Clean House: Filled

Clean House: Filled

Today, we’re finishing up our message series entitled, “Clean House.”  In it, we’re learning how to do some spiritual spring cleaning in our lives so that we can live them to their fullest without all of the clutter that weighs us down and trips us up.

When it comes to cleaning the house of our lives spiritually, it is not only our own sin that needs cleaned up.  Anyone who has maintained a house for any length of time has dealt not only with the clutter and dirt that happens within the house, but also other issues.  You’ve also at some point dealt with infestations of other creatures.  It may have been mice, ants, lice, fleas, rats, squirrels, or any other of the many critters that we find here in Western Pennsylvania.

Uninvited guests who found a way to enter our home and to forcibly make it their own.  They are pests, rodents, nuisances and tormentors.  If you were to ask my wife, she would consider our pet who was once a stray cat that showed up named Toby the biggest tormentor ever to invade our home.  🙂

Even if you keep an immaculately clean home, you are still susceptible to these intruders!  In fact, Jesus used the analogy of a clean house of a life that is most at danger for such a spiritual infestation of impure spirits!

Luke 11:24-26

24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 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 person is worse than the first.”

You may have cleaned up your act and be living a good and moral life even by God’s standards.  However, God does not desire nor require a clean house, but rather a full house!  Our lives were designed and created and purposed to be containers full of God’s Holy Spirit!  In fact, God’s word calls us not only to be filled with His Spirit, but overflowing with His Spirit!

If we do not keep our lives filled with the Spirit, and few of us are able to achieve and maintain this, then there are other spirits out there looking for a cozy place to dwell.  Our clean, but not full lives are choice real estate for these evil spirits.

Now these evil spirits will take what they can get.  They will possess a person; meaning that they have total control over that person.  However, if they cannot fully possess a person, they will take whatever part of that person that they can get.

Again, Jesus uses the analogy of a house being a person’s life that these evil spirits look to dwell within.  A pest will take whatever part of your home that they can take.  If it’s just the attic, the basement, the kitchen cabinet the wall; they’ll take it.  If they aren’t driven away, they will gladly take over as much as they can up to the whole home!

Although we are much larger and stronger than they are, most people are still fearful and creeped out by these pests.

Right? Stop and think objectively about it. What is a cockroach or ant or spider or mouse compared to you? You can easily crush them under your feet. However, most of us are still scared of them for some reason.

So it is with demons to a Christian.

A significant part of the ministry of Jesus during His lifetime and the church following the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was casting and driving out demons.  It is still intended to be a part of our ministry today!  Culturally, demons were recognized and acknowledged by those living in the eastern world at that time and still so today.  In our western culture, however, a person is labelled as crazy and outdated if they recognize that a life issue is being caused by demons.

We are all susceptible to the influence of evil spirits and demons.  I do not believe that a demon can override the will of a believer, but I do believe that we can choose to surrender our lives, in full or in part, to a demon.  I believe that we open up an invitation in our lives, often unknowingly, to the influence and even oppression of demons.

This is why we need to often and routinely take time to clean house spiritually.

First of all, what are evil spirits or demons?  In Luke chapter 11, Jesus starts by driving out a demon, the Greek word, daimonion.  A demon by this definition is an evil spirit or the messengers and ministers of the devil.  Some translations of the Bible call them devils or demons or evil spirits.  Jesus then goes on to teach about these demons and calls them evil, unclean spirits or the Greek words akathartos pneuma.  Jesus equates the two.  A demon is an unclean or evil spirit.

I believe that we find their origin here in Revelation 12.  The devil and his angels were all created by God and were once good and pure and holy.  The devil was created as the guardian cherub according to Ezekiel 28 and was one of the most beautiful of God’s creation adorned with every precious stone.  Then, he chose to rebel and that is when the kingdom of darkness that chooses to follow the devil began.

Revelation 12:7-17

7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

“Now have come the salvation and the power

    and the kingdom of our God,

    and the authority of his Messiah.

For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,

    who accuses them before our God day and night,

    has been hurled down.

11 They triumphed over him

    by the blood of the Lamb

    and by the word of their testimony;

they did not love their lives so much

    as to shrink from death.

12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens

    and you who dwell in them!

But woe to the earth and the sea,

    because the devil has gone down to you!

He is filled with fury,

    because he knows that his time is short.”

13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. 15 Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring – those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.

Now this chapter is open to a degree of interpretation and debate over the timing and the reality of this account.  When things happen outside of time in eternity and then encounter the temporal, timing gets interesting. 

Obviously, the dragon was the devil also known as Satan also known as the ancient serpent who was cast down out of Heaven to the earth and this must have happened between the time that the earth was created and the temptation of Eve in the garden of Eden.  We know that Jesus was there in Heaven while the war was occurring because He said:

Luke 10:18

I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

I personally believe that the angels that were cast down with Satan to the earth are demons and that the 1/3 of the stars in the sky cast to the earth are symbolic of these demons.  They are mentioned earlier in this chapter. 

I believe that the male child was Jesus’ earthly birth and that the pursuit of the serpent was the account of Herod who had all male children 2 years of age and younger put to death after the birth of Jesus and how Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt to escape this torrent meant to destroy Jesus.

I believe that the rest of this woman’s offspring are us who have been adopted into God’s family because we obey His commands and hold fast to our testimony about who Jesus is and what He has done for us.  The devil now wages war against us.

Angels are interesting creatures.  They are spirits created by God and given more authority than us, but purposed to serve us.

Psalm 8:4-5

4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

    human beings that you care for them?

5 You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.

Quoted also by Paul in:

Hebrews 2:6-9

6 What is mankind that you are mindful of them,

    a son of man that you care for him?

7 You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor

8 and put everything under their feet.

9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

2 Peter 2:10-11

10  …Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; 11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord.

Although mankind was created lower than the angels, their purpose is to serve us:

Hebrews 1:14

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

All angels are spirits.  Those who chose to rebel against God are evil spirits, those who still serve God are good spirits.  The evil spirits, or demons, now choose the purpose of waging war against mankind, created in the image of God, and especially believers instead of serving them.

We see evil spirits in the Old and New Testaments tormenting people, possessing people, inflicting people with sickness and disease, physically injuring people, driving them into solitude, and making people mute or deaf or blind.  Demons have names and they recognized and acknowledged Jesus when they encountered Him in the flesh.  Here’s one such account of this:

Luke 8:26-33

26 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 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. 28 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!” 29 For Jesus had commanded the impure 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.

30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31 And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. 33 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.

We also find that Jesus would silence demons so that they would not prematurely reveal who He was for they clearly recognized and knew Him full well.

Mark 1:34

and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

James wrote:

James 2:19

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.

We now turn back to the account that we began with when Jesus explained the reality that He desires not a clean house, but a full house!  Here, we find another name for not just any demon, but the prince of demons.  This also indicates that there is organization and authority levels in the demonic realm.

Luke 11:14-28

14 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.

Take note of how the person took on the attribute of the demon. The demon was mute. The influence of this mute demon within the man caused him to be mute. The spiritual manifested in the natural.

15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.

17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22 But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder.

I love how Jesus explains the driving out of demons.  He did it by the finger of God; just His finger. 

We serve and love the almighty and all-powerful God!  There is no battle between God and the devil!  The devil is waging war, but he has already lost!  God already kicked him and his demons out of Heaven and they also know that their time is short and nothing but eternal torment in Hell awaits them!  Hell is not created as a place where the devil and his demons rule over and party eternally.  Hell is a place created by God for the torment of the devil and his demons eternally!

Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power and you don’t need to worry about demons.  Be filled with the Holy Spirit and let demons know that their eviction time is NOW!  Send them fleeing!  You have the final authority over every area of your own life.  As for you and your house, you serve the Lord and there remains no place for the devil nor his demons!

Through Christ, you have the authority over demons!  Jesus sent out 72 disciples ahead of Him two-by-two into all of the towns that He was about to minister within.

Luke 10:17-20

17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

That same authority that Jesus gave to the 72, He has given to you and I and all of His disciples. 

Ephesians 2:6

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus

We are obviously not physically sitting with Christ Jesus.  Being seated with Jesus in the heavenly realms indicates that we have been graciously given a place of authority through Jesus as His ambassadors.  We speak and act on His behalf.  We exercise His authority and He has been given all authority over all things.

Ephesians 1:18-23

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know … his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

We have absolutely nothing to fear when it comes to the devil and his demons!  Send them fleeing and then close up any area of your life that gave them access into it in the first place!

In every area of life, ensure that it is in agreement with the Lord and His purposes for your life.  Work diligently to gather people into His kingdom by snatching them out of the darkness!

Luke 10:17-20 (cont.)

23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 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 person is worse than the first.”

Be on your guard and stay alert!  The devil masquerades as an angel of light and is a master of deceit.  We may have sent the demons in flight, but they will return.

Don’t be like Kevin McCallister initially was when the thieves came knocking on his door when he was home alone; living in fear under the bed.  Be like the Kevin McCallister that prepared for their return and had a game plan and strategy to send the enemy back to prison where they belonged and punishing their every attempt to steal, kill, and destroy in his home!

Be bold and courageous!  You are solely responsible for guarding your own home and what you allow in.  You don’t have to live in fear of the devil and his demons because greater is He who is within you than He that is in the world!  You have the Spirit of the Living God dwelling within you.  The Spirit of the God who can drive out a demon with just his finger!

Don’t live in fear, but also don’t live in ignorance!  Be on your guard and stay alert!  Don’t accept everything at face value, but test it all!

1 John 4:1-4

1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Test everything.  Hold on to what is good and reject anything that is not from God!

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.

Reject everything that is evil in any way!  It may seem good on the surface, but test the fruit that it will produce in your life!  That gremlin may look cute and cuddly and harmless at first impression.  However, God knows what it has the potential to become if you allow it into your home!  Trust the Lord and lean not onto your own understanding in all matters!

Ensure that your life is not only a clean house, but a full house!  We close with this admonition.  Don’t just listen to this as a part of a letter written from the apostle Paul to the church in Ephesus, but as Jesus speaking directly to you this morning.

Ephesians 5:15-20

15 Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen!

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