14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marvelled. 15 But some of them said, He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, 16 while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18 And 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 cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22 but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. Luke 11:14-22
One of the greatest errors that came as a result of greek/ western thinking is a separation between that which is natural and that which is supernatural. Church history tells us that because of Augustianian thought ( a church father who first began to question the supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit) was influenced by greek philosophers who saw the world through dualistic eyes, i.e a separation of the the natural and supernatural. The church in the west by large has adopted the same thinking and it has caused a serious block to the flow of power in the church. Living in this dualistic view cuts of the power of God as something we have to access from above rather than live in because of the victory of the cross.
For hebrew thought, there is no separation between the natural world and the supernatural world. They are simply co-existing realities that impact upon each other. This is of course what made the message of the kingdom so powerful. We must remember that our gospel is not simply one of Jesus coming to save us from our sin and giving us fire insurance in the world to come. Rather it is a message of the kingdom of God. The unseen reality of his gracious rule and reign coming to earth in order to redeem all that was lost. People wanted to stone Jesus for his message on the kingdom. God’s reign, God’s domain is now in arms reach! It was outrageous.
Of course we now are the recipients of this great revelation, because of Jesus we get in on Kingdom activity. It’s why why do church planting. It’s why we serve the poor, It’s why we believe for healing and advance in the nations. However, I have found that in our understanding of the sovereignty of God and his kingdom breaking in, that many christians have become naive in thier thinking and understanding about how to deal with spiritual attack.
As I have travelled into many different context of church plants and kingdom advance, I have noticed that people have often passively accepted difficulties and attacks of the enemy as the work of God rather than an opportunity for spiritual victory. Please hear me, I believe that God works all things together for good, and if you know me, you’d know that I do not feel called to be a ghostbuster and focus on the enemy in all things. Having said that, it has been a long time since I have heard a good teaching on spiritual warfare and the clashing of the kingdom of heaven with forces darkness.
I have found that because of a lack of understanding around spiritual warfare, that many people, churches and breakthroughs that could be ours is forfeited and written off to the sovereignty of God. God in his awesome wisdom has some how chosen to partner with us in the mandate to cover the earth with his glory. We get the joy of partnering with Heaven. Spiritual warfare is never about being enemy focussed but it’s about pursuing promise!
You would see from this discourse that Jesus audience here understood the dynamic of two realms at work in this world. Both their history and experiences would have pointed to the reality of the supernatural world. All of Israel’s journey was being shaped by a cosmic war in the heavens. Ever since satan (who by the way is not God’s equal, he is after all a created being, together with his entourage of demons) fell they have been at odds against God’s rule and reign. These guys would have know this and into this world of constant defeat against the enemy, suddenly Jesus walks onto the scene.
Jesus is a man of kingdom authority
Jesus is a man of kingdom authority. It’s is important to realise this, there is a difference between authority and power. Jesus was sent with authority and it’s his authority that brought power for breakthrough. Authority is the delegated influence to act, power is ability to act. Jesus not only had power , but he was sent with delegated authority to extend the kingdom of God. It’s important for us to realise, that in the same way that he was sent, we are sent too! Our authority in church planting, extending the kingdom is not in our power to act but in the ‘sentness’ of heaven’s authority!
We will continue more on this next week. In the meantime, please consider praying for us and singing up for our newsletter. This last season of transition has been exciting and full challenge. As we approach living in Africa for just over a month and get ready to have our first baby boy, we have been overwhelmed at how good God is. Glenridge church has been so welcoming and we are making new friends fast. We are on the edge of moving into our own house so please pray this happens soon and that God supplies all the practicals that we need to make life happen in Durban.