Sermon #68                                                        Luke Series


     Title:           Joy Checked and Joy Encouraged

     Text:           Luke 10:17-20

     Reading:    Bob Duff & Rex Bartley

     Subject:      Election - A Cause For Joy

     Date:          Sunday Evening – December 9, 2001

     Tape #   W-74a



The Lord our God would ever have us rejoice in him and in his goodness. Indeed, true believers are described as a people who “rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” We are commanded to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” This joy, true, spiritual joy, “joy in believing,” is joy that is in the Lord and arises from the knowledge of his grace. We rejoice in…

·       His Person

·       His Provision

·       His Providence


We ought always to rejoice; but that admonition is tempered with “in the Lord.” Our text tonight exemplifies this (Luke 10:17-20).


The 70 Return


The Lord Jesus had sent seventy of his disciples out preaching the gos0pel. Here they have returned with exuberant joy. Read the text with me.


(Luke 10:17-20)  “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. (18) And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. (19) Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (20) Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”


I want us to learn four things from these verses. May God the Holy Spirit inscribe these four important lessons upon our hearts. They will serve us well as we seek to serve our Master in this world.




I. First, We are all too easily puffed up.


We must not blame these disciples too severely for their excitement and joy. Who would not be elated by such experiences? Yet, the report these men made, and the Master’s response to it seems to suggest that their joy on this occasion needed to be tempered with more grace than they displayed. There was apparently much false fire mingled with their joy. There was too much of self in it.


(Luke 10:17-18)  “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. (18) And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.”


Young soldiers, with their first taste of victory, are often lifted up with far too much self-confidence and self-congratulation. The Lord Jesus seems to have read this evil in their hearts. Therefore, he seems to say to them, “Calm down a little. What you have seen and experienced is not your doing, but mine. – “I beheld Satan as lightening fall from heaven…”


·       Long before you were born. (Rev. 12:3-4; Isa. 14:12-17).

·       As soon as you began your work.

·       He foresaw and promised Satan’s fall through the preaching of the gospel (Matt. 16:18).

·       He had come specifically to topple Satan’s throne in the hearts of men. (Ezek. 28)

·       He had come to bind the old serpent.


Yet, as I said, we must not be too severe with these men. Every faithful gospel preacher wants success. We all want to see the Word of God run swiftly and run well. We long to see Satan fall, sinners converted, and Christ triumphant over the hearts of men. Such desires are right and good.


Yet, when the Lord condescends to grant us a little usefulness in this great work, we tend to forget that we are only instruments by which he works. We can do nothing! Our hearts are easily depressed when we see no success, and just as easily elated when we taste success. There are few who can, like Samson, kill a lion without telling others of their great feat (Judges 14:6).


A. Paul’s warning to Timothy is well-founded and should be constantly heeded (1 Tim. 3:6). Ryle, “It takes a steady hand to carry a full cup.”


(1 Tim 3:6)  “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.”


(1 Cor 3:5-7)  “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? (6) I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. (7) So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”


B. It is the gospel we preach, not the ability we possess to preach it, that is the power of God unto salvation.


Illustration: Owen about Bunyan’s Preaching




II. Second, Satan is an enemy under the complete dominion and control of our great Savior.


He who saw Satan fall is the one who fell him!


(Mat 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.”


(John 12:28-32)  “Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. (29) The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. (30) Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. (31) Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. (32) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”


(Rev 20:1-3)  “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. (2) And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (3) And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”


Satan does not and cannot move or wiggle without our Master’s permission. Yes, he walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour; but he is a chained lion, without power. He is God’s devil, not God’s rival!


Illustration: Job – Pilgrim


While it is exciting and joyous to see Satan’s power broken, we ought rather to expect it than be surprised by it.


(Ezek 28:11-19)  “Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, (12) Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. (13) Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. (14) Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. (15) Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. (16) By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. (17) Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. (18) Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. (19) All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.”


Things We Fear


III. Third, I pray that our God will graciously teach us that nothing can ever hurt us.


(Luke 10:19)  “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”


Without question, God’s servants during this apostolic era were given special powers, gifts which no man has possessed since that day. So the words of this verse are to be taken literally, in so far as those men were concerned (Mark 16:18; Acts 28:3-5).


(Mark 16:18)  “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”


(Acts 28:3-5)  “And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. (4) And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. (5) And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.”[1]


Yet, this 19th verse is our Savior’s promise to us as well. Understand the serpents and scorpions as figurative representations of the power of the enemy. The Lord Jesus here promises us that satanic power will never harm God’s elect.


(2 Tim 3:1-14)  “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, (4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (6) For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, (7) Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (8) Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. (9) But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. (10) But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, (11) Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. (12) Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (13) But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (14) But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;”


Neither the poison of sin, nor the sting of the scorpion, nor the bite of the serpent shall hurt God’s elect. Neither the poison of false doctrine, nor the sting of persecution, nor the serpent of hell shall harm one of God’s own.


(Rom 16:20)  “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”


Indeed, “Nothing shall by any means hurt you!”


(Psa 91:9-13)  “Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; (10) There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. (11) For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (12) They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. (13) Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”


(Prov 12:21)  “There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.”


(Isa 3:10)  “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.”


(Isa 11:8-9)  “And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. (9) They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”


(Hosea 2:18)  “And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.”


(Rom 8:35-39)  “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


·       No enemy can hurt us.

·       Satan shall not hurt us.

·       Sickness shall not hurt us.

·       Trials shall not hurt us.

·       Wicked men shall not hurt us.

·       All our sorrows and woes shall never hurt us.

·       Death shall not hurt us.

·       Sin shall not hurt us.


Electing Love and Saving Grace


IV. Fourth, in all things and above all things, we ought always to rejoice in God’s electing love. ― Here is a cause for true joy!


(Luke 10:20)  “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”


A. There is a book called the Lamb’s Book of Life.


(Rev 13:8)  “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”


(Rev 17:8)  “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”


B. In that blessed book all the names of God’s elect were written before the world began.


·       Eternally

·       Immutably

·       Forever


C. God’s election is our security.


Yes, we are secured by the blood of Christ, by the seal of the Spirit, and by the gift of grace. But all these things are the result of and flow from God’s electing love.


(Jer 31:3)  “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”


D. Election ought to give us constant joy before our God.


1. David Dancing Before The Ark.


(2 Sam 6:12-16)  “And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness. (13) And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings. (14) And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. (15) So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. (16) And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.”


(2 Sam 6:20-21)  “Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! (21) And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD.”


2. David Dying.


(2 Sam 23:1-5)  “Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, (2) The spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. (3) The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. (4) And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. (5) Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.”


E. There is only one way anyone on earth can ever know whether his name is written in this book.


The only way a sinner can know whether his name is written there is by faith in Christ. I know that my name is there because I believe on the Son of God, and God has declared, “He that believeth on the Son of God hath everlasting life.”


Illustration: The Retired Soldier.


(Rev 20:15)  “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

[1] The Lord’s disciples were not crazed snake handlers! He did not promise them (or us) security against idiocy! ― He promised them (and us) protection as they went about serving his interests, preaching the gospel.