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Grace to You - Resource

Before we come to partake of the Lord's Table, I want to draw your attention to the 11th chapter of Luke.  We are studying this rich and wonderful history of the life of Jesus Christ, the gospel of Luke chapter 11 and verses 24 through 28 is the section to which I direct your attention.  Luke chapter 11 verses 24 through 28; let me read it for you.

"When the unclean spirit goes out of a man it passes through waterless places seeking rest. And not finding any it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.'  And when it comes it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself and they go in and live there and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.  And it came about while He said these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, 'Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed.' But He said, 'On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and observe it.'"

We have all in our lifetime and certainly in recent years been exposed to a current trend in evangelicalism in America that we could call a trend toward morality.  It is not exclusive to evangelicals.  The Roman Catholic Church has always upheld morality.  The Mormons have upheld morality.  There are many other religious groups — cults — that make an issue out of morality.  Many years ago there was a moral movement in America known as Moral Rearmament.  And then more recent years there was the Moral Majority and now that Moral Majority is sort of been redefined as The Religious Right.  And we've always heard a lot about the importance of Judeo-Christian values and how critical it is to teach morality to our children and to call America back to moral living and moral conduct.  There are many evangelical churches that have made a major emphasis on this issue of morality. Many evangelicals, as you well know, have become involved in politicking at all levels in order to effect moral change in America through lobbying, through use of money to buy influence here and there, by pressure, politics, by protests and etc., etc.

There is a grave concern about the immorality of our world and about the immorality of our nation.  And certainly I agree that morality is better than immorality, that morality has inherent in it a certain sort of human goodness.  And obviously I am supportive of what is the divine standard, the moral code that God has revealed on the pages of Scripture in His very clear commandments.

Having said that, however, I want to say something that may surprise you. Morality is more dangerous than immorality.  Morality is more dangerous than immorality.

Now that may shock you. It may surprise you.  But it shouldn't because it's essentially what you just heard me read in this passage.  There is a very serious danger in moral reformation without regeneration.  There's a very serious danger in endeavoring to live your life according to Judeo-Christian values without salvation.  Reformation without transformation puts a person in a very, very dangerous position.

I suppose the greatest illustration that we know anything about in human history is the Pharisees.  They were classic moralists down to the minutiae.  The apostle Paul being one of them could even say that a...measuring his life against the law he was blameless.  They lived by a complex ethical code.  They demanded that life be controlled by moral standards.  They demanded this ethical, moral behavior be based upon the laws of their own tradition and the hottest hell awaited them.  Morality gained them nothing and it cost them everything.  It was morality that caused them to reject the Messiah.  That's why Jesus said to them, "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."  It is the righteous, it is the moral, it is the religious, it is the self-satisfied, self-congratulating, moral people, the people who uphold the traditional values, who are resistant to the true diagnosis of their spiritual condition.  And that was the case with the Jews.  The whole of the population had been largely influenced by the Pharisees and they hated the way that Jesus diagnosed their condition.  And the Pharisees, of course, hated the fact that He identified them in the way that He did.  While you're in Luke 11, look over at verse 37 for a moment. I'll give you a preview of what's to come.

When He had spoken a Pharisee asked Him to have lunch with him.  “And He went in and reclined at the table.  And when the Pharisee saw it, he was surprised that He had not first ceremonially washed before the meal.  But the Lord said to him..." Here's how, by the way, to break up a lunch quickly. "'Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and the platter, but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness.  You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also?  But give that which is within as charity and then all things are clean for you.  But woe to you, Pharisees, for you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God.  But these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.  Woe to you, Pharisees, for you love the front seats in the synagogues and the respectful greetings in the marketplaces.  Woe to you for you are like concealed tombs and the people who walk over them are unaware of it.'  And one of the scribes,” or one of the lawyers who, of course, held to the same self-righteous, external, moral religion “said to Him in reply, 'Teacher, when You say this, You insult us, too.'  But He said, (You're right.) ‘Woe to you, lawyers, as well, for you weigh down men with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.  Woe to you, for you build the tombs of the prophets and it was your fathers who killed them.  Consequently you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers for it was they who killed them and you build their tombs.  For this reason also the wisdom of God said, I will send to them prophets and apostles and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute in order that the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the house of God. Yes I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.  Woe to you, lawyers, for you have taken away the key of knowledge.  You did not enter in yourselves and those who were entering in, you hindered.'  And when He left there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile” little wonder, “and to question Him closely on many subjects, plotting against Him to catch Him in something He might say."

They successfully cleaned up their lives on the outside.  They whitewashed the tomb.  They were the moralists of the day and they demanded morality and they demanded ethical behavior.  And at the same time they rejected the only one who could make them righteous on the inside, the only one who could truly make them moral and good.  They rejected the Messiah and the Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ.  They successfully cleaned up their lives on the outside.  If you looked at the law and you looked at their lives you would say they matched.  But they could do nothing to fill the void on the inside, the vacuum, the empty-sinful soul hidden behind the mask of morality and the mask of religion.  And there was only one who could change the heart and the soul and the life and that was God and only through His Son, the Messiah, could it be done, and Him they hated and rejected.

Now perhaps there has never been a group in history more adamant about morality than the Pharisees and their friends the scribes.  They had all undergone a moral reformation.  They were the moral majority.  They were the religious right.  And they had made themselves moral on the outside.  They were more than satisfied with their self-righteous exteriors.  And they rejected Christ and they hated Him because He attacked them precisely at the point of the deadly danger of their external morality.  They were proudly confident in their superficiality.  Now their hostility toward Jesus had been escalating and mounting for months and months because He continually exposed the superficiality of their morality.

Back in Galilee months earlier, as we have been noting, they had called Him satanic, as recorded in Matthew 12:24.  And they continued to send out this propaganda, all across Galilee and all across Judea where He is now in this chronology of Luke, and the propaganda that He is satanic is basically the spin of the Pharisaic media.  This is what they want the population to believe.  And every way they can they have published this mantra, He does what He does by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons.  This, of course, is the supreme blasphemy.  So you have the most moral people ever engaged in the worst possible blasphemy in which they call the work of God the work of Satan and therefore identify God as Satan and they identify the servant of God, the Messiah, as the servant of the devil.  It is impossible that there would be a greater blasphemy.  The most moral people are the worst blasphemers ever.

It broke out in Judea on this occasion, back in verse 14 of Luke 11, when Jesus was casting out a demon and the demon came out. The demon had made the man unable to hear and speak apparently, and certainly unable to speak.  The multitudes marveled when he began to speak.  But here came that propaganda that had been sent around and been being sent for months. “Some of them said He cast out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, and others to taunt Him were demanding of Him a sign from heaven.”  There was mockery, there was taunting and there was this extreme blasphemy of calling Him satanic as to His kingdom, satanic as to His connection, satanic as to His power source, satanic as to His service.  Jesus responded, you remember, in verses 17 to 22 to this severe blasphemy from these who are the most moral of all, He responded with mercy.  He responded in verses 17 to 22 by sort of trying to help them rethink that.  He said, "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste and a house divided against itself falls.  And if Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand?  For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. This is ridiculous, this is idiotic. This is insane.  Why would Satan cast out Satan?  It is irrational." And then He goes on to say, "It's inconsistent because you say that those among you who attempt to cast out demons do it by the power of God, and they can't even do it.  I do it and you say it's the power of Satan.  That lacks integrity.  You lack sanity and you lack integrity."  He goes on to say they obviously have no spirituality, they can't even understand the simple principle that, as verse 21 to 22 indicates, that whoever is the strongest is the one in power and He has literally come and overpowered Satan who is the strong man because He is stronger.

So Jesus takes them on and says, "You need to rethink this.  Your thinking is irrational.  It is inconsistent and it is fleshly.  If you thought spiritually, if you thought consistently, and if you thought rationally, you'd know that what I'm doing I'm doing by the power of God."  And in a merciful fashion He tries to help them rethink this conclusion.  And He culminates, in verse 23, with this statement.  "He who is not with Me is against Me.  He who does not gather with Me, scatters."  You're either with Me or against Me.  And He says that, and this is very important in the context here, so that those who are against Him are the most moral and the most religious.  Now mark that.  Those who are against Him are the most moral and the most religious and the most ceremonial.  They are the ones who purvey the quote-unquote “Judeo-Christian ethic.”  But they are against Him and this is the defining reality of His kingdom.  There are only two kingdoms in the world, the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of light; the kingdom of Satan, the Kingdom of Christ.  And you're in either one or the other.  There are no orphans, as I said last week. You're either a child of the devil or a child of God.  You're either against Christ or with Christ and you don't have to be anti-Christ to be against Christ.  You don't have to be irreligious and immoral to be against Christ.  You can be very religious and very moral. You can even have good feelings about Christ and still be against Him.

Now that poses the question, all of that discussion we've already had, that poses the question: What does it mean to be with Christ?  What does it mean to be with Christ?  Because that's the critical matter in verse 23, "He who is not with Me is against Me.  He who does not gather with Me scatters."  So what does it mean to be with Christ?  The next text, our text, answers that question and it's a straightforward text and it compares reformation to transformation.  Let me look with you at verses 24 to 26, and we can do this rather briefly because it's very straightforward.  Jesus tells a parable here.  "When the unclean spirit goes out of a man it passes through waterless places seeking rest, doesn't find any.  Says I'll return to my house from which I came.  And when it comes it finds it swept and put in order.  Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, they go in and live there and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first."  Pretty simple, right?  There's an unclean spirit in a man, the unclean spirit goes out of the man, wanders, can't find a place to rest.  Says I'll go back to where I came from.  When it comes back it finds it...the man's life swept and put in order.  And then it goes and takes seven other spirits more evil than itself and they go in and live there.

Do you know what moral rearmament will do for you?  Do you know what moral reformation will do for you?  It will kick open a double door for the demons to come in.  This is a frightening reality, folks.  One demon went out and eight came back.  We're talking here about a very religious person.  We're talking here about a person who cleans up his act.  By the way, this is almost identical to the parable that Jesus told in the very similar account in Matthew 12.  There, Matthew 12:43 to 45, the similar discussion months earlier in Galilee.  The main point is this, moral reformation is dangerous.  Morality without salvation is frightening.

Now let's just look at it piece by piece.  When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it doesn't say how but the assumption can be made that the man sort of cleaned up his act because of what it says in verse 25.  "The house is swept and put in order."  Here is the picture of someone who is immoral, a picture of someone who is living an immoral life, someone who is engaged in wretched kind of conduct of one manner or another, and under whatever pressure comes to the point where he wants to clean up his life.  He...He's tired of the consequence of his iniquity and the consequence of his immorality.  And he wants to change.  He stops his homosexual behavior, he stops his adultery. He stops his fornication.  He stops his anger, his hatred, his lying, his killing.  He stops whatever it is, stops his involvement with pornography, grabs himself by the boot straps and takes the necessary steps he needs to take to clean up his life.  Maybe pressure comes from his family, comes from his wife, comes from people who know...know him, maybe he's been embarrassed, he's been caught, he's been trapped.  He says I don't want to do this anymore, want to get my life right.  Maybe he's tired of just the built-in consequence.  Maybe he fears venereal disease, or maybe he fears AIDS or whatever it might be.  Maybe he fears prison.  Maybe he fears having to live a debilitated life.  Maybe he knows he's going to slide downward.  Maybe he's gone to AA or he's gone to some other self-help group and he...he wants to get his life cleaned up.

As long as he had been living that wretched life he had been a haven for a demon, an unclean spirit, akatharton. Kathairō means to cleanse. Akathairo is the negative, an unclean spirit.  All spirits are unclean but not all are equally unclean. As verse 26 says, when this one came back he brought with him seven who were even more evil than himself.  They're all evil.  They're all poneros. They're all unclean, they're all akatharton.  “Unclean spirit,” by the way, was a Jewish term used to describe demons.  So in this case the man cleans up his life and that doesn't suit the demon very well, initially.  He's desired to turn from his vile behavior, clean up his act, make a moral reformation; maybe even went to some Jewish exorcists and got some help.  So he cleans up his life.  This is classic legalism.  Wants to become a better person, starts going to the synagogue, starts going in a contemporary setting to church, gets religion, joins Mormonism, joins Judaism, becomes a Catholic, cleans up his act.  And as a result a certain level of discomfort for the demon, who goes and departs.

It says in verse 24 that this demon passes through waterless places seeking rest.  Now that's metaphoric.  Since demons are spirit, they don't need water.  It's simply a metaphor for the barrenness of a demon floating around in the nether world, floating around in the spirit world.  They do their work through people.  They do their work in and through people.  And here is this demon, who leaves because of some moral change and wanders aimlessly in the spiritual realm with no person through whom to work his diabolical work.  To be in that existence outside someone is like being in a barren desert for a demon. It's like being in a waterless place.  It's a restless, distressing situation.

And it says that demon can't find a place, another place.  In this case if the demon can't find any other place, it says, "I will return,” look at this, “to my house from which I came." That's what's called demon possession.  That's the demon's house.  I'll return to my house, personal possession.  This is, my friend, what happens in legalism.  This is exactly what happens in legalism, in ceremonialism.  The legalism of the Jews, or the legalism of any other form of false religion, trying to be good, trying to be moral, trying to be righteous, trying to hold to Judeo-Christian values, trying to clean up your life by moral effort and religious activity, temporarily seeing the dismissal of that demonic power that was so accommodated in your wretchedness, only puts you in a very, very dangerous position.  This is where orthodox Jews, Mormons and Catholics and moralists of any religious kind find themselves.  Certainly the Jews were there.

You know, John the Baptist had a tremendous impact.  You remember preaching down at the Jordan and his message was repentance and people came and they repented, didn't they?  It says all Jerusalem and Judea came to him.  And he was baptizing all of them in the Jordan.  There was a whole lot of repentance going on but there was a whole lot of moral reformation in that repentance.  And when it came down to the end, that's the same group that were out at the Jordan being baptized by John, making a moral reformation, that screamed for the blood of Jesus.  Many were drawn to Jesus.  They were attracted to Jesus initially.  They wanted to have Him be the Messiah.  They were cleaning up their lives because they were...they were hearing from John that the Messiah was there, He was going to bring the kingdom, they didn't want to be outside the kingdom, they wanted to be inside.  They wanted to receive the blessing.  And so they did this moral thing and got their lives kind of cleaned up.  And...but it didn't work.

Go back to verse 25.  "The demon, saying I'll return to my house from which I came, when it comes, finds it swept and put in order."  In the statement that Jesus made about this in Matthew 12:44 He added one other thing, He said, "Found it swept and unoccupied."  And therein, my friend, lies the problem of morality.  The problem in the moral person's heart is it's unoccupied.  It's cleaned up, dressed up, but empty.  No occupant, swept, saroō, used of the woman who swept in Luke 15, put in order.  That's that wonderful word kosmeō from which we get cosmetics.  Sweeping is a kind of superficial cleaning, cosmetic is kind of a superficial ordering.  On the surface this place had been cleaned up.  And you might think that's great.  This is a clean life, you know, this person has cleaned up his life.  And we read about it all the time today, people clean up their lives, they get religion, they...they change their pattern.  They come out of prison and they clean up their lives.  They turn from their life of crime or their life of immorality, or whatever.  But in doing that and still being empty, they are only in a more dangerous position than they've ever been because they now are living with a damning delusion that somehow this clean-up puts them on a secure footing with God.  And that is a damning delusion.  The truth of the matter is that empty house, that spiritual vacuum, that reformation, that religion, that morality, that legalism is a kind of emptiness and verse 26 says, "Then that spirit goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself and they go in and live there and the last state of that man becomes (what?) worse than the first."  Once living in open blatant iniquity, he was possessed by one unclean spirit.  Now cleaned up and moral, he's possessed by eight unclean spirits who go in and katoikeō, settle down and dwell there permanently is what that means.  More demons more wicked.

In other words, the person is more infested with the agents of hell when morally reformed than when immoral.  What a statement.  Listen to what the Lord said in Matthew 23:15, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites," listen to this, "for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte and when he is made you make him twice the child of hell than yourselves."  Why?  Because the proselyte becomes more fanatical for self-righteous works than the teacher, because he sees somehow this...this move from immorality to morality as some elevation of himself and he sees the change and he relishes the change and he gets temporarily sort of cleaned from the pollution of his iniquity and he becomes even more an advocate for that than the old Pharisees who have cultivated their hypocrisy and know the truth of their own wretchedness.

The church's message can never be morality.  Jesus' message was never morality.  Morality makes people double sons of hell.  Morality kicks the door wide open for more demons.  Morality makes the last state worse than the first.  Let me say this to you, and it may shock you that I say it, it is better to be immoral than moral without Christ.  It is better to be immoral than moral without Christ.  It is better to be irreligious than religious without Christ, because morality and religion are a seduction.  Morality and religion give the deception of all is well with God when it is not.  Morality and religion is a soul-numbing deception.  As long as a person believes he is immoral, he could be saved, right?  It's when a person believes he's moral, doesn't need a Savior.  As long as a person knows he's irreligious, he's iniquitous, he's wretched, he is in a position to be delivered.  When a person comes to believe in his own righteousness, he is not redeemable.

It was never the immoral people, by the way, that blasphemed Jesus.  You just need to know that.  As you go through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, you're never going to find the immoral people blaspheming Jesus. It was always the moral ones.  It's never the harlots, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the riff-raff, the criminal element.  It was the religious people.  It was the self-righteous people.  Moral people, religious people are...are self-congratulatory, they are self-righteous, they're confident in their own holiness, in their own morality.  They are utterly deceived into believing that they have been delivered from the powers of Satan because they live moral lives.  And the truth of the matter is they may be more infested with demons than a prostitute or a criminal.  Moral people tend to have no vigilance and therefore no protection.

So the demon came back, found the whole place cleaned up but empty.  That's the problem.  Cleaned up but empty.  And if the living God is not present there, you have a disaster.  Listen to 2 Peter 2:20, "If after people have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," people who get some idea about Christ, some idea about the gospel and they're attracted to it and they want to clean their lives up so they escape certain defilements.  "But if after that they are entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first."  And Peter has to be echoing what Jesus said.  If you just try to clean your life up, maybe even in the name of Jesus, but it's empty in there, you're going to go right back, get entangled again, be overcome and end up in a worse condition.  And then Peter says this amazing statement.  It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than having known it to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them.  He says they're like dogs returning to their vomit and pigs returning to the mire.

There really is no more serious danger than the danger of morality.  It's like the leper with no sense of pain.  Such a person destroys himself without knowing it.  Leprosy is a nerve disease that obliterates feeling.  And lepers rub off their fingers and rub off their feet and rub off their faces because they can't feel anything.  This is the deadly danger of morality.

So to attempt to clean your life up without Christ coming to dwell there is to be exposed to an even greater danger.  That statement, "The last state of that man becomes worse than the first," is very definitive.  In the end, being moral is more dangerous than being immoral.  There is no benefit in reformation without regeneration.  And this is exactly what the Jews did, exactly what they did.  And that's why in verse 29, the next verse, He began to say, "This generation is a wicked generation." Well they wouldn't see it that way at all.  They thought they were a righteous generation and that's why they hated Jesus.  They were moral but filthy.  They were void of the purifying presence of God.  They were damned by morality, damned by religion, damned by reformation.

On the other hand, look at verses 27 and 28, just briefly.  This is transformation.  "It came about while He said these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, 'Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed.'  But He said, 'On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and observe it.'"

What does it mean to be with Christ?  Well it doesn't mean to clean up your life.  It doesn't mean to be moral.  That's worse.  Here's what it means and an illustration makes it happen.  While He is saying all this, right while He's saying it as an illustration, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed."  This is a sort of a Middle Eastern expression, this is the ultimate commendation.  Here is a woman who is with Christ in her mind.  She says You're the Messiah, You're the Son of God, and she says it in a beatitude that was proverbial in her day.  Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed.  That is the highest compliment you could pay to somebody in that part of the world at that time.  This is the most...this is the most noble thing you could say, "You...You are a blessing to Your mother, and blessed is that woman who bore you because You are a blessing to us."  Here is a woman who is calling Jesus blessed, and even affirming that blessedness in a very familiar way, a Jewish expression, "Blessed is the one who brought You to us."

This woman is positive on Jesus.  This woman respects Him.  This woman gives Him the highest compliment she can give in her vernacular.  She has respect.  She affirms that He is the Messiah, in effect.  She may even have understood that He was God.  And that sounds like the right thing to say.  But He replied, look at verse 28. He gave her another beatitude. She gave Him a beatitude. He gave her one back.  But He said, "On the contrary," better, menoun could be translated “rather.”  He's not contradicting her and He's not confirming what she said, He's just correcting it a bit.  But He said, "On the contrary, or rather, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and observe it."  He is saying it is not enough to commend Jesus, you're not necessarily with Me just because you commend Me, just because you honor Me, just because you respect Me.   Being with Me means you hear the Word of God and what? And you do it.  What does it mean to be against Christ?  Well, be religious, be moral.  Or you could even commend Jesus, you could say, "You are the Son of God, You...You are..." many people say He's the Son of God, many, many, many people say that.  "You are the Son of God.  You are to be honored.  You are to be respected."  I remember when I met with the leaders of the Mormon church, came down here and they said, "We want to meet with you because you have a high view of Christ and we're worried about the whole generation of Mormons who don't love Jesus Christ enough.  And we think that your books help people to love Christ so we're using your books at BYU, the books that you write on Christ, to help our people love Christ more."

That made me scratch my head and wonder what I left out.  There are a lot of people who love Christ.  Roman Catholic system, the people pay homage to Christ. In the orthodox system they pay homage to Christ. But that's not what it means to be with Christ.  He said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and do it,” keep it, observe it.  Jesus said if you keep My commandments, you love Me, in His upper room discourse.  James says, "Don't be a hearer only but a doer."  Jesus said, "If you hear these words and do them, you're like a man who built his house on rock."  Of course, all that's back in the 6th chapter of Luke, isn't it?  Back in verse 46.  "Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"  Calling Jesus Lord is not enough.  It's calling Him Lord and then doing what He says.  "Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I'll show you whom He is like.  He is like a man building a house who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock and when the flood rose and the torrent burst against that house and couldn't shake it because it had been well built."  Jesus said to be with Me is to obey Me, is to obey the Word of God.  And what is the Word of God?  "This is My beloved Son, listen to Him."  What is the Word of God?  "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."  It isn't said any better or more succinctly than in 1 John chapter 3 verses 23 and 24.  "This is His commandment."  You want to know what it requires to be with Christ?  It requires hearing the Word of God and obeying it. Here it is, this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ.  John says, at the end of his fourth gospel, "These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing you might have life in His name."

Being with Christ is not just being moral.  Being with Christ is not just honoring Him, very unlike the Pharisees.  Being with Christ, He says, is hearing the Word of God and doing it.  And the Word of God initially is to believe in the Son and be saved.  A moral person is in the greatest danger.  That danger is not mitigated by having good feelings about Jesus.  A person would still be empty and a haven for demons.  On the other hand, a saved person is one who hears the Word concerning Christ, believes it in its fullness, embraces Him as Lord and Savior and sets out on a path of obedience enabled by the indwelling presence of the Spirit of Christ.  You don't want your house moral and empty, right?

Father, we thank You that Christ is the one and the only one who fills the void.  Either we are an empty house or we are possessed by demons, or we are possessed by You.  We're either the haven for the forces of hell, or we're the home of the heavenly Spirit.  We thank You, oh God, that the Savior came to make His dwelling place not only in this world but in our hearts.  Lord, save many from the deadly, demonic invasion that can occur through an empty heart morally reformed, religiously reformed, but not indwelt by Christ.  Amen.

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