TEXTS: LUKE 11:14-28; EPHESIANS 5:1-9; EXODUS 8:16-24
THE KINGDOM OF GOD HAS COME UPON YOU
IN THE FLESH OF JESUS CHRIST
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To the saints at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center who are faithful in Christ Jesus, Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,”…he…said to them…if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?...But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Dear hearers of the Word made flesh; the Jews clearly understood that what Jesus did could be done only by God or by Satan. In this respect, they were nearer the truth than those today who deny “all this stuff of the devil.” Satan’s real existence is not what the comic strips portray! The term “devil” is in reality not a term of endearment such as - “that cute little devil.” He is not cute! He is not little! His deceitful power is no joke!


Scripture pictures the human heart and soul as a house in need of an occupant. In the heart of every person there is a throne and we, in sinful rebellion, have dethroned God! “You will not surely die…you will be like God” the serpent tempted. When moderns (all of whom are dying) presume to have outgrown the notion of the devil, then the devil has taken up quiet occupancy in that heart and soul. There he nestles showing no external agitation - more like a docile and mute manager than a raving mad demon. From his cloaked inner perch he misdirects thoughts, inflates intellectual pride, pumps up self-confidence, and most thoroughly of all prevents or twists the hearing of God’s Word. In this fallen world where demons roam, there are no empty houses. At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. Make no mistake, Satan wants you back. There is a real, unrelenting war between God and Satan in daily life and therefore between you and Satan in daily life. There is no middle ground – no neutral hiding place! Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

HE THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT – MARCH 8, 2015
TEXTS: LUKE 11:14-28; EPHESIANS 5:1-9; EXODUS 8:16-24
THE KINGDOM OF GOD HAS COME UPON YOU
IN THE FLESH OF JESUS CHRIST
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To the saints at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center who are faithful in Christ Jesus, Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,”…he…said to them…if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?...But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Dear hearers of the Word made flesh; the Jews clearly understood that what Jesus did could be done only by God or by Satan. In this respect, they were nearer the truth than those today who deny “all this stuff of the devil.” Satan’s real existence is not what the comic strips portray! The term “devil” is in reality not a term of endearment such as - “that cute little devil.” He is not cute! He is not little! His deceitful power is no joke!


Scripture pictures the human heart and soul as a house in need of an occupant. In the heart of every person there is a throne and we, in sinful rebellion, have dethroned God! “You will not surely die…you will be like God” the serpent tempted. When moderns (all of whom are dying) presume to have outgrown the notion of the devil, then the devil has taken up quiet occupancy in that heart and soul. There he nestles showing no external agitation - more like a docile and mute manager than a raving mad demon. From his cloaked inner perch he misdirects thoughts, inflates intellectual pride, pumps up self-confidence, and most thoroughly of all prevents or twists the hearing of God’s Word. In this fallen world where demons roam, there are no empty houses. At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. Make no mistake, Satan wants you back. There is a real, unrelenting war between God and Satan in daily life and therefore between you and Satan in daily life. There is no middle ground – no neutral hiding place! Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.


He had stuffed Satan’s temptations in the wilderness – He had healed the demon-possessed daughter of the Canaanite woman! Now the Word made flesh is at it again. (Jesus) was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke and the people marveled. What marvelous gifts God gives in the organs of mouth and throat – in the faculty of speech. It is a gift worthy marveling over in a normal way and here in a miraculous way! Dear Christian, consider the precious gift God gives you in speech. It is a gift warranting our thanksgiving and praise and yet a gift we easily take for granted.


As the people marveled at this man’s speech, Some said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, while others to test him kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. They accused Jesus of being in league with the evil one! At the same time their actions revealed Satan’s hold on them. Throw yourself down – Satan had lured in the wilderness - inviting Jesus to give a sign of God’s closeness to and care of Him. Parroting the devil some here kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. Unbelief always seeks signs that God has not promised while ignoring those He has clearly given – like the healing of this man.


Jesus knew their thoughts. “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Christ here compares the devil to a powerfully armed man – a strong one. When a strong man fully armed guards his own palace, his goods are safe, but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil.


Jesus described Satan as the ruler (prince) of this world (John 14:30; 16:11). The Holy Spirit caused St. Paul to call him the god (small “g”) of this world who blinds the mind of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4). What Scripture never records is demons possessing another demon – the devil’s legions doing battle with themselves. Rather, their ruthless concentration is upon the likes of you – those baptized into Christ. Those here accusing Jesus blasphemed God’s Word – calling good evil and labeling God’s love in the flesh as demonic.


Such is the deceptive power of Satan. From one in whom God delighted he despaired of God’s love and fell to be one who delights in the despair of others. The doom he has brought on himself (outer darkness – eternal punishment – the lake of fire) he covets for you. From a servant in a world of life he revolted to be a ruler of this world of death. From the one who initiated the rebellion of sin he is now the Father of lies accusing you of sin while all the while tempting you to it. He is your adversary and your accuser and he is so slick!


He tempts you to speak when you should be mute – to grumble and gossip. Among his temptations are those to foolish and filthy talk and crude joking, which are out of place among the saints. He tempts you to impurity and covetousness and sexual immorality which are improper even to be named among the saints. He tempts you to walk in lust – not in love. He also tempts you to be mute when you should speak in naming and confessing sin, in confessing Christ, in defending the truth, in prayer and praise and thanksgiving. Oh to have a mouth that prays without ceasing and never speaks falsely or harmfully! Oh to have a mouth that constantly glorifies God and never complains. As he messed with this man’s speech so he strives to mess with your speech and your life – your walk as children of light.


His highest temptation, of course, is unbelief – unbelief in the Stronger One – the one who stood him down in the wilderness and who threw him out of this formerly mute man. As the exorcisms show, the Kingdom of God has arrived in Christ. Jesus is the Stronger One who took on Satan and overcame Him. He came into the flesh to destroy the works of the devil (Luke 10:18; John 16:11; Hebrews 1:14; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 12:9) and Scripture reveals that Satan went at him with agitated vigor. 


The battle was joined – over you! Normally thinking of oneself as loot in battle is not enticing! However in this case – give it a go - for it is marvelously exciting and comforting! Go ahead and ponder the plunder that is proclaimed here against Beelzebul – a term for the devil! As God used flies to loosen Pharaoh’s grip on His people of old, so He has loosened the grip of the Lord of the flies on you. The final end-time prophet, the Holy One of God has come. “If it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, the Kingdom of God has come upon you! The Stronger One has carried you away as spoils of war into His Kingdom – freeing you from captivity and slavery to Satan. You are the loot Jesus has made lovely and precious and carried away!


The decisive battle in this warfare would not be fought in the wilderness! Nor would it be fought over the daughter of the woman from Canaan! Nor would it be fought for the voice of this mute man. The decisive battle would not be fought with weapons of outward strength but utter weakness. God’s power is made perfect in weakness and never was there weakness displayed like this.


In regard to His own defense, Jesus was mute as Satan turned Judas to betray Him and the disciples to desert Him and Pilate to condemn Him. Jesus was mute while the devil accused and railed and mocked through the voices of others. Jesus was mute – like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth (Is. 53:7). Idols of silver and gold have mouths but do not speak – for they are worthless. In crucifixion the true God who gives everything its worth - the Word made flesh - did not speak in His own defense.


In that weakness and silence Jesus, as it were, ensnared the devil. It was the hour and power of darkness. In that hour Jesus trapped the devil from within His own palace of darkness and death and hell! He did so by silencing the wrath of God against us through the sacrifice of His body. In the shedding of His blood the strong one’s palace is being looted and you are the blessed loot! He who once by a tree overcame was now by a tree overcome. O holy, blessed and bloody battle! O pure gift of Divine love! See God’s strength made perfect in weakness! See the Stronger One lifted up in shame and suffering! See the Stronger One laid low in the dust of death! He brings forgiveness to you by becoming sin for you! He brings life to you by suffering death for you! He brings heaven to you by suffering hell for you! Oh my God in you I trust. Let me not be put to shame…bring me out of my distresses and forgive all my sins.


Yes, yes He does, O beaten and bruised and bowed in repentance one - for God’s glory is always to have mercy. See the Stronger One break down the grip of hell from the inside out! See Him burst forth from the grave on Easter morning full of life and love for you! O holy and brilliant - morning light! The Lord restored the fortunes of Zion…then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with shouts of joy (Psalm 126:12). O Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise (Psalm 51:5).


By the authority of His finger in Baptism, God opened your mouth to renounce the devil and to declare God’s praise. The devil must yield to the word that the Stronger One speaks on this earth! By His word the Stronger One has put God’s name on you. Satan must yield to the word that the Stronger One speaks! At His Altar the risen Christ speaks peace to you – the peace of sins forgiven. God’s glory is always to have mercy – to cover you not with blame but with the beauty of Christ! His cleansing blood that He bids you to drink takes away Satan’s power to accuse you before God. Oh - the adversary still goes after your conscience big time - as if something in your past surpasses the blood of Christ. But Satan is a liar - a damned liar – damned by God.


Beloved, Satan has been thrown down (Rev. 12:9; Luke 10:18) and can no longer accuse you in heaven! He has been muted in God’s holy presence! But not the Stronger One! Even now, the ascended Christ intercedes for you before God’s throne. He is not there to plead your strength or your record in standing against Satan. He is there to plead His blood to give you peace and His strength to shield you and preserve you and to bring to completion what He has begun in you! Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!...God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.


Your struggle with the devil is not over!   Every day you are to drown his ally on the inside – your sinful nature. Satan targets you because you bear the sign of the cross of Christ. But Christ has not left you to fight alone! Earthly armor will fail you! Enthusiastic resolutions will let you down! But the Stronger One continues to come to lift you up and to carry you on His shoulders until you see Him face to face. At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.


In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a