Bench Warmers for JESUS!

Jesus Casts out the MUTE Demon – Luke 11:14-23

Opening Thoughts: For those who are tracking along through my study in Luke, welcome back! For those of you who are jumping in for the first time, welcome aboard. My wife Danae and I are so grateful to be used of God by way of studying the Word and blogging it out. Our hope is that in some way we can be a tool to help prepare the way for the kingdom of God in the hearts of those God has called. We pray that as you read you too will be challenged to open your Bible and carefully digest all that is written,  and ultimately be challenged, convicted, and changed for the Glory of God! Today’s text is taken from Luke 11:14-23

In this text you will find that Jesus performs a miracle that is very significant in pointing to His identity as the God man. All the miracles that Jesus performed were for the sole purpose of revealing His identity and to bring glory to God. This one was no exception.

Scripture: Luke 11:14-23 ESV … Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

People Marveled: Have you ever seen someone do a neat magic-type trick? I have! I once saw an illusionist rip a newspaper in 10 pieces, he then dropped all the pieces on the floor, you could clearly see it was torn apart. He then gathered up all the pieces in his hands and tossed them back down and they became a whole newspaper again!!  The crowd marveled at this, including me! I still have no idea how he did that. This trick did not change my life but it did prove to me that this guy was an amazing illusionist.

When Jesus performed miracles it wasn’t to make a profit, impress people or stun an audience or even for the recipients comfort, it was for the purpose of revealing who He was to a blind nation. The fact that they marveled showed that this was not a common practice for people to be casting out demons, in fact many of them had never seen a demon spirit being trumped by a greater power. This caused some of them to marvel and wonder where He received His power.

Our churches are full of people that marvel at the works of God (or the apparent works of God) they say, “Have you seen what God is doing over there?”, or, “Have you seen the miracles that this man is doing?”. The evidence is in the self proclaimed healers that hold crusades these days. Although I completely believe in the miracle working power of God and His ability to heal in accordance to scripture James 5:14-15, I reject the idea that flamboyant ministries, who are well funded by their followers, have anything to do with true miracles which bring glory to God. Take for instance the rise and fall of Todd Bentley, in his latest so-called healing revival that took place in Florida. People flocked from around the world to marvel at what he was doing. In the end it was no more than trickery to open people’s pockets and bring in a profit off the scriptures. During the time of the healing crusade he was getting drunk with his staff, watching horror movies and having an affair with a female member of his team. Shortly after the fall he was divorced from his godly wife and remarried to his mistress. Then to top it off he was publicly restored by supposed godly men Bill Johnson and Rick Joyner. The reason for restoration was obvious, he was a rock-star preacher and in high demand from his followers, and there was still a boat load of profit to be made. I say all that to say that because someone is a marvel-er does not make them a follower of Jesus, all marveling means is that you are entertained and somewhat impressed by what God is doing, or appears to be doing. Jesus isn’t interested in people who marvel at His works, He is interested in people who are blown away and humbled because GOD is in their midst.

He casts out demons by Beelzebul: It’s a common fact that if a country is in civil war they are a weak nation. Countries that fight against themselves are easily overthrown and plundered by anyone if they aren’t first destroyed by their own hands. Jesus is making it very clear that even Satan isn’t stupid enough to fight his own troops. The Pharisees were trapped though, they had to think of something since the work was obviously impressive and undeniable. They had rejected Him because He had pointed out their sin and futile efforts that they had conjured up to be made right with God. In order to defend their own perceived godliness they had to somehow renounce Him as a fraud. In light of the obvious miracles they had to associate Him with some great power so instead of repenting of their sins and exalting Him as the Messiah they called Him a sorcerer and concluded that He was from the devil.

Scripture: Matthew 10:25 ESV … It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

Jesus tells us that anyone who follows Him will be accused of the same things and worse. Don’t find it odd that the world hates you when you proclaim His gospel. We are so brainwashed in today’s Christian culture that the church should be viewed in high regard from the world! Says who? Not the Bible. This doesn’t mean that we should go around trying to be hated, but we certainly should go around proclaiming the gospel which is highly unpopular in today’s day and age, even from within the church.

Many people are so blind to their sin and in love with it that they will go to great lengths to change the message. Although you may not accuse Jesus of being from the devil like these men did, many will try and change the meaning of His words to suit their own passions which is something that Peter addresses it in 2 Peter 3:16.

Others Kept Seeking Signs to Test Him: It’s unclear what signs they were seeking but they were seeking something more than what they saw. Our world is filled with ‘testers’, these are people that are constantly putting God to the test. When I was a kid I used to pray stuff like this, “God, if I wake up and there’s a million dollars under my bed I will serve you forever” Really? Would I have? Of course not because it was conditional. Although you may think this is a silly prayer, it’s not much different than what so many people pray as adults. We pray stuff like, “God, if you get me out of debt I will be able to work less and start spending more time with you”, or we say, “If God could just provide me with a bigger house I would know that he wants me to be more hospitable”, or maybe “If you would heal me than I would know that you are real”! God owes us no further explanation to who He is. He died, rose again and sent his spirit to regenerate us, if that isn’t enough to cause us to enlist in His army, then we are still lost.

Are You For Him or Against Him? My final thoughts in this post are this, whether you identify as someone who marvels at the things of God, or you are someone who would accuse Him of being inconsistent with His word, or you are someone who is constantly testing God, I leave you with this, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

In light of that last text, we can see that anyone who has been genuinely changed by the gospel will be actively spreading the good news to the nations regardless of their situation. Because you warm a pew every Sunday does nothing to impress God. If you are not actively GATHERING with Him, you are actually SCATTERING. My heart from this post is that if you see yourself as someone who is sitting on the sidelines simply warming a pew that you would come to the realization that you are in fact not just a sideline Christian you are a scatterer.  Jesus leaves no room for middle ground when it comes to the Gospel, if you aren’t actively doing everything you can to gather for the kingdom, something is wrong with the basics of your conversion. I would suggest if you see yourself as a bench warmer that you get alone with God right now and cry out to Him for an inner working of His Holy Spirit. I’m talking about authentic regeneration that leaves no man silent or complacent when it comes to the Gospel.

Preparing The Way
~ Shane Martin