the land will be Egyptian magicians. They couldn't duplicate that created an optical illusion where it looks like a staff turns of a snake is one thing but this creating naps out of dust. They can't touch that, and so they tell Pharaoh privately. Exodus 819.

There like this is the finger of God. We just can't do this.

Even the pagan magicians knew the finger of God when they saw it in Jesus to save your Jewish actresses can do some pretty impressive things, but they cannot do anything like what you are seeing here and it's safe to conclude that the finger of God is present and so is the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God is here, because the king is here.

Verse 21 Jesus continues on a strongman fully armed guards as house is a state his possessions are secure. But when one stronger than he attacks and overpowers him he takes from hell. All the weapons that he trusted it many divides up his plunder.

Now, in this analogy you lost in this analogy, who is the strongman Satan is a strongman and who is the stronger man that's Jesus right Jesus is the stronger man that overpowers Satan and plunders all his possessions now important in this parable. Who are you you are the property was first owned by the strongman but then liberated by the stronger man.

The implication is and this is so important. You are either going to belong to one or the other. You cannot be free of the strongman until you are under the control of the stronger man is. He says in verse 23.

Look at it. Anyone who is not with me is against me and anyone who does not gather with me scatters neutrality toward Jesus is not an option. And so if you are not actively pursuing and serving Jesus you are against him because you are still under the control of the strongman to see that will come back to that. The first is finished. The parable because Jesus can make this point even more clear. Verse 24 when an unclean spirit comes out of a person, it roams the waterless places looking for rest and not finding rest. It says a hug back to my house that I came from returning. It finds the house. Swept important in order Jewish wall demanded rigorous cleaning techniques.

After you got rid kind of gotten rid of any kind of disease or defilement even applied your property.

For example, if you had a mold problem in your house. You couldn't just clean that area with soap and water, a bottle of Clorox. The book of Leviticus that you had removed that whole section of the wall, and if the mold came back yet to burn the whole house down. Jesus uses this is a picture of the person who tries to use the law to clean their life up to the make a bunch of resolutions. They get rid of their bad habits.

They bring their addictions under control to get rid of bad relationships and they turn over a new leaf. They are serious about change what happens.

Verse 26 then then that unclean spirit goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself and they enter and settle down there. As a result, the person's last condition is even worse than the first or worse after you get rid of the demon them before they got rid of the demons don't mind his cleanup.

In fact, they, like it and it certainly does not stop them from coming back in much bigger numbers.

The use of the number seven. By the way, is meant to imply completion. That's what the number seven usually indicates in Hebrew is like saying the last state of that man is infinitely worse than the first listening what you hear a pastor in the church say this religion and self-improvement apart from Jesus, opens the door to more deceptive and more dangerous demons religious change don't care how eloquent or good-looking or multimillion dollar the person that is peddling it to you is religious change or self-improvement is often accompanied by pride and judge mentalism and a sense of self-sufficiency and those things are infinitely worse than alcoholism or bad temper, Tim Keller uses this as an illustration. He says he got a little boy who falls Dennis graces me and let's say that is really being overly emotional about it, so his dad comes over in his death his son get up. Be a man you want to be a little pansy in your life do you stop crying okay here's a question 10 that motivation help that little boy stop crying. Yes again by his dad's words help him sweep his house contain his emotions get some control, but what happened now little boy didn't just take himself back from being overly emotional. No, now he's given himself to a new master and that master is the fear of looking weak. I want to say that that becomes a driving force in his life never look weak, because weakness makes you look deficient. As a person. So cover any weakness at all costs. Now I want you to imagine this guys marriage. You cannot have a healthy marriage. If you're always scared of looking weak or you refuse to be vulnerable for you despise your wife when she does so yesterday that dad's motivation little boy was freed from being overly emotional, but he did so by giving himself to a new master a worse master the medication had worse side effects than the disease you conquered alcoholism but you developed a judgmental and arrogant spirit.

Seven more demons you overcame your insecurity by becoming a driven, domineering and self-sufficient person. Seven more demons you avoid conflict by retracting inward shutting yourself off and just not having friends anymore. Seven more demons you avoid pain by never committing anybody seven more demons.

By the way we see the same thing politically. People on the left will say the problem in our society as the institutions of capitalism. They serve the interest of white supremacy for the patriarchy. So let's tear down and redistribute all the well cedar that make us what you're left with people saw the same simple heart of greed and exploitation who will use whatever power they have, to subvert the week around the that is been the history of every Marxist country in history seven more demons people on the right say none of the government is the problem itself just make everybody free and that'll take care of, and we might agree that the debt power distributed a bunch amongst a bunch of corruptible people is less dangerous than power isolated in the hands of a few corruptible people, but even then you haven't dealt with the problem.

Selfishness and greed and corruption still feel the heart of man, and Satan still find those things and uses them to create the despair and loneliness comes from materialism, self-sufficiency, seven more demons see the point as what you're talking individually or politically.

Jesus is the only master who can free you from your demons and make you whole again. It is ironic, but freedom in the Christian life only comes from giving yourself fully to Jesus said again.

The irony is this freedom only comes from surrender. So again, what ask what does this passage teach us about change. What is it teach us about how to bring change, both in ourselves and in others, Jesus teaches us in this passage that there are two conditions for real spiritual power and one is in verse 23 and encourage you to write about these down the one total surrender total surrender again. Verse 23. Anybody who's not with me is against me and anyone who does not gather with me scatters until you are under the full possession of the stronger man's authority, you are powerless to defend all the domination of the strongman who was Satan cleanup yourself performer pledges to do better are not going to do it your reader. All limiting Jesus or you're still on team Satan and to be on team Jesus meeting you surrendered 100% of who you are all your hopes and your dreams all your ambitions are your ideas, give them all to him.

Now you're like old whole in the way. I may not be a fully committed Christian, but I don't belong to Satan initiative your arguments on the major arguments for Jesus. He who is not actively pursuing me actively serving me the longest same stronger only one who can save you. Maybe that's the truth you needed to hear today embrace Jesus today. You're listening to Senate life with pastor JD Greer. Today's message is titled a weak man strongman and a stronger man, and it's part of our teaching series from the Gospel of Luke called In-Stat if you've missed any of our previous teaching or if you want to study the transcripts. You can find them free of as a way to help us all ensure that God is first in our lives this year. We'd like to focus this month on the spiritual discipline of memorizing Scripture for most of us. The problem isn't that we don't know how valuable the Bible is the problem is that we've never brought the practice of reading it and memorizing it in line with this belief. For instance, if I offered you half $1 million to never touch the Bible again never read it here at talk about it or even think about it when you accept that deal needs to know that. Think about that you've just identified the Bible as an asset worth over $500,000. Is there any other half-million dollar asked that you would simply ignore.

We need a weapon to keep us from falling prey to the enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for people to destroy and guess what, the most valuable weapon that we can build is the word of God. That's why we have to keep putting it into our hearts so that when life cuts as we believe the word of God. This month we put together a pack of 50 memory verse cards for you to use as a daily weapon. If you want to carry God's promises in your heart. Our new Senate life memory verse cards make it easy to memorize Scripture will send you the rejoice always, Scripture memory card set as an expression of thanks when you donate today to support this ministry ask for it when you get by calling 866-335-5220 866-34-TRUTH 552 20 or you can give JD GRER rather mail your donation and request for the cards. Our address is JD clear ministry, PO Box 12293, Durham, NC 277 094 includes let me remind you that you sign up for our email list you want to do that today. It is the best way to stay on today with pastor Jane make sure and new resource for series. It's quick and easy designer JD don't forget to follow pastor JD on Molly that event inviting Ken Thursday when pastor Jenny in the gospel.

Believers strongly think and no match for the power Thursday to Senate life

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