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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1052. The cleansed need to be filled (9/5/24)

This week, we continue in our Luke series by reflecting on Luke 11:14-28. Today, let’s consider the practice of exorcism - casting out demons - and stopping them from returning. 

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’  When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”’ (Luke 11:24-26) 

Lesson: Those who are cleansed of sin and demonic oppression or demonic teaching, need to be filled with God’s Word and The Spirit so as to be protected  from repeated invasions. 


To listen to this devotional, go to:



I’m sure that we’ve all watched those programs where a person is helped to declutter their homes. Maybe a family with children are overrun with toys, clothes and furniture that’s too big for their house. A team comes in and helps them to throw away what they don’t need so as to put their home in order. However, I’m sure you’ve had the same thought as me, that if you sort out a problem for someone without fixing the habits and attitudes that created the problem, the issue will just repeat itself! Likewise, it’s not enough to be cleansed of sin and demons by Jesus, we also have to be filled with His Word and Spirit so as to protect ourselves from repeated invasions. 


In today’s text, Jesus speaks of our being like a house that is dirty, that is then cleaned and ‘put in order’. He’s teaching that someone can be inhabited by ‘impure spirits’ like a house can be a mess. Like a home can be disordered and filthy, so demons can cause people’s lives to be chaotic and disordered. 


Jesus, as we’ve seen in this chapter, is described as the ‘stronger man’ (v.22) who is driving out demons and plundering the Kingdom of darkness by setting people free. Here, He likens his ministry of exorcism to cleaning a house and putting it in order. However, He gives a grave warning that if those who are cleansed of demons are not careful, like a home can become as bad and worse than before, so one who has experienced Jesus’ freedom can end up in a worse state, as He teaches: 

‘“When it [the demon] arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”’ 

In this hard text, we cannot escape also escape the allusion to the religious teachers who, having been a part of God’s people, chosen from the nations and swept clean in many ways, are now are seeking to kill Jesus - they are a ‘house’ that is filled with demons and demonically inspired in their hate. We must also apply this to ‘progressive’ Christians and leaders who, many of whom at one time would have loved Jesus and His Word, are now, with their counterfeit and doctrines of demons, are worse off and cause more damage than if they had never believed! 


Response

Those who are cleansed of sin, demonic oppression or teaching need to be filled with God’s Word and The Spirit so as to be protected  from repeated invasions. It’s good when praying for, or commanding a demon to leave, to also pray and command that they never return. However, that, I believe, is not the principal application here. Rather, this is a warning to anyone who has experienced the good things of the Kingdom through Jesus; it’s a warning to be filled with Jesus’ Word and obey it. It’s a warning to be filled with the Holy Spirit and walk with Him. A vacuum must be filled with the good things of the Kingdom so as to keep oneself from the re-invasion of darkness. It reminds us of this very confrontational proverb:

‘As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.’ (Proverbs 26:11)

 For example, a demon can enter and create a stronghold through pornography. One can be prayed for and set free from this impure spirit, but that’s not enough! One has to be taught to walk with Jesus and in accountability so that the demon, who will seek to return, is kept out. If we are not careful, a porn habit that was broken, for example, can return as a porn habit grown into using prostitutes or worse! A greed problem that’s allowed back in can become a stealing problem. A pride problem that allowed back in can become a deep anger and unforgiveness problem. Let’s not just rid ourselves and others of dark powers, let’s also be careful to be filled with Jesus’ Word and The Spirit. 

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


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 are accessed in Church News, the Teaching button on the website and are now available on the major podcast platforms. 


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 


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

Our message from our series in Luke on Sunday, based upon Jesus’ teaching  from Luke 11:14-28. Here, we continue to see hostility toward Jesus continue to grow as they accuse Jesus of doing His miracles by the power of the devil.  


Please read Luke 11:1-13, and discuss: 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • Read Luke 11:14-22. How is Jesus’ greater strength and power over demons revealed in His ministry? How are we to continue, in Jesus’ strength, to ‘plunder’ the kingdom of darkness?

  • Read Luke 11:23. Who is this aimed at, and how are we to be ‘with’ and ‘gather’ with Jesus?

  • Read Luke 11:24-26. Here, Jesus is warning against allowing the influence of demons back into our lives. One can be set free from demons or the teaching of demons only to go back and become worse off than before! To protect ourselves, those who are cleansed must be filled; In what ways are we to fill the ‘house’ that is our minds, souls and lives? 

  • Read Luke 11:27-28. Jesus responds to this woman’s praise with a correction about obeying God’s Word. How does this relate to our previous point about filling the ‘house’ of our mind? And how are you doing on this theme (of hearing and obeying Jesus) that has been repeated throughout Luke? 

  • SIV - What does this section teach us about how we may be treated as we seek to share the gospel? 

  • SIV- What promise of success does this section give us regarding the mission of Jesus? 

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that's come out of our time in God’s Word.

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