Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 3 Study # 4
Thesis: What is this Word?
Introduction: In our study last week we attempted to contrast the opposing views regarding "authority" which are held by the opposing kingdoms which exist in this universe. We saw, at a fundamental level, that the Kingdom of Darkness views "authority" as a primary tool of "life for me" and the Kingdom of Light views "authority" as a primary tool of "life for you". We also saw that these two kingdoms have opposing views of the "methodology" of authority. The Kingdom of Light regards "teaching" as the most effective instrument of "life for you", and the Kingdom of Darkness regards "intimidation" as the most effective instrument of "life for me."
This morning we are going to pursue this "kingdoms in conflict" thesis by looking into Jesus' use of authority in regard to the demon.
November 12, 2006
- I. At The Most Superficial Level.
- A. At this level, the people in the synagogue saw a "clash" between the two kingdoms.
- 1. Our text tells us that Jesus was teaching and that people were being significantly influenced.
- 2. Our text tells us that a demoniac seized the attention of all by the typical method of the kingdom of darkness -- screaming and yelling.
- 3. Our text tells us that Jesus both silenced the demon and barred him from any further use of his current slave.
- B. At this level, the people in the synagogue were driven to ask the most critical question: What is this Word?
- 1. Eventually, sooner or later, everything is going to come down to this question.
- a. The Scriptures tell us that eventually every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that the authority that is going to finally and absolutely dominate all of eternity is that which Jesus wields.
- b. That the Scriptures tell us this means that we will deal with this question.
- 2. Even though the people probably did not understand a 100th of the significance of the question, nonetheless they were driven to the foundations: What is this Word?
- II. At a More Significant Level.
- A. Superficially, no one -- demon or human -- could see any real difference between the kingdoms' use of authority.
- 1. The kingdom of darkness views the use of authority as a means to stop all opposition.
- 2. The Kingdom of Light also views the use of authority as a means to stop all opposition.
- 3. If we have no deeper appreciation for the "whys" of similar methods, we will simply think that it does not really matter which kingdom is in control because, in any case, it is simply a fundamental matter of "control".
- B. But, the kingdoms are characterized as "of Light" and "of Darkness" for a reason.
- 1. Both accuse the other of being their opposite (What have we to do with you?).
- 2. Both seek to bring "subjects" under their control as opposed to taking a "live and let live" mentality.
- 3. It cannot be that there is no difference -- that it does not matter -- because the "clash" is real and both participants seek to be embraced as "the Light".
- C. Therefore we must conclude that there is something going on beneath the surface of the very obvious clash.
- 1. This means that "authority" is not the issue; it is simply the means of surfacing the issue.
- a. Jesus' forceful use of authority was not the bottom line issue, or He would have cast out every demon in the universe and done exactly what this demon expected Him to do: destroy them all.
- b. Jesus' forceful use of authority was simply a tool in His hands to "force" an issue to the surface that had been effectively buried by the kingdom of darkness. [There is a lesson in this: God dominates our experiences to force things to the surface that we have allowed to remain buried and "under the radar".]
- 2. This means that the people's question -- What is this Word? -- is the revelation of the deeper issue.
- a. The "Word" is a composite message containing both a Big Picture and a gazillion details.
- b. The question in the minds of the people had to do with a Big Picture that Jesus was painting with His teaching of a portion of the gazillion details.
- III. The Big Picture.
- A. Luke, like Jesus, was writing the "gazillion details" to Theophilus so that Theophilus, by a careful consideration of those details might be able to sharpen his focus on the Big Picture.
- B. But Luke, like Jesus, did not wait until the "picture" was painted to declare the nature of the Big Picture.
- 1. When Jesus went to Nazareth, He fundamentally declared the nature of the Big Picture.
- a. It is a picture of Grace.
- b. It has two highly significant elements: the intention of God to bring redemption and "Jubilee" restoration through Spirit-empowered declaration; and the reality of the human condition that makes this intention difficult (blindness).
- c. It was clearly illustrated by the reaction of the Nazarenes: their attempt to kill Him was an attempt to stop the declaration of both human wickedness and divine redemption.
- 2. When Luke began this gospel, he deliberately set the nature of the Big Picture before his reader(s).
- a. The initial presentation was of the births of both "John" and "Jesus".
- b. This presentation was a deliberate contrast of "Law" and "Grace".
- c. This presentation was a deliberate elevation of "Grace" above "Law".
- C. In our current story, the record is of the supremacy of Grace.
- 1. No one in the synagogue would have argued that the man was not "better off" after the demon was exorcised.
- a. Even when the dark kingdom is firmly entrenched by the permission of its denizens, its "outer boundaries" are clearly seen as evil.
- b. It is by the delusions of temporary circumstances that the dark kingdom maintains its dominion.
- c. Jesus' deliverance of the man could only be seen as "gracious".
- 2. No one in the synagogue was willing to argue that Jesus' "Word" was less potent than that of the demons.
- a. It was the potency that caused the people to raise the question in the first place.
- b. It was the potency in demonstration that caused the people significant consternation.
- 3. No one in the synagogue was unaware that Jesus' "Word" was diametrically opposed to the teaching of the Law by the scribes.
- IV. The Point.
- A. In these days, three major "attitudes" have arisen.
- 1. One of these "attitudes" is "tolerance" (what Jesus called "lukewarmness").
- a. It is usually cloaked in the "humility" of "it is evil to think you are 'right'".
- b. It is completely hypocritical and logically indefensible (one cannot live without thinking he is "right").
- c. It is to be rejected with "all longsuffering and patience".
- 2. Another of these "attitudes" is "stiff-necked ignorance" (the willful rejection of both the teaching of the Scriptures and what is already known of that teaching).
- 3. The third of these "attitudes" is refusal to "go to ground" in the debate to find out what is ultimately at stake.
- a. The arguments over the details has no solution without settling the argument over the Big Picture.
- b. Authority is a mid-level issue; "Life" is a most fundamental issue.
- B. Grace is smothered when either of these attitudes is "tolerated".