The Strong Man l Luke 11:14-26 l Chapel Hill Church Gig Harbor

The Strong Man l Luke 11:14-26 l Chapel Hill Church Gig Harbor

Last week Pastor Ellis preached a great message on the Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11. He pointed out the differences between Luke’s version and Matthew’s, which is the one that most Christians pray. Surely Jesus taught on prayer more than once which might explain the slight differences between the two. But there is one difference that jumps out. Luke’s last line of the Lord’s Prayer is, “…lead us not into temptation…” And then, it stops. What’s the “missing” piece? “And deliver us from evil.” That’s the part that Matthew includes…and Luke omits.

Luke may not include that line in his prayer, but he certainly believes there is evil from which we must be delivered…because in the section immediately following, Luke dives into a dark and disturbing passage on demonic activity. There are some texts that would be easier to skip; that aren’t simple to preach. But we value exegetical preaching…which means, we make our way through entire chunks of scripture. Both the easy/delightful parts…and the harder stuff. This is the harder stuff…but it is a part of God’s word to us. And frankly, in these crazy days in which we live, I think we need to be reminded that there is Evil in this world…from which we need to be delivered…and, thank God, we have a savior who has come to do just that. Amen?

So…we’re going to dive into this passage from Luke. This topic might be new for you if you are visiting…it might seem odd to you…but I pray that you would open your heart to what God wants to tell us about our spiritual enemy, Satan, and his minions.

“Now he [Jesus] was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Luke 11:14-26

The first point I want to make is this: Evil is real. Luke transitions from a teaching on prayer to the matter-of-fact statement that Jesus was “casting out a demon.” Ho hum…just another day in the office. Just another exorcism. Another person delivered from the power of Satan. By now…having read a big chunk of Luke…we could take for granted what was really a remarkable part of Jesus’ ministry on earth: deliverance!

Again and again, Luke reminds us that a key part of Jesus’ ministry was his battle with evil spirits that had taken possession of people. You might remember an encounter between Jesus and a man called Legion, so called because he had a multitude of evil spirits living in him. Jesus cast them out of that wretched man and sent them into a herd of pigs who did a swine drive right off the cliff. Every time he delivered a demon-possessed person, Jesus displayed his authority over the kingdom of evil. In fact, when he sent out the twelve disciples …and the 72 disciples…on their preaching mission, he gave them the authority to cast out evil spirits. Wouldn’t you have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Jesus gave those marching orders? “You are going to go and preach and heal and…oh yes, do battle with evil spirits.” Say what???

In I John, a letter near the end of the New Testament, we read a pithy summary of Jesus’ mission statement on earth. I John 3:8: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”

And interestingly…at least I find it interesting…exorcism was the one miraculous power Jesus displayed that was never performed in the Old Testament. Jesus fed people miraculously but so did Moses. Jesus calmed the storm but Joshua held back the waters of the Jordan. Jesus raised people from the dead but so did Elijah. But no one in the Old Testament ever cast out evil spirits. No one. The closest we have is when King Saul was inhabited by an evil spirit and David soothed him by playing his lyre for him.

The singular and perhaps most remarkable display of Jesus’ authority and power, other than his resurrection, was his ongoing battle with evil spirits that were terrorizing the people they inhabited. The New Testament clearly teaches that we have a spiritual enemy…the Bible calls him “the Devil” or his proper name, “Satan.” He first appears in Luke’s gospel at…