Sermon title:  Jesus Healed the Sick and Drove Out Demons

Luke 4:31-41

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    Immanuel Baptist Church – March 11, 2018

 

 

 

 

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke

all report this visit by Jesus and his disciples

to Simon Peter's house

that we just read about in our responsive reading.

 

Peter was a fisherman,

and Jesus had recently called Peter and his brother Andrew

to follow Him full time and become “fishers of men.”

 

They pulled their boats up onto the shore,

left their nets,

and followed Jesus.

 

But, of course, they did not abandon their families.

They just switched from the fishing business

to full-time ministry as disciples of Jesus.

 

Peter still maintained his home there in Capernaum,

near the shore of the Sea of Galilee,

where he lived with his wife and his mother-in-law.

 

Mark 1:29 calls it “the home of Simon and Andrew,”

so it seems Simon Peter’s brother Andrew

shared the home with them.

 

And all three Gospels tell us

that Peter's mother-in-law was sick in bed with a fever.

 

Luke, being a medical doctor

is a little more specific on the diagnosis

and notes that it was a high fever.

 

So, as we just read in our responsive reading,

 Luke Chapter 4 says, beginning in Verse 38,

 

38 Jesus left the synagogue

and went to the home of Simon.

Now Simon's mother-in-law

was suffering from a high fever,

and they asked Jesus to help her.

 

39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever,

and it left her.

She got up at once and began to wait on them.

 

A high fever can be life-threatening,

especially to an older person.

And Peter’s mother-in-law would have been

of Peter’s parents’ generation.

 

But Jesus simply rebuked the fever,

and it left her.

And it didn’t leave her weak and exhausted

like a fever usually does.

 

She was immediately strong enough

to resume what she normally would do,

waiting on the guests who came to their home.

 

The news must have gone out to the neighborhood

about how Jesus healed her,

because Verse 40 tells us,

 

40 When the sun was setting,

the people brought to Jesus

all who had various kinds of sickness,

and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.

 

People today, too, are glad to hear

of the healing power of the Son of God.

 

But the next verse causes consternation

in many people’s minds.

 

Luke 4:41 says,

 

41 Moreover, demons came out of many people,

shouting, "You are the Son of God!"

But he rebuked them

and would not allow them to speak,

because they knew he was the Christ.

 

That passage bothers many people,

because they associate demons

with the silly superstitions of primitive people.

 

They think we today are too intellectually advanced

to talk about demons

as if they are real.

 

And they laugh at us Christians

if we mention anything about Satan the devil and demons.

 

But, if we believe in the Bible,

and if we believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ,

it’s pretty hard to avoid acknowledging

that demons exist.

 

It’s not just here in Luke’s Gospel.

 

Mark 1:39 says,

39 So he traveled throughout Galilee,

preaching in their synagogues

and driving out demons.

 

And Matthew 4:23-24 says,

23 Jesus went throughout Galilee,

teaching in their synagogues,

preaching the good news of the kingdom,

and healing every disease and sickness

among the people.

 

24 News about him spread all over Syria,

and people brought to him all who were ill

with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures,

and the paralyzed, and he healed them.

 

The Gospels distinguish between

ordinary illnesses, and demon possession,

explaining that Jesus brought relief

to both—people who were sick,

and those who were demon-possessed.

 

So, it’s impossible to believe the Gospel of Christ

and deny the existence of demons.

 

Who are they?

And where did they come from?

 

The Bible doesn’t tell us clearly and in one place.

But it does say enough here and there

to piece together what we need to know.

 

(I’ll be quoting Scripture passages

faster than we can all look them up,

so you may want to note them down for later reference.

Or, you will be able to find this sermon,

with my other sermons,

in printable form and as an audio MP3 file

on the church web site at ImmanuelBaptistNB.org.)

 

Who are the demons?

They are angels who used to serve God,

but who joined Satan the devil

in his rebellion against God.

 

Satan himself is a fallen angel

 

Isaiah 14:12 apparently refers to him when it says,

“How you are fallen from heaven,

O Lucifer, son of the morning!”

 

It appears that he was originally a good angel

back at the time when God created the earth,

and that God had placed him in charge there.

 

Ezekiel chapter 28 says, in verses 12 & 13,

“You were the seal of perfection,

Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

You were in Eden, the garden of God;

 

It adds in verse 14,

“You were the anointed cherub who covers;”

 

So, Lucifer was the cherub or angel God had placed in charge.

Then he abused his power.

 

He was there in the Garden of Eden

with Adam and Eve.

But then he spoke to them through a serpent

and led them into sin.

Revelation 12:9 speaks of him as

“that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan.”

 

Revelation 12 beginning with Verse 7

tells how God’s Archangel Michael

drove Satan out of heaven.

It says,

 

7  And there was war in heaven.

Michael and his angels fought against the dragon,

and the dragon and his angels fought back.

8

But he was not strong enough,

and they lost their place in heaven.

9

The great dragon was hurled down--

that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan,

who leads the whole world astray.

He was hurled to the earth,

and his angels with him.

 

These angels under Satan’s control

are the ones we call “demons.”

 

God is not going to

put up with their rebellion forever.

 

The passage we just read from Revelation 12,

tells us they get thrown out of heaven.

 

Lucifer was put in charge of the earth

when he was a good angel,

before he rebelled.

 

And Jesus still referred to Satan as

 at John 14:30 Jesus as

“the ruler of this world.”

 

But then at John 16:11 Jesus said 

“the ruler of this world is judged.”

 

So, Satan’s rebellion will be put down.

He is judged.

He and his angels are thrown out of heaven.

That’s just the first step in their punishment.

 

Matthew 25 :41 tells us that, eventually,

they will be thrown into the “everlasting fire,

prepared for the devil and his angels.”

 

 But, meanwhile,

they are loose on the earth,

causing trouble and afflicting mankind.

 

Justice is speedy,

and the punishment for Satan and his demons

will come in God’s timing.

 

But 2 Peter 3:8 tells us,

“beloved, do not forget this one thing,

that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years,

and a thousand years as one day.”

 

Convicting Satan in the courts of Heaven,

 removing him from power,

and sending him to his doom

takes a long time from a human standpoint.

 

But it is a short time

from the standpoint of God,

and even from the standpoint of the angels themselves,

who have been around for

who knows how many thousands of years.

 

Jude Verse 6 tells us,

 

“The angels

who did not keep their positions of authority

but abandoned their own home—

these he has kept in darkness,

bound with everlasting chains

for judgment on the great Day.”

 

So, these fallen angels, these demons

face judgment at the great Day of God.

 

Matthew 8 :29 tells us,

that when Jesus encountered some demons,

“they began screaming at him,

‘What do you want with us, O Son of God?

Have you come here to torment us before the time?’”

 

So, there is an appointed time

when Satan and his demon angels will finally be removed.

 

But, in the meantime,

they cause affliction.

 

We saw an example of that

in our responsive reading in Luke Chapter 4.

 

Jesus visited a Jewish synagogue again,

this time in the Galilean town of Capernaum.

 

The Gospels of Matthew and John don’t mention this event,

but it is reported in detail by Mark and Luke.

 

So, we'll look at Luke chapter 4, beginning at verse 31,

the passage we read in our responsive reading:

 

31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people.

 

32 They were amazed at his teaching,

because his message had authority.

 

33 In the synagogue there was a man

possessed by a demon, an evil spirit.

 

He cried out at the top of his voice,

 

34 "Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?

I know who you are--the Holy One of God!"

 

35 "Be quiet!" Jesus said sternly. "Come out of him!" Then the demon threw the man down before them all

and came out without injuring him.

 

36 All the people were amazed

and said to each other,

"What is this teaching?

With authority and power

he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!"

 

37 And the news about him

spread throughout the surrounding area.

 

Demonic influence seems to be most common

in areas where there is a lot of pagan worship,

as opposed to worship of the true God.

 

At 1 Corinthians 10:20-21, the Apostle Paul said

that demons are connected with pagan worship.

He wrote,

“The sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons,

not to God,

and I do not want you to be participants with demons.  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord

and the cup of demons too;

you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table

and the table of demons.”

 

So, pagans are often exposed to demonic influence.

 

But how do Jews and Christians

come under such demonic influence?

 

Commonly it’s by getting involved with pagan practices

where they expect to gain some power or advantage

by using the forces of darkness.

 

Deuteronomy Chapter 18

lists some of those pagan practices.

 

The Lord lists them for us here,

as a warning not to get involved with them.

 

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 says

“Let no one be found among you

who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire,

who practices divination or sorcery,

interprets omens,

engages in witchcraft,

or casts spells,

or who is a medium or spiritist

or who consults the dead.

Anyone who does these things

is detestable to the Lord."

 

God tells us not to go to spirit mediums

because they contact demonic spirits.

The medium may claim that he or she controls the spirits,

but it is really the other way around.

 

These methods of contacting demonic spirits

include the use of Tarot Cards,

palm reading, tea leaf reading,

seances,

and other forms of hocus pocus.

 

Dabbling in these things

can be very dangerous.

 

People seem to think they can use or control

the forces of darkness.

They think they can cast a spell

or follow some protocol

and control the spirits.

 

But, just think about it.

Angels are much more powerful than humans.

And they have been around for thousands of years,

so they know every trick in the book.

 

They make people think that

a spell or incantation will control them.

But the people who try these things,

become the victims,

and the demons control them.

 

So, it is foolish for people to think

that they can dabble with the forces of darkness

and not become trapped and troubled.

 

Turning to astrology, horoscopes or fortune-tellers

puts a person under demonic influence.

 

So does using divining rods

or water-witching to find water.

I mention these things,

because in a farming community just outside New Bedford

I have actually heard people

in what they called

“a Bible-believing Christ-centered” church

defend looking for water on their farms

in this way:

using divining rods—which is a form of divination—

and water-witching—which is witchcraft—

both of which God forbids us from doing

at Deut. 18:10-12.

 

There is also danger in going to a Reiki practitioner for massages.

Many massage parlors today practice Reiki.

The word “Reiki” comes from

the Japanese and Chinese expressions “rei”—

meaning “spiritual” or “supernatural”—

and “Ki” meaning “vital energy.”

Besides using their hands

to manipulate the body through massage,

they also use their hands

to summon invisible power or energy.

And during Reiki massage

they claim that this supernatural force

passes through the Reiki practitioner into their client.

That is clearly demonic.

 

Today there are persons who

who bring demonic practices

into the churches,

by attaching Christian terminology to them.

 

One example of this is so-called “centering prayer.”

Instead of speaking your prayer out loud or silently in your mind,

in “centering prayer” you are supposed to empty your mind,

and receive whatever comes to you.

 

That’s really a pagan demonic practice.

 

I’d like to read a brief testimony

from someone who knows this firsthand.

 

His name is Matt Slick, and he is the President

of Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, at https://carm.org/centering-prayer

“Before I became a Christian I was involved in the occult.  One of the practices I would undergo when trying to contact the spiritual realm and/or trying to receive some mystical experience would be to empty my mind, remain motionless, and completely open myself up to receive whatever would come. 

 

Essentially, I was seeking an altered state of consciousness and contact with the spiritual world.  This is one of the hallmarks of occult practices and it opens the person to demonic contact.

 

“This centering, this emptying of the mind was a physical and mental process of stillness, waiting, non-thinking, and expecting to have a spiritual experience.  It worked. 

Using these techniques I have seen lights move in darkness, a bright yellow cross materialize out of thin air, and I've heard voices calling me from the darkness.  I'm not exaggerating.  I was not on drugs, medicated, drinking, or sleep deprived.  I definitely contacted something in the spirit realm.  But, it wasn't God.

 

“God wants us to contact him through his Son Jesus, in prayer, as we meditate on God's word and truth, not by emptying our mind, being still, not thinking, and "feeling" whatever we can spiritually.”

 

That so-called “centering prayer” is reminiscent

of the trances that Hindu mystics put themselves into.

 

A moment ago we read 1 Corinthians 10:20-21,

 where the Apostle Paul said,

“The sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons,

not to God.”

 

That is very true of the false gods and idols of Hinduism.

 

Hindu missionaries Swami Vivekananda  and  Paramahansa Yogananda

came to the U.S.

and made Hindu meditation popular in this country.

 

But Maharishi Mahesh Yogi  had the most success

because he called it “Transcendental Meditation”

instead of Hinduism—

and he claimed that meditation was “not religious.”

 

Those who popularized Yoga in this country

similarly claimed that it was “not religious.”

 

But to see how false that claim is, all you need to do is to

check out the main Yoga website, Yoga.com.

 

Who knows Yoga better

than its promoters at the Yoga.com web site? 

An article on that site is titled "The Ultimate Goal of Yoga"

and it says very plainly, quote,

 "in all schools of yoga,

the goal of the practitioner

is the attainment of perfect tranquility

and spiritual insight

while meditating on Brahman

(the Hindu concept of divinity)." 

 

So, even if the local Yoga teacher or practitioner chooses to hide it,

the Yoga.com web site admits

that Yoga is religious.   Its goal is spiritual insight

through the Hindu concept of divinity.

 

But both Transcendental Meditation and Yoga

use “mantras”—a Hindu word for praying to Hindu deities,

which are demons according to the Apostle Paul.

 

Those who become deeply involved,

may actually contact “guiding spirits” or demons,

and may find their minds entering altered states,

under demonic influence.

 

The Bible actually foretold

that Christians would be lured away

by these things that are creeping into some churches today.

1 Timothy 4:1 says,

 

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times

some will abandon the faith

and follow deceiving spirits

and things taught by demons.”

 

People turn to such things,

hoping to gain some advantage.

They turn to divining rods, hoping to find water.

They turn to fortune tellers, hoping to know their future.

They turn to Hindu meditation and Yoga,

hoping to find relaxation and escape stress.

 

But instead,

they put themselves in danger

of coming under demonic influence

and of coming under God’s disapproval.

 

As we read earlier, 1 Corinthians 10:20-21, says

 

“The sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons,

not to God,

and I do not want you to be participants with demons.  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord

and the cup of demons too;

you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table

and the table of demons.”

 

But if we steer clear of pagan demonic practices,

we have nothing to fear from them.

 

We belong to Jesus, and our Lord Jesus

is infinitely more powerful

than Satan and all his demons put together.

 

When we repent of our sins—

even repenting of past demonic contact—

Jesus forgives our sins.

Jesus comes to live in our hearts by his Holy Spirit,

leaving no room for any demons.

 

1 John 4:4 says,

 

“You, dear children,

are from God and have overcome them,

because the one who is in you

is greater than the one who is in the world.”

 

Yes, Satan and his demons are real.

But Jesus is infinitely greater than they are.

And Jesus lives in us by his Holy Spirit.

He keeps us safe

from these demonic enemies.