Archives from March 2020

The Miracles of Jesus: Jesus Delivers a Canaanite Girl

Sunday Sermon Series The Miracles of Jesus

Matthew 15:21-28

This woman has a little daughter who is suffering greatly from demon possession. Jesus delivers the girl because of her mother’s “great faith.” Do you have great faith? … The last verse of this story tells us Jesus performed this miracle because of the mother’s great faith. We know from other stories that faith isn’t the only factor in whether or not a miracle will be performed, but in this case, it is the reason. 

What can we learn from this story about great faith?

  1. Great faith comes from unlikely sources. (Matthew 15:21-22). … This woman was a Canaanite, a descendent of the enemies of the Israelites. In Matthew 8:10 we see Jesus commend a Roman centurion for his great faith. That is the only other time in the Gospels that Jesus says someone has great faith. Even the disciples were never told they have great faith. In fact, in Matthew 8:26 Jesus says they have little faith. … This would be similar to if a Muslim or Athiest came to Christ today. Or maybe even former addicts or criminals. The point is that it seems as though those who we deem unlikely to become Christians are often the most full of faith when they do.

  2. Great faith comes from a sense of desperation. (Matthew 15:22). … Great faith comes from great need. This woman cried out to Jesus over and over. Her faith was her last hope. She knew there was no other way and could clearly see her need for Jesus. Do you see how much you need Jesus?

  3. Great faith is not easily discouraged. It is persistent.(Matthew 15:22-25). … Jesus didn’t answer for a while until His disciples complained about her. This shows us we need to be persistent in our faith and in our prayers. 

  4. Great faith is not easily offended. It is humble. (Matthew 15:26-27). … Jesus compares the Jews to children and gentiles to dogs. Today, this woman likely would have been offended and taken to twitter with her complaints. Instead, she humbled herself. … Even in Jesus’ time the Jews were offended by Jesus. Matthew 15:12 is one example of this. This woman responded better than the Jews.In Luke 7:23 Jesus implies that He will offend people, that people will stumble because of Him. 

One of our church members gave a testimony. His sister was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer around Thanksgiving. He, a medical professional, didn’t think she had much chance of beating it. She had faith from the start that God would do a miracle. After three treatments of cancer treatment, she is now cancer-free. Our church and several other churches as far away as Guatemala prayed for her and her family. It certainly seems as though persistent prayer worked and God performed a miracle.

The Miracles of Jesus: Jesus Restores a Demon-Possessed Man

Sunday Sermon Series The Miracles of Jesus

Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39

Demons destroy. Jesus restores. … There’s the four word tl;dr summary of this sermon. John 10:10 shows us where Jesus stated this Himself. 

The verses we’re looking at today show Jesus restoring a man back to his natural state from one of demon possession. 

Demons seek to destroy your:

modesty “had not worn clothes” … Demons strip away our self-respect and self-value, leading some to be immodest because they don’t value themselves enough. 

relationships “or lived in a house” .. The demon destroyed this man’s home life and social life. We don’t know if he was married, but he hadn’t been home in a long time, so if he was married, that relationship would have taken a huge hit. Other relationships would have suffered too. 

self-control “no one could bind him” (Mark 5:4) … God works to bring self control to your life. Demons will work to destroy that.

Peace of mind “night and day he cried out” (Mark 5:5) … This man clearly wasn’t sleeping well and he was screaming often. He had no peace within him as the demon worked his evil. 

body “and cut himself with stones” (Mark 5:5) … This man hurt himself physically due to the demon possessing him, This doesn’t mean that everyone who harms themselves is possessed by a demon, but they are surely being influenced by evil powers. 

After we read about the man who is possessed, Jesus confronts him and it is revealed that there are many demons inside him, not just one. The demons recognize Jesus. They ask Him to not send them to the abyss, but rather into some pigs. Jesus gave them permission (He has authority over evil). 

Luke 11::24-26 gives a potential reason for why Jesus allowed the demons to go into the pigs. It’s possible He did it so the demons wouldn’t go into someone else. The passage also acta as a warning against being empty. If we aren’t filled with the spirit, there is room for demons. 

Jesus can restore your:

self-control “sitting” (Luke 8:35) … Jesus can restore self-control. It’s one of the fruits of the Spirit. 

relationships “at Jesus’ feet” (Luke 8:35) … The man has entered into a student-teacher relationship with Jesus, showing that He has regained that ability to have a relationship. 

modesty “dressed” … Jesus can restore our self-wealth and self-respect. 

mind “in his right mind” … This man was now calm and peaceful, no longer screaming. 

Jesus can give you something you have not had before:

Purpose “return home and tell how much God has done for you” (Luke 8:37-39) … The people  of the town chased Jesus off for some reason. The man He restored wanted to go back with Jesus, but Jesus told him to go back home and tell the people what God had done for him. 

The Miracles of Jesus: Jesus Drives Out Demons

Sunday Sermon Series The Miracles of Jesus

Luke 4:31-37

This starts our month of looking at miracles where Jesus exhibits His power over demons. 

When Jesus was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum, a man possessed by a demon shouted at Him. Jesus commanded the demon to come out, and the demon left. Jesus came to Earth to destroy the works of the Devil and part of that includes defeating demons. 

Some try to say that the people in the Bible didn’t understand some of the medical conditions like epilepsy and attributed it to demons. Matthew 4:24 is a verse that shows they didn’t just attribute everything they didn’t understand to demons. 

Some will say that they didn’t have the psychiatric knowledge we have today about things like multiple personality disorder. However, some leading psychiatrists today will tell you that while they categorize most cases in some psychiatric category, there are some cases that don’t fit any of those and could be something supernatural. 

Are demons real? Is demon-possession real? 

The Bible has several examples of humans being possessed by demons or even the demon himself, such as with Judas Iscariot in John 13:21-30. 

If it is real, why don’t we see very much of this today?

Three possible reasons we see less today:

  1. In military terms, sending Jesus was an offensive move by God and Satan launched a counter-offensive. We see a lot more angels and demons in the New Testament than in any other equivalent period in the Bible. 

  2. Western culture has a Christian heritage that could help hold back the powers of evil. It may very well be that other cultures are more open to this type of attack. 

  3. Satan doesn’t need to use demon-possession to bring us down. In a society that asks questions and analyzes everything, it’s more effective to use our vices against us than it is to attack more directly with demon-possession. 

Can a Christian be demon-possessed?

1 John 4:4 tells us that the One inside us is greater than the enemy. With the Spirit inside us, there is no room for a demon. 

What should be the attitude of Christians toward demons?

Some Christians credit too much to demons. They’ll blame a demon for causing them to lie (or some other sin) instead of taking responsibility for it.

Other Christians give too little credence to demons. Deuteronomy 18:10-13 shows us that God takes these things seriously. Don’t take things like ouija boards, séances, the occult, and witchcraft lightly. 

This doesn’t mean you need to ban every story that has magic in it. Magic can be a good way to explain spiritual warfare, especially if there is both good and evil magic in the story and the good comes out victorious. Two of the most famous Christian fiction writers of all time used magic in their most famous works. C.S. Lewis uses it in his Chronicles of Narnia saga and J.R.R. Tolkein puts it to use in his Lord of the Rings trilogy. Both stories have allegorical value and feature magic being used for both good and evil. 

We live in the midst of spiritual battles and need to be prepared for them every day. Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us to not open up footholds for the devil by letting sin linger. Ephesians 6:11-17 shows us that we need to put on our spiritual armor because our battle is with the spiritual forces of evil, not flesh and blood humans.