Sunday, August 22, 2010

Binding the strongman

Matthew 12:29
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.

Binding the strongman
Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Mark 3:27
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.

Matthew 12:29
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.

Luke 11:21-22
21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:
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.

In Luke, Jesus is rebutting his accusers. He has just cast a demon out of a man that was unable to speak. Some of those surrounding began to question how this happened. Some supposed that Jesus was in league with Satan. They held the opinion that His power came from the devil. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, answered them thusly:

How can a house divided against itself stand? Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. Every house divided against itself will fall. You suppose that I have done this by the power of Beelzebub. If I have, by the power of Beelzebub have cast out demons, by what power do your sons cast out demons? If I, by the finger of God have done this, then the Kingdom of God is come to you today. (Luke 11.17-20 paraphrased)

He then talks about the strongman of the house.

Satan is the strongman. Never underestimate the power of the devil. It is very dangerous and very foolish to set at naught the power of an enemy. To do so would cause one to enter a battle under-armed, under-equipped, and under-prepared.

Ephesians 2.2 tells us that he is the “..prince of the power of the air..”
Revelation tells us he is a destroying angel and the accuser of the brethren.
John tells us that he is a liar and the father of lies. He is a murderer from the beginning.

God is the creator. Satan is the un-creator. Where God is peace, he is chaos. Where God is harmony, he is discord. Where God is a builder, he is a destroyer.

He is THE rebel. He is the seed of every rebellious thought and deed. He is the root of every lie. He is the instigator of every ‘juicy piece of gossip.’

His goal is the destruction of the created image of God, wherever he may find it (in our lives,) and to bring about the fall of Christdom.

His influence reached every trace of humanity. Right now, billions are held captive to his will.

He is the most powerful foe you will ever encounter. Every earthly tyrant, every terrorist, and every dictator pales in comparison to him. He is evil in its purest form.

From his entrance into the Garden of Eden until today, he has sought the same goal. He does not waiver from his task. He does not hesitate. He welcomes a challenge and he loves to see the righteous fall.

To keep his subjects in line, or to lure freed men and women back into his fold, he uses every evil tool or weapon at his disposal without hesitation, care, or concern. He uses bullying, coercing, and seducing.

Some speak lightly of temptation and their ability to resist it. They may be its earliest victims.

The Jews took Hitler lightly in the beginning. Most refused to believe or accept the motivation of his appeal. They refused to see the foundation of hatred and the evil upon which he was building his house. Much too late they realized the tyranny of Nazism.

One of the greatest mistakes a Christian can make is to take Satan lightly.

He is the strongman of the house.

He is armed. He is the keeper of the palace. (Luke 11.21)

Man’s heart was a palace once. It is a palace still, but for many, that palace is now broken and in ruins, and over these ruins, Satan rules and reigns.

Ezekiel 8.8-12
8 Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door.
9 And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.
10 So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about.
11 And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up.
12 Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.

What a powerful picture of the captive heart.

In the chambers of imagery, there is lust, adultery, theft, murder, hatred, deceit, pride and haughtiness, rebellion and self will, and every other evil work. The chambers of imagery, where we think we hide our evil deeds, are dark and foreboding. It is a black room, with black windows, shrouded by black curtains. Here, the wicked think they hide their deeds from God himself. The LORD seeth us not;

In a natural house, we build in windows to allow the natural light to cleanse the room. There is little more appealing in a house than a room bathed in natural sunlight. Everything seems brighter. Everything seems cleaner. It is a room of hope. It is a room of joy. It is a room of peace. It is a room of comfort.

But these chambers of imagery are far from this. The Word tells us that men love darkness because their deeds are evil. In this cheder maskiyth, they thought they were hidden from God. They thought the darkened windows and walls tainted of the evil within, shielded them from the eyes of Jehovah. In this inner most parlor (cheder) of their dark imaginings (maskiyth) they felt at ease.

What a picture of the broken and ruined palace of God’s creation.

What a vivid and stark portrayal of the heart broken by sin and ruled by Satan.

He keeps his palace.

Whereas, we as Children of God, are the presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, inhabited by God’s Spirit, there are those walking with us, working with us, living with us, shopping with us, eating with us, talking with us, that use the façade of flesh to cover the darkened cheder maskiyth that is ruled over by Satan. Matthew tells us that we are sent out as sheep among the wolves.

In Genesis, “GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually .” He saw into those darkened chambers of imagery. He saw beyond the façade. He saw beyond the darkened windows. He saw beyond the veil of respectability. He saw the darkened rooms filled with the incense of evil.

I think of the child’s game of ‘peep-eye’. Here, you would cover the eyes of a very young child, and then ask them where they went, as if by obscuring their ability to see; we have rendered them unable to be seen as well. It is a game we have played with all of my grandchildren. They believe, for a time, that if they can’t see me, then I must not be able to see them. We perpetuate this belief for the sake of the game. However, there is no time, and no place, that God cannot see you and your deeds.

Men and women today think they hide the evil in their hearts. They have pushed it down so far out of sight that they thing others cannot see it. Others cannot perceive it. I may not know the seed that rules one’s life. I may never see the seed that pushes one’s actions. I may never comprehend the driving force behind the deeds of some people. Rest assured; God sees that seed. No matter how deeply it is buried. No matter how much they try to cover it, it is revealed to God. All the black paint Sherwin-Williams has will not hide the contents of a heart from the eyes of God.

He keeps his palace.

2 Corinthians 4:4
“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

Blinded – tuphloo – to obscure

There is an old spiritual hymn that say, “Men were walking darkness, just couldn’t see the light.” This is how Satan keeps those that are his. He keeps them in the darkness. Is it any wonder they grasp at every near-doctrine and almost-theology that presents itself?

There were the clouds of incense from the censers. There were the blackened windows. There were the images of evil portrayed on the chamber walls. Looking from inside his heart, this is the scene the sinner views. These are the images which shape his/her thinking. These are the influences in their lives. Satan has blackened the windows so no light of hope can enter. No exit can be seen. All around them are the images of evil. They are constantly before their eyes.

The incense is a sacrifice. It was costly in that day. It was part of the offering of sacrifice to God. In Ezekiel, the seventy elders (leaders of families or tribe) were burning their incense within the temple of their heart. They offered sacrifice to the god that lives in the flesh. (In the flesh is no good thing.)

In the days of Noah, the Word tells us that men’s minds were on evil continually. The Devil parades the portraits of the abominations on the walls of their hearts. A cloud of evil obscures the goodness of God. He tells mankind that God does not see and that God has forsaken the earth. How insidious he is. For those that would do evil, he tells them God does not see, therefore there is no recompense for their evil. For those that would seek hope, he tells them God is not looking. He tells them that God has forsaken this earthly house of the strongman. Is there any wonder suicide is rampant and increasing today? Satan has tried to extinguish the hope of the multitudes. “There is no hope,” he says, “God is not watching.”

“The Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth …”

Satan is the master manipulator of mankind. Dig deeply into the roots of every foul or heinous deed and you will find him. He is there pushing. He is there prodding.

“His goods are at peace.”

What are Satan’s goods? They are the faculties, the affections, and the feelings of his prisoners.

We can claim all the independence we choose to claim, but every one of us is going to offer oblation to someone, be it to God or to the flesh. No man can serve two masters. It tells us emphatically, that we will serve one or the other. Those to whom we yield our member, we are the servants thereof. Every one of us yields to the influence of the flesh (sinful nature) or to God (holy nature). We will ultimately yield to the stronger in our lives. Romans 6.16 tells us, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Satan uses his goods for his work and service. The end of which is destruction and ruin. Even the seeming good fortune of those of his followers is designed to bring about their ruin. The Psalm of Asaph states that he was envious of the wicked when he saw how they lived. He was envious of their seeming freedom and unrestricted gain. Then he went to the sanctuary of the Lord and saw their end.

Isaiah 49.24-25
“Shall the prey be taken away from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?”

We were justly captured. We were legal captives in the house of the strongman. From Eden, mankind was the lawful captive of Satan. When Adam and Eve sinned, we all became captives to Sin. By one man, we all were captured.

“But thus saith the Lord, even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.”

The song says, “If I hold my peace and let the Lord fight my battles, victory, victory shall be mine.”

Strongman though he be, there is one stronger than he.

“.. to bruise his head ..”

There was one raised in the house of the strongman that will bruise his head. The battle for the house began in the Garden of Eden. In the judgment of Adam and Eve was a prophecy. The seed of a woman (Jesus) will crush the head of the rebellious one (Satan,) while he would lay in wait for the weakest part (heel) of God. The weakness of God is that the power of God suffers the most when it must pass through the confines of our human limitations of faith and belief. This is why a child can move God so easily. They do not yet have all the knowledge to doubt.

On the mountain, Satan attacked the weakest part of God, his humanity. While some will use our humanity as an occasion and excuse to sin, it is no excuse. We must cling to the power of God and not to the arms of flesh.

Jesus is come that we may have life, and having it, that we may have it more abundantly. He is come:
· To heal and deliver
· To save to the uttermost
· To bind the strongman
Jesus came, lived, walked, worked, healed and delivered.
· He preached good tidings to the meek.
· He bound up the brokenhearted
· He proclaimed liberty to the captive
· He opened the prison to them that were bound
· He opened blinded eyes
· He opened deaf ears
· He caused the lame to walk
· He raised the dead
Jesus broke the strongholds of the Devil.
· Satan was the bearer of bad news
· He was the breaker of hearts
· He was the captor of the weak
· He blinded men’s eyes
· He covered men’s ears
· He crippled humanity
· He brought death
The battle was on. The war was in full force. The Devil pulled every weapon he had. On every front, in every corner, in every place, the battle was fought.

Satan rebelled in Heaven and was cast out. In the Garden, he attacked God’s creation. All throughout the Bible he has attacked the children of God. On the mountain, he attacked Jesus with temptations. In Gethsemane, he raised up in Jesus’ humanity.

In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed; His humanity didn’t want to die, but divinity said, “We must be stronger, stronger than the strongman.” Then, on a lonely hill called Calvary, with a spear and three nails, the strongman of the house unwittingly released the greatest weapon ever against sin, the blood of Jesus Christ.
· It flows to every corner of the house
· It washes away sin, bondage, darkness, and captivity
· It pours into the chambers of the heart
This blood binds the strongman. The outflow reached to every man and woman.

Bring to him, the stronger, the broken ruins of your heart.

If you are in captivity, we may not be able to move out of the house, but I know a stronger one. The sword of His Spirit immediately breaks the chains of imprisonment. The shackles fall away. The windows fly open. Light fills the house. The chambers are filled with blood. It cast down every imagining.

He has spoiled the house of the strongman.

“.. No weapon formed against us will prosper ..”

The Devil has been unable to stem the flow from the portals of Calvary, but he has blinded the minds of men and women with the darkness of depression, oppression, and possession.

Tell me your greatest battle. Tell me your greatest foe.

Jesus faced them all on the mountain, in the garden, in the courts, on the hill, and on the cross, in the face of the strongman.

He was and is stronger.

I do not know what habit holds you captive. I do not know what lie or what fear keeps you shackled. However, I do know one that can bind the strongman.

If you have a need, He is the answer.

We live in the house of the strongman, but the sinless, spotless blood of Jesus Christ constrains him.

We can live free in the house of the strongman.

Turn from your ways.

Open the chambers of your heart and allow the blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world to flow in. Let Jesus in your cheder maskiyth and let Him bind the strongman.

Come the stronger one. Come to Jesus.

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