- Sermon Notes
The Authority of Jesus
God sent his Son into the world to reconcile the world to Himself. As we were studying last week, the big picture is this; God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. God sent his Son to seek and save that which was lost.
So the scripture makes it clear God does not want people to perish but to have everlasting life, but that life comes through His Son for those who believe in Him.
In Matthew chapters 5-7, Jesus spoke the Words of God to the people so that they might know that what God desires is for them to be transformed in the inner man. God is not interested in outward religion; he's interested in the transformation of the heart. When he finished that great Sermon on the Mount, the people were amazed because he spoke with such great authority.
That becomes the theme, then, of this section in the book of Matthew. God demonstrates that He has placed His authority on his Son, Jesus Christ, so that they might believe and so we might believe. After he spoke God’s Word with authority, He then came down from the mountain, met a leper who asked if Jesus would heal him from his leprosy. Jesus said, “I am willing; be cleansed” and he touched him and immediately his leprosy was cleansed. By this authority God was offering a testimony to Israel as He is doing in us as well.
He then showed that Christ had authority over the wind and the sea. As the disciples had gotten into a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee, a great storm arose and Jesus rebuked the wind and the sea. The men marveled, saying, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”
When we get to the section that begins in verse 28, God is demonstrating that Jesus has authority over the spiritual realm as well. For on the other side of the sea in the country of the Gadarenes, Jesus encounters a man who was demon-possessed. There is much for us to gain from this section. Not only do we also understand the authority of Jesus over the spiritual realms, we see how it applies to us as well.
I. There is Spiritual Warfare in this World
- One of the things that we should understand from these verses is that there is a spiritual battle for the souls of men.
- Some look at verses such as these and believe they only applied during Jesus's time, yet demonic influence in the last days is clearly written in God's Word.
1 Timothy 4:1, But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.
- It would be helpful for us to have spiritual insight so that we can understand the victory that we have in Jesus Christ.
A. Don’t blame Satan for everything
- As soon as we begin discussing the topic of spiritual warfare, there are some who misunderstand and blame Satan for everything.
Illus – When I was a young man I distinctly remember getting into a conversation with a fellow who was convinced there was a demon in his carburetor. I tried to convince him that Satan had more important things to do than to clog his carburetor, but he was convinced.
- Then, there are those who want to blame Satan for their sin. But when people say, “The devil made me do it,” it takes away personal responsibility for their own decisions.
- Some are convinced they have a demon of lust or the spirit of greed and they want to be delivered in one great prayer of exorcism, but is this what the scriptures say?
James 1:14-16, But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
Illus- My body doesn’t care whether something is good or bad, it just wants. Our soul is to bring mastery over the body.
1 Corinthians 6:12-13, I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord…
- To be victorious over sin we need the discipleship and sanctification that comes from walking with Christ. We need to be filled with the Word of God and the Spirit of God.
Psalm 119:11, Your word have I treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.
Romans 8:13-14, … If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live, for all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
B. God equips us for spiritual victory
- If we will understand the nature of spiritual warfare, then we need to understand that God equips us for victory.
- There are many examples in scripture of God equipping believers for spiritual victory.
1 John 5:4, For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith.
Romans 10:17, So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Ephesians 6:10-11, Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
James 4:7, Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
C. Don’t allow the devil an opportunity
- The scripture teaches that a believer cannot be possessed by demons, which we will discuss in a few moments, but we are called to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
Ephesians 6:13, Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm, stand firm therefore.
- For example, Paul wrote that we must be careful with anger so that we do not give the enemy an opportunity.
Ephesians 4:26-27, “In your anger do not sin,” do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
1 Peter 5:8-9, Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith…
II. Jesus has Authority over Spiritual Forces
- There are those who would believe that the forces of good and evil are equal in power.
- They imagine some kind of Star Wars concept of the dark side having equal if not greater power.
- Yet, these verses give us great insight into the authority of Jesus over spiritual forces.
A. Satan is the prince of darkness
- When we see the degree of control that the demons had over this man, we understand that Satan does have a degree of power and authority.
- This man could not be controlled, even with chains; he was fierce and chose to live amongst the dead, in the caves of the tombs.
- The demons had subjugated the personality of that man so that he had no self-control.
- Certainly scripture speaks of the influence and power of Satan in this world.
2 Corinthians 4:4, … in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Ephesians 2:2, … you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
- The Apostle Paul in his speech to King Agrippa gave further insight as he spoke about the calling of Christ on his life…
Acts 26:17-18, “I am sending you to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.”
- This man was so violent that no one could pass by that road. Yet Jesus and the disciples landed the boat immediately in that vicinity.
- Jesus was unmoved and unafraid. Instead, they were obviously afraid of Him. From their words to Jesus we have insight into what they knew.
- They knew who Jesus is…
Mark 1:24, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are - the holy One of God!”
- They knew He had authority over them; they had to ask permission to be cast into the herd of swine.
- They knew a final judgment was coming. “Have you come to torment us before the time?”
- Our confidence in his authority is key to our spiritual victory. We know that Satan is a liar, and the father of lies, therefore, it is truth that sets us free.
John 8:31-32, “If you continue in My word… You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
- What we need to know with all certainty is that Jesus has the authority over the demonic realm and that he is the strong man in the life of the believer. Jesus explained the principle…
Luke 11:21-22, “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. 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.”
- That is certainly the principle by which Christ overpowers Satan and removes demons from the one possessed, but when we asked Jesus into our lives, he becomes the strongman in each of us.
1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
C. Go and tell others what the Lord has done
- The people from the city came and asked Jesus to depart from their region. You would think that they would have been in awe of the One who had authority over the demons.
- But apparently Jesus was bad for the business. I suggest that if Jesus is bad for business, then you're in the wrong business.
- The man who had been set free, however, had a very different reaction. He wanted to go with Jesus. The Jesus told him to go home and tell others what great things the Lord had done.
Luke 8:39, “Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.
- The man had no theological education, no great spiritual training, he simply told others what great things God had done for him. Shouldn't we do the same?
- It reminds me of the man who was born blind whom Jesus was healed and later was asked to give a report of what had happened…
John 9:25, “One thing I do know, once I was blind, but now I see.”
Matthew 8:28-34 NASB
28 When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. 29 And they cried out, saying, "What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" 30 Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them. 31 The demons began to entreat Him, saying, "If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine." 32 And He said to them, "Go!" And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters. 33 The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. 34 And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.