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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Destroying the Works of the Devil

originally published January 2007

Jesus had been doing things, he had been healing people, casting out devils, working works that only He could do. He enters the synagogue which was the temple or the house of God. The synagogue when constructed was patterned after the tabernacle Moses had constructed in the wilderness. It was constructed so that worshipers as they entered the building looked toward Jerusalem. At the upper end of the Sanctuary, there was a replica of the ark of the covenant which contained the Book of the Law, and which faced toward Jerusalem, and at that end there were the upper seats reserved for honored or wealthy patrons. This is where the Pharisees and the Scribes sought to be seated. These seats were elevated above the heads of those on the lower level, and probably added to their own feelings of supremacy over the 'regular people' and the poor, for which they had very little concern. It was probably from their vantage point that they watched Jesus as He entered the synagogue.

Mar 3:1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
Mar 3:2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.

This man had no strength in his hand. He could not use it. There was a law in Leviticus 21 that stated no man who had a blemish, such as being blind or lame, or any other physical deformity of the seed of Aaron which would be the Levitical priesthood, could come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord or the bread of the Lord. He was to eat the bread of His God, both of the most holy and of the holy, but he could not go into the veil or come near the altar for it would profane the sanctuary. The Pharisees had added so many of their own precepts to the Law that it burdened the people, and obscured the Law of God by the Pharisees' traditions and rules and regulations. They did not look kindly on the man with the withered hand being inside the synagogue. Remember, in Acts 3, the lame man was laid at the gate called Beautiful OUTSIDE the temple. He was not allowed in because of his condition. But remember, this was not what God instructed. It was men with carnal minds, who were offended by the sight of those with deformities or disabilities, and did not desire their presence before God. In so doing, they totally misrepresented the character and heart of God before the people.

Jesus looked at them and was grieved and angry with the hardness of their hearts, but healed the man with the withered hand. He knew they were just looking at Him to find fault. Here was a group of religious people who appeared holy, and clean, and had a head knowledge of the Scriptures but did not understand the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures, were blind to Its truths, and had no power. Their form of godliness was in word and appearance. Inside they had wicked, proud hearts, and Jesus said in one place, were full of dead mens bones as whited sepulchers. They were threatened. The very presence of Jesus, who HAD power and authority and who truly cared about the needs of the people, exposed them as the frauds they were, and they recognized He was a threat to their position, their image in the eyes of the people, and to their own power over the people. The Pharisees had so esteemed themselves they felt they would be defiled if a poor person accidentally brushed against their garments as they walked through town. If it was a poor and infirm person, why, the Pharisee would feel defiled.
There is no shortage of religious pride in the world today. Men take pride in their traditions and precepts, and tend to look on those who are different as unworthy, or as unclean. We must be shaped and conformed into the image of CHRIST by the Word of GOD not men's opinions of what we are to be. I've seen people in churches who thought it sin to wear jewelry and makeup, yet there was immorality among the leadership and they had a tendency to judge you by their yardstick and it was hard for one to measure up. The ladies' dresses had to be so long, and their sleeves had to go all the way to the wrists, no matter the weather, or they were considered 'worldly'. Yet those holding the yardstick and doing the measuring, figuratively speaking, were apt to judge and criticize rather than encourage and point that person to the loveliness and majesty of Christ. They became powerful tools the devil used to discourage people from the House of God, which was why their numbers in their churches dwindled and the young people left and did not return.

Jesus did not treat people like that. He was moved with compassion for them. He reached out and healed, comforted, restored, delivered, and helped people. He was so full of the power of God, and yet so approachable in the eyes of the people, they gathered around Him wherever they could find Him.

Mar 3:10 For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.
Mar 3:11 And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.
Mar 3:12 And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.

People who were vexed and tormented by unclean spirits, which means demonic, foul spirits, when they recognized Jesus cried out and fell down before Him. Again, He told them to hush. He had the authority with His Word, so full of the power of God to silence the spirits, as well as cast them out.

Mar 3:13 And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.

This same Lord was crucified, buried and rose from the dead. He ascended back to the throne of God on High. He began to call and draw unto Him whom He would, and those who hear Him calling, and come, repentant and humble to Him, are saved and washed by His blood and redeemed. Hallelujah!!!

Mar 3:14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
Mar 3:15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:

That word 'ordained' means to make ready, prepare, to declare someone whatever the One in authority says he is, and put one forth and lead him out. To appoint one. He sent them forth to spread the message that people needed to repent for the kingdom of God was at hand. Help was here. Hope was here. Deliverance was here. They thought they needed deliverance from Roman authority, when in fact they needed immediate deliverance from demonic oppression and religious pride. Those He chose were to possess the authority given by the Lord Himself to heal sickness. Now that word 'heal' in the Greek is 'therapeuo'. It's like our word 'therapy.' It means to wait upon, menially, as a servant would for his Master, to adore God, as well as relieve one of disease, to cure, and worship. I was surprised to find worship was one of the definitions of the word heal. Isn't that what happens when we come, and like He told us to, cast our cares on Him, and worship Him, and adore Him, and spend time in His presence? He is able to reach down and work in us and fix what is wrong. I remember the first time I knelt in surrender before Him, he did a deep work in me, He healed a hurt in me so deep nothing else had ever been able to reach it, and it was destroying me from within.

But in a moments' time, He took that out, and poured in His love, and healed the pain I had carried for so long. There is so much in that verse. He calls and draws, and those who come and yield their all, He chooses and appoints and empowers. He reaches in the very depths of their being and heals their pain and that relieved soul breaks out in worship for the One who did what no other could do, and because they experienced His healing power, they can share this with others He sends them out to minister to. He also gave them power to cast out devils. Authority to drive them out, expel them from the habitation in a person's life and body. Force is not needed, violence is not needed, because when HE gives you authority, is the authority of God that backs you up. That is all that is needed. Someone who loves Him and believes His Word, and is willing to stand on what HE said, in faith, can put the devil out. It's not to say he won't try to sneak back in another way, the thief always tries to come back in some other way. Just as a wolf will hide in darkness or thick underbrush, waiting for his chance to snatch up a helpless sheep if the shepherd is not watching, or asleep, the devil watches. But praise the Lord, HE never slumbers or sleeps. He that keepeth me never slumbers. He watches over me always. Oh, thank you Jesus!!! Folks, I did nothing to deserve this wondrous, matchless love! He is so awesome!!! What He ever saw in me I could not even begin to figure out. But I am sooooooooooooo glad He reached down and saved me!

He said Fear not I will help thee! He said He'd be my rearward guard! He said He'd go before me and behind me, and nothing shall by any means hurt me. He promised me the power of His life and Spirit working in me that which is pleasing in His sight, and His Word which worketh powerfully, effectually in those who believe. When Jesus stopped the devil cold, He did it with His Word. He did not argue with, or converse with the devil. He did not threaten the devil. He did not shout or yell or wave his hands wildly. He did not have to lay hands on the person possessed. With the Word of His power, demons come out. Nor did they come out free to wreak havoc in another nearby person. They had to leave and go where He sent them, whether it be in a far country, into the swine, or into the abyss. He knew who He was. He knew He acted on behalf of a Holy God who was HIS FATHER. He knew His Father because He spent time with Him.

Dan 11:32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

It is not for our reputation or so men will think we are something-we are nothing and can do nothing without HIM. We must not go unless we are sent. We must wait to be endued with power from on high, as He instructed His disciples, although He gave them the authority to cast out devils and heal the sick before they were filled with the Holy Ghost. They were filled with the Holy Ghost so they could be empowered to lay down their lives and thoughts and ways completely for the Lord. That's what He said. Ye shall be witnesses unto me. The word 'witness' in the Greek is 'martus' and it's where the word 'martyr' comes from. The old self life, it's all about me, has to die. Who wants to keep rags of self righteousness that are filthy and corrupt when we can have pure and holy righteousness that is Christ? Not me. No wonder that filthy, lying devil will tell God's people, 'give up, go back. It's too hard, God expects too much, His standard is too high, you'll never measure up, you can't make it!" HA! Liar!!!!! I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHICH STRENGTHENETH ME!!!!!!!! (Phil 4:13) I can't do it, but CHRIST IN ME CAN AND HE'S MY HOPE OF GLORY. HE KNOWS THE WAY AND HE LEADS. ALL I HAVE TO DO IS FOLLOW HIM. EAT HIS WORD, PRAY AND LET HIM FILL ME WITH KNOWLEDGE AND THE POWER OF HIS SPIRIT TO DO YIELD MY LIFE TO HIS CONTROL SO HE CAN WALK AND LIVE AND MINISTER THROUGH ME. And people in this world are seeking thrills? THAT is going to be a thrill! He didn't write this Book through the hands of holy men filled with the Holy Spirit for us to just read but for us to live! He gave us some things and we are fools if we let the devil lie and intimidate us out of claiming that which is ours-HIS LIFE in us, to build up the kingdom of God and tear down the works of the devil!

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