Chapter 71

 

“The Kingdom of God is Come upon You”

                                                                         

“And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” (Luke 11:14-20)

 

            The claims of Christ are the claims of the sovereign King. If you do not bow to him as your King, you have not received him as your Savior. Whether you bow to him or not, he is still your King. We are all his subjects, some willingly, others unwillingly, some loyal, some rebel; but we are all his subjects. And, sooner or later, we will all bow to him. Bow to him now, and life eternal is yours. If you refuse to bow to him now, you will bow in the Day of Judgment; but eternal death will be your portion. May God give you grace now to bow. O “kiss the Son, lest he be angry when his wrath is kindled!

 

            The kingdom of God is not something yet to come. It is here. It is present. The Kingdom of God is not carnal, but spiritual. It is among you. The Kingdom of God is not a temporary kingdom, but an eternal, everlasting kingdom.

 

Context

 

      In interpreting Holy Scripture, it is of utmost importance that we interpret every passage in its context. In this case, the context is strikingly instructive. Our Lord Jesus has just told us how sinners obtain God’s salvation in him. He said, “Ask, and it shall be given you.” That is the promise of God held before sinners throughout the Book (Romans 10:13; Mark 16:16; Acts 16:31; Isaiah 45:22). The fact is, all who are lost, all who are without Christ, all who perish under the wrath of God do so because they stubbornly refuse to seek mercy through the merits of Christ, the sinner’s Substitute. “There is none that seeketh after God!” If you are yet without Christ, it is because you refuse to trust Christ.

 

Hope

 

            Yet, there is hope for you. I have hope for lost sinners, because I know that though our Savior waits to be gracious, his grace does not wait on the sinner. All lost sinners are like the man in our text, possessed of the devil and dumb, so dumb that they cannot and will not call upon the name of the Lord, except the Lord himself come, cast out the devil, set up his kingdom in them, loosen their tongues and cause them to call upon him by his sweet, omnipotent, irresistible grace (Psalm 65:4).

            The great miracle recorded in Luke 11:14-20 is intended to show us how lost sinners are compelled by almighty grace to call upon Christ in faith. He who promises that if we ask it shall be given unto us is he who destroys the power of Satan in us and causes us to call upon him for mercy.

 

“He breaks the power of cancelled sin,

He sits the captive free,

He makes the lame to walk again,

And causes the blind to see.

 

Hear Him, ye deaf! His praise, ye dumb!

Your loosened tongues employ!

Ye blind, behold your Savior come,

And leap, ye lame for joy!”

 

Satan’s Devices

 

            Satan’s devices by which he seeks to destroy our souls are legion. We read here of a man possessed of a devil that was dumb. In other places, we see Satan’s imps described as unclean spirits. Sometimes they are violent. In other places they come as blind spirits, in other places as deaf spirits. Whatever the appearance, Satan’s devices are many; and they are always designed for destruction.

 

            Do not imagine that because demonic possession is not so glaringly obvious and common today as it once was that the fiend of hell is less active or his designs less destructive. That is not the case. Men and women are still taken captive by Satan at his will. No doubt, some who read these lines are possessed of a dumb spirit, just like this poor soul. Are you like this man, possessed of a dumb spirit. Though you speak much, do you ever speak to God? Though you call upon many for many things, do you call upon the name of the Lord? If so, you do not call upon him because you have neither the will nor the ability to do so. You are spiritually dead and spiritually dumb.

 

            Thanks, eternal thanks be unto God, the Lord Jesus Christ still makes the dumb to speak. He who cast this demon out is still in the business of casting Satan out of the hearts of men! When the time of love has come for chosen, redeemed sinners, though Satan rules in the hearts of lost, dead sinners, the Lord Jesus binds the strong man, casts him out, spoils his house, takes all his armor, and establishes the dominion of grace in their hearts by the power and grace of his Spirit for the glory of God. Only Christ can raise the dead. Only Christ can give eyes to see the glory of God shining in his face. Only Christ can open the sinner’s ears to hear the glorious sound of his grace. Only Christ can give the tongue of supplication. — But, blessed be his name, he can! Jesus Christ our Lord is mighty to save (John 12:32; Hebrews 7:25).

 

Willful Unbelief

 

            Next, I want you to see that unbelief is a willful, deliberate act. Unbelief is not something about which sinners are passive, for which they have no responsibility. Unbelief is the deliberate, willful defiance of the rebel heart. Every rebel sinner is just exactly like the people described in this passage of Holy Scripture.

                                                                                                                                  

            It could not be denied that the Lord Jesus had cast out a devil, that he had loosened the tongue of a man who could not speak before. Those who were present could not dispute the miracle. The work of grace was as glaring and obvious as the noon day sun. Still, they would not believe.

 

            Some wondered and marveled; but they would not believe! How many there are like them today! Many there are who marvel at electing love, stand in awe at divine predestination, wonder at the display of God’s saving grace, and are astonished by substitutionary redemption, who yet believe not!

 

            Others sought to discredit the Lord Jesus, saying he cast out the devil by the devil. They could not deny the work. So they tried to discredit the Son of God.

 

            Still others said, “Show us a sign from heaven.” Is that not amazing? Yet, it is ever the betrayal of rank unbelief in the hearts of men that demands a sign. “Show us a sign” is the cry of hell. The Jews require a sign. The Greeks seek after wisdom. But we preach Christ crucified, the power of God and the wisdom of God.

 

            The fact is all unbelief is inexcusable. It is not adultery that will take a sinner to hell, but unbelief! It is not theft that will take the lost to hell, but unbelief! It is not drunkenness that takes people to hell, but unbelief! Unbelief is blamable. It is willful. It is deliberate. Those who believe not believe not because they choose to believe not. If you read these lines and continue to believe not, you will forever die under the wrath of God (John 3:14-19, 36; 1 John 5:1, 6-10).

 

Christ’s Divinity

 

            There are several incidental, but divinely inspired, displays of our Savior’s eternal divinity in this passage. We trust him who is both God and man in one glorious person. That man who died for us at Calvary is himself God the eternal Son. Because he is God, his obedience is of infinite worth. Because he is God, his death is of infinite merit. Because he is God, his grace is of infinite efficacy. Here are three great manifestations of our Savior’s eternal divinity:

  1. His Dominion over Hell — Devils obey Him!
  2. His Omniscience — He knew their thoughts!
  3. His Marvelous Grace — He made the dumb speak!

 

Family Strife

 

            Our Lord Jesus here declares in a parable a word of warning that needs frequent repetition. It is a warning against needless strife.

 

“But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself[1] is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges”

(vv. 17-19).

 

            Without question, our Master is here telling these rank, ridiculous rebels that their blasphemous assertions were as absurd as they were blasphemous. If Satan casts out Satan, his kingdom would soon fall. But there is a much needed lesson here for us. It is a lesson we are mournfully and sinfully slow to learn. — Strife between brethren is both shameful and destructive. Civil strife destroys a nation. Domestic strife destroys families. And strife between brethren destroys local churches. Strife breaks the house at the foundation; and any house broken at the foundation will soon fall.

 

            We cannot and must not compromise the gospel of the grace and glory of God in Christ. With regard to the gospel, all God’s people and all God’s servants see eye to eye (1 Corinthians 16:22; Galatians 1:6-9; 5:12; Philippians 3:18-19; 2 John 1:9-11). But when it comes to matters that do not involve the gospel of Christ and the glory of God in Christ, in all matters of indifference we must cease from strife. There is no place in the house of God for petty quarrels and proud strife. The only remedy for this horrid evil is grace. O, may God teach us to be gracious! Let everyone who names the name of Christ be slow to anger, quick to forgive, anxious to serve, ready to make concessions, and hard to offend (Ephesians 4:17-5:2).

 

A Confrontation

 

      Our text ends with a confrontation. — “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you” (v. 20). The Lord Jesus Christ has, by the finger of God, cast out devils, both at Calvary by the power of his blood, crushing the serpent’s head, and in the saving operations of his omnipotent grace (Colossians 2:11-15). When King Jesus establishes his throne and his kingdom in the hearts of chosen, redeemed sinners, he makes saved sinners kings and priests unto God (Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6; 22:5). Thus, the kingdom of God has come and is now coming to sinners upon the earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com

 

 



[1] Broken at the Foundation