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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1005. The battle against Dark forces continues (6/3/24)

This week in our devotions in Luke we reflect upon Jesus’ power over creation (verses 22-39); His power over dark forces (verses 26-39); finally, we see His power over sickness and death (40-56). May we be inspired to see the glory of Christ so as to deepen our faith and step out in faith. Today, we continue in this narrative about Jesus’ confrontation with demons and today we see that the battle with dark forces continues and what this means for us. 


Lesson: We wage war on dark powers, and they attack us throughout this age. So we are to be aware and fight with His methods. 


You can listen to this devotional below (It’s also available on Spotify on the Community Church Putney podcast) 



‘A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.’ (Luke 8:31-33)

Yesterday, we began looking at this narrative by seeing how even demons recognise and are subject to Jesus’ authority and therefore we are pray to against evil and fear no evil. However, we do have an ongoing battle. It’s so important that we understand this as we read in 2 Corinthians: 

’In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.’ (2 Corinthians 2:11) 

Frankly, I find this incident perplexing. What’s the purpose of involving the pigs? Whilst we can only speculate about certain things in this strange story, what we do know is that the demons are under Jesus’ authority and need His permission to go into the pigs. We know that the pigs are then driven into the lake, by the demons I assume, and are killed, revealing their destructive nature - as they drove this man into isolation, they drive the pigs into the sea bringing about Jesus’ rejection. My assumption is that, whilst Jesus of course was not duped, they wanted to go into the pigs and destroy them in order to create trouble for Jesus as the account goes on to describe.  

‘When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.’ (Luke 8:34-37)

Even if I’m wrong about my speculations regarding the demonic plans behind killing the pigs, they are at work so that this miracle brings about rejection. The devil is very clever and He will scheme to create division and the rejection of Christ. As with the bad soil in the Parable of the Sower, that we looked at previously, the work of the evil one stops the seed from making any impact on this occasion. It reveals the poor state of their hearts that the healing of this poor man has less impact on them than, it would seem, than the financial loss of their pigs. Do we see that demonic activity, in this incident, has led to the rejection of Christ and we must be aware of His schemes. I’m reminded on how when Nehemiah sought to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem - foreshadowing the building of the church - the work was attacked and hindered by the enemy and we should expect no less! 


Response 

Whilst Jesus reveals His power over demons, this does not stop them from continuing to cause trouble for Him and for us. Therefore, we are to be realistic about their ongoing ministry of mayhem, pray against them, pray for those who seem oppressed by them, and be fearless of evil. It’s incredible that the devil can cause a miracle and act of kindness to this possessed man into a cause for division and rejection. So let’s be wise, be alert and keep praying as we are taught:

‘“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13) 
 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY - SIV WEEK

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals which is accessed in Church News or the 'Teaching' button on the website. 


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word, or maybe from our week of prayer, this week and how has this helped you? (Again, as with last week, this parable of the lamp on a stand, that we are looking at today, is very much linked with knowing and doing God’s Word).


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

Previously, in chapter 8, Luke used The Parable of the Soils, The Parable of the Lamp on a Stand, and His teaching about His family, to teach us about how we are to love His Word and seek to put it into practice. Now, in Luke 8:22-56, he gives us 3 accounts that are applications of this.

Firstly, we see Jesus’ power over creation (verses 22-39); 

Secondly, His power over dark powers (verses 26-39); 

Finally, we see His power over sickness and death (40-56). 

In response, may we ask, 'Who then is this, that [these things] obey Him?' and move to a place of deeper faith and greater obedience. 


This week is SIV (Serve, Invest and inVite) week and so we will focus on how this text teaches us about how we are to seek to bring our community to Jesus. 


What is SIV? 

SIV stands for Serve, Invest, and Invite. This is our very simple strategy to help bring our community to Jesus. We believe that God has placed us in relationships and in specific locations to be 'salt and light.' and to ‘fish for people’.  We can effectively bring people to Jesus by 'Serving' them - demonstrating the love of Christ in practical ways; by 'Investing' in the people to whom we feel the Spirit is leading us; and by 'Inviting' them into our homes by showing hospitality and inviting them to church events, to Alpha, and ultimately, inviting them to come to Jesus through the gospel. 


Please read Luke 8:22-56

  1. These incidents that reveal Jesus power over creation, demons, sickness and death are to fill us with awe and confidence. How should such a vision of God help us as we seek to witness to people? 

  2. After setting the man free from demonic possession, He is told, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” What are the various stories that we could tell in regard to what Jesus has done for us?

  3. We are told, ‘So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.’ How have you been serving, investing and inviting recently - what stories do you have to share? 

  4. Who, in your community, are you regularly praying for to come to Christ?

  5. Do you have any plans for how you plan to serve, invest and invite in the places and to the people that God has given to you? Why not make a note so that you can pray and hold yourself accountable? 

  6. Are you planning to do anything together as a group?

  7. Our passage from Luke makes it clear that it’s Jesus will to reveal His glory to us and to others. Let's pray for ourselves and our community together. Let's pray for the particular people that God is putting on your heart. Let's pray for the Holy Spirit to empower and direct us in how to Serve, Invest and Invite.

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