Robert Jeffress - 24 - Part 2
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to the Pathway to Victory. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he left his disciples with an important charge to go and make disciples of all nations. Thanks to this initiative, Christianity has spread into the far corners of the globe though there are still many more people yet to be reached. And if you're a follower of Jesus Christ, the great commission is your responsibility as well. Today, we'll learn how to fulfill this important mission by examining one single day in the life of Jesus. My message is titled, "24" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
But the devil is not like God. The devil is not omnipresent, he can't be in more than one place at a time, he's a created being. So if he can only be in one place at a time, how does he accomplish his purpose in your life? Well, it's found in verse 12. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, plural, against the powers, plural, against the world forces, of this darkness against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. He's talking about demons here. Demons were originally angels who joined Lucifer in his rebellion against God and was cast for the earth and some underneath the earth. Demons are real beings, helpers of Satan to carry out his plan. They are real. Secondly, demons can control people. They have the ability to indwell and control people.
I think many of the unspeakable crimes you hear about today, the acts of torture and brutality against other people. The only explanation for that, is demonic control of an individual. Demons have the ability to control people. Now, people always ask, well, can Christians be possessed by demons? Well, it depends on what you mean by possessed. Sometimes we use the word possess to refer to ownership. If you possess something, you own it. And in that sense, no, Christians cannot be owned by demons. Ephesians 1:13 says, that when we become a Christian, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of God. We are owned by God. God doesn't share his possessions with anyone. He's real stingy when it comes to his possessions and we're grateful he is. So by ownership, no. But can demons control or influence Christians? You bet they can. Any area of your life as a Christian, that is not being controlled by the Spirit of God is being controlled by Satan.
You may think you're the one director of your life. No, there are no spiritual vacuums. Either God is controlling your life, or Satan and his demons are controlling your life. And that's why Ephesians 5:18, Paul says, be filled, literally, be controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. You say, "Is that really true? Can Satan really control the life of a believer"? Just look at the example of the apostle Peter. Remember Peter loved Jesus. In fact, he loved him so much he said, "Jesus, all this stuff about going to the cross and dying, you don't have to do that, forget that". Jesus turned around to him and said, get thee behind me... Satan. Satan, if I ask, pretty harsh. Satan? It's Peter, the guy who loves you. But Peter was allowing himself to be influenced, not by God's plan, but by his own desires. Yes, it's possible for demons to control people.
Number three, demons are under Christ's authority. Isn't it interesting this demon here recognized Jesus? He said, I know who you are. You're the holy one of Israel. By the way, did you know demons are very conservative in their biblical beliefs? They believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. They believe every word of the Bible. They believe Jesus is who he said he is. They believe he's the Savior of the world. That ought to remind us, that believing the right things up here, is not what makes you a Christian. You can believe all the right things about Jesus and go straight to hell when you die. It's not enough to believe he's the Savior of the world, you have to come to a point in your life when you cling to him to be your Savior. You trust in him for the forgiveness of your sins. This demon believed Jesus was who he said he was.
And notice the verse 35, and Jesus rebuked him saying, be quiet, literally be muzzled, put a lid on it and come out of him. And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him without doing any harm. Notice how quickly he obeyed Jesus. Jesus, didn't go through any rituals here, he didn't go any theatrics, he said, come out and the demon came out. People today wonder about this practice of exorcism. You read about it all the time. Exorcism, trying to cast out demons from other people and you see films about it sometimes, you know. They turned down the lights, and light the candles, and start doing all these incantations, and you know, all these rituals and all this screaming and hollering and leaping around. Is that biblical? Are we supposed to exorcize the same kind of supernatural power that Jesus did in casting out demons?
Did you know in the Old Testament, there's not one single instance of demon possession? Not one recorded in the scripture. Not a single one. With Jesus, there was a lot of demon activity in the world. There was something unique when the Son of God was on earth about a rise in demonic activity. Jesus cast out demons. When it came to the early chapters of the book of acts, some of the apostles had the ability to cast out demons as a sign that they were truly sent from God. But when you get into the latter chapters of acts and through the rest of the Bible, not a mention about exorcism. Not a mention, not an instance of casting out demons.
Interestingly, Paul, Peter, John never commanded Christians to get involved in exorcism or casting out demons. Here's why. Now that we have the Holy Spirit within us, the responsibility for living a life that is free from demon control is our individual responsibility. It's not what somebody else does for us. It's what we do in cooperating with God's power to live a demon free existence. How do we do that? Well, we do it by Ephesians chapter six, by putting on that supernatural armor that God has given us. We've talked about it before, those six pieces of armor. Most of it's defensive, some of it is offensive. But when we make and use that spiritual armor that God has given to us, we have the same supernatural power that Jesus had, not to cast out demons from other people, but to make the devil and the demons run away from us.
In fact, that's what James said in James 4:7. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. If you use that spiritual armor God has given you, you can have the same kind of supernatural existence, power over Satan that Jesus experienced. There is a third element in Christ ministry. His ministry was marked by genuine compassion. Look at verse 38. And he arose and he left the synagogue and he entered Simon's house. This was Simon, Peter. He had not received his new name, Peter yet, he was Simon. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever and they made request of him on her behalf. Now, Simon Peter had a mother-in-law. What does that tell you about Simon? He also had a, what? You have to have a wife to have a mother-in-law. So, Simon Peter was married contrary to the teaching of Psalm. He was married, he had a wife, he had a mother-in-law, she got sick and amazingly, he wanted her healed. Isn't that something?
We're not going to go there very far but... So he made a request of Jesus. And verse 39, and standing over her, Jesus rebuked the fever and it left her and she immediately arose and waited on them. Isn't that interesting? When Jesus healed, it was just simply with a word, it was instantaneous and it was complete. And verse 40. And while the sun was setting, he left the house there, and the Bible says, and while the sun was setting, all who had any sick with various diseases, brought them to him and laying his hands on every one of them, he was healing them. Jesus healed first of all, out of compassion, but he also healed to prove that he was indeed the Son of God.
Now, people again asked the question, does God heal today like he did back then? You bet he does. Of course he does. I like what Dr. Crystal used to say. He said, I believe in faith healing, I just don't believe in faith healers. There's a difference. God doesn't need any intermediary today. If God wants to heal, he can heal instantly. Again, the reason Jesus healed and the apostles healed, was to prove that they were sent from God. Today, the way we judge a messengers, is whether he came from God, is whether or not his teaching aligns with the Bible. But in Jesus day and the apostles day, there was no New Testament by which to judge whether somebody was speaking from God's authority. Their ability to perform signs was the stamp of approval on their lives.
Today, I believe God heals. Now, he doesn't heal all of the time. If it were something that happened all the time, it wouldn't be a miracle, would it? Miracles are miracles because they're the exception to the rule. But even though I don't believe we've got the ability to heal, only God heals, we do have the ability to show the same compassion for those who are ill that Jesus showed. Let me show you something. I think we'll be encouraging to you. Turn over to Matthew eight verses 16 and 17. A similar passage. And when evening had come, they brought to him many who were demon possessed, and he cast out the spirits with a word and he healed all who were ill in order that what was spoken through Isaiah, the prophet might be fulfilled saying, he himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.
Circle that word, took. In the Greek language, in which it was translated from Isaiah, it's the word bastazo bastazo. He bore our infirmities. That word bastazo literally means, to bear another person's burden. It's a picture of somebody who is carrying a heavy load and he's buckling under that heavy load. You see him and you come alongside of him and you say, "I'll help you shoulder that load. I'll help you carry that". That's what Jesus does for us. Jesus doesn't always take away our sickness, but he helps us carry the load of our sickness.
And I think about our friend, John Grable. He went home to be with the Lord this week. Such a great man of God, helped us so much here in the church. I talked to him two weeks ago. He knew he was about to die, we were planning his funeral service. He said, pastor, I have such peace about this. We'd prayed for healing for John, God said no, but God helped bear the burden of John Grable. He gave him peace. That's what Jesus does for us. He helps us shoulder the load. In Galatians 6:2, Paul uses that same word. He says, bear one another's burdens.
When we see a Christian who is suffering from physical illness, we ought to pray for him, but we also ought to come alongside him and help him carry that load so he's not by himself. One way we demonstrate the ministry of Jesus is by showing compassion, walking alongside those who are suffering and helping them carry the load.
Finally, Jesus ministry was marked by regular solitude. He was healing and then verse 42 says, and when day came he departed and went to a lonely place and the multitudes were searching for him. And they came to him and tried to keep him from going away from them. They said, Lord where are you going? Don't you know there are more people to be healed? Listen, they're always going to be more people who need to be ministered to, but Jesus knew he had to get away and spend time with God, to revitalize his own relationship with God. If that was important for Jesus to spend time alone with God every day, remember this is a 24 hour period, if it was important to him to do that every day to maintain his relationship with God, how much more important is it for you and me to make sure we get alone with God? Even though there's still an endless list of tasks to perform, more people to minister to, it is important that we keep that time alone with God.
Austin Phelps observes, it has been said that no great work in literature or in science, was ever wrote by a man who did not love solitude. We may lay it down as an elemental principle of religion that no large growth and holiness was ever gained by one who did not take time to be often alone with God. Seniors, let me just say this word to you. You're going to be so busy in this next chapter of your life, whether it's school or something else, don't forsake your time alone with God. During the time I was in college, I set aside an hour every day in which I read and memorize the scripture. Much of a scripture I have in my heart right now is scripture.
I committed to memory, not in my high school days, but in my college days. I memorized all books of the Bible during my time in college, because I knew it was a time in my life I was getting ready to make some important decisions about my calling, about my mate, about so many things. I wanted to be sure I was walking with God and seniors, make that a priority. Spend time with God. You'll find every excuse not to do it, but do it and God will bless your life. That's what Jesus did. He made solitude with God regular part of his life. Now in closing the last three minutes here, I need to take some of my own medicine and that is, apply what I've taught you this morning. What's the application of this message?
Let me give you two quick timeless principles from this passage. Number one, we're to submit to the authority of Jesus. We're to submit to the authority of Jesus. The reason Luke includes these vignettes from Jesus' life, is to prove that he really was the Son of God by his authority. His authority in teaching, his authority over demons, his authority over sickness, all proved that he was really who he said he was. You know, isn't it interesting that every creature in heaven right now, the untold millions of creatures in heaven, they are submitting to Jesus' authority? The demons underneath the earth, they're submitting to Jesus' authority. There is only one place in this vast universe where there are creatures not submitting to God's authority. It is on this little spinning clot of dirt called planet earth. But one day, every creature in this world will submit to Jesus authority.
Philippians 2:10 says, one day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is kyrios, Lord. Let me ask you. Are you right now doing what you will do one day? And that is submitting to Christ rule in your life. Are you obey what you know to be the will of God in your life? We are to submit to Christ authority. Secondly, we're to model the ministry of Jesus. In John 14:12 Jesus said, truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in me the works that I shall do, he shall do also and greater works than these shall he do because I go to the father. Do you want to have the same power in your life that Jesus had? Do you want to know that you're making a difference like Jesus did? You can even do more than Jesus did if you have the same balance that Jesus had in his ministry.
One pastor summed it up this way, he said, just notice the four locations of Jesus' ministry, it shows the balance in his life. First of all, he ministered in the synagogue. That would be the church today, that was home base for his life. Students, make sure seniors, you find a good Bible believing church to go to. Make it central in your life while you're away. His church, the synagogue was central in his teaching. Secondly, he ministered in the home. It was Peter's home, but it was still the home, that's the most basic unit of society. We are to have a ministry with our own family. Thirdly, he ministered in the world, filled with all kinds of people and with all kinds of needs. And finally, Jesus, his ministry placed him in the wilderness, where he spent time alone with God. If you want to experience the supernatural power of Jesus in your life, then you have to demonstrate the same balance that Jesus demonstrated.