Posts Tagged ‘evil’

Luke 4:31-37 — This passage reminds us that there is no power greater than God. There are a couple of things to notice here. First, Jesus spoke with authority. Second, we are helpless against Satan on our own. Finally, even demons recognize the power of Jesus Christ.

Throughout the gospels, we see that people were amazed at the the authority with which Jesus spoke. Jesus required no biblical citations when He spoke. He required no research material citations to support what He said. He spoke with authority. He spoke with authority because He and the Father are one. God inspired holy men to write Scripture. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, all Scripture was given life through His breath. God created the universe in which we live, thus, He has all knowledge. Jesus in his trinitarian function of the Son is God in the flesh. Jesus had all knowledge and all power. He chose to set His glory aside to walk among us in the flesh. That made Him no less God. Therefore, His speaking with authority is not unexpected. Luke emphasizes this fact often. Jesus spoke with authority, he says. People were amazed. He did not say, “Rabbi X said this” or “Scholar X said this”. Jesus needed no citations. He is the Lord. He was direct and clear. He was the ultimate expert on truth and life. In fact, that’s one of the things that still bothers people about Jesus – – – he was so straightforward and unambiguous. He said that he is the only way to God; outside of Jesus there is no forgiveness of sin or eternal life. The authority that amazed people then still amazes us today. Luke is stressing to His readers that there is a reason for that. Jesus was God in the flesh. He needed no support of others. He, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are self-sufficient in the Holy Trinity. God has always existed and existed before creation. Everything was created through Jesus. His authority is complete. Why do we not recognize this fact? Why do we try to make ourselves god and not submit to the only and one Creator God whom we know through Jesus Christ?

The second thing that we notice here is that we are helpless against Satan on our own. We can be possessed by evil so easily. It doesn’t have to be physical possession by an actual demonic spirit but we are so easily manipulated by Satan. Since Adam, we are born with a sin nature and we are manipulated by Satan based on this sin nature. We cannot make it through life without giving into Him on a daily basis. He plays on our self-centered nature. We have a nature of looking out for number one and we often don’t care who we hurt in the process. Satan loves destruction, disarray and discord. Some very bad things happen to very good people just because we live in a world that has been messed up by sin. There are bad things that have no direct demonic involvement that we can see or identify. Besides, we are more than capable of sinning on our own. However, there is an invisible spiritual battle raging around us that seriously impacts our lives. Demons do exist according to Scripture. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt the presence of evil and it gave you chills and made you want to get out of there as fast as you could. There are evil spirits. They exist just as surely as there are angels. Physical demonic possession does occur on occasion. There are evil things that people do that can be explained no other way. People that seem to have no soul that do things that are just pure evil. They are under the influence of demons. We are helpless in the absence of Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Even if we are not physically possessed by demons, or simply oppressed by them, we are easily influenced by Satan. We believe his lies. We are susceptible to his lies. We have a sin nature that makes it possible. We need the One with authority. We need Jesus.

The final thing to notice here is even the demons know Jesus Christ as the Son of God. They know that they have no authority greater than Jesus and are afraid of Him. They call Him the Holy One of God. They were afraid of Him. Isn’t funny that the movies try to make us believe that demons and/or Satan himself are as powerful as God. In the movies, they can read our minds when in reality they cannot. In the movies, they can overpower good. It is reality that demons and Satan are no match for Jesus. They recognize that He is God. They are created being and He is not. They recognize that it was He that cast Satan out of heaven. They recognize that He is the Holy One. They recognize that He has power of them. They recognize that they are no match when we call on the name of Jesus. That doesn’t sell movie tickets. But, that is the reality. All things created are subject to Jesus. Even the demons recognize His holy Authority. Why is it that we are so willing to believe in the power of evil and believe that it is unparalled or at least equal to the power of Jesus Christ. It is just not true. We so easily believe the flashy displays of evil in the movies but we cannot believe the miracles of God that happen daily around us. Here, in this passage and in others where demons meet Jesus, they bow down to Him and leave on His command. Can we not remember that the next time, we feel defeated and oppressed? Jesus is greater than any problem, any situation that we have. He is the Creator! Nothing, include the demons, is greater than He. The demons believe He is the Son of God with all power and authority — why do we have such a hard time truly believing that Jesus is greater than anything that we face? Even the demons have no issue with that! Why should we? Believe that Jesus is the one and only. Believe that He has the power over sin and evil. Believe He is who He says He is. Amen.

Romans 8:31-39 — Nothing can separate us from God’s love. No matter what we go through.

This is the good news. This words were written to a church in Rome that would soon undergo terrible persecution. In just a few years from the time that Romans was written by Paul, his hypothetical situations would turn into painful realities. This passage reaffirms God’s profound love for His people. No matter what happens to us, no matter where we are, we can never be separated from God’s love. Suffering should not drive us away from God but help us identify with Him and allow His love to heal us.

These verses contain one of the most comforting promises in all of Scripture. Believers have always had to face hardship in many forms: persecution, illness, imprisonment and death. Although here we may not be imprisoned or killed for what we believe but we can suffer painful losses such as death of loved ones, betrayal, divorce, the results of other’s actions such as greed, jealousy, and people that are just downright evil to us. Sometimes we suffer because stupid choices that we have made that have short-term or even long-term negative consequences for our lives. Sometimes, when we go through trials, in whatever form they may take, we may fear that Christ has abandoned us. Paul, however, exclaims that it is impossible to be separated from Christ. His death on the cross, and His willingness to do so, are proof of His unconquerable love for us. Paul says that Jesus is pleading our case before the Father. We are acquitted of the penalty for our sin before the Father through Jesus so the Father listens to the Son. Jesus is our advocated sits at the Father’s right hand to present our case. If we believe these overwhelming assurances, we will have comfort and not be afraid.

Sure, going through hard times when you feel all alone is tough. As a believer there is that faint hope even in the worst of times that things will get better. That feeling comes from God. Those who have Christ as their Savior know that current hardships are temporary. We know that God will walk us through our trials and tribulations. He will set us on the mountaintop when the time is right, when the purpose of the valley is complete. Recently, in the book, Radical, I have been reading it challenges you with the question of basically, “How far are you willing to take your ‘yes’? Are you willing to go where God sends are you so married to the American dream that you will not spread the gospel in the place and in the way that God leads.

The combination of this passage and the book that I am reading leads to the question now of how much do you believe in the reward of heaven? Are you a good-time Christian only? When times get tough do you run from God? The Bible promises us suffering in this life, particularly when we are following Christ. Satan will attack. Bad things will happen to us. Are we capable of weathering the storms of life with our faith intact here in America where our problems pale in comparison to the minister in Nigeria who watches his village be destroyed and people killed for not denying Christ. How deep is your faith? How deeply do you believe that your reward is heaven? Our suffering here has an end game. It is heaven. We will be rewarded for our endurance and perseverance. When will we as Christians really believe in our reward so much that we can put it all on the line. Leave our comfort zone. What’s the worst that can happen? We die….and go to heaven. We talk about how wondrous it is. Do we really believe it.

Paul says it here. No matter what we go through. We have Jesus on our side. He will deliver us one way or another through what we go through. In this life, our suffering has a purpose when it occurs. It helps us to see and experience our dependence on Him. It helps us to demonstrate to others that there is something far greater than our suffering. Our suffering and the way we handle it can lead people to Christ. Our suffering and the way we handle it can give glory to God. Because we knew for a fact that we have hope. Even if our suffering doesn’t end before we die, we still have hope. We have heaven awaiting. We have Jesus waiting there. We have glory unmeasurable awaiting. Even if our suffering does end before we die, God is preparing us for what’s next. Our suffering gets us ready for what God has planned for us next. That is the hope we have. When we see God’s guiding hand in it all, we see hope. We see a plan. Let us not lose hope. He is preparing us for what He has prepared for us. Live with abandon in this assurance. Follow where He leads. Do His Work. Spread the Good News where it needs spreading. Do not let fear of suffering hold you back. What is the worst that could happen? We die and go to heaven. Believe it. Live life like you believe that heaven awaits!