Tony Evans - Claiming Your Spiritual Rights
There are far too many people and far too many women who do not know what they're worth, and therefore, they have allowed themselves to be devalued by the culture, by men, by other people, because circumstances have stripped them of their true value. So what I wanna do is, is remind you of your value, to remind all of us so that you see yourself through kingdom eyes and that you have a kingdom vision of your identity. In Luke chapter 13 we're introduced to a lady without a name. Her name is not given to us, so we don't know what to call her, but we are introduced to her. In verse 10, "And he," Jesus, "was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath, and there was a woman who for 18 years had had a sickness caused by a spirit and she was bent double and could not straighten up at all".
We're introduced to a woman. Let's look at her condition. Jesus is teaching in the synagogue, so the woman was at church and she heard the sermon, 'cause it says, "Jesus was teaching". So she went to church, she got her spot, but when she came to church, she brought an 18-year problem with her. It says, "For 18 years she was bent double". There was a spine injury of some sort or a spine disease that had caused her to bend over. And you've seen people like that who can't "Straighten up," it says, 'cause she was bent over. Far too many people a day live their lives bent over. In other words, they can't get stuff straight, 'cause it says she couldn't straighten up.
Now, we don't know the specific illness. We do know it had devastating repercussions. And I don't know how long she had been going to church, but however long she was going to church, going to church never fixed it, 'cause she's still going to church, but she's going to church bent over. I wonder how many people today in this house or in your house listen to the teaching every week bent over. How many folks say amen while you bent over? How many folks say praise the Lord while you bent over? How many folks sing the songs while being bent over because nothing has changed? The problem you came in with is the problem you leave with. But we're given some inside information, because we're told in chapter 13 verse 2, "She had a sickness caused by a spirit".
Don't miss that. She had a sickness caused by the spirit. Let me take you a little deeper. Verse 16 says, "Whom Satan has bound for 18 long years". Ooh. The devil was behind her problem. It says, "The spirits had invaded her physical body orchestrated by the devil, and the devil was running this woman's life for 18 years while she went to church". A number of things can bring about Satanic influences in our lives and in our circumstances. One, is there is unaddressed sin that serves as an infection that demons can enter into. So one possibility is that she had some spiritual issues she was failing to address spiritually, creating an open wound that the demons were able to go into and create more havoc in her physical wellbeing.
In other words, what you need to understand is like many of the movies you've seen, demons need a host. They need a vehicle through which to express themselves. And the way they find the host is to find some unaddressed evil that serves as an open wound for them to enter into to cause greater havoc than the wound you started with. And let me tell you something about demons, once they get in, they're not in a hurry to leave. So we got a 18-year problem. So something has gone wrong in this woman's life. Now, every sickness is not due to sin, every sickness is not due to disobedience, but there is more that is due to it that we don't recognize 'cause we don't have spiritual eyes to see it. All we see is the circumstance, being bent over.
So here's what I want you to ask you a question, you must ask the question, is my inability to get straight, to straighten up due to the fact that I got the devil all over me, and I have invited him into my world and now he won't go nowhere? He's made himself home. He's built a crib in your physical house. And so there's a headache you can't get rid of, a life ache you can't overcome, an addiction you can't be delivered from. See, unless you got eyes to even look in that direction, kingdom vision, then you will spend all of your time and all of your money on the wrong thing. Anybody ever spend a lot of money on the doctor, hospital, or some professional, and you're still no better off? So that's our condition, that's our situation. This is our problem. She was being held hostage while going to church.
"When Jesus saw her," verse 12 says, "he called her over and said to her, 'Woman, you are freed from your sickness'. And he laid his hands on her and immediately", somebody say: immediately. "She was made erect again and began glorifying God". Oh, this is sweet. Jesus is teaching. She's bent over, and it has become a lifestyle. Jesus sees her. Now, she not the only one in church, but he zeroes in on her. But he does something else. The verse says, "He calls her over to him". I don't want you miss that. See, you can be in church and still not come to him. She has a decision to make. Jesus calls, but will she come? That decision becomes critical to her health and her healing, that when he calls her over, she comes in, and he says to her "Woman, you are freed from your sickness".
Let's not go too fast. Up until this time we're told he was teaching. So he's preaching the Word. But when she comes, he no longer is speaking generically to the whole congregation. He says, "Woman," meaning he's talking to her. He says, "You are freed from your infirmity". We call that rhema word, all right? A rhema word is a personal utterance. See, you can hear the Word but never hear a rhema word. A rhema word is a word from God that has your name on it. He's calling you by name, he's speaking into your personal situation. When you come to the synagogue, the church house, you don't just want to ask God to give you the Word, you want your word, a word that speaks into your life. We're told that he laid his hands on her. She got a personal touch.
That's what the Holy Spirit does now, physically Jesus did it when he was alive, but that's what the Holy Spirit does now, he gives you a personal touch. And immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God. The reason why she needed a touch from Jesus is that a demon and the devil needed to be dealt with, not a bad spine. A bad spine was fruit, not root. But because Jesus saw the spiritual, which you'll see again in a moment, he could touch the reality. And I love the word because it shows up so many times in scripture, "Immediately". It says she was made erect, she stood straight up. Wait a minute. Are you telling me you can be messed up for 18 years, doctors can't help you, friends can't help you, your peeps can't help you, your posse can't help you. you can be toe up from the flo' up for 18 years and just a touch, just a touch from Jesus can turn that thing around overnight?
You've been drunk for 18 years, you've been a crack head for 18 years, you done gone through divorce after divorce after divorce, you've gone through mental anguish for an extended period of time, and you mean to tell me just a touch from Jesus can turn that thing around overnight? But only if you're willing to recognize the spiritual and not limit yourself to the circumstantial. So she getting a praise on, according to verse 13, you know, 'cause when God comes through for you, you can't keep it to yourself. So she getting a praise on, she glorifying God up in the house. "But the synagogue official", like the senior pastor, not me, him. "But the synagogue official", verse 14, "indignant", that means ticked off, "because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd", 'cause see, there's a crowd in the house, and this woman had gone crazy, 'cause she glorifying God.
"There are six days in which the work should be done, so come during them and get healed and not on the Sabbath day". Translation, we trying to have church up in here. You done messed with the order of service. "But the Lord answered him and said, 'You hypocrites'". You hypocrites, you two-faced. "Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox and his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him"? In other words, you're not gonna use the Sabbath to deny the responsibility of giving life and wellbeing to your ox. You gonna take care of your ox. Now, why you gonna take care of your ox? You gonna take care of your ox 'cause that's making you your money.
You see, 'cause in farming and all of that, you use the ox to plough and all that. See you, you know when your money get funny, you gonna adjust the rules on the Sabbath. If the boss requires you to work on Sunday, then you gonna adjust the rules on the Sabbath. In other words, what you just condemned, you do. You take care of needs on the Sabbath that affect you 'cause it's your ox, so that affects you. Now, everything comes down to what I'm gonna say next. "And this woman", I don't know her name, "a daughter of Abraham". See, you didn't hear that. "And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, should Satan have bound her for 18 long years? Should she not have been released from the bond on the Sabbath day"? Hmm. Hmm. He says, "Let me tell you about this woman. She's a daughter of Abraham".
Now, I don't know her name, but Jesus gives her an ID. "Should not this woman who is a daughter of Abraham", this is the only time this phrase is used in the Bible. For some reason she didn't get that this was the devil and a spirit causing this. She runs back smack into Jesus who sees the spiritual issue. And he says to the senior pastor, "You hypocrite, this is not merely a bent-over woman, this is a daughter of Abraham". In other words, while not denying her condition because he had to fix it, he clarifies her identity, 'cause far too many women have been given the wrong name. You've not been given the name based on who you are.
Now, watch this, it says, "She is a daughter of Abraham". Which means for 18 years she's been a daughter of Abraham since she currently is a daughter of Abraham, but just 'cause you have the identity don't mean that you are living in the identity. Only when she met Jesus was she dubbed who she really is. In Genesis chapter 12 verses 1 to 3, God made a promise to Abraham. And he told Abraham, "If you do what I tell you to do, I'm going to bless you. I'm gonna show favor to you. And when I show favor to you", here it is, "through you all the nations will be blessed". So when God made a covenant with Abraham, it was to show favor in order to use the favor to be a blessing to somebody else who needs to see divine favor. Sometimes God gotta wait until he knows you're ready to open your mouth, until you're ready to praise and declare the glory of God.
You know what he's saying? She's got the right to be delivered. Oh yeah, she got the right. If you got the right to feed your ox, I got the right to feed my daughter. If you got the right to take care of an animal for your financial gain, I got the right to take somebody who's an offspring of the promise I gave Abraham that says, "I'm gonna show favor," so she can give favor. Don't tell me I can't do what you do every Sabbath. But he makes another point. He says, "All y'all talking about is the Sabbath". Now, in the Old Testament that was the seventh day, Saturday. But here's the key of the Sabbath. For six days you worked, and then on Saturday you didn't work. You worshiped, and you enjoyed and celebrated the goodness of God. It was a time of freedom and rest. Jesus said, "Y'all don't understand the Sabbath. The Sabbath was designed to set you free and give you rest".
Don't misunderstand rest, rest is not sleep. No, on the seventh day God rested when he created, he didn't go to sleep. On the seventh day when he rested, he enjoyed what he had done the previous six days when he created the world. So on the seventh day, God didn't take a nap, he looked out and said, "Mm-mmm, good. Whoo! Mm-mmm, good". He was enjoying what he had done. So you know what the Sabbath is for most of us that Sunday, is looking back and seeing the goodness of God over this last six days. God took care of me this last week, he provided for me this last week, he fed me this last week, he clothed me this last week, he covered me this last week, he sustained me this last week, he empowered me this last week, and I'm just gonna rest and celebrate the goodness of God in the land of the living. He says, "She got the right to be healed, she got a right to be delivered".
I wanna suggest to you ladies today that you are couture, not bargain-basement. 'Cause you are a daughter of Abraham. You say, "But that was Old Testament," not quite. 'Cause when you read Galatians chapter 3, he says in Galatians 3 verse 6, "Even so Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are the sons of Abraham". Verse 9, "So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer".
He says in verse 13, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree'". Verse 14, "In order that in Christ Jesus, the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith". But I'm not finished yet, verse 28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendant, heirs according to the promise". Somebody ought to get excited up in here. He says, "If you have come to Jesus, you are Abraham's daughter, you're Abraham's son, and you are a descendant of the promise, which means nobody can put you down anymore. You walk with your head up high now".
I don't care about your background, I don't care about your history, I don't care who's misused you or abused you. You can tell 'em now, "I'm a child of the king, I'm a descendant of Abraham because I belong to Jesus Christ". Doesn't matter what the people say, it doesn't matter what the public says, because you know that you've been redeemed. And guess what? That means you got a right to be free, you got a right to be victorious, you got a right to be sustained, you got a right to be proud, you got a right to be victorious, you got the right to be strong. Oh, don't bend over no more, 'cause Jesus has straightened you up when you come to him.
When you become a citizen of a country, you get the rights and privileges that go with that citizenship. When you become a child of God, there are covenantal privileges that belong to you that are your rights to claim. The tragedy is when you don't either know those rights or you don't utilize those rights so you don't benefit those rights but even though you possess those rights. Well, if you're a kingdom citizen, if you're a child of the king, then you're underneath his covenantal umbrella. And God wants you to know what to lay hold of, what to lay claim to so that you can benefit from all the good graces that he has provided you as a member of his family. So don't live in this world as a citizen of heaven without benefiting from your true citizenship, because when you do, you will discover that this world doesn't have the last say so, that world that you really do belong to does.