Tony Evans - Claiming Your Legal Rights
Jesus tells a story in Luke 18, and it's a powerful, powerful story. He begins by saying in verse 1 to his followers, "Men should always pray and not faint". So to understand why he told them men are not to faint but to bass themselves in prayer, you have to understand the verse that precedes it at the end of the last chapter, chapter 17. In chapter 17, the last verse, "He answered and said to him, 'Where, Lord?' And he said, 'Where the body is, there's also the vultures will be gathered.'" Where the body is, the vultures will be gathered. Now men ought to always pray and not faint. What does praying and not fainting have to do with dead bodies and vultures? When you've watched television and you've seen somebody die in a tepid place, you've seen somebody lose their lives, the vultures gather around death. They can smell death. And when they smell death, they descend upon the deceased carcass of a person or of an animal because that is their realm. They are in the realm of death.
So watch this now. "Where there is death," Jesus says, "you will attract vultures". So let me put it in everyday language. Where there is the absence of God, demons take up the space. Where there is the absence of God, vultures come in. The demonic realm descends because that's their world. Their world is the world of death. And so if there's death, if you're living in the realm of death in your personal life, you don't have to go find demons. They can sniff it out. In our culture, what you're seeing happening in our culture today are vultures descending on a dying society because they can smell it. They can detect it. And so where death is, vultures accumulate. So this is becoming very important. He says because you and I live in the realm of death, and therefore in the realm of the demonic, the vultures, men are to always pray and not faint. The reason you need prayer is that your environment in which you live is full of vultures. The environment in which you live is filled with that which is been attracted by the evil in the life or in the society.
So the demonic realm, the spiritual realm, the vultures descend on that environment. So in order to counteract that rather than quit, throw in the towel, he says, "What I want you to do is pray and not faint". Okay? Don't throw in the towel just 'cause the vultures are all around. Don't quit just because the stench is in the air. What you do to nullify and to counteract that, do not faint. Instead, pray. Now, he now tells a story to define what he means by pray, and he throws a concept in this story that's different than most of our prayers. So follow the story. There is a widow in the Bible. The widow and the orphan were the lowest on the social ladder. They were typically poor, defenseless, and alone. We have a widow. She comes to a judge and tells the judge to help her out because there is somebody who is against her, verse 33, "My opponent from whom I need legal protection".
Now, we're told this judge had no regard for God and no regard for men. He cared about money, but he had the office of a judge. So this desperate widow comes in the name of the law to a person who's supposed to uphold the law and said, "Please give me legal protection. Keep me from the attack that is coming against me by my opponent". So the judge now says, "Even though I do not fear God," at the end of verse 4, "and I don't respect men, yet because this widow bothers me, because this woman is getting on my nerves". Well, this woman was nagging him, meaning she's tracking him, but she's doing more than that because at the end of verse 5 we read, "Otherwise, by continually coming, she will wear me out. If I don't do something about this woman that's driving me crazy, she's going to ruin my reputation. And since I care about me and my reputation, for that sake," he says, "I am going to give her," verse 5, "legal protection".
Now, that's the story. That's the situation. Jesus then enters into the story and says in verse 6, "Hear what the unrighteous judge said". Not what the woman said. "Hear what the unrighteous judge said". In other words, he's talking to his followers. "Y'all better pay attention to that judge. You better listen carefully to that judge". "What do you want us to learn from that judge"? He told you in verse 7 and 8, "Now will not God bring about justice for his elect who cry to him day and night and will he delay long over them? I tell you that he will bring about justice for them quickly. However when the Son of Man comes will he find faith on the earth".
Here's the word you want to catch. The word legal and the word justice. Legal and the word justice. The woman didn't go to the judge and just say, "Help me out". She went to the judge and said, "Help me out according to the law". She wanted legal protection. She wasn't just coming like somebody to a friend. She's saying, "The law is on my side. You represent the law. And even though you are an unjust judge, I want justice. Even though you don't like God and you don't like people, you do like the law. So however you feel about me, look at your law book because however you feel about me you are obligated to what the law book says". And based on the judge being nagged, the judge reputation, and based on the law, the judge gave her legal protection.
Jesus takes the story and then spins it. If an unrighteous judge who doesn't care about God or people is that concerned about his rep, how much do you think God is concerned about his reputation? If you can nag an evil man into doing the right thing 'cause he's concerned about his reputation, what do you think about God who has an impeccable reputation and who doesn't want anybody to mess it up? So when you pray, pray with God's reputation in mind. When you pray and you ask God for something you want him to do for you, after you make that request, tell him what he will get out of it because God exists for his own glory. And when God sees what you want from you, for you will also rebound to greater glory for him, he's much more interested in your request 'cause he's concerned about his reputation. So the bigger he benefits, the more involved he is in your prayer because he's concerned about his reputation.
Now let me tell you something else he's concerned about. Justice. He says, "Will not God bring about justice for his elect"? Justice is the right thing. Will he not do the right thing? Now, justice has to have a standard. You can't have justice unless you have a standard of right and wrong, okay? Without a standard, it's just whatever you want it to be. A standard gives you a measure by which to measure justice. Now, justice is tied to a law 'cause it's tied to a standard. So if you don't know the law, then you can't appeal for justice, or if you rebel against the law, then you're on the wrong side of justice. When you come under the law, then you're on the right side of justice. The lady, the widow wanted legal protection. She wanted justice. The judge was not just, but the law was. God is just and so is his Word 'cause his Word is his standard. When you're on the right side of his Word, you're on the right side of answered prayer. God is obligated to his Word.
So I'm going to give you another secret. First secret was pray for his glory. What's God going to get out of it if he answers your prayer? But the second thing is throw God's Word up in his face. You can literally go to God and say, "But you said. But you said. And I'm holding you to your Word". Because he is faithful that promised, the Scripture says. So when you are praying regularly for God's glory based on the justice of his Word, he gives a staggering promise. His promise is that he will not delay long over them and he will bring about justice quickly. But he says, "If you pray with my reputation in mind, according to my Word for me to deal with an illegitimate," 'cause it was an opponent, it was an illegitimate thing, something illegitimate coming at you, "then I will move quickly".
Now, when God answers prayer, a couple of things have to happen: your preparation with his purpose, him preparing you, and then his purpose. When those two cross and his reputation was prioritized based on his Word, you can expect and should expect him to come out of nowhere to address that which is illegitimately opponent coming against you. But the key is, it's legal. It's a legal thing. It's the law. It's the law of the spiritual realm. The law of the spiritual realm is that God must move in some way against something or someone that is illegitimately coming against you. When his glory has been prioritized and his Word has been utilized, then all of a sudden keep your eyes open for quickly. Quickly, that is unexpected, out of nowhere, where did that come from, last minute. I don't particularly like this, but God loves to do things at the last minute. And the reason he often leaves answered prayer blank until the last second is so there's no question mark about where this came from, about where this came from.
Now, that leads to a second lady. Turn back a few pages to chapter 13, verse 10. "And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman who for 18 years had a sickness caused by a spirit, and she was bend double and could not straighten up at all". Oh, wait a minute. She bent over in church 'cause it said she was in the synagogue. So that's church. So girlfriend is going every Saturday to church, and church ain't straightened her up. "When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, 'Woman, you are freed from your sickness.' He laid his hands on her, and," oh, oh, hear this word quickly, "immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God". Wait a minute now. You mean to tell me 18 years was fixed in a minute? That's what it means by being addressed quickly, okay? But what addressed it? It wasn't the preacher. It wasn't the sermon. It wasn't the choir. It was a touch from Jesus. Jesus called her. So what did she do? She came to Jesus. She didn't just go to church.
Second thing, when she came to Jesus, she got a touch from Jesus. And when she got a touch from Jesus, she stood up straight. All of a sudden, 18 years was overwritten in a day 'cause when God moves, it don't take that long. Okay? When God moves, immediately, supernaturally, it doesn't take that long. So I put this in this parenthesis. When you come to church, look for Jesus not the pastor. When you come to church, look for Jesus not the choir. You're hunting for Jesus 'cause only he can straighten folk up that been shook up, toe up from the floor up for 18 years. Oh, but it gets deeper. It's getting ready to get deep on you. He says, "The synagogue official," that's the senior pastor, "indignant because Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, 'There are 6 days in which work should be done. So come during them and get healed, not on the Sabbath. We don't heal folk on Saturday.' But the Lord said to him," now here it is, "'You hypocrites. Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his donkey and his ox and his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him? And this woman, a daughter of Abraham, as she is, whom Satan has bound for 18 years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?'"
So here it is. For 18 years she's bent over, but it's not a medical condition. It says Satan has her bent over for 18 years. It showed up medically, but it wasn't caused medically. It was caused spiritually, but it affected her posture, her medical condition. See, one of the reasons that we can't shake things that are wrong in our lives is we haven't figured out what the real cause is. And so, the doctor can't fix it. The budget people can't fix it. The counselors can't fix it. And we bent over with this problem that we can't shake even though we go to church not realizing it was caused by the devil and kept by the devil and can only be cured spiritually. So we look for everything but the supernatural and the spiritual to fix what the devil has caused. And trust me, if the devil caused it, only Jesus can fix it.
Now, he goes deeper. He says, "Now the reason we could free this lady up is 'cause she a daughter of Abraham". Jesus just went legal and relational. The head of the officials went legal. "She shouldn't be healed on the Sabbath". The Sabbath is in the law. It's a Law of Moses. Law of Moses, keep the Sabbath holy. Jesus says, "Oh, but she's a daughter of Abraham". He won up them because Abraham trumps Moses. The Mosaic Law had legislation, but the Abrahamic covenant had a promise. And the Bible says when the promise arose, Moses was no longer necessary. Galatians 3:29, talking to Christians, says, "You are all heirs of Abraham and the promises of Christ Jesus". So every believer, male and female here, you are not under the Law of Moses. You're under the covenant of Abraham. And under the covenant of Abraham come certain rights and privileges. The covenant of Abraham was continued by Jesus Christ not the Law of Moses. So Christ is the end of the law to those who place faith in him for salvation.
So now you skip Moses and now you can link back to Abraham because now you are a son or a daughter of what the Bible calls the new covenant which is connected to the Abrahamic promise not the Mosaic Law. See, if you live by the Mosaic Law, you're going to live negatively and miserably not because the law is bad. The law is good, but what the good law does is, it incites Romans 7, evil in us. But what the promise does is it lifts you up over the law so that you keep the law by promise and not because of a set of rules that are being written out for you. So what he is saying is, "I could heal this woman overnight because of her spiritual connection to Abraham".
Well, wait a minute. She had been in church for 18 years and it never made the connection. So what's the bottom line? You got a right to be victorious. You got a right to be delivered. You got a right to overcome. It's your right to tell the devil go to hell. It's your right to tell the devil he's not going to control you anymore. It's your right to tell Satan who've been messing with you for 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, "You can't rule me no more". Why? "'Cause I'm in Christ. Christ is connected to Abraham. That's the Abrahamic covenant. I am a son or a daughter of that regime. So you have no right to me".
You are a son or a daughter of Abraham. And that means you got a right to be free. You got a right to be victorious. You've got a right to be delivered. You don't have to limit yourself to what people say, circumstances say, what situations say 'cause you're tied to Abraham 'cause he's tied to Jesus and you're in Christ Jesus. You got a right to victory. So you need to start talking. "I got a problem, but Jesus. I got an addiction, but Jesus. I got a circumstance, but Jesus. I got a fear, but Jesus". When you bring the covenant of Abraham in, God can wipe out 18 years in a day because that's how good he is when you come to him.
Did you know it's time to take the devil to court? You see, what he does is he brings up a case against us. That's why he's called the accuser, 'cause he's accusing us, and his goal of accusing us is to cause us to lose fellowship with God so that God's purposes cannot be fulfilled in our lives. He wants to detour us from what God has planned for our lives. But guess what? You can take him to court because you have an advocate, Jesus Christ, who stands in as your defense attorney and who credits his own righteousness to your account and mine which gives us victory in the court of heaven. There's so much in the Bible about a legal aspect, covenants, and laws, and judges, and rulings, and judgments, and all of those are legal languages, and if you understand that we defeat the devil legally.
So when you pray and take it to court, that is, when you appeal to the legal transaction that took place on Calvary when Jesus says it is finished, that means the bill has been paid in full and that now Jesus Christ stands in to give testimony on your behalf and defense of you even when the devil's accusations are correct because God can take the righteousness of Christ and use it to defend you against the evil one who wants to thwart and destroy and limit what God has planned for your life. So you no longer have to live under satanic threat and satanic deception. That's why we need to stay in God's presence, confessing and repenting our sins, which actually activates the blood of Christ on our behalf, so that now we can show up in court, and even though these accusations may be accurate, find mercy at the bench where the judge sits.
So I want to challenge you to take the devil to court, to go to God's presence in prayer with your advocate Jesus Christ and a repentant heart and watch God flip the script, turn things around, and dismiss the devil, case dismissed. Why? Because you had an advocate, and you had a relationship, and you communicated with God and got the defense that you need to release you from judgment. God bless you in court. It's going to be exciting to hear, "Case dismissed".