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 LUKE 11:20-23

THE PARABLE OF THE "STRONGER" MAN!

 

Join us for a verse-by-verse study of one of Jesus' short parables.

It is a "little" parable with a "BIG" message!

It pictures the Lord as Victor over Satan and all his hordes!

--- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

"But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.  When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:  But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.  He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth." Luke 11:20-23

 

 

THERE ARE NINE LESSONS POSTED ON THIS PAGE (NUMBERED 1 THROUGH 9 ... WITH NUMBER 9 BEING THE MOST RECENT) FOR YOUR BIBLE STUDY PROFIT.  

 

LESSON 1:

I've been "pondering" this little text for a day or two now.

I shall, Lord willing, preach it soon.  That is, as He so leads.

It has interested me for a long time ... years I suppose!

It's often called the "Parable of the Strong Man."

I think it's better to call it the "Parable of the Stronger Man!"

The account is found three places in the Gospels. 

Here's how Matthew puts it: "Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."  Matthew 12:29-30

Mark writes:  "No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house."  Mark 3:27

But it's Doctor Luke who gives us the fullest report of Jesus' Words here:  "But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:  but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.  He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth."  Luke 11:20-23

I am particularly concerned today with the "identity" of these strong men!

Bible teachers are certain that, based on the context of our passage, the first "strong man" is the devil, satan himself!  The surrounding verses all deal with Jesus casting out demons and discussions about His power!

And let me tell you this.  The devil is strong!  (But he has only "limited" strength! Limited by Almighty God!  If you have any doubt about that read the Book of Job!)

Then, Preacher Bagwell, Who is that Stronger Man Who robs satan, strips him of his armour and captures his "spoils?"  In fact, He even shares those "spoils" with others!

Why, Brothers and Sisters in Christ ... THERE IS ONLY ONE THIS COULD BE!

The Stronger Man is ... Jesus!

Strong enough to have conquered and spoiled the devil two thousand years ago on an old rugged Cross!

Christ Jesus is the Victor!

And on this Saturday in November I want to remind all you dear readers that we can share in that victory too!

Paul rejoiced in it constantly!

Listen to him in 1 Corinthians 15:57 --- "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."  (He's just been preaching on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus!)

Therefore we too, IN Christ Jesus, can do as James says and:  "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."  James 4:7

Hallelujah!

Live in the conscious awareness of that Victory today!

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

One of Jesus' unusual statements occurs in Luke 11:20 where He says:  "But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you."

Our verse is located in the paragraph where the enemies of Christ have accused Him of being in league with the devil!

In fact, sinning unpardonably, they declared that Jesus had cast demons out of people through the very power of satan himself!

Jesus of course denied their lies and then said that He cast out devils "with the finger of God." 

That's the unusual statement to which I earlier referred.

Jesus associates Himself with the "finger of God!"

Or maybe He identifies Himself as the "Finger of God!"

He IS God, you know!

In Isaiah 53:1 I believe Jesus is called the "Arm of the Lord."

Now, watch this.

In the parallel passage to this event in Luke (Matthew 12:28) Jesus says:  "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you."

In Luke He works the miracles by means of God's Finger!

In Matthew ... by God's Spirit!

Therefore I conclude the Spirit of God and the Finger of God are also synonymous. They are identical!

This dual terminology for the Same Member of the Godhead is not too rare in Scripture.

In Acts 5 (the Ananias-Sapphira episode) verse 3 accuses them of lying to "the Holy Ghost" and verse 4 says they lied to "God!"  Conclusion:  The Holy Spirit IS God!

Sometimes it is hard if not impossible to distinguish exactly which Member of the Trinity does something.  We serve ONE GOD you remember.  But He is manifest in a triune manner.

Jesus repelled devils by God's Finger or by God's Spirit

When the Pharisees accused Jesus of performing those miracles via the devil's power, they blasphemed the precious Holy Spirit of God!  (Not to mention violating all the laws of logic!)

All this set me to thinking about the Finger of God!

The first time Biblically that God's finger is specifically mentioned is in Exodus 8:19 where we are told: "Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said."  (The plague of the lice)

Also it was God's Finger that wrote the Law (the Commandments) into those stone tablets in Moses' day!  Exodus 31:18 --- "And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God."  Deuteronomy 9:10 says this too.

The Psalmist David tells us something that God did with His Fingers before Adam was ever created!  God made the worlds with them!  Psalm 8:3 --- "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained ...."  Wow!

The Same Hand that created the universe ... was born of a Virgin and lived sinlessly and cast out devils and died on Calvary and was raised physically and victoriously so we could be saved!

We again see God's Fingers in Daniel 5 when He wrote Belshazzar's death notice on the wall of that licentious palace!  Daniel 5:5 --- "In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote."

Let me show you another thing Jesus did with His Fingers.  It's a miracle too. "And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened."  Mark 7:33-34

Once Jesus wrote with His Finger!  When the woman taken in adultery was brought to Him He ... "stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not ."  Then after asking her accusers a question ... "Again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground."  John 8:6 and 8

And with the Finger of God exhibiting such power, isn't is predictable that the devil's "champion," one of the Giants of Gath, would have six fingers on each hand! (A feeble attempt to mimic God's powerful Fingers!)  See 2 Samuel 21:20.

In the Light of the Fingers in Scripture picturing the Power and Presence of God, think of the rich man's request (as he was tormented in hell)  ---"And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame."  Luke 16:24  (Did he want the Finger for water purposes ... or because hell is a place of total absence from God ... the finger being a symbol of such Presence?)

And the most often occurring "picture" of the Finger in the Bible is that of the blood tipped fingers of the Priests as they ministered in the Sanctuary (Tabernacle or Temple)!  Time after time one reads of this!  And isn't God's Finger a Blood soaked One too?  Also at times (Leviticus 14 for example) the Priests' fingers were covered with both Blood and with Oil! ... another picture of the Finger and the Holy Spirit!

So ... our verse today opens with Jesus' Fingers being the Finger of God and a parallel Term for the Holy Spirit too!  Jesus is fighting the devil  (casting out demons) with His Finger!  Now read Psalm 144:1 --- "Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight."  Jesus was simply obeying that old verse ... which he well knew!

Proverbs 6:13 tells us that a wicked man teaches with his fingers ... we have learned today that our thrice Holy God does too! 

Jesus very Fingers were Spirit filled!  Listen to Isaiah (59:3) accuse the men of his day: "For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness."  It was not so with our sinless Saviour!

Jesus refuted the slanderous claims of the Pharisees with this little "word picture!" Here it is again:  "But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you."  Luke 11:20

Watch for the Finger of God as you go to Church today!

He will be present among His people!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

I have heard so-called preachers and teachers through the years question some of Jesus' miracles!

Especially those in which he "cast out" demons from certain individuals.

Well, let me go on record today by saying that I believe every miracle recorded in the Bible ... including those of expelling demons!

In Luke 11:20 Jesus said this: "But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you."

The verb cast out is (in Greek) "ekballo."  It actually means to throw ("ballo" gives us the English word "ball," which one throws) and "ek" (the prefix and preposition) means "out!"  Jesus threw those demons out of men and women!

The present "tense" of our verb here indicates that Jesus did this regularly during His earthly ministry.

The noun "devils" is "daimonion" and means demons or evil spirits or messengers of the devil himself!  It is plural here in our text.

"No doubt" is "ara" in Greek and just means a conclusion has been reached.  It denotes that an inference, a decisive one, has been reached.  In the King James Bible it is translated in such ways as:  therefore, then, truly, so be, or wherefore.

The expression "kingdom of God" is found 69 times in the New Testament.  I believe it indicates the complete body of saved individuals of all ages who will spend eternity in the Presence of our mighty God.  (As opposed to the "kingdom of heaven" which is Jesus' term for the millennial kingdom here on earth lasting 1,000 literal years)

The verb "is come" translates "phthano."  In Greek this means "to be beforehand" or "to have arrived."  It is almost as if Jesus is saying it has finally got here!  Once, in 1st Thessalonians 4:15 Paul makes the word have this idea:  "shall (not) prevent!"  Jesus is telling us that with the coming of the Kingdom of God ... will also be the coming of the Saviour casting out demons!  They go "hand-in-hand!"

In 1st John 3:8 Jesus is said to have come "to destroy the works of the devil!"  He did so partly (although not mainly) by casting out demons again and again!  (Mainly He defeated and destroyed satan by dying on the Cross, shedding His precious Blood that sinners might be saved!)

Our Lord Jesus is more powerful that the devil and all his cohorts!

It looks to me like Jesus is clearly saying that one sure indication that the real Kingdom of God had come was simply the fact that He had power over and (at His will) commanded demons to obey His voice!

Therefore the Scriptures can declare:  "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."  1st John 4:4

Christian, in the Name of Jesus, you can:  "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."  James 4:7

Listen to Jesus say this to satan:  "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written ...."  Matthew 4:10

And if these facts excite you ... wait until Jesus comes again!  When it is said ... "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."  Revelation 20:10

No wonder we sing ... "Victory in Jesus!"

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

If we are going to study the power Jesus has over satan (the very focus of our Bible text here), we must get some idea of how many times Jesus cast demons out of folks during His earthly ministry.  That seems to be the issue that generated the conversation we are studying.  (Luke 11:20-23)

Here's my feeble attempt to catalog them for you:

1. Here's is an event recorded only by Mark.  "And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,  Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.  And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.  And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.  And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him."  Mark 1:21-17

2.  And of course perhaps the best-known occasion is that of the "Maniac of Gadara."  You can read about him in Matthew 8:28-34 and Mark 5:1-20 and Luke 8:26-37.  "And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?  And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.  So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts."  Matthew 8:28-34

3. Matthew also tells us of a dumb man who was devil possessed.  "As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.  But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils."  Matthew 9:32-34

4.  Matthew 12:22-24 and Luke 11:14-15 record another incident too.  In Matthew's account this man is also blind! "Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils."  Matthew 12:22-24

5.  And look at Luke 9:37-43 (an event which is also recorded in Matthew 17:14f and Mark 9:17f).  Here see the destructive violent power of an evil spirit!    "And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him.  And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child.  And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him.  And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not.  And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither.  And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father. And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did ...."

6.  And only Luke gives us this one:  "And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.  And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.  And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.  And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.  The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?  And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?  And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him."  Luke 13:10-17

7.  Plus there are some "inclusive" descriptions of Jesus casting out demons ... such as Luke 7:21 --- "And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight."  Another more specific example is Mary Magdalene:  "And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils!"  Luke 8:2 

Here's a good summary statement:  "And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.  And all the city was gathered together at the door.  And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him."  Mark 1:32-34

That's enough "proof" for me!  The "strong man" called the devil HAS BEEN spoiled by The Stronger Man Jesus!

Praise the Lord!

Hey, preachers, pick one of these and PREACH it as the Lord leads you!  It makes for great "celebratory" exposition of the Word of God!

                                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5 ... WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2004:

Luke 11:21 says:  "When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace."  These are the very words of Jesus.  He is describing (using the term "strong man") the devil.

Here our Lord is teaching us several things about satan.

Notice that Jesus calls the devil a "strong man!"  (And that's the only way the context of our verse will allow us to interpret it.)

The expression "a strong man" is represented by the adjective "ischuros."  The word has the idea of ability or might but in this sense ... "forceful!"  (It's the usual word for physical strength.)  Its "root" verb is "echo" ... to hold or to hold on to!  (The devil is one who likes to "hold on to" his subjects!  He does not give them up without a fight!)

Therefore we can conclude that the devil is powerful!  (But he's not all-powerful! Only God is that!)

Next we learn that the devil is "armed!"

This word is "kathoplizo" and means intensively loaded with tools for warfare! Satan is one with many weapons!  Our word is a verb, a participle in the "perfect" sense of timing.  The devil was fully loaded with armour at some point in time past and ... right up until Jesus made these very statements ... satan still had that armour!  (When Paul told the Ephesian Christians to put on the "whole armour" of God, he used this same root word!)

Good news:  Paul says that the devil got "stripped" of his armour at the old rugged Cross when Jesus died!  Read here with me Colossians 2:15 --- "And (Jesus ... on the Cross) having spoiled (the verb means stripped of his clothing) principalities and powers (the devil and his demons), He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."

Back to our verse ... this strong devil "keepeth" his palace!  The verb "phulasso" means to guard or to watch.  It is from a root verb ("phuo") that means "to puff up" or "to blow up" or even "to swell up ... hence to "to grow up" as plants and flowers do!  This verb is in the subjunctive mood ... telling us that this is a wish or desire of the devil.  He is not even sure he can guard his possessions successfully!  (I guess not ... the Stronger Man is coming!)

Get this.  Grammatically we are being told that the devil is "growing" in his assurance and ability in guarding his "flock!"   I've not thought much about this ... but satan is NOT omniscient!  He does not know everything ... as God does!  So he is having to learn (with the passing of time) how to better guard his people!  Jesus did not have to learn how to care for His Own!  He knows everything from the Beginning! Wow!

The noun "palace" (in Greek = "aule") means a courtyard or a hall.  It is from the Greek word "aer" which means literally "air" or "atmosphere!"  This word suggests an open wide place (not unlike a sheepfold)!

Get this!

The devil is said to possess his goods (like his "captives") in the "aer," an open breezy place!  Isn't it something that Paul calls satan "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience."  Ephesians 2:2  Amazing!

And the word "goods" translates "huparchonta."  It means (literally) under ('hupo") plus ... to commence or to exist ("archomai").  These are things (or people) under the devil's control!  This word is rendered as "substance" in Luke 8:3.  Read it and you'll get a better idea of its meaning.  "And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him (Jesus) of their substance."

The devil does have many possessions!  In fact, many millions of "souls" are under his power this very day!

"Peace" here (in Greek = "eirene") means the absence of war.  Before he was attacked old satan had everything under control.  He was at peace. 

Then Jesus came!

Battle ensued!

And the devil lost!

Hallelujah!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6 ... VERSE 22 ... THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2004:

Today we have arrived at the pivotal verse in our text.

Jesus says in Luke 11:22 --- "But when a Stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, He taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils."

Someone Stronger than that first strong man attacks him!

This Stronger Man is Jesus!  He actually attacked (and destroyed) the strong man (the devil) at the Cross of Calvary!

First the Stronger Man "comes upon" the less strong man!  The verb is "eperchomai" and means to supervene, to attack, to impend or to accost!  (The prefix "epi" means "on" or "over" in the sense of superimposition!)  The devil didn't know What hit him!  (The main part of the word, "erchomai," means  to come or to arrive. On occasion it can mean "to go" also.)  Jesus came ... defeated the devil ... then left even more quickly than He came!  Wow!

Then the verb "overcome" translates in Greek "nikao" and means to conquer!  (Or to prevail or to get the victory!)  Both these first verbs are in the "aorist" tense. They describe for us past action that is now complete.  Jesus came upon the devil and whipped him 2,000 years ago.  The "heart" of the battle is over!  All that's left is the "mopping up" exercises!  (Even the "Tribulation" is not the devil's idea ... but God's 70th week of calculation for the little Nation of Israel ... designed to bring them to repentance and faith in Jesus their Messiah!)

Next Jesus "taketh" from satan some things!  This verb, "airo," means primarily to "lift up, take up, take away" or to "bear away with" something!  And this time our verb is a present tense (indicative active) action word!  This taking away from the devil is still going on right now.  Every day the Lord Jesus, interceding in heaven for us hour by hour, is robbing the devil of his illegal possessions!  (Satan got them by lying in the first place!  And that happened in the Garden of Eden!)

Next the expression "all armour" translates one Greek word ... "panoplia."  (It has become an English word too ... "panoply!"  Look it up in a dictionary!  No, I'll do it for you.  Here it is:  "1576, from Greek ... panoplia "complete suit of armor," from pan- "all" + hopla (pl.) "arms" of a hoplites ("heavily armed soldier").  Originally a figure of "spiritual armor."  It's an allusion to Ephesians chapter 6.)"

Jesus strips the devil of all his "hoplon."  The word in its very root means tools or utensils or weapons!  The devil got robbed by a mighty God!  (Make that an Almighty God!  Make that THE Almighty God!)  And when Jesus did this (on the Cross) he didn't leave the devil much with which to fight!  He has been a defeated foe since that Moment!  We might even give the devil credit for a lot he didn't do! He couldn't do!  God is the ultimate Authority of the Universe!  (I know that in the Book of Job the devil could not do a thing to the Lord's "child" ... without first obtaining God's permission!)

Here are some of the devil's "tools" or "weapons."  He uses lying ... but Jesus conquered him there by being perfect TRUTH!  Satan uses cheating and deceit but Jesus was perfect HONESTY!  He uses lust but Jesus was perfect PURITY!  He uses pride but Jesus lived perfect HUMILITY!  The devil uses death ... but Jesus even entered that horrible valley and came out a RESURRECTED Lord and Saviour! Jesus, being sinless and all powerful ... whipped the devil in every area wickedness!

Next we are given a neat little "secret" about the devil.  He "trusted" in that armour! To "peitho" means to "rely on" or "to have confidence in!"  (It denotes a sense of inward certainty!)  Calvary surely "upset" the devil!  The verb is a "pluperfect" telling us that the action is already completed.  The devil no longer "trusts" his weapons ... he has none!  He lives a very "uneasy" life!  I suspect the demons would like to get a large supply of valium!  They have no peace!

I also assume it makes satan MAD to hear us reading and claiming Bible promises about peace and security and trust in our dear Saviour!  Verses like Isaiah 26:3 ---"Thou (Lord) wilt keep him in Perfect Peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee."  Wow!  (Especially since the devil no longer has any real peace or trust in anything!)

Lastly (for this verse) Jesus "divided" the devil's spoils!  That verb is "diadidomai" and compounds a preposition ("dai") and a verb ("didomai").  It means "to share" or "to distribute" or "to give" something to several people!  And it's in the "present" tense.  This "giving" is still happening ... right up to our very day!  It means : to give throughout a crowd!  I believe Jesus has robbed the devil and has given us the benefit of His spoils of battle!  Actually Jesus strips the devil daily, saving souls from his kingdom and making them children of light!  Then He calls some of them to preach or teach God's precious word ... and gives them to us (His Church) to help us grow in the Lord!  Glory to God!  Listen to Paul explain it in Ephesians 4:8. "Wherefore he saith, When He (Jesus) ascended up on high, he led captivity captive (former subjects of the devil), and gave gifts (spoils of the battle) unto men.  And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ."  (I have added verses 10 and 11 of Ephesians 4 also.) And Paul is just quoting Psalm 68:18 --- "Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them."  Amen!

Jesus attacked satan and robbed him.  Now the devil's former servants ("prisoners of war" from Calvary, saved ex-sinners) are gladly serving their Lord and Master Jesus Christ, working diligently in His kingdom to meet the needs of other saints! Hallelujah!

Then the noun "spoils" is used.  "Skulon" means the plunder of war.  The bounty of battle!  The "booty" of conflict!  The losses of a defeated enemy! The word occurs only here in all the Bible!  It actually comes from a verb that means "to harass" or even "to flay" (to skin an animal)!  The devil got "skinned alive" at the Cross!  He has been losing "souls" and possessions ever since that mortal Conflict!  (In fact he even lost many before Calvary through the God-given vehicle of Faith!  Looking forward to the Cross!)

What a verse today!

I never fully realized what a complete Victory Jesus won on our behalf!  Doesn't it just make you want to worship and adore Him more and more?

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7 ... VERSE 23:

It initially appears that Jesus says a strange thing at the conclusion of this little parable.

"He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth."  Luke 11:23

On further reflection I believe our Lord is telling us that (especially when it comes to matters of the satanic and demonic) that one must either be WITH Him ...or he is automatically AGAINST Him!

In fact the word translated "with" is a Greek preposition "meta" which usually means "in the midst of!"  This sounds like an "activist" position to me!  In the middle of the things of Jesus!  Diligently loving and serving Him!  (That's always what Jesus wants anyway!)

And the corresponding word "against" is "kata" (in Greek) and means down on something or someone!  Jesus knows that there are folks who are "down" on him. The devil is for sure!  (And all his crowd too!)

If they are going to be DOWN on the Lord ... I'll just be UP on Him!  I'll uplift Him at every opportunity!

The it seems that the Lord implies (no ... He actually says ... and clearly so) that those who follow satan "scatter" the things of God!  They certainly do not aid Him in "gathering" lost souls! 

To "gather" (Greek verb = "sunago") means to lead ("ago") along with ("sun") or together!  Then it comes to mean:  to collect!  But get this:  3 times in the King James New Testament it is rendered "to be assembled!"  (To assemble!)

And that verb "scattereth" translates "skorpizo."  The root of the verb means "to pierce!"  (It gives us the English word "scorpion!")  A sting!  Yet one step further back in the word's "history" and we arrive at "skopos," to peer about as a watcher or guard!  (Again, an English word, "skeptic!")

The Lord wants aggressive participation ... not passive observation from his servants!   (He admires those who do MORE than was commanded!  See Luke 17:7-10.)

One can't do that playing around with the devil or his followers or sympathizers!

There is just no middle ground here!

Perhaps Jesus is implying that we saved  ones (ex-sinners) should serve the Lord with even greater fervency that we served the devil!

If we, when bound in the devil's "palace," did our best (as his "tools" and his "spoils") then we should ALL THE MORE do our very best (our utmost) to be useful to Jesus and fight for His Cause!

If the devil is one thing ... he is diligent!

Maybe Jesus even has in mind something He later says in Luke 16:8.  "For the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light."  We should at least try to be "smarter" for our Lord than satan's people are for him!

Our dear Saviour could take any department of life (even demonology as here) and turn it into a spiritual Lesson for our hungry souls!

Praise His Name! 

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8:

I have found a "parable" that explains a "miracle!"

The miracle occurred as Jesus descended from the Mount of Transfiguration.

Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us the details. 

A man brought his demon possessed son to the Disciples.  They apparently could do nothing for the poor boy.

This "devil" would often attack him and and overcome him, the young man screaming incoherently! Then satan would throw him into convulsions, leaving him with his mouth foaming and his body bruised and battered!

Jesus simply commanded the demon to depart.  And after violently tearing the boy one more time, it did go obediently.

Now the crowds had already begun saying that Jesus did such miracles through the power of the devil himself, thus attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to satan!  (A sin for which they could not be forgiven Jesus said.)

Therefore Jesus, responding to their accusations, teaches us the truth with this short parable.  "But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.  When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:  But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.  He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth." (Luke 11:20-23)

Jesus of course was not in league with the devil!  He clearly tells us that He worked His miracles with the Hand of God!  (The "Finger" of God here!)  The "strong man" in Jesus' story is satan himself.  The "Stronger Man" is our Lord!  You can easily tell that Jesus is the Mighty Victor!

Then comes a pointed warning NOT to be against Jesus ... not to "scatter" the truths of God!

Now ... here's the "principle" I want to illustrate today.

When you study larger "sections" of Scripture ... like linking miracles and parables and such ... you are viewing the Bible contextually

That involves analyzing verses by noticing their surroundings.

What comes before it (the text) ... and after it?

In fact, the very word "text" is interesting.  It is derived from a Latin verb ("texere") which means "to weave" something! 

In any given Bible "text" the Holy Spirit is "weaving" patterns of truth! 

Get a wide swatch of your Bible Passage and try to find the "pattern" the Lord is weaving!

That's "textual" and (in a wider sense) "contextual" Bible study!

That's how the Men of God discovered that this parable explains this miracle!

(Jesus just "snatched" a little boy from the wicked clutches of the devil!  The "strong man" just got robbed again by The Stronger Man!)

So just remember ... the next time you can't get the understanding you need out of a single verse or maybe even a single paragraph ... back up and look at a wider section of the Word!  As your "context" broadens ... so might your comprehension of the Bible!  (And do not forget to pray what the Psalmist did in Psalm 119:18 --- "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.")

What a Book we have to study!

Go to Church today with an eager heart!

Ask the Lord to make you spiritually hungry!

Get into your Pastor's Bible "text" as never before!  See what the Holy Spirit is "weaving" for your heart and life this Lord's Day!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9 ... FROM NEWAYGO, MICHIGAN ON A COLD MONDAY MORNING:

Oh, how Jesus knew the Bible!

One day He stood against a crowd of folks who were rebelling against His Authority.  Truth be told ... they were also denying His Deity.

They had just accused Him of casting out demons in the power of satan ... not in the power of God!

Jesus gave them what I thought was a strange answer.

He said:  "But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you."  Luke 11:20

How did that "Finger of God" get into the discussion?

Here's how?

In Exodus 8:16-19 the devil-worshipping magicians of Egypt had just attempted to work another miracle ... turning dust into "lice!"  They failed in their attempt and we are told:  "Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said."  (Verse 19)

(Conclusion:  The devil might can "mimic" some of God's miracles ... but not all of them!  The devil is powerful ... God is ALL powerful or "omnipotent!")

Furthermore, in another (to us) obscure Old Testament reference, as God was reviewing the rebellion of Israel He has Moses say:  "And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly."  (Deuteronomy 9:10)  Look! In another context of sinful blasphemy (just as Jesus was facing at that very moment), the Saviour quoted a phrase from Scripture that PERFECTLY fit the situation at hand!

In Luke 11:20-23 the two conditions He faced ... satan's power being discussed and a rebellious people standing around listening ... brought to His brilliant and sanctified Mind a "word picture" from two Pentateuch verses (Exodus 6:19 and Deuteronomy 9:10)  concerning "THE FINGER OF GOD!"

What Ability to connect Scripture to everyday events!

What "exegesis!"  (The verb means "to lead out" the true meaning from Bible Passages!  Your Pastor is an "exegete" when it comes to God's Word!)

In Jesus we see magnificent Talent and inherent Skill at wielding the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God!  (Ephesians 6:17)

Let's all pray this Monday morning for knowledge to use the Word of God in such devil-defeating ways!

And the best way to do that may be studying the Life of Jesus, carefully observing how He used the Book He so dearly loved!

Satan ... "IT IS WRITTEN ...!"  So often said Jesus!  And each time He did so (with the power of the Book and His adeptness at handling It) the devil was defeated!

Dear Friend, may it be so with you too!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

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