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Beat the Devil

Mark 1:21-28

Pastor Dale Critchley

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
St. Paul's Lutheran Church  
Delaware, IA

view DOC file

Sun, Jan 29, 2006
Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Standard LW 3-year Readings:
First: Deut. 18:15-20
Epistle: 1 Cor. 8:1-13
Gospel: Mark 1:21-28
Psalm: Psalm 1


The text below is correctly formatted in the DOC file (see above left). The DOC file is easier to read, but the text is included below to allow for searching.

Children's Sermon

Catechetical point: Who is tougher, Jesus or the devil?

Message: Jesus already beat the devil when He died on the cross. He beat death, too, so because He beat our death, we get to live forever with Him.

Beat the Devil

Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Text: (Mark 1:21-28, NIV) They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God!" "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!" The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching--and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him." News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

This is the Word of our Lord. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

I. Introduction

A. When you want to hurt someone, often the most effective way is through the people that person loves

1. You don't generally take the person for ransom who has the money

2. You take someone they love

3. That's how terrorists and the mafia work

4. And it's why they are so feared

5. Because no matter how brave you are, there's nothing like threats on those you love

B. The devil knows this

1. That's why demon possession was so common during the time of Jesus' ministry

2. The devil and his angels attacked Jesus through those He loves—us—by taking them hostage

3. But Jesus doesn't negotiate with demons

4. He rules over them

II. And they entered into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbaths, He entered the synagogue and continually taught.

A. Jesus knows that the only effective weapon against the devil is the Word of God

B. In our case, that's the written & spoken Word

1. That's why catechesis is so important, not just for adolescents, but for small children, for teenagers, and for adults of every age

2. Catechesis is instruction in the basic principles of the Word of God

a) It starts as a father, as well as mother, sponsors, and other authorities in a child's life reads Bible stories to his children

b) It continues as the child grows by communicating by word and action the truth of God's Word

c) Sometimes, it's as simple as saying, "I forgive you" when a child sins

d) It's taking the child to church weekly and attending Bible Class or helping with Sunday school, modeling the need for catechesis

e) And it continues after the child is grown up and moved away, because it's valuable to adults, too

3. We put so much emphasis on children's grades in school, but while that's important, what they learn there will only help them in this life

a) But what they learn from the Word of God will help them with even more in this life and will still be valuable to eternity

b) Because those lessons teach you to fight against the devil Himself

c) And there is no greater enemy

d) If you lock your doors against intruders, whether your home or your car, you need to know that you have much more to fear from the devil than from any robber

e) But you also need to know you're not fighting alone

C. In Jesus' case, He is the Word of God

1. When He was tempted in the wilderness, He quoted the Old Testament to fight off the devil

a) But the devil did and can quote Scripture, too, when it suits his needs

b) But he always twists it, as he did in the wilderness

2. But since Jesus is the Word in the flesh, the message from God Who demonstrates God's truth,

3. He, by His nature and authority, has absolute power over the demons

D. And so He brought that message to the synagogues

1. To equip His people

2. And as well to give them joy that He had come to fight on their—and our—behalf

III. And they were amazed at His teaching, for He taught them as having authority, and not as the scribes.

A. When the scribes taught, they quoted past rabbis

B. Instead of teaching from the Word of God, they based their teachings on the words of men

C. Understand that tradition and the teachings of the past are important

1. It took 300 years of study to develop an understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity

2. We don't need to reinvent the doctrinal wheel with each generation

D. But at the same time, it must be understood that any teaching that is not 100% in conformity with Holy Scripture is questionable at best, and more likely, just flat out lies

1. And lies are not weapons to fight against the devil

2. They're the tool of the devil!

3. This is why pure doctrine is so important!

4. The church has no business teaching the lies of the devil

5. And since his lies tend to be subtle—he disguises himself as an angel of light—we need to be vigilant and trust the authority of the Word

E. This is how Jesus taught and continues to teach us today

1. He gives us the Word of God and teaches us directly through that Word

a) The same Word that created light from darkness

b) The same Word that formed the sun, moon, and stars

c) The same Word that formed the sea, dry land, and every living thing

d) The same Word that is more important than food and drink

2. This is the Word He places in our hands, ears, and mouths

IV. Immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out,

A. The devil knows he's defeated, so he has nothing to lose

B. He will spend eternity suffering in hell

1. He hates God because he knows his fate

2. So he's determined to take as many of you with him as he can

3. Because he knows God's weakness: God loves us

4. Of course, that's not God's weakness—it's His strength

C. But as part of the attack on Jesus, the demons during those days would possess people to taunt Jesus

V. saying, "What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? We know that You are the Holy One of God!"

A. Ironically, the demons understood Who Jesus is, but God's people didn't

B. They intended to discredit Him, but their plan was bound to backfire

C. Eventually, all of the devils plans fail

VI. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent and come out of him!"

A. It's important to understand the difference between demonic possession and human sin

B. Note that Jesus didn't rebuke the man—He rebuked the demon

C. A demon-possessed person is not in control of his actions

D. Not to be confused with sins of the flesh

1. While the devil tempts us

2. So does our own sinful flesh

3. And when we sin, we have nobody to blame but ourselves

E. But Jesus not only speaks with authority

F. But He also has authority

1. The devil is not the lord of the demons and hell

2. Jesus is

3. And when He commands them, they have no choice but to listen

G. This is great news for you

1. The battle of good versus evil is not a fair fight

2. It's like you and a flamethrower against a paper doll

3. The enemy is already defeated

H. Jesus is victorious, and no matter how many times you have sided with the devil, Jesus still counts you as on His side

1. Because you're more than a puppet

2. By your Baptism, you're family

3. And Jesus defends His family fiercely, even to the death

4. That's exactly what He did for you on the cross

a) When the devil paraded your sin and God's Law around,

b) Jesus took your sin out of the devil's hands, out of your hands, and took it on Himself

VII. And convulsing him, the unclean spirit also cried out with a great voice and exited out of him.

A. Jesus came to set us free from the devil

B. He set this man free by His Word

C. And He set you free by His Word, too

1. By the Good News of salvation, the Gospel, Jesus has given you faith

2. And that faith—belief and trust in His salvation—is all that's necessary for eternal life

D. Make no mistake—the devil is a powerful foe—the most powerful

1. But he's nothing if you have the weapon to silence him

2. And you have the same weapon Jesus used in today's text to silence the demon—the Word of God

3. "One little word can fell him."

VIII. And they were all amazed so that they questioned each other, saying, "What is this? A new teaching with authority! He even commands the unclean spirits, and they obey Him!" And it went out and was heard by everyone into all the region around Galilee.

A. The demons intended to discredit Jesus, but their actions spread His fame

B. It backfired completely

C. Three years later, their greatest plot would become their greatest blunder

1. They used Jesus' fame and twisted it into hatred

2. They saw the chance and took it—they had Jesus arrested and crucified

3. They managed to kill the Lord of Life

4. But Jesus went to the cross willingly

5. It's why He came in the first place, just as God had promised over and over in His Word

6. And to the demons' horror, when Jesus died, our sin died with Him, and death died with Him

7. He paid the ransom with His own blood

8. So He rose from the dead, having defeated sin, death, and the devil by His death

9. And in His rising, He promised to take you with Him out of the grave

10. Your sin is defeated by the Word

11. The devil is defeated by the Word

12. And by the Word of God, you have eternal life in Jesus' name. Amen.

Now the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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