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Luke 11:14-32

The Strong Man in Our Lives

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • July 8, 2012

At this point in the book of Luke, the Pharisees are testing Jesus and accusing Him of casting out demons by the power of Satan. They wanted Him to prove who He was by demanding a sign from heaven. We would do well to listen carefully to His answers and to apply them to our own lives as well.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

The Strong Man in Our Lives

Luke 11:14-32

As Jesus continues towards Jerusalem, heading south from the Sea of Galilee area, He travels from village to village. As he gets nearer to Jerusalem, the crowds grow greater in number.

It also becomes obvious that a delegation has been sent from the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem to keep an eye on Jesus. By this time he had already become famous and the Jewish leaders were already terribly threatened by Him.

In fact, as we see in this chapter, the Jewish leaders began to confront Jesus publicly and were attempting to sway the crowds away from Him. The confrontation between the Jewish leaders and the Son of God will grow greater in intensity, finally resulting in Jesus's arrest and crucifixion.

In this section of Luke Jesus was casting out a demon and the multitudes marveled at the power of God revealed through Him. But the Jewish leaders responded, "He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons." The name, Beelzebul, literally means "Lord of the flies" and is a reference to Satan himself. In other words, they were accusing Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan. Frankly, this is a shocking accusation. They should have known better.

In John chapter 3, a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus came to Jesus by night for a private and honest conversation and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." In other words, the Pharisees knew full well that Jesus had been sent by God and moved in God's power when He healed the sick or cast out a demon, and yet they had the unmitigated gall to suggest that He was actually moving by the power of Satan.

Other Jewish leaders began testing Him by demanding of Him a sign from heaven. They were asking Him to prove who He was by doing a miracle, but more than that, they were looking for a way of being in command.

Jesus will respond to both questions and His response is filled with power, insight and wisdom for them as well as for us. We would do well to listen carefully to His answers and to apply them to our own lives as well.

I. Have Faith; Jesus is our Strong Man

  • Jesus’s first response to their accusation was essentially, that doesn’t even make sense; any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste.
  • Jesus then explained the principle of the strongman which we'll also look at together, but first, we should understand what's wrong with their hearts to even say such a thing.

A. Our words reveal our heart

  • In another place Jesus said, “The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” Jesus said this immediately after calling them a brood of vipers.
  • Why? Because they knew that Jesus was doing miracles and casting out demons by the power of God. Therefore, knowing that Jesus was filled with the power of God, they had the unmitigated gall to accuse Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan. 
  • It’s all about the heart, their hearts were hard and so they spoke out of their bitterness.

Matthew 12:34-35, "The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil."

Illus – Some people say, “Look, this is just who I am, okay?” This is supposed to excuse their offensive behavior. Actually, that’s who they were, and now are, but the more important question is… who will they become?

They are under the false assumption that who they are is somehow locked into some kind of genetic code and they have no choice but to live out the disposition given to them. That is actually true of alligators, crocodiles, and hyenas, but there is something much higher at work in those who are in Christ Jesus.

B. The Lion of Judah is for you

  • In verse 20 Jesus answered, "But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."
  • He then gives us the principle of the strongman. By this principle a demon is cast out, and by this same principle, we understand that Jesus, also called in scripture, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, is the strongman in our lives as well.
  • When someone asks Jesus into their heart as Lord and Savior, He takes up residence in their lives and, as the strongman of heaven, who can overtake Him?
  • By this same principle we understand why a believer cannot be possessed by a demon.
  • When you understand that the strongman of heaven is in you and is for you, it should ignite your faith and cause you to live for Him with all your heart. 

1 John 4:4, You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

Romans 8:31, 33-34, What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? …Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns?

C. There is no neutral ground

  • Jesus made another powerful statement in verse 23, “He who is not with Me is against me.” In other words, there is no neutral ground.
  • Some people don't like that statement because it doesn't sound politically correct, it doesn't sound all inclusive.

Illus - If you're sailing on the Titanic and the ship hits an iceberg, there is no neutral ground. Either you get into a lifeboat or you're going down.

  • The good news is that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that in believing in Him, you would not perish, but have everlasting life.

Illus - Some try to take a neutral stance and say that Jesus was a good man, perhaps an ascended guru, or a teacher of good. But Jesus is the one who said here that there is no neutral ground. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Either he is a liar, a lunatic or He is Lord.

  • The impact is profound, Jesus explained what happens when an unclean spirit goes out of a man, but nothing comes in to replace it. Jesus said that the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.
  • They did not desire true personal revival, which is the transformation of the heart. Since their hearts were empty, it leaves the door open for every evil desire to creep in and find a home.
  • True transformation has two parts; it’s not just avoiding sin, it's also having the fullness of God.

Illus – You can’t just say, “I will avoid junk food,” you must also say, “I will be satisfied with all the good things at God’s table.”

  • It's not enough to say, “You're right God, I need to sweep out my life.” You also need to say, “O God, fill me with your Holy Spirit and with newness of life.”
  • Without the filling of the Holy Spirit, there is no spiritual power for victory, or the joy of the Lord, which is our strength.

II. What will You do with the Sign of Jonah?

  • When they asked for a sign, Jesus responded first; that an evil generation seeks for a sign, and second; that no sign would be given but the sign of Jonah the prophet.

A. A sign is for those who lack faith

  • First of all, it's important to understand that a sign was some kind of miracle to confirm what God was saying.
  • This is important to understand because there are people today who seek for some kind of sign from God to direct their lives. But that would be more like seeking God for an omen, which God does not do either.
  • In the OT God used signs to strengthen faith.
  • When God called Moses to deliver the people of Israel out of slavery, Moses said, “What if they will not believe me and what if they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’?” God then gave Moses signs to bear witness that God had spoken.

Exodus 4:8, “If they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign. But if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile…”

  • In Luke 11 the Pharisees were not honest in their request. The suggestion is, “If You will give us a strong enough proof, then we will believe.”
  • But they were not looking for a reason to believe, they were looking for a reason not to believe; they were looking for a reason to accuse. 
  • The problem was that Jesus had already given great evidences, powerful witnesses, to demonstrate who He was to them. Instead of receiving and responding, they accused Him of being of the devil.
  • The problem also is that they demanded a sign by their choosing and rejected the signs of God's choosing.
  • Do people do this today? Yes, there are some who come up with tests of their choosing that demand God to prove who He is to them,

Illus - Some people say, “God, if you're real, then…

  • Do such and such a thing and then I'll believe,
  • give me the winning numbers of the lottery, and then I'll believe,
  • heal me of this sickness, and then I'll believe,
  • get me out of this mess, and then I'll believe.”

Habakkuk 3:17-19, Though the fig tree should not blossom and there being no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength…

B. The greatest sign is the sign of Jonah

  • In verse 29 Jesus said, “No sign shall be given but the sign of Jonah the prophet…”
  • In other words, Jonah’s experience pointed to the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • Therefore, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the evidence and proof that God gives the world so we might believe in His name and have life.

1 Corinthians 15:17, 20 … if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins… But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.

  • The question of the day is this, what will you do with the sign God provided? The OT is a shadow of the reality of God’s sign - the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

C. Something greater than Jonah is here

  • Jesus brings up two examples of those who received the evidence of God's Word and responded in faith.
  • In Nineveh they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah was there before them.
  • When the Queen of the South heard that God had given wisdom to Solomon, the king of Israel, she did something about it; she responded. She traveled a great distance, she humbled herself, and she sat and received the wisdom of God.
  • Jesus is greater than Solomon with a greater message and came to Israel and yet they would not receive it.
  • “Behold,” Jesus said, “something greater than Solomon is here.” The question is straightforward; will you receive it and will you respond to it with your life? 

Luke 11:14-32   NASB

14 And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute; when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons." 16 Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven. 17 But He knew their thoughts and said to them, "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? So they will be your judges. 20 But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. 22 But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder. 23 He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.
 
24 "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.' 25 And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26 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." 27 While Jesus was saying 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." 28 But He said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it."
 
29 As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, "This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah. 30 For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation at the judgment and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

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