Sunday, March 3, 2013

Oculi - The Third Sunday in Lent. Luke 11:14-28.
Can Satan Drive Out Satan?

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Oculi, The Third Sunday in Lent, 2013

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship


Mid-Week Lenten Services are Wednesdays at 7 PM.

The Hymn #175 Hamburg 2.43
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual             Ephesians 5:1-9
The Gospel          Luke 11:14-28
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #172:1-5            Herzlich tut mir 2.55

The Stronger Man

The Hymn #172:6-10            Herzlich tut mir 2.55
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #151   Christ the Life                       2:78

KJV Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

KJV Luke 11:14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. 15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. 16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. 18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. 19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. 20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. 24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Third Sunday in Lent

Lord God, heavenly Father, who hast sent Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to take upon Himself our flesh, that He might overcome the devil, and defend us poor sinners against the adversary: We give thanks unto Thee for Thy merciful help, and we beseech Thee to attend us with Thy grace in all temptations, to preserve us from carnal security, and by Thy Holy Spirit to keep us in Thy word and Thy fear, that unto the end we may be delivered from the enemy, and obtain eternal salvation, through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

The Stronger Man


Luke 11:14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. 15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. 16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. 18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. 19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. 20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

Luther:
In the first place, like all the Gospels this one teaches us faith and love; for it presents Christ to us as a most loving Savior and Helper in every need and tells us that he who believes this is saved. For we see here that Christ had nothing to do with people who were healthy, but with a poor man who was greatly afflicted with many ills. He was blind, as Matthew says; also dumb and possessed with a demon, as Luke tells us here. Now all mutes are also deaf, so that in the Greek language deaf and dumb are one word.

By this act Christ draws us to himself, leads us to look to him for every blessing, and to go to him in every time of need. He does this that we also, according to the nature of love, should do unto others as he does unto us.

The first thing we notice after the miracle is opposition – true hatred about what Christ has done and how He has done this. Some wondered, but others said, He has done this with the power of Satan. A third group wanted to see another miracle (sign from heaven). Although Jesus performed miracles time after time, some always wanted more.

The same is true today. God performs miracles that many never see, and He provides for us in ways that should make us thankful. Our nation could enjoy many blessings, with peace and prosperity, but we have turned away from the fruits of the Spirit to follow the gods of this age. And the church organizations have joined the stampede.

One young woman visited a college class and wondered why her top-rated university was such a depressing place to study. I was guessing that her school was a church school originally – and it was. Now it is much bigger and richer, with many honors and programs. But the original Christian purpose is gone. I mentioned my own experience with a more recent change in a church college.

In this miracle Jesus addressed the people who assigned His power to Satan. This is an important introduction to the second part of the lesson. At first the two parts seem distinct and separate, an odd selection for a Gospel. But they are the same lesson told in two different ways.

Jesus’ argument is that Satan did not give him power to drive out Satan. If that were so, it would be a kingdom divided against itself, and it would have to fall.

Jesus turned the accusation around and asked if the opponents cast out demons the same way, with the help of Satan.

20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

He finished this part of the debate with a positive statement of His work. With the power of God He cast out devils, so the Kingdom of God has come upon them.

21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

This is a compelling image to remember about the battle between Satan and Christ. The mysterious verses take on great clarity when we realize that the strong man is Satan, who controlled earth until the advent of Christ. Through the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus—the stronger man—overpowered Satan, robbed the devil of his trusted armor, and gave away the spoils of the earth to believers.

Luther:
10. He answers them in the third place, by a comparison taken from life, namely that of a strong man overcome by one stronger, and robbed of all his armor and goods etc. By this he testifies also that no one but God can overcome the devil, so that again no man can boast of being able of himself to drive out either sin or the devil. Notice how he pictures the devil! He calls him a mighty giant who guards his court and home, that is, the devil not only possesses the world as his own domain, but he has garrisoned and fortified it, so that no one can take it from him. He rules it also with undisputed sway, so that it does whatever he commands. Just as little as a house or court may withstand or contend against the tyrant who is its master, can man’s free will and natural powers oppose sin and Satan, that is, not at all; but they are subject to them. And as that house must be conquered by a stronger man and thus wrested from the tyrant, so must man also be ransomed through Christ and wrested from Satan. We see again, therefore, that our works and righteousness contribute absolutely nothing toward our salvation; it is effected alone by the grace of God.

This has always been the typical battle scenario between opponents. The stronger man takes over the castle, uses the spoils, and reigns triumphant. In the Bible are there two kingdoms, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan. They are perpetually at war. Those who believe in Christ are members of the Kingdom of God. Those who do not believe or stop believing (apostates) are members of the Kingdom of Satan.

This is a passage of great comfort for all Christians, because it teaches that faith in Christ means participating in the victory over Satan. The devil will still threaten and torment, through our frailty and sinful nature, even through the propaganda of the unbelieving world. But the victory has been won and the price has been paid. Faith in Christ overcomes Satan.

KJV 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

All the false teachers have so many methods for overcoming Satan, and they all involve “doing something.” Acts of piety and acts of contrition are prescribed, but the two foundational methods are ignored (the Word and faith). First of all, the Word of God is best fumigant against Satan, as Luther teaches in the Third Commandment (Large Catechism).


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100] For let me tell you this, even though you know it perfectly and be already master in all things, still you are daily in the dominion of the devil, who ceases neither day nor night to steal unawares upon you, to kindle in your heart unbelief and wicked thoughts against the foregoing and all the commandments. Therefore you must always have God's Word in your heart, upon your lips, and in your ears. But where the heart is idle, and the Word does not sound, he breaks in and has done the damage before we are aware. 101] On the other hand, such is the efficacy of the Word, whenever it is seriously contemplated, heard, and used, that it is bound never to be without fruit, but always awakens new understanding, pleasure, and devoutness, and produces a pure heart and pure thoughts. For these words are not inoperative or dead, but creative, living words. 102] And even though no other interest or necessity impel us, yet this ought to urge every one thereunto, because thereby the devil is put to Right and driven away, and, besides, this commandment is fulfilled, and [this exercise in the Word] is more pleasing to God than any work of hypocrisy, however brilliant.

Faith in the Word naturally accompanies the power of the Word. Here there is a great gap, because trust in the Word is constantly diminished by an emphasis on doing. One example is – you must join a cell group to be a real Christian. And everyone is directed toward marketing and selling with human wisdom. Eventually there is not trust at all in the Word. The same has happened with those who pick and choose what they believe in the Scriptures. Eventually the same person who began with some qualms is busy with open attacks on the Word of God.

That decline is best explained by this lesson. The warfare never stops, so anyone who begins to play  on Satan’s side, ever so little, willl be drawn back in and redouble his previous efforts – only in the opposite direction.

23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. 24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

Jesus made it clear that there are only two sides, no compromising middle of the road position. This is the first area of attack, when people insist on some compromise and become greatly offended at those who insist on no compromise about doctrine itself. People are willing to go to war for non-essential, trivial matters (such as synodical elections today) because those issues are ways to avoid the important ones.

Jesus’ warning here is quite clear – there are those who gather and those who scatter. If someone has become a believer, he is all the more susceptible to a renewed attack. The unclean spirit (false doctrine, unbelief) comes back with all his demonic associates. The house (person) swept and decorated is occupied, worse than ever before, and so the last state of the man is worse than before. I have seen this with people who saw the light about UOJ and went back to it with frantic attacks on justification by faith, mounting worse attacks than they easily answered a few months before.

Bill O’Reilly, a self-proclaimed expert on the Bible, has declared that the Scriptures are full of error.


Someone who goes down this road misses all the spiritual treasures of the Scriptures because they are present and yet hidden. Soon the question is asked over and over, “Did Jesus really say this?” and “Does this contradict another passage?”

Tricks are easy to use on people. When I played Trivial Pursuit with our son on the other team, I knew he had the right answers. When he began to urge his answer on his team, I asked them, “Are you going to trust a ten year-old kid?” Instead of thinking I was the opponent, they let my suggestions take over. Time after time they went against his answer and took the wrong one. My side won.

27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

There are many places where Marian worship is anticipated and refuted by Jesus. This is another example.

The woman says, sentimentally, Blessed is Mary’s body.

Jesus replied, “No, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and guard it.” The word “keep” can also be used to guard a jail. So those who value the truth of the Scriptures believe it and guard it from adulteration.

That can also be called “faith.”


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