Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 15 Mar 2015
24 When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he walks through dry places seeking rest. And finding none, he says, I will return to my house from which I came out.
25 And when he comes, he finds it swept and decorated.
26 And he goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and entering in, they dwell there. And the last state of that man is worse than the first.
27 And it happened as He spoke these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice and said to Him, Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which You have sucked.
28 But He said, No; rather, blessed are they who hear the Word of God and keep it.
It is said that of those that make a decision for Christ, over 90% backslide. It is shocking. Billy Graham once said that in the beginning people came with tears because of their sins, but lately they come with smiles. There’s no true repentance.
An evil spirit doesn’t find rest in the wilderness and then he decides to go back to the one he has left and see how it goes. Then he finds the house put in order and neat and he goes and finds seven others which he met in the wilderness, worse than himself, and they go and inhabit that person. It’s a dangerous thing to say you’ve made a decision for Christ but you don’t go all the way but only do it half-heartedly. The devil doesn’t like it in the wilderness. He wants to stay in a nice place, even in those made in God’s image.
And this house, which is high, shall be a wonder to everyone who passes by it, so that they shall shudder and say, Why has Jehovah done this to this land and to this house?
There was a time when this house was a blessing and wonderful, but it has become desolated and destroyed. This can also happen to a Christian, one who was once such a blessing and on fire for God, to become desolated.
The Hebrew for ‘put in order’ means more than that in that it becomes beautiful and filled with glory, that people see the beauty of Jesus in a person. But when the devil comes in that person becomes worse than before.
Remember where Jesus drove out the demons and they asked Him that they may go into the pigs (Matt 8:31). Peter writes about a backslider as a person who is like a pig who is washed and goes back to wallow in the mire and like a dog that vomits and goes and eats it again (2Pet 2:22).
With this person there was some cleaning and sweeping but he didn’t do it thoroughly. When you repented did you do it thoroughly getting rid of all the sin? Nicodemus said to Jesus “we know that you came from God”, but Jesus replied that that’s not good enough. You won’t enter the kingdom of heaven unless you’re born again (John 3:3). Nicodemus with all his intellect and study couldn’t understand how that was possible to be born again. His faith was just in his head. He didn’t really know the Lord Jesus personally. And if he would’ve died in that state he wouldn’t have gone to heaven because he wasn’t yet born again.
It doesn’t help that you know how a Christian should be. Salvation is not by education. It must go into your heart and change and transform you.
We must see to it not to give the devil any room.
In Luke 12 Jesus said beware of the leaven of the pharisees for there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed (Luke 12:2). The day will come when everything will be shouted from the rooftops. Rather confess and part from your sins now before they are one day shouted from the rooftops.
When Eve gave Adam of the fruit God called Adam to account. It starts with the men. It was Eve who was first deceived, and she went to him and he fell and ate of it as well. When God challenged Adam he blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. It’s so difficult for someone to confess the sins he’s done. He always blames the next person. But it’s interesting that when God asked the serpent he didn’t reply and accused someone else. In that the serpent was better than man.
If you point a finger at someone else, three fingers point back at you and the thumb to God that God is a witness that you are three times worse than the one you point a finger to.
May we not just be hearers but doers of that what we hear. Going to church doesn’t make you better than the next person.