Dogs, Pigs, And You!
Deuteronomy 14:3-8 – Do not eat any detestable thing. These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope and the mountain sheep. You may eat any animal that has a split hoof divided in two and that chews the cud. However, of those that chew the cud or that have a split hoof completely divided you may not eat the camel, the rabbit or the coney. Although they chew the cud, they do not have a split hoof; they are ceremonially unclean for you. The pig is also unclean; although it has a split hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses.
I’ve heard many teachers explain why God set this down—the pig carries all kinds of bacteria and parasites, and that is why God set down this law. God didn’t give any explanation as to why he set it down, so it really doesn’t matter why a pig or a rabbit is unclean. All I know is God said it and he doesn’t need to give an explanation.
On a side note, when God said something that we don’t know why he said it, he did that for a reason. Verse 7 said that if they do not have a split hoof, they are ceremonially unclean for you. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are unholy. In fact, Peter saw a vision of all these animals and God said to take and eat, and Peter said, he would never eat anything unclean. God told Peter that he is not to call anything unclean that God made. It isn’t that God has to give us a commentary, “This is the reason why you have to obey all of these things. It is because a pig carries germs and you don’t have the utensils to cook it properly” and all that kind of nonsense. He simply said, “These are unclean for you. Don’t eat them.” The first thing we need to look at is that when God said something, he meant what he said. Though we may not understand why he said it or what he said it for. Today we won’t look at what kinds of meats we shouldn’t eat. All food is clean, scripture says, but the question we want to ask ourselves is: Do we have anything in common with pigs or dogs? We will see today that the Book of Revelation says that those outside of heaven are all the dogs. They cannot partake of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Isaiah 66:1 – This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?”
It would have been a very terrible thing for anybody to walk into a Jewish temple and sacrifice a pig to God. That would have been an abomination. The people would have been appalled to see such a thing. I don’t know the history all that well, but there was a time when a king did that just to defile and oppose the Jewish people. Many people don’t realize that when they go to church—and even in their daily Christian walk—they really offer pig’s blood to God. The way they live, conduct their lives, and their so-called relationship with God, they might as well offer pig’s blood.
Isaiah 66:1 – This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?”
God is establishing his authority. He is showing the people his holiness. “What could you possibly build where I could dwell?” God tries to open people’s hearts and minds to who he is and what it means to worship him. He tries to make them wake up spiritually to who they worship and who they’re bowing down and praying to. “This is what the Lord says…” Not anybody—The Lord! “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool…” Look at who you worship and who you call upon. When we tell other people that we are Christians we declare that God, who made everything, is our king and our Lord. We represent him. We belong to him. What kind of people are we? Do we live our lives as if we know who God really is? “Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?” “What could you possibly do that I would want to dwell there? I am so large and so awesome. Nothing you build, nothing you conceive, nothing you design can hold my glory, my majesty, and my wisdom.”
Isaiah 66:2 – “Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”
Now, this is the one God esteems. Not he who builds, not he who contrived in his mind to draw God into his life, not the one who says he can do all these things and have God in his life. “This is the one that I esteem.” God looks up to the person “who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word” Not he who does his ministry work, not he who prays and does religious things, but he who has a humble heart—a rare thing indeed. However, with all the talk about humility, with all the talk about dependence upon God, very seldom do you see a humble heart, “contrite in spirit.” That means a broken spirit—a spirit that knows and feels deep inside its incompleteness before God. With each passing day he experiences more contrition within his heart because he knows how much more the grace of God has forgiven him, sanctified him, and made him holy. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit.” Scripture goes on to say something else that shows humility. Something else displays the fruit of a contrite spirit without this last thing a person cannot be humble and contrite. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” With all the preaching of the gospel and all of the talk about God’s word, with all the songs about obeying God’s word, who trembles before God to obey it—to actually live it out? That is how we know if somebody has a humble heart! Are they contrite in spirit? Do they tremble at God’s word and ask, “How do I understand this—how do I live this out?”
Isaiah 66:3 – But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man, and whoever offers a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig’s blood, and whoever burns memorial incense, like one who worships an idol. They have chosen their own ways, and their souls delight in their abominations;
Sacrificing bulls was something the Law required for worship. But, God said that if you don’t have a humble and contrite spirit, if you don’t tremble at his words, you might as well go out and kill a man! You might as well become a murderer. There are a lot of people in church that are really murderers. They come before God with their bulls, with their magnificent sacrifices, with their ministries, with all their labor, but they are killing their fellow man. That is how God views it. “But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man, and whoever offers a lamb.” Whoever says “Jesus is Lord”—whoever comes in the name of Jesus—“is like one who breaks a dog’s neck.” There is nothing holy about what he does! “Whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig’s blood, and whoever burns memorial incense, like one who worships an idol.” Understand that the people are obeying the Law. They bring their bulls and lambs. They bring their grain offerings. God looks at the heart. He looks at their actions and whether they tremble at his word; whether they are broken and contrite. If the inside is not clean and holy, what we offer to God is just pig’s blood or a broken dog’s neck. We offer unholy things before God, no matter how it appears to man! It doesn’t matter how it appears to us! “…whoever burns memorial incense…” Whoever comes into the temple and prays to God is “like one who worships an idol.” The next sentence in that verse tells us why all of this takes place and what God sees! “They have chosen their own ways.” They have chosen their own religion and their own way to worship God—their own ideas about Jesus. “They have chosen their own ways, and their souls delight in their abominations.” With all of the talk about God’s word and everybody claiming to be Christians, you would think we would be an obedient nation to God’s will. But we do not seek his will. God sees an abomination in all of our singing and talk about Jesus. If we don’t obey him, we don’t belong. If we don’t obey from the heart, we don’t belong.
Isaiah 66:4 – so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring upon them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.
They went through the religious aspects of worshiping God, didn’t they? They came into the temple. They brought the bull. They brought the lamb. They brought the grain offering. The choirs sang! The music played. However, they could not hear the voice of God! They refused to hear the voice of God. “For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.” They did not go before God and lose their lives and tremble before him—they were not broken and contrite. They were haughty. They were lifted up. They felt they were right, but refused God. They offered pig’s blood.
Let’s look at a situation involving pigs in Scripture. A lot of pigs won’t even tolerate what we tolerate in our lives. It is amazing what humans will allow and what they justify and what they hold onto in their lives. God comes and he speaks to us of pride, or haughtiness, or greed, or any of the sins that he wants to deal with. Yet, we will allow those unclean, filthy things in our lives. In fact, we call them friends, we call them lovers, we let them be apart of us. We do anything but let go of them. Some things pigs will not tolerate but human beings will allow, as we’ll see in Luke chapter eight.
Luke 8:26-28 – They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!”
You see, the demons believe that there is a God, and they know what to do. They know to tremble. People that say they believe in Jesus or they know God exists, yet do nothing, are only up to the level of demons. I know a lot of people that have a demonic kind of faith. Yes, they know Jesus is God. They know God is God. So what? The demons know that! They have matured to the point that now they are equal with demons. Should we pat them on the back for that?
Luke 8:29-30 – For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him.
This man allowed legions of demons in his life. I have heard this sermon preached many times—about the victory we have in Jesus, and how Jesus can break the chains. In this lesson let’s look at how the demons got there, and what happens to these demons. It is not an amazing thing for Jesus to set us free. It is an amazing thing to stay clean and love God.
Luke 8:31-32 – And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission.
Anything but to go into that abyss, that pit that has no bottom, that continual falling away from God, and becoming more and more sinful with each passing day. It’s crucial that we deal with sin immediately. A small amount of lust today becomes an endless fall away from God until nothing but lust consumes us. In the bottomless pit you just continue to fall more and more into that sin over eternity. One act of anger or murder becomes magnified throughout eternity. Don’t look at your sin in terms of today. Always look at it in terms of eternity. If God were to allow that one sin to continue to grow, where would it be in the context of eternity, not just in the context of a week or a month or eighty years of your life? Just think of the people you know like your grandmother or your grandfather. You have seen how the sins in their lives have grown and how much more defiled they become over time. Think of it in terms of eternity. The demons prefer anything but the bottomless pit. “Don’t send us there! Send us into pigs.”
Luke 8:32-33 – A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
Pigs will not tolerate demons living in them. They would rather die than have demons in them. Yet, not this man. This man allowed legions of demons to be in him. He opened the door for them to come in, because no demon possesses any man or woman without that door first being opened. Are we willing to tolerate what the pigs won’t tolerate? Are we lower than them? They refused to allow demons to be in them one second more, but rushed down the hillside and committed suicide.
Luke 8:34-35 – When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
What an amazing thing to be afraid of righteousness and holiness and a sound mind. Scripture says that God has given us a sound mind. Yet we are unfamiliar with righteousness and holiness and freedom from our chains. Those people would rather have that man demon-possessed, chained, and naked among the tombs than dressed and in his right mind. This demonstrates how unfamiliar we are with living a holy life. We would rather have our chains, our sin, and our demonic things than to sit at the feet of Jesus in our right minds. How familiar are we with righteousness? What kind of hearts do we have? Just how holy are we?
Luke 8:36-37 – Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
We do the same thing to Jesus. He comes to deliver us from sin and to break the chains that hold us, but we still love our sin and those chains. We’d rather ask Jesus to leave than to stay there and make us free.
Luke 8:38-39 – The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
Let us listen so that if Jesus comes back by we can ask him to stay. Let’s listen to the voice that says, “This is God. This is grace and life. This is discipline. This is holiness. These are the proper things.” Listen to God’s word. “When I called no one answered,” Isaiah said. When men say, “Well, our hearts say this is clean. This is holy. This is right. This is proper.” Then, let us listen! Let us never tolerate what pigs will not tolerate.
We must drive the sin that lives in us out. We can’t be neutral. We just can’t sit there. We have to actively pursue sin and want it to go over a cliff. God told the people when they went into the Promised Land to drive out all the nations before them. Drive out the sin and idolatry. They were to kill everything. In Numbers, God says the same thing to us. When he gives us the promises of Jesus in our lives, we need to drive sin out of our lives.
Numbers 33:55 – But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land…
If you don’t drive out the inhabitants of your sin that lives in your heart…
Numbers 33:55 – But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides.
How easily we tolerate sin even when we know the pain it causes. We just keep allowing it, walking with it, and trying to keep it contained. It creates a constant thorn in our side. We can never get into a complete relationship with God because that thorn keeps jabbing at us.
Numbers 33:55-56 – They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.
If you don’t drive it out, if you don’t cleanse the land and make it pure, “…then I will do to you what I plan to do them.” How many people live in a false security? “Oh, I have accepted Jesus as the Lord. I am saved! I’m sanctified.” Yet, their lives don’t show any evidence of driving out the sin. They tolerate things that pigs will not tolerate, and God very solemnly says in verse 56, “I will do to you what I plan to do to them” if you don’t drive the sin out. This is not a game. It is life or death—heaven or hell. If demons know enough to scream, “Don’t let us go into the abyss!” How much more should we consider who we worship and what it means to call upon a holy God.
God took a hold of our lives. He sanctified us and made us holy. He forgave us. We know the joy and peace of having a relationship with God. Do we drive the sin out of our lives or do we slowly bring it back in? Peter saidand he ought to know:
2 Peter 2:20 – If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.
Now, every Baptist ought to take this to heart. We hear the terminology all the time, “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” They know God. They are sanctified and made holy. They are in a right relationship with God. If they get entangled in the sins of the world and the world overcomes them, the end is worse than the beginning. It would have been better for them never to have known Jesus.
2 Peter 2:21-22 – It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”
They were made clean, holy, and sanctified. But, like a pig, they go back and wallow in the mud, or a dog that returns to and eats its vomit. To call upon Jesus and say you are sanctified is a very holy thing. It is a very awesome thing to say that you belong to the King of Kings. He is the exalted Lord and the creator of all things. It is no light thing to say that you have been sanctified and forgiven by Jesus Christ. To honestly experience God, and then to go back to sin or to tolerate it and not to actively drive it out of your life is like a dog that returns to its vomit. It’s better never to have known Jesus Christ. God said a long time ago in Isaiah, to do that is like a man who offers pig’s blood. We can easily tell whether we are a dog or a pig, because Proverbs 26:11 says: “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” Who repeat the same sins? How much do we tremble at the Word of God? How much are we contrite in spirit? Just how humble are we?
Matthew 12:38-41 – Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.” He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.”
We have the complete Word of God. Unrighteous and unholy people in the Old Testament will stand up and condemn people today because they will not repent.
Matthew 12:42-43 – The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here. When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.
I want you to notice first of all that the demon is cast out. The sin is purged and removed. The chains are broken, and the person is sanctified, washed, separated unto God, and filled with the Spirit. The evil spirit comes out of a man and seeks refuge but does not find it.
Matthew 12:44-45 – Then it says, “I will return to the house I left.” When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and in good order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.
The demon is cast out. You have your life all cleaned up. Everything is in order. The fear or the sin that plagued you is gone. It doesn’t bother you. You have a joy and a peace that you never had. The dust is cleaned up. The yeast is out of the house.
Matthew 12:44-45 – Then it says, “I will return to the house I left.” When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.
A lot of people get their lives straight. A lot of times God delivers them and makes them clean, but one thing is missing. The house is unoccupied. It may be clean and orderly and it may look like the person is fine, but what we have to ask, Is there anything in the house? Have we so filled ourselves up with the cross and obedience to God that when the demons return—and they do return—do they find the house full of the grace of God so that they cannot get in? Or do they find the doors and window left open and everybody relaxed and comfortable. The demons then go get other demons, and come in to live. The man we read about earlier had legions that often seized him. It didn’t happen all the time. No doubt when those demons seized him he resolved to stop committing the sin that permitted it. His house was made clean, but it was unoccupied. Are we occupied with God?
First, we need to get our eyes off of measuring ourselves by everybody else. It doesn’t matter how wicked or how holy all of the other churches are. Most people make that mistake. They measure their righteousness by somebody else. They think they are not as bad as a certain person or group. We never get down to measuring our righteousness by one thing—Jesus Christ—and that is a grave mistake. Comparing yourself to Jesus will produce a humble heart and a contrite spirit. Do you understand that? If we measure ourselves by our neighbor or by the churches around us we never get broken, we never become contrite and humbled so the house is unoccupied.
Ezekiel 16:43 – Because you did not remember the days of your youth…
I get so tired of people and their gospel calls that say to accept Jesus as Lord and forget everything in the past. Only a fool does that. If I committed abominations before God and I come to God and I am sanctified, I need to remember my sin so that I do not commit it again. Yes, I am sanctified. I am made holy and I enjoy his grace only because I remember just how defiled I was. Only a whitewash gospel covers over that stuff and says to forget it and go on.
Ezekiel 16:43-46 – Because you did not remember the days of your youth but enraged me with all these things, I will surely bring down on your head what you have done, declares the Sovereign LORD. Did you not add lewdness to all your other detestable practices? Everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb about you: “Like mother, like daughter.” You are a true daughter of your mother, who despised her husband and her children; and you are a true sister of your sisters, who despised their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. Your older sister was Samaria, who lived to the north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you with her daughters, was Sodom.
Think about your relatives and who you belong to.
Ezekiel 16:47-48 – You not only walked in their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they. As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.
Why did they commit more sins than Sodom? What led to that kind of downfall? They measured their righteousness by the wickedness of other people. You can go into any church, and talk about abortion or homosexuality, and get everybody all in an uproar. How easy to measure our righteousness by everyone else’s wickedness, but that is not the measurement of a Christian’s righteousness. We should only look at Jesus.
Ezekiel 16:49-50 – Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.
They appear more righteous than you. We cannot measure our righteousness by anybody else but Jesus Christ and his word. To measure it by our neighbor or a church or a group of people or even the world is to make a very grave mistake. It shows you care not about God and having a relationship with him. You care about justifying yourself and being arrogant. To speak of somebody else who appears more wicked than you does not mean you are righteous.
Let’s measure ourselves by the Word of God, by our living relationship with Jesus. The key is not to leave the house unoccupied. Occupy and fill yourself with the Spirit. I don’t mean speaking in tongues. That doesn’t show anything. The Corinthians spoke in tongues and they had all kinds of sin in their camp.
2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
“His divine power.” Christianity is about walking in divine power, and that doesn’t mean walking on water and it doesn’t mean doing miracles. The miracle of all miracles is living a holy and righteous life. His divine power has given us everything that we need for life and godliness.
2 Peter 1:4 – Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Fine! That is all true! The demons are cast out. We can be sanctified and claim the promises of God. Hold on to the promises. Be sanctified and made holy, but, that is only part of it. To be freed of the demons means to get the house all clean and tidy. To get all the dirt out and then leave the house unoccupied makes the room ready for more demons.
2 Peter 1:5-7 – For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
Make every effort to add… Doing… Occupied… Moving… Obedience… Filled with the things of God!
2 Peter 1:8-11 – For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Circle that word “if.” Underline it, and ask the Spirit to press that word on your heart. “For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” “If…” So, your life is a little tidy, or nothing seems to plague you. What do you fill your life up with? Is your house unoccupied and you’re just taking it easy, or do you really, really belong to those who love God? If you do these things, you will never fall. Sure, a lot of people will repent. Whether from drugs or alcohol, whatever the sin, they clean house, but they never fill themselves up with Jesus. The final condition of that house will be worse off.
Luke 11:14-16 – Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. But some of them said, “By Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.
Some look for wisdom. They want to know how he did this. Some churches have it down so neat and tidy, and think they are full of wisdom. They don’t understand who Jesus is. Some of them said, “This is our conclusion. We’ve figured out who Jesus is. By Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he is driving demons out.” Man, in all of his grand wisdom and his religious work, comes to this kind of conclusion. Now others, on the other hand, said, “Let’s see a miracle. Let’s see fire from heaven.” Some churches worship signs and wonders, others just want wisdom. Shortly, we’ll see the one thing both these groups are missing.
Luke 11:17-19 – Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub. Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.”
Somebody was casting out demons apart from the name of Jesus. I am not here to analyze how they did that, but look at the next part. He says, “So then, they will be your judges.” How often we see that in scripture. Jesus just turns you over to whoever you put your trust in.
Luke 11:20 – But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
You see, driving out demons is not a large significant thing. By the finger of God, he says, I’m casting out demons. It doesn’t require a whole lot of jumping up and down or getting excited about it. It is no major thing to cast demons out, but it is a holy and awesome thing to find people who live holy and righteous lives, isn’t it? We’re so bad that Jesus had to die on the cross. To cast out demons all he did was flip his finger. But it takes a whole New Testament with the Spirit inspiring it to move us and to convict us before we ever live a righteous life. Which is harder to move, demons or our hearts?
Luke 11:21-22 – When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.
You’re trying to guard your own house. It is clean, swept, and looks nice and tidy. Your plans are succeeding and you think you are either right with God. You’ve got yourself all well protected, but the house is unoccupied. You can’t guard your own house. Eventually the demons return and overpower you.
Luke 11:23 – He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.
One way or another, there is no middle ground.
Luke 11:24-26 – When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, “I will return to the house I left.” When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.
Again, the house is clean, swept and put in order but self isn’t dead. The cross isn’t there. Greeks look for wisdom. Others look for miracles. But they don’t have the cross. Self hasn’t really been put to death. The Living God is not really in their lives. Look at verse 27.
Luke 11:27 – As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
Always on external stuff and always looking at the wrong things. And, what does Jesus say?
Luke 11:28 – He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
It is amazing! Jesus cast a demon out of this man. A discussion followed and Jesus explained everything to them. The woman’s final conclusion was, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth…” Was that the only thing she could grasp from this whole situation? How many people come to God, they bow and pray, yet they don’t walk away with the conclusion: “Hey, I need to obey that. I need to live that. I need to show that I belong to him. I need to be broken and contrite, and tremble at his word.” “Blessed are those that hear the word of the Lord and obey it.” She missed the point, as did everybody else.
Let’s look at their gospel call. Everybody you meet that claims to be a Christian, let this be in your heart and let it be in your own life.
Acts 26:19-20 – So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.
What did he preach? “That they should repent and turn to God.” Most people stop right there, but that is not what it concludes with. “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.”
Blessed are those that hear the word of the Lord and obey it! It is not enough for somebody to say: Oh, I’m a Christian. I belong to Jesus. We should turn to everyone who says they belong to him and say, “Then prove you belong to him! Show me a humble and contrite spirit. Show me a spirit that trembles at his words, or don’t call yourself a Christian.” It is that simple. I don’t care if your life is nice and tidy and clean, and the chains released and the demons cast out. The house cannot be left unoccupied.
2 Corinthians 7:10 – Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
When people go forward and bow down at an altar weeping before God, we need to ask a question: Is it godly sorrow or worldly sorrow? Godly sorrow brings repentance. It brings change. It shows proof; it demonstrates that the sorrow is from God. Worldly sorrow that just says “I am sorry for what I did,” brings death. There is no life in it.
2 Corinthians 7:11 – See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.
Underline the word “See.” Underline it, circle it—I don’t care what you do with it, but look at it! “See what this godly sorrow has produced in you.” You can see it. You can examine it. An actual real change from the heart exists. To tremble at God’s word is to change, to prove, that you have a godly sorrow. How easily we tolerate a worldly sorrow, not only in our own lives, but in everybody else’s life, because then we don’t ever really have to change. We can just talk all day long about Jesus. We can offer pig’s blood on the altar. We can allow demons to live in our lives. We can keep those unholy things. We never really have to change.
Remember back in Luke? It said: ‘“By Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.’ Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.” The religious part of man always analyzes Jesus to the point that he just dies in his analyzing. Or he does his religious thing drawing his own conclusions and thoughts about God thinking they are so grand. Other people look for miraculous signs and wonders and say, “Oh, I speak in tongues,” or “God answered this prayer,” but, their lives never change.
1 Corinthians 1:22 – Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
When it comes to Jesus Christ, some are like the Jews who demanded miraculous signs, and others are like Greeks who just want to talk about it. It is just a lot of wisdom and nonsense.
1 Corinthians 1:23 – but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
We preach a Jesus that is crucified that can deal with sin in your life. He can make you humble and contrite, and make you tremble at his word. If you have never experienced that before, he can do it.
1 Corinthians 1:24 – but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
The cross is a rich life, but it is a mystery that is hidden in Jesus. You can have all of the wisdom and all of the miraculous signs, and still not understand the power of the cross in an individual’s life. That cross does a mighty work that just reveals your true heart and your thoughts and your motives. It divides bone from marrow, scripture says.
Revelation 22:12 – Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
Isaiah talked about people who ran around saying, “The Lord will come soon.” Isaiah said, “You don’t realize what you are saying. Will that day not be a day of darkness like the world has never seen?” “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” Many people hear the word of the Lord and obey it. They get a humble and contrite spirit, and tremble at his word. They prove their repentance by their deeds, and demonstrate they have a godly sorrow. Their reward will be according to what they have done.
Revelation 22:13 – I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
God again is establishing who he is and what it means to call upon Jesus Christ, what it means to say, “I’m a Christian.” They are the most holy and terrifying words that a man can speak. They are the most awesome words that can come out of our mouths or that we can put on a bumper sticker. “I am a Christian.” “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” That is who we worship! How easily we become yoked with those who care nothing about trembling before God’s word.
Revelation 22:14 – Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.
Notice the cleansing process. Don’t believe these wide-road gospels. Don’t even believe it in your own heart—that is what comes natural to man.
Revelation 22:15 – Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“Outside are the dogs.” You can be religious and be a dog. “Those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” Remember what Isaiah said! You don’t actually have to take a gun and kill somebody to be a murderer, do you? All you have to do is worship God in an unholy way. “He who comes into my temple is like one who murders a man.” When we see words like this, like murderer and idolater, don’t think we have to bow down to little Buddha to be an idolater. All we need to do is worship God in an unholy way, because it says: “Everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” What is the nature of a falsehood but you live a lie. You say that you worship God. You say that you belong to him. But it is a lie, and you love those who will lie to you about your relationship with God.
Revelation 22:16 – I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.
Who is he talking to? He is not talking to the world or to that bad neighbor over there who doesn’t believe in God. He is talking to the churches.
Revelation 22:16-17 – I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star. The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
God will give you a humble and broken spirit. He will give you a contrite spirit. And, he will cause you to tremble at his word and its rich life. It is the water of life! So, don’t tell me your life is clean and everything is all nice and tidy. That you have it all justified and polished and it looks good. Your house may be totally unoccupied with God, and the final condition will be worse off than in the beginning. “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” There is rich grace out there, but only for those who hear and obey—for nobody else.
Let’s go ahead and pray:
Father, we pray that, as James says, we don’t merely listen to the word and so deceive ourselves. Father, we would do what it says. You can count that as the water that is life, Father. Father, as we prepare to take the Lord’s Supper, sanctify our hearts. Let us judge ourselves, Father, that we might not come under judgment. Let us rejoice before you, Father, as your word says, with trembling. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.