Pastor Mark Nysewander and his wife Cathy have served the Lord Jesus as missionaries in Mexico, and ministered to the people around the world. Presently Pastor Mark is the Senior Pastor of Bethany Missionary Church in Bloomington, MN. He preaches on various themes as led by the Holy Spirit. Recently Pastor Mark has focused on the need to practice true Christian disciplines, experience the fullness of the Spirit, and get closer to God, knowing him as our Father.
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Copyright © 2001
Pastor Mark Nysewander
1. TYING UP THE STRONG MAN
And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons."
So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables:
"How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house." Mark 3:22-27
2. JESUS' WORLDVIEW - IRRELEVANT AND EMBARRASSING?
Rudolf Bultmann was one of the greatest Biblical scholars of the 20th century. In his book, Theology of the New Testament, he described Jesus' message as a message of hope: A hope that will deliver humankind from the satanic corruption of this world complex. Bultmann was not just a great scholar he was a radical liberal. So he followed his summary of Jesus' message with these words: "Let us be honest before God and man. Let us openly avow the fact that, although this was basic to Jesus, it is irrelevant and nonvalid in our time" (p. 344). Isn't it amazing that Bultmann, a great Biblical scholar, was convinced that Jesus' worldview was irrelevant to our times.
But this is not just a problem with Bultmann. I have discovered many Bible-believing Christians who find Jesus' worldview embarrassing, irrelevant, and nonvalid. These people are willing to listen to His words. They admire and accept His ministry, but are hesitant to accept His worldview.
3. LET'S EXPERIENCE THE POWER AND PRESENCE OF GOD'S KINGDOM
Today we are not experiencing the power and presence of God's kingdom in our lives and in our church. Is it because we haven't fully discovered our need for the dynamic power and presence of the Lord's kingdom? We will not know the depth of our need for God's kingdom to come until we accept Jesus' view of the world. How we view the world determines the level we will experience the kingdom of God.
4. HOW BADLY DO WE NEED GOD'S KINGDOM TO COME?
But you may object saying, "It doesn't look like the strongman's house, it doesn't look like it is under the power of the devil. There are too many beautiful realities in this world to say that it is the devil's".
That is true. It is because God made the world and all that is in it. So it still carries the signs of His handiwork. The world is not made by the devil. It is simply occupied and ruled by the devil. He has seized it and taken it over. Just like an unwanted squatter. This beautiful house has become occupied by the devil.
And we are not his equal. Compared to us Jesus says the devil is a strongman. We are unable by our power and strength to get our from under his rule, or take the house back. He is stronger than all of us put together because of his supernatural powers. We can't get him off the property.
Not only is he stronger than all of us put together, he is an enemy. This world is enemy occupied territory. Satan stands against God. His purpose is to absolutely fight against God's will.
And the devil is our enemy as well. The one way he knows He can get at God is to enslave the height of God's creation, you and me. So, he is not only against God, he is against us. Satan is not a benevolent dictator. He is a ruthless enemy who rules the world and is determined to enslave all or us.
5. WHY WOULD GOD ALLOW THIS ENEMY TO TAKE OVER HIS HOUSE?
Why would God allow this enemy to take over His house? Obviously God is stronger than the devil. Why did God give him the house?
He didn't! God gave us the house, and we gave it over to Satan. When God created this world, He created us to rule over it. But our authority to rule was handed over to Satan. When we sinned and rebelled against God, we gave the keys of the house over to the devil. We are the ones who crowned him prince of this world.
Here's what I want you to understand. Our sins don't just have personal consequences. They has cosmic consequence. We, as much as Adam and Eve, have given the house over to the strong man who is God's enemy and our enemy.
6. WHY DO WE NEED THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
Why do we need the kingdom of God? We have made a royal mess of this world. We have given over to the enemy God's gift to us. Now the enemy of God rules over us.
In this passage some religious leaders were suggesting that Jesus was casting our demons by the power of a demon. Their view of the demonic was that it was some kind of chaotic world of strife and infighting. There was no evil mastermind directing demonic activity.
But Jesus said they misunderstood the complex kingdom of darkness. That if there was some kind of chaotic infighting then Satan's kingdom would have fallen long ago. A country that continues in civil war will not last very long.
7. WHY HASN'T SATAN'S KINGDOM FALLEN?
Yet Satan's kingdom hasn't fallen. As a matter of fact it seems to be stronger. That said Jesus is an indication of a highly organized, tight knit demonic world under Satan's direction. All in this evil world live with the common goal of fighting against God and infecting everything and every person with evil. It's not just enemy occupation. It's a thorough occupation!
When the King James uses the word demon possession it is an unfortunate translation. It makes it look like the only involvement of the demonic in human life is demon possession. That impression is false. The actual word is greek is "demonization". This word speaks of a whole spectrum of demonic involvement in human life. In can start in experiences of pre demonization like temptation, and harassment to fuller levels of demonization like oppression, sickness, or the end of the spectrum which is possession.
My point is this. The kingdom of Satan, which is a demonic kingdom, is very organized, intentional and thorough to infect us with evil. Whether it is battling us with temptation or controlling with possession, these evil spirits work day and night under the authority of Satan to carry out His reign over this world.
This is Jesus' worldview and this is why we are in need of the kingdom of God breaking into our lives. There is no way we can outwit and overcome demonic activity with our own power and strength. Demons are thoroughly organized and completely intentional in carrying out the will of Satan against us.
Some of you are already aware of their daily and continuous activity to tempt, harass, oppress, and defeat your life. You need the kingdom of God!
8. ANOTHER REASON WHY YOU NEED THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
Without the kingdom of God breaking into the world or our lives, we are slaves of the Devil. His ultimate purpose of enslaving is to destroy us with him and all his demons in the lake of fire. The more he can take with him the better. So his strategy for every man, woman, boy, and girl in this world is to kill, steal and destroy.
Now, maybe you're thinking, "Isn't this view of reality a bit extreme? Yes, there is evil. Yes, we have problems but it doesn't seem the world is run over by demonic powers trying to kill, steal, and destroy. Maybe Jesus was a little overboard on His view of the world."
You can argue that evil is not personal or that demons don't exist. Make your case that you are not under bondage and enslavement to the Devil. You can even argue that no one is heading for eternal destruction. And you know what? Satan will agree with you. He will let you enjoy the things of this world. He will let you have a good time. He will even let you live a life that doesn't take into account his existence or the presence of his demons. Why?
Because if you saw how bad it really is and if you saw it the way that Jesus described it, you would call out to God for His kingdom to come. And you would do everything in your power to make sure the kingdom of God would come to you and flow through you for others.
9. HOW DO YOU ENTER A STRONG MAN'S HOUSE?
Jesus said no one could enter a strong man's house and take away his possessions unless he binds him. That would mean one stronger than the strong man has come to the house to carry off his possessions. The one who is stronger than the strongman is the one who brings the kingdom of God into this world. In Luke's account of this story Jesus says, "If I drive our demons by the finger of God then the kingdom of God has come to you." (Luke 11:20)
Listen, you need to get Jesus' worldview so you can get a true view of Jesus! He is the one who is stronger than the strongman. He is the one who alone can liberate us from enslavement to Satan in a demon-infested world. He is the one who can save you from the destination of the enemy.
You may agree with Bultmann that the worldview of Jesus is "irrelevant and nonvalid." But if you do, you are being duped by Satan to keep you from crying to God, "your kingdom come, you will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
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