At the congregational meeting you will see that the theme that the elders will be focusing on during the year 2021 is spiritual warfare. We have already given each single adult and each family a copy of Thomas Brook's fabulous book, Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices. And though it is older English and a little tougher to read, I believe you will find it to be a very fruitful read. We want you to get to the end of this year being thoroughly equipped for spiritual warfare. Even the younger children can have authority over demons.
And I wanted to start off the year by introducing this theme topic. And then, Lord willing, I will periodically address a different facet of spiritual warfare throughout the year. Today's message will be an overview of the real world of demons and the total victory and power that every believer can have over them.
Demons are real and they are powerful
And the first thing that needs to be emphasized is that demons are real and they are powerful. You cannot ignore them. Joel Beeke’s book on Puritan Theology has a chapter that shows that the Puritans took demons very seriously. They knew how to engage in spiritual battle. It seems that the Reformed Church has largely lost its expertise in this arena. And I have actually run across some evangelicals who have over-reacted to the demon-under-every-bush theology and have rejected the idea that demons are real. They claim that demons are simply metaphorical ways of describing mental illness or bad doctrine. One famous evangelical actually wrote a book that denies the existence of demons, and this author attributes all symptoms of demonization to mental illness. Here's the problem: his very denial of the demonic made him vulnerable to the demonic. I know another pastor who has suffered enormously for years from what I know without any shadow of a doubt is demonic attack. But because he denies that we can fight with demons, he has never been able to gain relief. So this first sermon is not simply academic. It is absolutely imperative that we know the enemy and that we know that he is real. Let me give you several evidences from Luke 11.
Personality of demons
First, it is crystal clear that demons have personality. They are not just concepts, powers, or illnesses.
- Demons can talk (v. 24) and communicate to other demons (v. 26)
For example, verse 24 records a sentence that one demon spoke. Verse 26 shows eight demons communicating with each other. Other passages show demons communicating with Christ and speaking through the vocal chords of the individual. But with or without bodies, they can communicate. Communication is an aspect of personality.
Interestingly, verse 24 shows that this demon could talk even when he was outside of a human body. I myself have heard demons speak – sometimes through the vocal chords of an individual and sometimes entirely apart from those vocal chords. In any case, these verses all show that demons are not merely powers or emanations. They are creatures that have rationality and language. And they use that communication against Christ’s kingdom.
And don’t think that other demons don’t find out about the things that our church or that your family is doing. Demons do reconnaissance and have centers of intelligence gathering. I can only show this in an introductory way today, and I will do so through one verse in Acts:
Acts 19:15 talks about the sons of Sceva. These Jews saw Paul casting out demons in the name of Jesus, and so they tried to do the same thing. They said to the demon, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” And the demon said, “Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you?” And the demon proceeded to tear at the sons of Sceva. But I find that phrase interesting. The demon said, “Paul I know.” I’m sure there had been a lot of talk about Paul in the kingdom of demons. He was a threat to their kingdom. Any time a Christian is having an impact against Satan’s kingdom, you can guarantee that the word is spreading rapidly through the ranks of demons. Any time Christians are failing to have an impact and are showing weakness and vulnerability, you can be sure that the demons are communicating with each other and wanting to take advantage of that weakness. They share information with each other and strategize together. Other Scriptures indicate that normally, they can talk and communicate with each other without humans being able to hear them.
- Demons have self-consciousness
a. They speak in the first person (“I” v. 24)
A second proof that demons are real spirit-beings and not simply doctrines, sins, or mental constructions is that these demons that Jesus talked about are self-conscious. The demon in verse 24 speaks in the first person saying, “I will return to my house from which I came.” He is talking to himself or soliloquizing. That speaks of self-consciousness, which is a characteristic of personality.
b. They can remember and make plans (v. 24)
Furthermore, the demon is remembering things from the past and making plans for the future. And in the same way, demons are not idiots today. The demons that have been assigned to attack you probably know more about your past than you do. They remember, and they make plans concerning you. If you have not been making counter-plans to defeat them, it is likely that their plans for you have been succeeding.
By the way, demons remember your ancestors as well. Scripture indicates that demons were making plans for future generations when your ancestors were alive. If your ancestors gave demons a legal right to be at work in your family, then no matter how much you pray and fight against them, they do not have to leave. The legal ground must be removed. Demons are forced by God to operate in the realm of God’s legal order, and they know how to take advantage of that legal order. We don’t have time in this sermon to deal extensively with God's cosmic legal order and the covenantal structures that demons are forced by God to function within. But each of the covenantal structures of family, church, and state factor into this warfare, and demons know how to leverage those covenantal patterns to their own benefit. But they cannot work outside God's law-order or outside God's covenantal plans.
I'll just give you one tiny hint. Exodus 34:7 says that the sins of the parents can be visited to the third and fourth generation. How do they get visited? I believe it is a demonic visitation. They are allowed to do that within God’s covenantal order. Understanding what that is and removing it keeps you from being afflicted.
And by the way, this is not something new. For the first thousand years of church history new converts would renounce the demonic and systematically renounce the sins of their ancestors that demons might take advantage of. They took adoption into a new family seriously, and they broke the covenantal legal ground that the demons might take advantage of. You need to understand that you are covenantally connected to your ancestors, and unless you have already put your ancestor’s sins under the blood of Christ and renounced any jurisdiction that the ancestors have given, you can continue to be afflicted. And perhaps we can amplify on this legal covenant order in which demons and angels must function in a future sermon.
c. They can get frustrated (v. 24)
But getting back to the proofs that these demons have personality and are not simply doctrines or sins is that they can get frustrated. This demons wants to find something that satisfies him and gives him rest, but he has no rest in verse 24. And I love that. I trust that there are a lot of demons who are frustrated because of your efforts. Every time you frustrate a demon, you probably put a smile on a good angel's face. I think our congregation gives plenty of frustration to demons. But this frustration is just another evidence that demons are persons. And its my aim to frustrate them at every step of the way.
- Demons can travel, seek and find (v. 24)
Another thing that shows that these demons are not just metaphors is that the demon of verse 24 travels. Jesus said, “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest.” He is traveling. Now, you might ask, "What are the dry places?" There have been various theories. Some people connect the wilderness with the demonic. I don't think that is what this is saying. My guess is that the dry places refers to the dry places outside a body as opposed to the moisture of the body. Some people think of it as simply a metaphor of frustration, but I tend to take it literally. They are outside of a wet body. But whatever that phrase means, it is clear that the demon travels.
He talks in the same verse about returning to the person. Verse 25 says, “And when he comes…” That’s travel again. Verse 26, “Then he goes…” He is traveling to find other demons unoccupied and they then travel to find this man. Well, demons travel today too. Revelation even talks about them traveling from one country to another country.
Just because we have had relatively little demonic activity in America in past centuries, is no indication that demons are not powerfully present now. Demons travel. And all the indications are that America is being overrun by demons of every sort. The irrational nature of politics in our city, county, state, and in Washington DC is one of many indicators that our nation has been completely overrun by demons.
But several verses show traveling from one place to another. Verse 24 says they are seeking for a place where they can settle down. They are looking for some opportunity. They see a husband and wife arguing with each other heatedly, and they start rubbing their hands thinking, “Maybe this is an opportunity that we can use to make them ineffective.” And then the demon watches them asking forgiveness of each other, and the demon is disappointed, and thinks, “That’s too bad! I’ve got to look for some other opportunity.” And he sees a child in rebellion, and he knows that rebellion can give him an advantage in that child's life since rebellion is akin to the sin of witchcraft. But the demon is frustrated because after being confronted, the child asks forgiveness of God and of his father, and the demon has no grip on that child any longer. So he looks for a man who is in rebellion or a wife who is in rebellion, and when he notices no repentance, that demons worms his way deeper and deeper into that person's life. Demons are always traveling and looking for opportunities, and they invite other demons to take advantage of these new opportunities.
That’s what Satan did in Job 1 – he was wandering to and fro in the earth, and he noticed Job, but complained, “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side?” I love the hedge that God places around His people. That hedge keeps demons at bay. With that hedge, Satan had no opportunity to attack Job. And today, there is even less opportunity since the accuser of the brethren has been cast out of heaven and can no longer accuse the brethren before God's throne like he did Job. But back to our main point, I think the issue of demonic travel has been underestimated in some circles.
I grew up in Ethiopia in an animistic province where people were under enormous bondage to demons. On more than one occasion when demons were cast out of people, they said that they were going overseas. Converted witchdoctors indicated that this was happening back in the 1960’s already. Reinforcements were being sent to attack America. Why? We don’t know. Maybe it was because America had sent so many missionaries to Africa, and Satan was trying to counteract that effort. We don’t know. But it is clear from this passage that at least some demons can travel. Revelation 9:14 says that some demons are restricted to a given region and not allowed to travel out of that area. It says that four demonic generals were bound at the Euphrates River, but later were allowed to travel. There are huge ramifications to some of these concepts that we won’t have time to get into today. But don’t think of the demonic world as static, where you get rid of demons for life or that you only deal with one or two demons.
- Each demon has a separate identity (vv. 14,26)
Fourth, each demon has a separate identity. Verse 26 speaks of eight demons communicating with each other and strategizing on how to take on this man. Verse 14 speaks of a demon who has a specialty – making people unable to speak. Luke called it a mute demon. And by the way, there are many specialties that demons have been assigned. Other Scriptures speak of demons of uncleanness and deception. Hosea chapters 4 and 5 speaks of demons that lead to adultery. There are demons who specialize in bringing various kinds of diseases or various types of temptations. There is a huge army of unseen spirits with careful organization. And each demon has a separate identity.
- Demons have varying degrees of wickedness (v. 26)
Fifth, these demons have varying degrees of wickedness. Not all are equally skilled in wickedness. Verse 26 says, “then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself.” Just as there are varying levels of skill, understanding, and wickedness among men, there are varying levels of skill, understanding, and wickedness among demons. Verse 26 is quite clear on that point.
When one demon is unable to pierce the protections in your life, he may conscript others more able than himself. Where one demon can’t succeed, perhaps another one may. And the more you take your place on the front-lines of the battlefield, the more you need protection. We need to cover our Christian politicians in DC and in state capitols with a prayer cover. They are likely facing thousands, if not millions, of demons. Don't be surprised when even Christian politicians in DC disappoint you and vote for crazy things. They may be good Christians, but if they are not prepared to face demons, they are up against enormous odds, and can easily be misled. We need to pray for the officers of this church, for Michael, Bill, John and others as they evangelize or testify at the abortion clinic.
- There are demonic rulers and followers (vv. 15,17,18) that form a hierarchy in a “kingdom” (v. 18)
Sixth, these demons are organized in such a way that some are rulers, and others are followers. Verse 15 speaks of Beelzebul as being the ruler of the demons, and Christ not only acknowledges the reality of such a ruler, but that this ruler has an organized kingdom. We won’t go into the various levels of organization that the Scripture speaks of in today’s sermon, but it is so well organized that it is a worldwide kingdom that used to be under Satan’s rule, and now that Satan is bound, is under the direction of another demonic prince. I think step by step you can see that there really is no way that these spirits could be metaphors of evil or metaphors of bad doctrine. No. They are real beings.
Just as a side note, you might be interested to know just how big this kingdom of demons is. The very use of the term “kingdom” implies large numbers, as does the name Beelzebub, which means, “Lord of the flies.” In the middle east flies swarmed everywhere. Trillions of flies. And that is an interesting title, because the Scripture indicates unbelievable numbers of demons. They are like flies, or as Revelation says, they are like a plague of locusts that blot out the sun. Some locust plagues have billions and even trillions of locusts.
We know from Revelation 12 that demons comprise one third of the total number of angels. So that's encouraging. Daniel 7:10 speaks of there being millions and millions and hundreds of millions, but uses an expression that could be indefinite. Hebrews 12:22 speaks of an innumerable company of angels. Too many for a human to count. Matthew 18:10 indicates that every child of a believer has at least one angel assigned to them, since it uses the expression “their angels.” Since there are approximately 700 million Great Commission Evangelical Christians in the world, if each one has an angel, that's a lot of good angels.
OK, let’s transfer that to demons. Mark 5:9,15 indicates that Satan had so many demons available to him, that he was willing to waste 6000 demons on one man – or a legion of evil angels. That’s a lot of demons to go around. Revelation 9 shows multitudes of angels arising from the pit upon the earth – so thick that it darkened the sky. In verses 14-16 it shows one contingent of demons under the leadership of four demonic angels, and the number of demons in that one contingent was 200 million. Revelation speaks of other contingents of demons as well. In some places they probably do swarm like flies. I imagine Washington DC and and other state capitols as swarming with demons. They tend to go after the power centers of a nation, and that is why universally you find far more wickedness and perversion in the capitals of states and nations than you do elsewhere. And each one of those demons is doing his utmost to attack Christ’s kingdom. We won’t have time to get into it, but I do believe that demons have been progressively being bound in the pit when Christians know what they are doing, and Zechariah promises a day when there will be no more demons.
- They have possessions (v. 24,21-22)
Another little detail that we see in this chapter is that they have possessions that they seek to capture. Obviously the poor man in verse 14 was captured for a time. Verse 21 speaks of a demon who “guards his own palace” and speaks of “his goods.” So demons have territory and they also have possessions. There are huge ramifications for this little data point that we won’t go into today. But think of the possessions as the things that people have allowed demons to have legal access to. It could be parts of your body. James says that some Christians' tongues are set on fire by hell. That means that some demon is using that tongue; he has gained access to it; it is in some way his possession. He gets a kick out of using the tongue for unrighteousness. So demons have possessions.
- Demons are elsewhere called “evil spirits” (Acts 19:12) or fallen “angels” (Rev. 12:7,9)
Next, demons are also called angels and evil spirits in Revelation 12 and in other passages. It speaks of Satan and his angels. To question the reality of demons would be to question the reality of any angels whatsoever. It is my belief that demons are fallen angels.
I think I have given enough information to prove that we must take the demonic seriously. Demons are real. I had one lady tell me that she didn’t like it when I preached on the demonic, because it scared her. But let me assure you that ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance can make you walk straight into Satan’s snares. And Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2:11, “we are not ignorant of his devices.” Well, we should not be ignorant of Satan's devices either. In my teaching over the course of this year I hope to help you to understand both Satan’s strategies and God’s strategies in this great war for the souls of men and for possession of planet earth. Obviously Jesus will win this planet for His kingdom, but He uses people like you and me. Joshua did not possess Canaan instantly. It took time, planning, energy, casualties, and many warriors and prayer supporters. And there are times of advancement and times where we lose ground. Warfare means that all of us need to learn the art of spiritual warfare. This is not an option. We are all called to war. And in my lessons I hope to give many practical steps for spiritual warfare.
- They are united (vv. 17-18,23,26) in their opposition to Christ (v. 23) and His kingdom (vv. 17-19)
But in this passage, let's move on to see some hints of the work that demons have. Several verses in this chapter show that demons are organized as a kingdom. So there is organizational work, ruling, communication and all of the other efforts of defending and expanding a kingdom. He uses the word "kingdom" to describe them in verses 17 and 18. Verse 15 speaks of Beelzebub being a ruler of the demons. And other passages indicate that this kingdom has a hierarchy of leadership with every demon having assignments. In verses 17-19 Christ implies that the demons are united around a common hatred for Christ.
Now I don’t for a moment believe that demons necessarily like each other or always fully cooperate. In fact, the more evil a demon is, the more self-centered he will be, and the more his self-centered interests will be in conflict with the self-centered interests of other demons. But there is one thing that unites them – it is a hatred for God and for God’s people. Verse 23 says, “He who is not with Me is against Me.” There is no neutrality. And every demon is against Christ. And if demons are against Christ, they will be against Christ’s kingdom and His people. And we will look in a moment at that conflict of kingdoms in verses 17-23. But their work is to hinder, hold back and frustrate our kingdom work. Don’t be surprised by hindrances, bureaucratic red tape, technical problems, hatred from men, and resistance to what you are doing. Don’t be surprised. You are in a war. And if you aren't fighting, you are already defeated.
- Demons can work inside or outside of a person (vv. 24-26) and seek to influence and/or control that person (vv. 14,21-22) to keep him at peace with Satan’s independent kingdom (v. 21) and at war with Christ (v. 23)
Secondly, demons can work both inside and outside of a person. How this works, we don’t know for sure. But verse 14 speaks of a demon who was inside the mute man somehow controlling either his brain or his mouth. Verses 24-26 speak of a person as being a house for a demon and the demon entering a person and dwelling there. Satan’s goal according to verse 23 is total ownership and total control. But if he can’t do that, he will at least try to influence from the outside. Verse 21 says, “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace.” Why are his goods at peace? Because the things under Satan’s control are not yet facing the warfare of God. It’s not until Christians invade a pagan neighborhood that warfare begins there. But that implies that whether possessed or not possessed, whether at peace or not at peace, all such people are under Satan’s control.
When a person is outside the church, he is in Satan’s territory. 1 Corinthians 5:5 says that excommunication is delivering a person over to Satan. Jesus told the Pharisees, “you are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do.” They weren’t possessed like this man was, but they were still under his influence, weren’t they? The moment someone becomes a Christian, he becomes an enemy of Satan. There is no neutrality according to verse 23. In fact, the first Gospel promise of the Old Testament is Genesis 3:15 and it says that God will make the woman at enmity with Satan and Satan at enmity with the woman and her seed. God would do that. Where there is no enmity, there is no conversion. At the moment of conversion you are automatically introduced to warfare. And you shouldn't go AWOL from that warfare.
- They seek to capture & guard areas (v. 21)
Third, demons seek to capture and guard areas. Verse 21 likens Satan to a strong man who “guards his own palace.” Satan tries to capture territory and people and set up strongholds to make those areas impervious to the Gospel. He does his utmost to guard his goods from your attempts to influence. And that means that if you do not have the power and presence of Almighty God with you, you will not succeed in getting through those strongholds that he is guarding. It doesn’t matter how much you preach, Matthew 13 says that demons can pluck the seed of the word out of that person’s head to keep it from germinating. It doesn’t matter how much you pray against the demonic, if God does not prosper your efforts, you will not succeed. And God only prospers the methods of spiritual warfare that He has authorized in the Bible. There is a lot of bizarre methodologies out there that are not Biblical. Demons vigorously guard areas they possess and they vigorously try to capture new territory.
- They seek to destroy God’s creation (v. 14)
Another thing that demons seek to do is to destroy God’s creation, or if that is not possible, to at least mar God's creation. They hate anything that reminds them of God. Verse 14 shows one such destructive act – to make a person unable to speak. That is removing a part of the image of God in man – communication. And when you do a survey of the doctrine of demonology in the Bible, you will see that demons specialize in all kinds of things designed to destroy God’s creation and order. The destructive things we see in the LGBTQ+ movement is demonic in origin. When they are converted, they must be freed from demons or they will forever struggle. The destructive things we see in the Critical Race Theory is demonic to the core. Demons specialize in destroying God’s creation and until the church ceases being ignorant of Satan’s strategies, it will not be successful in pushing back the darkness. We are not simply wrestling against flesh and blood in these BLM riots. This is spiritual warfare, and so far the demons are winning because the church has not used the nuclear weapons God has given her in the Bible.
- They seek to cause disorder (v. 23,25)
Another fact about demons that we see in this chapter is that demons also seek to cause disorder. Verse 23 says, “and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” Demons attempt to break up unity in the family, church, and nation – to scatter what God unites. Some people are puzzled by the destructive things that Soros and the deep state do. I’m not surprised at all. It is totally consistent with what demons do. We’ve seen it in our own ranks. The demonic in the past has divided and scattered in irrational ways. The spirit of Jezebel is only one of many demonic forces that are designed to cause disorder. Verse 25 says that the demon comes back to the man who was rescued from the demon, “And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order.” That’s the opposite of the state that he left it in – disorder. Demons love disorder. Whenever you see churches filled with lawlessness and disorder, you know that Satan has been at work in that congregation. That’s why I am convinced that some so-called spiritual gifts are not from God’s Spirit at all because Paul said that God is a God of order, and in verse 33 it says, “God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” And so Satan seeks to scatter and cause disorder. And one of his strategies is to produce counterfeits of all of God’s graces and gifts. And you can detect those counterfeits because they cause disorder – of necessity they cause disorder.
- They can evaluate areas of vulnerability (vv. 25-26 with 22)
The last facet of the work of demons that is found in this passage is that this demon was exploring areas of vulnerability. Look at verse 22: “But when a stronger than he [Christ is the one who is stronger than this demon that was cast out: “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.” It is only when Christ takes ownership of the spoils that Satan is rendered powerless and the man has nothing to fear.
I want you to notice that that’s not the case with this man in verses 25-26. Christ is not present in his life as Lord. This man has an empty house. Jesus has not moved into the house. The Spirit has not entered in to guide and empower. Instead, this is an image of a person who has been freed, but who continues to trust in himself for self-reformation. The Pharisees sought to cleanse their lives in their own power, but they still belonged to Satan. They still were utterly powerless against him. These demons recognize that the man is powerless, and they know they can have him any time that they want. It says,
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.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then 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.”
Now, this principle doesn’t just apply to those whom demons have possessed. In John 5:14 Jesus told a man whom he had healed of lameness, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” This vulnerability issue affects even people who are merely afflicted outwardly – perhaps with sickness, though the affliction can involve many other things happening to house, children, and finances. Willful sin gives Satan an advantage and makes you more vulnerable. And this passage indicates that demons are adept at evaluating areas of vulnerability in our lives. They are skilled at it. They have had 6000 years of experience.
So all this is to say that demons are real, and they are powerful, and they are busy trying to influence you make you ineffective. And it would be pretty scary if we just stopped there.
The victory of Christ over demons is real and every believer has access to this same victory
General promises of Christ's victory
So I don't want to end with the power of the demonic. The victory of Christ over demons is real and every believer has access to this same victory. What does Jesus do in other passages?
One thing is that He builds a hedge around His people. Another thing is that He gives us spiritual tools. He also trains our hands for battle. He gives us a war manual for victory. In fact, the book of Revelation is primarily a spiritual war manual. 2 Corinthians 2:14 says, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
And Luke 11 gives at least a few hints of this victory. It speaks of the even greater power of Christ. Christ is the stronger man in verse 22 who has overcome Satan through His death and resurrection. Christ is the one who has taken away Satan’s armor in which he trusted, and made Satan helpless against his kingdom being plundered. When we use the sword of the Spirit, demons are wounded. Why? Because that demon's armor has been taken away by Christ. That’s why James says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” So I want to look a bit at why this casting out of demons was such a phenomenal evidence of Christ’s victory.
Casting out demons is an evidence that the kingdom has come
- This was a new thing (vv. 14-15,19 with 10:17-24)
First of all, it was an evidence that the kingdom had come, and something brand new was happening. In the gospels, for the first time in human history (at least that we know about), demons had been successfully cast out of people. We take this power for granted nowadays, but it was a new thing back then. And the reaction of the people over and over is the same as in verse 14: “and the multitudes marveled.” Or as Mark says, “they were astonished beyond measure.” This is something new.
- This was a sign of the presence of the kingdom (vv. 16-20)
And that is why their request in verse 16 is such a sham. It says, “And others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven.” Christ goes on to show how there could be no better sign that the kingdom of God had come. Verse 20: “But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.” The casting out of demons is par excellence the sign of the kingdom. Christ didn’t postpone the kingdom or we would not be able to cast out demons today.
- This was evidence that the time had come for Satan’s house to fall (vv. 17-18)
But verses 17-18 indicate that the presence of genuine exorcisms was the evidence that the time had come for Satan’s house to fall. Matthew words it this way:
But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you, or else how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.”
It adds the words “Or else.” Those words are clear. Without the presence of the kingdom, there can be no casting out of demons. The ongoing work of binding the hand of Satan is proof positive that we are living in the period of the kingdom conquest. It is the time when Satan’s kingdom will progressively fall and be plundered.
- Satan cannot be cast out until the Messiah overcomes Him (vv. 21-22 with 4:1-5 and Mark 16:15-20)
And the irony of it all is that Christians many times continue to believe that Satan is the one who is gaining the victory. They are more fearful of demons than demons are of them. That is so sad. If you don’t have faith in Christ’s power over demons you will accomplish nothing in spiritual warfare; nothing. Hebrews 11 tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Ephesians 6:16 tells us that we must have the shield of faith to be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one.
Believers today receive opposition from Satan much like Christ did in His ministry, but unlike Christ, their conclusion is that we are living in the last time and there is nothing we can do but wait for a champion to appear out of heaven. Like the ten spies they think, “We can’t win this one.” I want you to have the faith of Joshua and Caleb, that with God on our side we can win this battle for the world! We can take our Canaan. We don’t want to be like David’s brothers who were frustrated with the taunts of Goliath and paralyzed. What we need to realize is that the Greater than David has already come. He has dealt a death blow to the head of the serpent, has bound the power of the strong man, and we are now plundering Satan’s kingdom. And it is for that work of plundering that we need Christ's armor. And we won’t get into the armor today. Today’s sermon is just a bare-bones introduction to the Great Warfare of Satan Against Christ, but I hope it has motivated you to study this important topic more. May it be so Lord Jesus. Amen.