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Where Do You Stand? Faith and Holy Spirit Power or Signs and Wonders? (Luke 11:14-28)

Luke 11:14–28 - 14 And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute; when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” 16 Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven. 17 But He knew their thoughts and said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls. 18 “If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 “And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? So they will be your judges. 20 “But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. 22 “But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder. 23 “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters. 24 “When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 “And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26 “Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.” 27 While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” 28 But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” What does today’s passage say? In today's passage, Jesus casts out a demon that caused a man to be mute (v. 14). The crowds marveled at this display of authority, but some accused Jesus of using Satan’s power to perform this sign (vv. 15-16). Knowing their thoughts, Jesus explains how it makes no sense that Satan would empower Him to drive out demons and undermine his own kingdom. Rather, if Jesus drives out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon them (vv. 17-20). Jesus also makes the point that a strong man can only protect his house until a stronger man comes along and defeats him and takes possession of the things that man possessed.  He warns that those who are not with Him are against Him (vv. 21-23). Jesus warns that when an evil spirit leaves someone, it seeks another place to dwell. So, people delivered from demonic forces must fill their lives with righteous behavior empowered by the Holy Spirit, or risk facing even worse future attacks (vv. 24-26). As Jesus teaches these things, a woman shouts praises about the womb that bore Him and the breasts that nursed Him. But He highlights that greater blessings come to those who hear God’s word and obey it (vv. 27-28). How can I apply Luke 11:14-28 to my life? Today, we read about Jesus' power to cast out demons as He delivers a mute man from bondage. We also see Him respond with wisdom when accused of operating by Satan's power instead of the Holy Spirit. Christ demonstrated His supreme authority over forces of darkness seeking to afflict people. We learn the vital importance of being filled with the Spirit and putting on the full spiritual armor of God if we wish to resist enemy schemes. Jesus also showed that outward signs, intellect, and emotional reactions all fail to reliably point us to the whole truth. Instead, we desperately need the Holy Spirit’s illumination. Jesus also emphasized that merely admiring Him, praising His virtues, or belonging to a faith community provides no benefit unless we actually know and obey God’s Word. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

  1. Jesus Has Authority over Demons and Evil Spirits (v. 14): When Jesus cast out a demon that caused a man to be mute, He demonstrated His authority and power over evil spirits. As followers of Christ, we can take great confidence that Jesus has supremacy over Satan and his forces at work in the world. When we face spiritual oppression or attack from the enemy, we can turn to Jesus in prayer and faith, asking Him to intervene with His superior power. While unbelievers are subject to demon possession, no demon can successfully attack or even influence us as believers without our willful cooperation. But if we allow holes in our spiritual armor through unconfessed sin or failing to walk in step with the Spirit, the enemy can gain footholds that lead to strong deception and bondage. As children of the light, we must stay alert and resist the devil so that he will flee. Through the power of Christ at work within us, we can walk in increasing victory over schemes intended to torment our minds or quench the Holy Spirit. May Jesus receive all glory and honor as the sole Ruler who delivers people from the dominion of darkness (James 4:7-10, Ephesians 6:10-18, Colossians 1:13-14).

Food for thought: What areas of spiritual attack or deception am I currently facing where I need to rely fully on Christ’s power and protection? What parts of my spiritual armor need strengthened?

  1. Outward Signs and Human Logic Can't Replace Discernment through Spiritual Insight (vv. 15-23): While the crowds kept demanding more signs from Jesus, He knew miraculous displays were not enough to produce genuine faith without receptive hearts. Today, we still often judge things based on outward appearance and logic instead of considering spiritual fruit. But fruit reveals true origins better than impressive forms do. Performance and reputation can conceal inward decay. So we must practice discernment based on the fruit of righteousness - godly character and Kingdom values - not outward disruption. Jesus astutely observed that any kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. So to accuse Him of operating in Satan's power made no sense. May we grow in grace to evaluate situations based on spiritual fruit instead of external impressions or surface-level logic. The Holy Spirit living within us enlightens our minds to properly discern each context (1 Corinthians 2:14, James 3:13-18, Galatians 5:22-23).

Food for thought: Have I wrongly judged someone, or something based on outward form versus actual spiritual fruit?

  1. The Importance of a Holy Spirit Filled Heart (vv. 24-26): When Jesus delivered people from demons, He warned that without being indwelt and filled with the Holy Spirit, they would remain vulnerable to future attacks. As believers, we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit but if we do not walk in the Spirit, if instead, we quench the Spirit, we open ourselves up to the attacks of the enemy.  If we don’t abide in God’s empowering presence, if we don’t allow the Holy Spirit in us to fill us, because we hold on to unconfessed sin and don’t surrender fully to the Lord, demonic forces can return with reinforcements, causing even worse bondage. Only as the Holy Spirit fills our hearts can we walk in sustained freedom, power, and self-control. We must earnestly seek to be continuously filled, guided, and transformed by the Spirit, not merely delivered from a single malady. Declaring Christ as Lord is not enough. We desperately need the Spirit's abiding fullness and cleansing fire to avoid entanglement with sin or cooperation with deceiving spirits. As we yield more of our lives to His Lordship, the fruit He cultivates provides lasting protection against the adversary’s schemes (Ephesians 5:18-21, Galatians 5:16-25, 2 Thessalonians 2:13).

Food for thought: What evidence is there of the Holy Spirit’s work and filling in my life? In what areas do I need greater freedom, power, or transformation by the Spirit?

  1. Blessed are Those Who Hear and Keep God's Word (vv. 27-28): As Jesus taught God's word, a woman shouted praises for the womb that bore Him and the breasts that nursed Him. But Jesus highlighted that greater blessings come to those who hear and obey God's word instead of merely observing Him outwardly. Today, we face the same temptation toward external religion devoid of personal obedience. But fruitful Christianity surpasses reverence for holy people and places. The path to blessings runs through applying Scripture to our lives, not praise or symbolic gestures alone. Jesus' mother Mary exemplified someone who treasured and pondered God's word, not just her physical connection to the Messiah. May we likewise pursue intimacy with Jesus through time in His word that translates into obedient action full of mercy and compassion (James 1:22-25, John 14:21-24, Joshua 1:8).

Food for thought: Do I consistently apply God's word to life or mostly remain a hearer? What recent convictions from Scripture must I still put into action? Through this passage, Jesus powerfully demonstrates His supremacy over the forces of darkness. Though the enemy seeks to oppress people and keep them from God's truth, Christ has defeated Satan and delivers people into His Kingdom of light. As God's children, we can take confidence that no demon can ultimately affect us without our cooperation. Yet we must daily put on the full spiritual armor of God, be filled with, and walk in His Spirit. He alone provides lasting protection, discernment, and fruitful living. Rather than chasing more signs, wonders and experiences, we must pursue the Giver - knowing Jesus intimately through time in God's Word. Outward religion and admiration for godly virtues remain useless unless accompanied by actual obedience. May we apply these truths, not merely gain more information. As James wrote, we must prove ourselves doers of the Word. Allow His instructions and descriptions of righteousness shape all you say and do. Abide in the Vine, filled with the Holy Spirit, resisting the schemes of the devil. God will bring forth lasting fruit as we walk by His wisdom and power at work within. Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You would increase my hunger for Your Word and to know Jesus more closely. Make me diligent to put on my spiritual armor daily through prayer, guarding my mind and rejecting lies that the enemy whispers. Protect me from symptoms of outward religion or hypocrisy – instead, align my actions with true convictions from Scripture. Fill me continuously with Your Holy Spirit so I can discern each situation with spiritual insight and bear fruit that withstands every storm. As I abide in Christ, transform my thoughts, speech, choices, and reactions to align with Your righteousness. Use me to shine Your light and tear down the enemy’s strongholds in people’s lives. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Luke 11:28 - But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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