As we always do, let's open our Bibles this morning to the Word of God and particular to the fourth chapter of Luke. Did any of you happen to see the ABC special with Peter Jennings on "The Search for Jesus?" They didn't find Him, did they? In fact, not only didn't they find Him, they couldn't find Him because they didn't believe the only true record of Jesus, and that's the Bible.
I was doing a radio interview a couple of days ago in Dallas, Texas. There was a two-hour special in Dallas as a follow-up to that ABC program and they asked me what I thought about it. And I told them that I thought the program was blasphemy. And I said, the reason I say that is because the Bible says if you proclaim any other Jesus than the true Jesus, Galatians 1, you're to be cursed. To misrepresent who Jesus is is a form of blasphemy because He is God and to misrepresent God in any way is blasphemous.
That was a program orchestrated by Satan to confuse people about the reality of Jesus Christ. There's only one place where you can find the real Jesus and that's on the pages of Scripture. The revelation of Jesus comes in Scripture. In particular in the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the story of Jesus is told in its fullness. If you reject the Bible as the inspired, inerrant record, then you cannot find Jesus. They didn't find Him, they never will find Him till they look in the Bible and believe every word written about Him.
We gather now, this morning, and we're not searching for the real Jesus. We know exactly where He is. He's on the pages of Scripture, isn't He? I didn't expect anything different than that, I don't expect unregenerate people to know the true Christ. I didn't expect the ABC network to find the real Jesus. I don't expect people who deny the Bible to find Him. But I think what really saddens me is how many Christians are ignorant of the riches of the person of Jesus Christ. You, if you come to the church week after week after week, hear me expositing the gospel of Luke. And I know I have a reputation for going slowly. I can improve on that. There's only one way I can improve on that, and that would be to go slower. Now do you understand that? Because the faster I go, the less you're going to know about the depth of Scripture. Slower is better. I can't deal with the issues of Scripture, I cannot unfold for you the glories of God and the wonders of Jesus Christ unless I take what's there. Faster is not better. Slower is better so that you can learn the fullness of the riches of the glory of Jesus Christ. You know the real Jesus. You've seen Him in the Scriptures and you're going to keep seeing Him week after week after week as His majesty unfolds on the pages of the New Testament, the only source for knowing Jesus.
I was doing that interview and they had some people calling in and asking questions and one man called in and said, "Well, I've been a Christian a long time and what I would like to say to all those people who are searching for Jesus is that the way you really find Jesus is in your experience. I found Him in my experience." And somebody on the program said, "Well, that's very good." I had to say, "No, that's not very good because you can't invent Jesus out of your own experience. You find Jesus revealed in an absolute, historical record on the pages of Scripture. You can experience His salvation, but you cannot define Him by your experience."
And it saddens me. You know, you're a very, very rare breed here at Grace Community Church who have sat under detailed exposition of Scripture. Do you understand that most Christian people never experience that? And so the nuances and the depth of the understanding of the revelation of Jesus in Scripture is never exposed to them. They don't know these great truths about Him and so the full glory and majesty and wonder of Jesus Christ is never theirs. That is a tragedy. And in our time the pulpit isn't moving in the direction of doing that, it's moving in the opposite direction. It's moving away from expositing the Word of God, which is some kind of a prostitution of the call to ministry.
I've been reading a lot about Martin Luther and John Calvin just in...just in the times that I'm away from preparing sermons and things and Martin Luther said, "There's only one thing to do if you're...if you're a man of God, just one thing to do and that's preach the Word of God." And John Calvin said, "The ministry is only one thing. It's proclaiming the Word of God, that's all it is, nothing less, and nothing more."
And yet people sit in churches all over the country, if not all around the world, and never are the great wonders and glories of the person of Jesus Christ and the majesty of God explained to them in any kind of depth. Much of the ministry focuses on their problems and their feelings rather than the glory of God and the glory of Christ. It just grieves me greatly. I want to start a movement somehow to get back to the teaching of the Word of God, not for its own sake but for the fact that that is the only way people will ever come to know the fullness of the glory of God in Christ. You can't know it any other way. You can't just expect people to wander around in a fog looking for Jesus. The way you know Him in the fullness of His person is by knowing in depth the revelation of Him on the pages of Scripture. So I say, we're in Luke and if anything, we're going to go slower, and I'm going to prove that to you this morning.
I have to tell you though that I'm very grieved by this. You know, this is a great pain in my heart. It is a nagging pain in my heart that preachers do not exposit the Word of God with any kind of profundity, any kind of depth or transcendence, and therefore people are impoverished, because they do not see the glories and the majesty of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a great grief to me. You can be thankful that the Word of God is opened to you. I don't take the credit for that. You know, I was just an average guy stumbling, bumbling my way through an athletic career in college when somehow the Lord picked me up, dusted me off and turned me into a Bible expositor, not because of any will of my own but because of His. The whole thing is a greater joy to me than it is to you because I learn so much more than you do in the preparation. And if I told you everything I learn every week, it would be too slow, believe me.
Now in the text for today, Luke 4, Luke continues to introduce us to Jesus Christ. This is the story of Jesus Christ, just like all the other three gospels. And Luke is introducing us to the real Jesus. The search is over, folks, it's over. Here He is. Luke is introducing us to the Messiah, the Savior, the Son of God. And starting in chapter 4 verse 31 and going on through chapter 5, Luke directs us to the power of Jesus Christ. Up until this point he has been discussing the person of Jesus Christ, that He was announced by the angel, His forerunner was announced, that He was born of a virgin named Mary with no earthly father, that He was in the line of David, that He was the true Messiah announced to be the Lamb of God by John the Baptist, affirmed by the Father who said in His Son He was well pleased, that the Spirit of God came down on Him, all that Luke has said up to this point, including Jesus' conflict with Satan in the wilderness, affirms Him as the Messiah. It deals with His person as Messiah, Son of God, Savior of the world. Starting now in verse 31 we begin to look at Jesus' power. Even the occasion in Nazareth which we just studied in the prior section from verses 16 to 30 focused on the person of Jesus as the Messiah. He was the Anointed One, He was the one on whom the Spirit of the Lord had come to preach the gospel. So everything up to this point has been His person.
Now we're going to look at His power and we're going to see His power over all religious teachers, His authority over all other religious teaching. We're going to see His power over demons. We're going to see His power over disease. We're going to see His power over nature. That is all going to unfold in the fourth and fifth chapters of Luke and you will find a parallel section dealing with much of the same material in Mark 1:21 to 39.
Now the central point of the section is that Jesus has power over everyone and everything. He is the Messiah by virtue of angelic announcement. He is the Messiah by virtue of virgin birth. He is the Messiah by virtue of Abrahamic and Davidic descent. He is the Messiah by virtue of the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. He is the Messiah by virtue of the proclamation of the forerunner of the Messiah, John the Baptist. He is the Messiah by virtue of angelic announcement. He is the Messiah by virtue of His defeat of Satan. All of those things affirm it. He is the Messiah because the Father announced Him to be the Messiah, because the Spirit came upon Him to be the Messiah, and because He, being anointed, came to preach the gospel to the poor, the captives, the blind, and the downtrodden. All of that identifies Him as the person of the Messiah.
Now we begin to see His power. We have met the real Jesus as to His person, now we meet the real Jesus as to His power. Contrary to those comments by the pseudo-scholars on television, Jesus was no mere man who was confused about His identity. He was not a mere human with a limited sphere of influence. He was God the Son possessing absolute power and absolute authority over everyone and everything. And that is what Luke will show us in this coming section.
First of all, he deals with Jesus' power over demons. Let's look at verse 31, this is a fascinating account. "But He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and He was teaching them on the Sabbath and they were amazed at His teaching for His message was with authority. And there was a man in the synagogue possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon and he cried out with a loud voice, 'Ha, what do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God.' And Jesus rebuked him saying, 'Be quiet and come out of him.' And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him without doing him any harm; and amazement came upon them all and they began discussing with one another saying, 'What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out.' And the report about Him was getting out into every locality in the surrounding district."
It mentions His authority twice. It mentions His authority in verse 32, it mentions it again in verse 36, authority and power. Now we already know that Jesus has engaged in a conflict with Satan. The beginning of chapter 4, verses 1 to 13 give us the account of that. And we remember that Jesus went out into the wilderness, He was sent there by the Holy Spirit to engage in conflict with Satan. Satan put three temptations in front of Jesus over which Jesus totally triumphed in every case. He established His power over Satan there. He established the fact that Satan had nothing in him, as the Scripture says, that He could withstand all of Satan's assaults personally. So in the first section of chapter 4 we learn that Jesus could overpower Satan for Himself. But there's another question that remains, that is the question, "Could Jesus overpower Satan for others?" Remember, if Jesus is to save sinners, He's going to have to rip them out of the kingdom of darkness, right? If Jesus is going to save sinners, He's going to have to get them away from Satan whose children they are. You read in John 8:44, Jesus says, the unregenerate, the unconverted sinners of the world are the children of Satan. Ephesians 2 says that they are literally children of disobedience, that they are the sons of disobedience who are under the power of the prince of the air. They are under the control of the god of this world. Second Corinthians 4 says the god of this world has blinded their minds lest the light of the gospel should shine unto them. Colossians chapter 1 and verse 13 says that all sinners are in the domain of darkness. First John 5:19 says the whole world lies in the lap of the evil one. And then in Acts 26:18 Paul, giving his testimony, says he preached the gospel in order to turn people from darkness to light, from the dominion of Satan to God. All sinners are under the dominion of Satan. The...It is the spirit of Satan, it is that...that deceiving, lying, demonic fallen angel Satan and all his demons that literally indwell, that literally pervade the kingdom of darkness, the world of the unregenerate people.
And so, if Jesus is going to deliver people from their spiritual poverty, if He's going to deliver them from their spiritual bondage, if He's going to deliver them from their spiritual blindness and their spiritual oppression, if He's going to set the captives free, if He's going to smash down, as 2 Corinthians 10 describes it, the fortifications of the deceiver, if He's going to destroy the fortresses of Satan, the lying ideologies, false religions, etc., if He's going to do that and set the captives free and bring them to salvation, He has to be able to conquer demons. The whole world lies in the lap of the evil one. The whole world is in the dominion of darkness, the darkness of Satan. “Dominion” means “under the sovereignty of.” In the words of Romans 6, they are slaves to unrighteousness in that dominion of darkness. So sinners are in darkness. Sinners are under condemnation. They are prisoners in Satan's kingdom. If they are to be liberated, then the Messiah must have the power to shatter the guardians of that kingdom, the demons, the fallen angels and their ruler, Satan.
Once people admit that they are the poor, as we look back in verses 18 and 19 — Jesus said He would preach the gospel to the poor — once they admit that they are the prisoners who need to be liberated spiritually, once they admit that they are the blind who need spiritual sight, and they are the oppressed who need to be freed from that oppression, have that burden removed, once they admit that and turn to Christ, can He save them? Can He deliver them from the domain of darkness? Can He do that? The bondage is profound, the bondage is deep. Hebrews 2:14 says that people are all their lifelong in bondage to Satan. If Jesus is the Savior of sinners, if He's the Messiah, if He's the deliverer, if He's going to make the poor spiritually rich, if He's going to deliver the prisoners of Satan's kingdom and make them free, if He's going to give them sight, and take away their burdens, He has to be able to conquer Satan on their behalf. So it's one thing that He could defeat Satan in His own temptation. The question is, can He conquer the kingdom of darkness on behalf of others? He must demonstrate His power on behalf of sinners who are the helpless subjects of Satan's angels.
Now, one key verse, 1 John 3:8, 1 John 3:8, you need to mark this down somewhere and refer to it often because it’s one of those definitive ones. It says this, 1 John 3:8, "The Son of God appeared” we know that, but it says “for this purpose." If I ask you the question: Why did the Son of God appear, for what purpose? You might say to save sinners. Well that would be right, but that's not what 1 John 3:8 says, it says this, "The Son of God appeared for this purpose: That He might destroy the works of the devil." If somebody asked you, why did Jesus Christ come into the world? You can tell them that He came into the world for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil. And they say, what does that mean? You can say, "Well, the devil holds all sinners captive in the prison of his kingdom and Jesus, in order to save sinners, has to destroy all of those devilish efforts." Messiah then was brought into the world, God incarnate, for the purpose of destroying the works of the devil. He has to do that in order to set the captives free. It's as if... The imagery again comes back of 2 Corinthians 10. It's as if we view all the sinners as in a fortress, a great prison. The prison is fortified and it is guarded and it is guarded by the demons of Satan. In order to go in and free the captives, you have to be able to overpower the guards, and the guards of the kingdom of darkness are the hosts of fallen angels that we know as demons.
So when the Messiah comes, the battle is on. The war is on. And the question must be asked: Can He deliver sinners from the kingdom of darkness by overpower the forces of Satan?
Now I want to add a footnote here. This is not to say that everybody is demon possessed. I'll talk about demon possession next Sunday and what it is, and I'll tell you some things that I'm pretty sure you've never heard before and I'll explain to you what demon possession is. That is not to say that every sinner, every unregenerate person including all of us before we were converted is demon possessed, but we are all in bondage to the demonic system. Sin places us in the domain of darkness where we are under the influences of Satan and his demons. Every sinner is under Satan's dominion. Every sinner is under Satan's influence. And since we can't do anything that is right; we only do what is wrong, we satisfy the kingdom of darkness at every point. That is different than being possessed by a demon. That is an extreme form of bondage that is rare and I'll explain that to you next time. It isn't rare in the gospels, by the way, but if you read the Old Testament you will not find one incident of a person being demon-possessed in the entire record of the Old Testament. If you study the epistles starting with the book of Romans going through the New Testament, all the epistles, you will not find one individual demon possessed. It is a rare occurrence. That is not to say it didn't happen. There is no record of it in the Old Testament, no record in the epistles but there's an explosion of demon-possession in the gospels attacking the ministry of Jesus and the apostles. So you see it in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts, and I'll say more about it next time. That is a unique and extreme form of bondage.
And while every sinner is not possessed by demons, every sinner is in the domain of darkness and has to be liberated by the Messiah and the Savior. The sinner comes to the recognition that he is the poor, the prisoner, the blind and the oppressed and he turns to the Savior and says, please save me, deliver me from Satan, deliver me from sin, deliver me from bondage, deliver me from death, and deliver me from hell. The question is, can Jesus do that? Can He do that? If He's the Messiah, He has to demonstrate that He can. And this passage shows that He can. And by the way, the man doesn't even say anything. We don't even see this man repent. We don't even know whether he believed. A demon spoke out of him and in verse 35 Jesus rebuked the demon and said, "Be quiet and come out of him." And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him without doing him any harm. Regardless of where the man was, in terms of his own understanding of his sinfulness or faith in Christ, we don't have any indication that those things were part of his thinking. It didn't matter where he was, Jesus can command the demons at will anytime, and they had to do immediately what He told them to do. That's the point. If He is the Messiah, He has to have power over the kingdom of darkness if He's going to deliver us, as Colossians 1:13 says, from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son. He has to be able to shatter the power of the demons and this illustrates that He can, regardless of what the man thought, we don't even know what he thought. That isn't even recorded for us.
The terrible need of the human race is this: They're in bondage to Satan; they're in bondage to demons. They are under demonic influence. It is the spirit that works in the children of disobedience, they are alienated from God, they are subjects of Satan. And so 1 John 3:8 says Jesus left the divine realm, came into the world to shatter, to destroy those works of the devil and set sinners free. And the devil had been holding humanity in a death grip since Genesis chapter what? Three.
Now the evil spirits knew why Jesus had come. They should have interviewed some of these demons on the search for Jesus. They would have gotten the right answer. Verse 34, "I know who You are, the Holy One of God." I didn't hear one of those pseudo-scholars say that. They know exactly who Jesus is. They've known Him since before they fell out of heaven. They were once holy angels. Remember that? A third of them, according to Revelation 12, fell. They know who God is. They know who Jesus is. They can read the Bible. They know the story very well.
They also know the end of the story, the lake of fire prepared for them. That's why when Jesus arrives you see this explosion of demon possession take place because they really feel the battle is on full...at full force. And so all hell literally breaks loose and all through the gospels and even into the book of Acts there's this explosion of demon possession as these demons try to hold on to the sinners that Jesus has brought the message of release. And what happens, demons typically like to work in subtleties. They really do. I was talking to Steve Lonetti, who spent over 15 years among the Taliabo people in Indonesia. The Taliabo people were involved with false religion of the worst kind, witchcraft and demonic, and he saw people who were demon possessed who manifest the behavior that is that extreme, bizarre kind of behavior that indicates demon possession. But interestingly enough, I said to him, "Steve, you were there all those years and you saw that, did you ever hear a demon speak?" He said no, never heard a demon speak. Really, I've heard demons speak maybe three times. Maybe the third time was just a few weeks ago and I'll tell you about that in a little bit. They don't like to speak. That blows their cover. They operate in subtleties and they operate clandestinely. But during the life of Jesus, that changes. As Jesus steps in, the power is so great that they can't restrain themselves and they blow their own cover. This demon in this text screams in the middle of Jesus' sermon and it's apparent to everybody that a demon is in this man. But normally you find demon possession rare and you find the demon conversing also rare. But here in the ministry of Jesus it explodes and the clandestine, subtle ways in which demons generally operate give way to an open confrontation with Jesus Christ as the battle for the souls of sinners is really on. So the evil spirits, I would say, through all of biblical history, unleash their greatest and most visible audible assault at the time of Jesus and on the sinners that are hearing Jesus preach. And here's an illustration of that reality.
Now as we look at this illustration, this is one of those definitive passages. We have to understand this before we can just tell the little story. We've got to understand the dynamics that are working here. I want to remind you of a verse, James 2:19, do you know what that verse says? It says, "The demons believe (and what?) and they tremble,” or shudder. I want you to know something. You might think that you as a believer need to be afraid of demons. Wrong. You don't need to be afraid of them. Demons live in constant terror. The demons believe. They... The demons are all fundamentalists, they are. They're even pre-millennialists. They know that Jesus is going to come back and bind them for a thousand years and then throw them in the lake of fire. They can read Revelation just like we can. The demons know the story. They're in constant fear because they also don't know the day nor the hour when the Son of Man is going to come and render their judgment. So the demons believe and because they believe the truth, they are in a constant state of trembling. They're afraid. They're afraid. You don't have any reason as a believer to be afraid of demons. The demons live in fear. We believe and have no fear, right? Because we believe the gospel and the gospel tells us that our eternity is settled and secure and in that we rejoice. The demons know the very opposite. They know for them there is no salvation, only a lake of fire. They don't know exactly when that's going to come, they know it's inevitable and they live in constant terror. So James 2:19, the demons believe and they quake, shake, shudder, tremble.
Now what makes them tremble? What scares demons? That's a good sermon title, isn't it? Four things in this text, I'm going to unfold these. First the preaching of the Word of God by the Son of God, in this case, the preach...let's just call it the preaching of the Son of God. Secondly, the purpose of the Son of God scares them. Thirdly, the purity of the Son of God scares them, and fourthly, the power of the son of God.
Demons live in terror of the Son of God. His preaching, His purpose, His purity, His power, those four things, we're going to just look at those as we go. Let's take the first one today, the preaching of the Son of God. I hope I can convey the true impact of this part of the passage.
Jesus was a preacher, folks, Jesus was a preacher. Above all He was a preacher in terms of His ministry. He was a preacher. He spoke the Word of God. That's all He ever spoke, He never spoke anything but the Word of God. Every time He opened His mouth, the truth of God came out. John 8 He says, I think it's verse 26, "I only speak what the Father shows Me to speak, I only speak the Father's Word,” the Father's will. He was a preacher, always preaching, preaching, preaching, teaching, teaching, teaching. That, as I said earlier, is what those who follow in Jesus' path do.
In verse 15 of chapter 4 He began teaching in their synagogues. We saw the experience of His teaching and preaching there in Nazareth. Down in verse 43 of chapter 4 He said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also for I was sent for this purpose. And He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea." He not only preached in the synagogues of Judea, there's a variant there that He preached in the synagogues of Galilee where He was at this time, but He preached all over the place, Galilee, Judea, wherever it was. Everywhere He went He was preaching, preaching, preaching and always the same content, He was preaching the Word of God. He was expositing the Scripture. In the 24th chapter, which is the last chapter of Luke, in verse 27 He preaches His last sermon. Beginning with Moses and the prophets He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. From the beginning to the end of His ministry He preached and preached and preached and preached and always He preached the Word of God. That's all He ever preached and that's all any preacher should ever preach.
That's what He was doing in verse 31. Let's look at it. "He came down to Capernaum, the city of Galilee, and He was teaching them on the Sabbath." Now Capernaum is here identified as a city of Galilee. If you wanted to go over there today and find Capernaum, you wouldn't find it. It's destroyed, judged by God. After all, the Messiah had made His home there for a year and a half during His Galilean ministry and He had preached many times there, including this occasion in the synagogue and they had rejected Him and God judged them and wiped that city out and it doesn't exist today. All that's there is a little monastery and some ruins in an old synagogue that you can visit and a place that is believed to have been built on top of the house that Peter once lived in. But the city is obliterated from the earth. But at that time, it was the main agriculture and fishing center of the Galilee area, which is the north part of the land of Israel.
You will also notice that it says when He went down to Capernaum He went down, and there's a reason for saying down because Galilee is an area that has depths and heights of some interesting proportions. There are hills and mountains in the northern part of Galilee and then there is the Jordan Valley that runs down the middle of the Galilee, surrounded by mountains. The city of Nazareth is about 1,300 feet above sea level, whereas Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee is 686 feet below sea level. So it was a 2,000-foot drop to go about the twenty miles from Nazareth down to Capernaum. It is identified as a city of Galilee for the benefit of readers who may not know the geography of the land of Israel.
So down Jesus went from Nazareth where they tried to kill Him when He exposed them as the poor and the prisoners and the blind and the oppressed and they hated the fact that He identified them as sinners. They didn't want to hear it. And so they tried to kill Him by throwing Him off a cliff. Remember He got away. He left Nazareth, went down the 2,000-foot walk to Capernaum. And it was on a Sabbath in Capernaum that He was teaching them.
It was typical to do that on a Sabbath. Where would this have been held? In a synagogue, right? Sure. Verse 33, "There was a man in the synagogue," and although verse 31 doesn't mention the synagogue, it's clear He was in one because verse 33 does mention the synagogue. And so verse 38 also refers to it when it says He left the synagogue. So He went into the synagogue as His custom always was. Verse 16 of this chapter indicates that. And this time again He was asked to read the Scripture and preach and no doubt He preached perhaps the same message He had preached in Nazareth, that He was the fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1 and 2, He was the one anointed by the Spirit, He was the one to preach the gospel to the poor, and freedom to the captives, and sight to the blind, and deliverance to the oppressed, that He was bringing the favorable year of the Lord. He was the Messiah and with Him came salvation. He preached repentance, He preached the gospel. He preached salvation. We don't have the record of His sermon but we can assume it was the same message that He came to preach. He came to preach the gospel it says back in verse 18, and that's exactly what He would have preached again. And verse 32 says they were amazed at His teaching.
Of course, they never heard anybody like this. The clarity of His preaching, the profundity of it, the truthfulness of it, the power of it, there was never a speaker like this. This was the greatest mind that ever walked on the planet. He had the greatest grasp of truth. He had the same understanding of truth that God Himself has because He was God. He had the same ability and facility with language that God would have with language who inspired the scriptures. There was never anybody who spoke like Him and they were literally in awe of this man and His ability to speak. And not only that, verse 32 says, they were not only amazed at His teaching but they were astounded because His message was with such authority.
By the way, the word "amazed" means to be stunned or shocked, literally to be out of yourself, to literally lose your equilibrium you're so shocked, you're so stunned. It could be translated “dazed,” or “dumbfounded” is a good old word. They were dumbfounded by His teaching. They never heard anything like this and it was the gospel. And His message came with such force, authority, or power used interchangeably. It just...it came with the power that truth has. You know how much power truth has. It just hits with tremendous force. It produces clarity, it produces conviction.
And His authority was absolute. He didn't quote anybody, He drew nothing from tradition. He drew nothing from history. He didn't quote any old rabbis or any new scholars. He just spoke the Word of God. He didn't need to quote anybody. He didn't need any scholastic support for anything. His Word was true, it was penetratingly true. It was powerfully true. It came with tremendous clarity. Nobody could escape its meaning. It came with tremendous conviction; nobody could escape its application. And when the force of the Word hit that place, strangely it hit a demon. Verse 33: "There was a man in the synagogue possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon and he cried out with a loud voice, 'Ha, what do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God.'"
Wow! There was a man in the synagogue; that's all we know about him. But he becomes the recipient of the first miracle recorded in Luke when Jesus cast the demon out of him. He had a problem, he had a big problem. He was possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon. Now I'll talk more next time about what demon possession is. It's enough to know now that this demon was living in this man. And remember, when Satan fell out of heaven he took a third of the angels with him, they become the demons. One of the things they do is dwell inside people. This is such a person.
Now it tells us that this man was possessed, indwelt, literally the Greek is “having the spirit of an unclean demon literally in him.” It is called here an unclean demon. Now I've heard commentators, I've read commentators that said this is a special kind of demon. No it's not. You mean as opposed to a clean one? Not any kind of a special demon, they're all unclean. There's no such thing as a clean one, or a semi-clean one.
This is akathartos. This is... Katharos is to be cleansed. This is akatharto. This is an unclean demon. This is...they're all morally filthy, wretched, hellish, damnable spirit beings. Possessed, literally the man was under the control.
Demon possession, I'll explain this more next time, means to be under the control of a demon which control cannot be resisted. It's different than being influenced. People can resist the influence of Satan, but possession is another thing altogether in which total control cannot be resisted.
So here is this man just sitting there and this gospel is coming out of the mouth of Jesus with tremendous force and it hits the demon and the demon screams. That's what "he cried out" means. Literally the demon screams with a loud voice, right in the middle of the preaching. Back to verse 31, it tells us, "And He was teaching." That Greek grammar means He was in the midst of His teaching. He was in the midst of His sermon and right in the middle of His sermon this demon screams at Him. Now again, the demon blows his cover here. Demons don't like to do this. My understanding is that they would prefer to be subtle. They would prefer to ply their devilish work in a secretive fashion because they can accomplish so much more and not frighten people. This demon is exposed. “Ha,” from... That is ea in the Greek, probably from the Greek verb eaō, which means "let me alone." The demon... Have you ever heard somebody say, "You know, I went to church this morning and I felt like the preacher was talking directly to me?" Right? Have you ever felt like that, that I was talking right at you? Well that's exactly the way the demon felt. The demon felt this is...He is coming right at me. And you want to know something? He was, because Jesus was coming with force of the gospel of God that was going to shatter the kingdom of darkness and rescue the captives of Satan and free them and bring them to salvation. And the demon felt the power of that gospel. The demon couldn't restrain himself. Jesus preaching good news of salvation, deliverance for those who are the poor, prisoners, blind, and oppressed and He's coming to free them from Satan, free them from the demons, free them from sin, death, darkness, hell. Jesus is saying, I'm going to take the penitent sinner and I'm going to deliver him from the domain of darkness, the domain of Satan and I'm going to bring him into the kingdom of light and the kingdom of God.
This is a terrible announcement that the demon hears, "this is indeed the Messiah." The demon knows it. He says in verse 34, "I know who You are." He knew He was the Messiah. He knew He was. He says, "Is this the time for us to be destroyed? Is this the time when we're all going to get thrown into the lake of fire?" And so, the dreaded reality hits the demon. The holy war is on and the demon can't restrain himself so he screams through the voice of this man. The demon actually panicked.
Now they live all the time in fear, right? James 2:19, I go back to it, the devils believe...or “the demons believe and therefore (they what?) they tremble." But tremble turned to panic. The demon knew the holy war was on and he knew the implications, almost, if not actually, out of control now, losing the more effective clandestine presence, the demon exposes himself and screams, "Ha," which is... In all lexicons, that word in the Greek, ea, means dismay, fear, or terror. The demon is panicked, panicked because his kingdom is being plundered and Jesus is after the soul of that man in whom that demon lives and the demon feels the force of that gospel of deliverance.
"And then the demon said out loud, 'What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth?'" Jesus of Nazareth was the title by which Jesus was known. It's not necessarily a term of disrespect or disdain. That was His hometown. "What do we have to do with You?" That's an interesting statement, it's an idiom. Literally it is, "What is it to us and to You?" But you can't translate idioms literally in any language. What it means and all the expressions of all the lexicographers and commentators on this come back to this, what the demon is really saying is, "Why are You attacking me? Why are You attacking us?" because he knew that the attack on him was an attack on all the other demons who are in the same kingdom. "Why are You attacking us?" would be an accurate translation.
In chapter 8 of Luke verse 28, Jesus comes across a man possessed with demons and the man sees Jesus. He cried out, screamed again, the demon causes the man to fall down. The demon says, "What do I have to do with You, Jesus?" exact same statement. "Why are You attacking me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God. I beg you, do not torment me," that's the demon talking. Wow. Wow. Boy, the demons felt the power of the truth of God coming through the lips of Jesus, didn't they? You want to have an impact on demons? Just preach the gospel, just preach the gospel. You want to shatter the kingdom of darkness? Preach the gospel. Preach the message of deliverance and salvation. Again it's a sad state the church is in today. It's pathetically sad, so much weak, insipid, shallow, trivial, man-centered preaching does nothing but aid and abet much of the enterprises of the kingdom of darkness. You want to shatter the kingdom of darkness and you want to cause the already fearing demons to panic, then you preach the gospel that saves sinners. The demon says, "Why are You attacking us? Why are You interfering with us? Is this the time of our destruction?" And he uses the plural "we" and "us" again because he knows that the assault is on all of them, not just him. The demon felt the real threat of the power of the gospel.
Let me tell you something, folks. The worst thing that threatens demons is the preaching of the gospel. The clear, profound, powerful, accurate preaching of Christ and His salvation causes the demons to panic. And normally they don't want to show themselves, but sometimes they can't restrain themselves as in this case. The war was on and the victory was Christ's and the demon knew it. He knew it.
In Luke 11:20 Jesus said, "If I cast out demons then the kingdom of God has come." That's what He is saying. If I'm the Messiah, you'll see Me cast out demons. If you see Me cast out demons, you know I'm the Messiah. And He will do that in a moment, but He didn't even have to cast the demon out to get a response. All that had to happen was the preaching of the truth.
I'll tell you something very personal. It was Resurrection Sunday, Easter Sunday, I had been preaching, of course, through Luke. Every week we've been proclaiming Jesus Christ and His gospel. We got into the fourth chapter and His victory over Satan and to the wonderful account of Nazareth, all of that, and we've been exalting Christ. And the kingdom of darkness doesn't like that. They don't like this preaching. I came in here on Resurrection Sunday, Easter Sunday morning. It was about 6:30 when I got here because we had that early 7 o'clock service and I had some security guys to take care of me. They watch me because they want to protect me. And I'm glad for that. And so whenever I come in the morning, everything is locked up and secure and they go through ahead of me to kind of let me in and go through several locked double doors to get into my office. Well this is early, 6:30 or 6:40 on Sunday morning, on Easter Sunday. And they went through the normal process, opening the doors, letting me through, letting me through.
I went into my office, sat down at my desk, just praying a little bit and all of a sudden I felt the presence of someone in the room. I looked up. There was a guy standing right across the desk. He had gym shorts and a t-shirt and he had about a six-foot-long spear sharpened to a point holding in his hand, big, thick shaft from a branch of a tree filed like a pencil. And in his other hand he had another stick. I looked at him and I said, "Can I help you?" I didn't know who he was. I had never seen him in my life.
And he says, "Yes," he says, "I'm here to make my presentation this morning."
I said, "Well, what do you mean?"
He says, "I am making the presentation this morning." And he was real intense and strange.
And I said, "Oh, oh," I said, "that presentation." I said, "Yeah," I said, "There's a guy in the hall who's in charge of that. Let me go get him because he wants to talk to you about it." That's exactly what I said.
He said, "Oh, okay."
So, I went out the door, you know, you've got to think fast and I said to Merrill, I said, "There's a guy in there with a spear who wants to talk to you."
He said, "What?"
I said, "I'm telling you, there's a guy in there in gym shorts with a spear and a big stick and he wants to talk to you."
He said, "You're kidding me."
I said, "I'm not kidding you, I don't know whether he slept there all night, I don't know how he got in there, but he's in there and he's very threatening and he needs to talk to you about his presentation."
Well, I mean, they took care of the guy and they had to restrain him and all of that kind of thing. The following Sunday after I preached, I came down the steps and stood down by where Patricia is, just while someone was closing in prayer and a man came after me physically in a very intense way and started after me and had to be restrained and eventually handcuffed to be restrained and taken away.
And then the third week in a row I preached and I came down and I stood there and had...just waiting for the final prayer in the second hour and another sort of glassy-eyed person that I did not know came toward me and came right up to my face and said, "Why are you trying to hurt me? Why are you trying to hurt me?" in this bizarre kind of way. He had to be restrained and later on a relative of his called to say he was threatening to get a gun and kill me.
You know, when you... That was just too close a quote to the text for me not to think that's not demonic. The demons still don't like the preaching of the gospel. And while they would rather sit back quietly, sometimes they can't be restrained and the demon panicked and that guy came after me. Now I don't worry about that. I don't want to tell these guys who guard me, but I trust them only so far. But I trust God to take care of me. I'm not worried about that. I didn't lose one second of sleep over it. I just go on with my life. But I'll tell you what, I thank God for that because I...I believe that is a sort of a back-handed affirmation of the power of the gospel that's going out. I hope that I cause already fearful demons to panic over the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ working in the souls of the sinners that belong to the kingdom of darkness to transfer them out of that kingdom into the kingdom of God's dear Son. And that... You should get that reaction. We don't need to run around, poking around trying to find demons, chase them away. Just preach the truth, you'll liberate the sinner and the demon understands the implications of that.
Well, maybe, just maybe it was the same demon who was in Capernaum. Who knows? Maybe, of course, it wasn't. But the response is the same. You preach the Word of God, you preach the message of Jesus, you preach the gospel of salvation and you literally turn the demonic kingdom into a panic. Why? Paul says, "I preach the gospel because it is the power of God unto salvation." And that's what the demons hate most because it tears the sinner out of their clutches.
David Gooding, Irish Bible scholar whom I have ministered with over in England, said, "In the fight for man's deliverance from the power of Satan the first and foremost tactic is the proclamation of the supremely and absolutely authoritative Word of God."
You want to confront the kingdom of darkness? Don't run around with little formulas. If you want to confront the kingdom of darkness, preach the supremely and absolutely authoritative Word of God. That threatens demons. The preaching of the Son of God turned them into a panic. The preaching of the Son of God in the Word of God still does the same. David Gooding also wrote, "It follows that to neglect the preaching of that Word or in any way cast doubt in people's minds as to its authority and trustworthiness is to play directly into Satan's hands and help maintain his bondage over them." Anybody comes along, casts doubt on the Bible, is aiding and abetting Satan.
That's what they did in “The Search for Jesus,” didn't they? They just aided and abetted the kingdom of darkness. By the way, the demons don't have to search for Jesus. They know exactly who He is, they know exactly why He came, and so do those of us who believe in the Bible. Amen? Let's pray.
Father, we thank You again for the confidence that we have in Your power. When we think about the depth of the bondage of sin, when we think about the fact that there is in us no good thing, there's none righteous, no not one, that everything we think, everything we say and everything we do displeases You, when we think that we are under the power of the prince of the air, the spirit that works in the children of disobedience, that we are literally the children of Satan, that we lie, as it were, in the lap of the evil one, that when...that we are literally prisoners in the fortress of the domain of darkness, when we think about how deep our depravity is, how deep our bondage is, how wondrous it is to understand how powerful the gospel is. It shatters the fortress; it smashes the prison walls down. It breaks all the chains. It delivers the sinner. That is the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank You that we can preach that powerful message of that powerful Christ and see sinners delivered. We thank You that we can make the host of hell panic when we preach the Word of God. May You raise up many to do faithfully just that and may Your people not have such meager instruction as is common today. May they hear the great and rich and deep truths of Your Word that they may know You, the great and true and living God and Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the blessed Holy Spirit in the fullness of revelation in Scripture that we may adore You, and love You and delight in You as we should. We thank You for Your Word which offers us that if we are faithful to know it. In Your Son's name. Amen.