Sunday, September 16, 2012

Luke 11 Part 2

Luke 11 Part 2 Real verses the Unreal

Last week we learned how to pray, how to gain the power we need to be overcomers. This week we see Jesus dealing with the enemies of true faith the demonic and the legalist some times they are one in the same.

And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled. 15But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”
16Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven. 17But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. 18If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. 19And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. 22But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. 23He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

Two groups of people looking to accuse Jesus. Did you ever notice there are always people around looking to tear down things even under the guise of “righteousness”? They believe their faith to be real but by gossiping, being critical and

Jesus had just shown a sign of his power and that the Holy Spirit and the Father are with Him. Immediately those performed the unforgivable sin (that is if they did it knowingly) they claimed the thing of God was Satan. “He cast out demons by the Lord of demons!”

Even after He did this “sign” of God’s power through Him, some asked for a sign.

Jesus answers both of these questions in one.

1)           If I am casting out demons by demons aren’t your sons doing the same things???
2)           How long will a kingdom, army, a household last if it is divided. Two visions in a house bring division.  What would happen to an army if a general began shooting his own soldiers?
3)           If you are seeing the Power of God in what I am doing then you are seeing the Kingdom established (the only sign you need) in front of you.

Practical note here: If there are two visions in your home, at work, in this church there is not unity and nothing will get done and destruction will come in the form of divorce, a business collapse or a church split.

The psalmist wrote that God’s blessing is only commanded and poured out on unity (not uniformity) but unity; Psalm 133: 1-3. We do not all have to agree on every little thing or every way of doing things we just have to agree on where we are going.

Our Vision Statement

We will be a training ground for the believers in Jesus, and those who are not yet believers but are attending the Center, to become all that they can be to change their world

- every person will know the Lord and be known by Him

- every person will understand their calling, value, and purpose

- every person will function in their calling, both in the church and outside of the church so as to serve the whole Body of Christ.

- we will use tried and true methods as well as technology, innovation, and the best means possible to accomplish this task.

Basis of this belief is found in Ephesians 4: 11-16

There have been many interpretations about this “strong man” part of this chapter but taken in context here is what it means.
The strong man here is Satan, his goods are those bound in his kingdom. The stronger man is Jesus he comes and overcomes the strong man and takes his spoil those who were bound by Satan. It is He who overcomes the strong man not us. We raise up in pride of our power to overcome Satan we will fall every time but as long as we recognize greater is He who is in me, IT IS HE in me!!!
There is no neutrality in this world you are either a possession of the strong man (Satan) or a possession of the stronger man Jesus. You either recognize you are bought with a price and are part of the Kingdom or your are not there are no gray areas in eternity.
The enemy will be defeated every time that we stand against him, as a child of God, not in our own strength but on His!

24“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. 26Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”
How does this happen? What is Jesus saying here about demonic power is it useless to see people get set free?

Do you believe in demons? Jesus does!  In fact demons believe in Jesus (James 2:19)

1)    Demonization begins by our agreement with them
2)    No demon has more control than what we give them
3)    If we leave open a door then the enemy has a right to come back through that door
4)    The door to the demonic or the Godly is through our flesh (don’t just run with this make sure you listen to my explanation)

27And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!”
28But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

- It is not about heritage.
- It doesn’t matter if you were born a Jew, or born in a Christian home
- It doesn’t matter if you have a priest or a pastor in your family
- it is about your relationship with Jesus that makes the difference

29And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, “This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. 30For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation. 31The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. 32The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.

- There is nothing in Jonah that mentions he told them the story of his being in the big fish
- The only sign they were given was Jonah preaching to them about destruction was coming if they did not repent

- Anyone who had been around Jesus or heard the stories would have seen or heard about the dead being raised, the hungry being fed, the lame walking and all of the other “signs” Just like the rich man who said to Abraham send someone back from the dead so my family will believe.

There is created in each man and woman a belief in what is right and wrong and when the Holy Spirit empowers words that is all that they need if they will not be convinced by words powered by the Holy Spirit a “sign” will not change them

33“No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. 34The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. 36If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.”

Light is a guiding force. Your eye is naturally drawn to light. Light shatters darkness and darkness is the absence of light that is why Jesus calls us the light. The unreal world tries to make darkness seem enticing which it can be for a season but it quickly becomes a trap.
Lying seems like a good idea to get you out of some immediate trouble but trying to keep up the lies is exhausting and can trap you into more lies
Blowing up in anger may intimidate someone to get them off of your back but it does not resolve the conflict or build better relationships.
These are things that seem real but are not the real life solving things

If your eyes are on the prize, the right things, full of love and hope then you will be full of love and hope and you will get through whatever the difficulty is and the darkness will be over come you will stay in the real life giving world

If you allow the darkness to give you a quick fix it will only push you into more darkness.

But the deepest darkness can not overwhelm the light of His love for us and through us.

If your eye is on the light you will naturally do things that are full of light you will step away from the darkness and into His marvelous light. Just like what I talked about earlier with the demonic you make a choice to allow the light to flood you you to allow the darkness to overwhelm you

37And as He spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and sat down to eat. 38When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner.
39Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. 40Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? 41But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you.
42“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 43Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them.

Jesus skipped a ritual that that every good Rabbi would do a ritual washing to make a point. The Pharisee was saying Jesus look this is what we do to make our selves clean and Jesus said listen washing your hands, looking pretty, looking righteous does not make you clean your “cleanliness” will be shown by what you do.
- Give generously
- Act with Justice
- Pour out love
Micah 6:8

45Then one of the lawyers answered and said to Him, “Teacher, by saying these things You reproach us also.”
46And He said, “Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs. 49Therefore the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,’ 50that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, 51from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.
52“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”
53 And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, 54lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him.

Jesus is clarifying to those who deemed themselves righteous showing their lack of true righteousness. Taking them from the unreal to what is real
1)    The law or the burden was not the problem here but the fact that they would not help the people to walk in the fullness of God’s grace and mercy recognizing their need for relationship.
2)    Building the tombs refers to holding up monuments about the prophets rather than heeding what the prophets said. They took pride in the fact that they had these prophets but weren’t concerned about living lives of whole hearted commitment to the love of God in a way that would cause them to stand and be “different” to be an example to the nations so that they might know who God is. That is what the prophets did. The lawyers are too much like the rest of the world so the blood of the prophets is on their hands
3)    Rather than pressing into God for themselves they have lived on the wisdom of others or the wisdom of the world and rather than speaking the truth that would set men and women free because they limited their relationship with the Lord they hindered others from coming to the full knowledge of God.

Here is Jesus challenge about the unreal verses the real

1)    Demons are real but they only have the power we give them by our submitting to them or giving them an open door through our flesh
2)    The enemy is strong and can intimidate but Christ is stronger through us if we submit to Him
3)    Settling for a “quick fix” in our lives may solve a problem for a moment but surrendering completely to God may cause pain for a moment by joy and freedom for a life time
4)    Some people will settle for looking  good and faking god as a show on the outside but the reality of our true relationship with Christ is shown from the inside out
5)    Religion is nothing and a form of godliness is empty press into God to be blessed with wholeness, fullness and fulfillment of every dream

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, what have we learned?

Think about that question for a moment, what have we learned. We learned there is a hatred for America that runs deep in some parts of the world. We learned we are vulnerable. We have learned, as a nation, more about Islam than most of us knew before.

We have also learned some powerfully positive things. We learned when we are under attack, there are no atheist in this country. We learned that we are one country and no one had better not “mess” with anyone white, black, Hispanic, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish. When we are pushed, we stand together. We learned there are still heroes. We learned we are best and we are strong when we stand together.

We also learned our memories are short. It didn’t take long for us to forget we need God. It didn’t take long for us to forget we need each other.

I have learned from our short memories that our faith, as a nation is shallow. It is a faith, for many, of convenience or tradition rather than a true relationship with the Father. This is not something that discourages me but it challenges me to stand in the gap for America, to stand in the gap for those who don’t know, and to stand in the gap even for our enemies.

God has not called his church to be passive, but aggressive. We have not been given weapons of warfare to keep them polished and on a mantle or in a closet. We are not called to be light to hang out with other lights but instead to be lights in the darkness. We are called light because God knew there would always be darkness.

What I’ve learned since September 11, 2001 is that now more than ever the world needs the love that the Lord has given me, the grace He has shown me and that I now live in, and the power that can change lives from fear, anger, hatred, confusion, insecurity, hopelessness, in effect… darkness. Now more than ever this is what the world needs. 9/11 has shown me it is not up to just anyone but it is up to everyone who believes that Jesus Christ is Lord. We have the only answers, the only hope, the only truth, and the only light for a world caught in darkness.

This is not an evil day. This is simply a day to remember the line has been drawn in the sand. Men and women of God all over the world are being called to active duty, on their knees, through God’s Word and their words, with others. We must begin to believe again, “to let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven”. We will bring the only hope to a world in fear. Be the Light!