1. Morning again. Lots going on here this summer.
1. Our summer baptism is coming up just 3 weeks from today.
1. (put up Baptism slide)
2. If you are a believer in Jesus, and you haven’t been baptized yet, sign-up in the hallway or on your app for this.
1. We are commanded in the Bible, as believers to be baptized as a public sign of our faith.
1. That Jesus washed away our sins.
3. Some of you are new believers within the last few months or year or so.
1. Sign-up for this.
4. Others of you have been believers for a long time, but you’ve just never been obedient to this yet.
1. It’s an AMAZING day!
2. Also, I wanted to share with you something else amazing.
1. Two weeks from today…we are making a big announcement;
1. We’re going to be revealing the location of our next church plant.
1. This Fall, we will be starting our FOURTH church out of Renovation Church…and we’ll ask some of you to go be a part of that.
1. Because we are not about building the kingdom of Renovation, but the Kingdom of God.
2. So on Sunday, July 8th, we’re going to announce the location, and introduce you to its pastor.
1. SO don’t miss that.
3. Okay, we are continuing in our Lost & Found series on the Gospel of Luke today
1. Jesus has begun to kick his ministry into high gear now.
1. When we last left the story, He had just finished getting kicked out of his hometown of Nazareth, and now His regional ministry in Galilee is really taking off
4. (Page ____)
5. (Renovation APP)
1. And you’re going to see that His words are drawing crowds, but so is His power.
1. Check this out
6. (Luke 4:31-44) – NIV
7. 31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. 32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.
33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! 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! 35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. 36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area. 38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them. 40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah. 42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
1. So let’s get right to the obvious:
1. Jesus is doing some pretty miraculous things, right out of the gate.
1. He’s miraculously healing people on the spot.
2. And, he appears to even be casting out demons.
1. Which appear to be able to throw people down, and even speak! ..WAIT WHAT?!?!?!
1. “I just came for the child dedication…
2. For a lot of us in the Western World…this is way out of our comfort zone.
1. Yet, however uncomfortable you feel with the idea of the Devil or demons, we’re not going to get past this in the book of Luke.
1. Jesus and the Biblical authors both deal with, and talk about, the devil and demons, as if they are very, very real.
1. And if the Bible is the Word of God, then we must start treating the spiritual battle like it’s real.
1. Even if it’s hard for us to believe given our cultural context.
1. There’s been a lot written over the years on why we don’t see as much demonic activity in the Western world as there is reported in Africa and Asia.
1. And many of the points like “the devil has trapped the West in greed and materialism already, and thus doesn’t need to tip his hand,” is indeed a good point
1. But certainly another reason is this:
1. Spiritual warfare shows up when we as Christ-followers start pushing back the kingdom of darkness.
2. Why is there SO much demonic activity in the Gospels?
1. Because the Kingdom of God is massively penetrating (and about to defeat) the kingdom of darkness.
1. Satan is throwing everything he has at Jesus.
3. But unfortunately, as American Christians, most of the time we’re not pushing the kingdom of darkness back.
1. We’re more known for standing on the side and lamenting about the fact that it keeps getting dark and darker in our culture.
1. But we don’t do anything to push it back either.
1. Which one are you?
1. The lamenter on the side?
2. Or the one pushing it back?
2. Let me give some theological clarity to this passage before we go any further.
1. Our enemy, the devil, has been defeated by Jesus on the Cross.
1. Many verses in the NT point to the idea that Jesus’ death was a disarming of sorts to the devil’s power
1. (Colossians 2:15) – NIV
2. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
2. And yet, it’s not like the devil is completely defeated yet either.
1. His final defeat is prophesied about in the Book of Revelation…
1. It tells us that, at the end of days, he will be thrown in the lake of fire and punished forever.
3. So how is there still somewhat a kingdom of darkness today?
1. How is there even a battle if Jesus has defeated him in death and his eventual defeat is already determined?
3. I read of a really good metaphor for this about a year ago…
1. It was in an article where a woman had remembered a story that a missionary had given at her church a generation ago.
1. She said that one year, on a missionary Sunday, these two missionaries from “some country in the jungle” (as she put it) told us about a scary incident that happened to them.
1. One day, an enormous snake—much longer than a person—slithered its way right through their front door and into the kitchen of their simple home.
1. Terrified, they ran outside and searched frantically for a local who might know what to do.
1. A machete-wielding neighbor came to the rescue, calmly marched into their house and cut of the snake’s head with one clean chop.
2. The neighbor reemerged triumphant and assured the missionaries that the snake had been defeated.
1. But there was a catch, he warned: It was going to take a while for the snake to realize it was dead.
1. A snake's neurology and blood flow are such that it can take considerable time for it to stop moving even after decapitation.
1. For the next several hours, the missionaries were forced to wait outside while the snake thrashed about, smashing furniture and flailing against walls and windows, wreaking havoc until its body finally understood that it no longer had a head.
2. Sweating in the heat, they had felt frustrated and a little sickened but also grateful that the snake's rampage wouldn't last forever. And at some point in their waiting, they told the church that day, they had a mutual epiphany.
1. They said that it just hit them both: "The Devil is a lot like that big old snake. He's already been defeated. But in the meantime, he's still going to do some damage.”
1. But He’s a goner.
1. As one of my friends in Africa says: “The Devil is a Loser”
2. WORD & POWER
1. But please, remember, there is indeed a battle still going on.
1. The devil, even though he’s writhing around with his head cut off, is still trying lure people away from finding Christ.
1. We cannot be content to just set up church, have our own Bible studies, and not live out the great commission to go tell people they can be saved.
1. By believing Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins, they don’t have to go to hell…they can be forgiven and go to heaven
2. Friends, life on earth is short.
1. We need to treat it as such.
1. The devil knows the truth. Do we?
2. I actually find that fascinating about the Gospels.
1. People in the Bible are confused about Jesus ALL THE TIME.
1. Who is he? Is he a liar? Is he a heretic?
1. But do you know who never gets him wrong?
1. The demons
1. In verse 34 today, they call him the Holy One of God
2. In verse 41, they call him the Son of God
2. The Kingdom of darkness is well aware of the stakes.
1. Are you?
3. So how is Jesus beating back the kingdom of darkness in Luke chapter 4?
1. And how is it done throughout Scripture?
1. There is a lot to this, but really there are two main categories:
1. WORD & POWER
2. Look at verse 36 again:
3. (Luke 4:36) – NIV
4. 36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!”
4. Jesus not only went out and told people about God…he demonstrated God’s power.
1. Let’s start with the WORD.
1. This is the Word of God.
1. The Bible. The Gospel. God’s Word to humanity.
1. I think lots of times, when we share our faith, we feel like we need to say everything just right.
1. We need to have the perfect arguments, the best answers, and better not stumble on our words.
1. And honestly, that’s not true.
2. God’s just looking for people who are willing to start talking about Him, He’ll do the rest.
2. As many of you have heard by now, our Rwanda Missions Trip was more successful than any of us could have ever dreamed or imagined.
1. Our team spoke at 55 separate events
2. And they shared the Gospel in total, in front of 34,370 people.
1. (Show Jen Picture)
1. Some of the crowds we spoke in front of were even 2,000 – 3,000 people at a time.
2. And, best of all, we saw 3,473 teenagers and adults surrender their lives to Christ…and a whole lot of kids too!
3. But one of the most powerful things for me, personally, was to see how much God moved through our team members.
1. Many of our team members, in training, were worried about how they would have the courage to give their testimonies in front of crowds of people.
1. And by the end of the week, many were looking for even more opportunities.
1. Folks like John McCormick and Tricia Carlson had stepped up big time and were preaching messages to students and others women’s groups.
4. And then, on Thursday night, the Lord started to bug me about one of team members, Tony Wesp.
1. I felt like he was saying, “You need to have Tony do more.”
2. Again, at Friday morning prayer, I felt like God was saying it again.
3. I felt like He was saying, “You should have Tony preach this morning instead of you.”
1. Now, keep in mind, Tony has never preached a sermon in his life.
1. And this is a big deal. It’s an outreach. A LOT of unbelievers were going to be there.
2. But I felt like that’s what God was saying, so I said, “Okay God…I think this is you…so, here we go.”
1. I pulled Tony aside, and said, “I think you’re supposed to preach today.”
1. And he said, “NO way, I had just told God while I was praying, ‘I think I’m supposed to do more. God, if you want me to do more, just have David come talk to me.”
1. And then I pulled him aside.
4. And He preached a message that morning, gave the Gospel, and called people forward.
1. And Tony, who had never preached a sermon in his life, led 20 people to the Lord that morning…and 12 more that afternoon!
1. (Put up TONY Picture)
5. So what is that?
1. It’s the WORD of God…
2. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have the right words.
1. It doesn’t matter what your experience is
1. If you make yourself available…God will use you.
2. It doesn’t matter what your limitations are.
1. In fact, let me ask you:
1. Where are you making excuses right now because you’re just looking at your own limitations instead of God’s lack of limitations?
3. See, God is just looking for you to be faithful and share His Word with people.
1. Even Paul says this:
2. (1 Corinthians 2:4) – NIV
3. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
1. Notice, He still preached.
2. He shared the Good news.
1. But the Spirit moved powerfully through Him as He spoke.
1. And in other ways as well.
6. Which is really the 2nd half of this.
1. We need a strategy of reaching people with WORD and POWER
1. Any time the Gospel is penetrating a new area for the first time, not only are people usually just proclaiming in WORD, but in POWER.
1. God seems to really allow miracles to happen at an unprecedented rate.
1. You see this in the Book of Acts.
1. Miracles are commonplace.
2. Even in our demonization’s international church planting wing…The Timothy Initiative.
1. They are seeing this all OVER the place in south Asia right now.
1. In Nepal, church planters are going out, telling people about Jesus who’ve never really heard about Jesus…
1. And to their surprise, they’re seeing miracles…healings, you name it.
2. And evangelicals aren’t always known for being big “miracle people.”
1. But when God seems to really be in a battle with the kingdom of darkness…he seems to push it back with WORD and POWER
7. And I’m telling you now, as Christianity begins to be pushed to the margins of American society and thought, we must win people with WORD and POWER
1. So let’s not forget Jesus’ strategy for pushing back the kingdom of darkness.
1. Not only should we share about Him and what He’s doing in our lives with our friends…but let’s ask for God to move in power.
1. Let’s pray massive prayer requests for our friends that don’t know Christ
1. Let’s not just try and point them to Christ, let’s pray that Christ awakens their heart.
1. Let’s pray that they would fall to their knees one day because they just can’t escape the awesome power and presence of God.
2. Let’s pray that God would show them He’s real maybe by healing them.
1. Or that God would show them He’s real by doing some other miracle in their life.
2. Remember, Christianity isn’t just some philosophical worldview you’re trying to argue someone into.
1. It’s a spiritual reality.
3. BE NICHOLAS WINTON
1. The goal, at the end of the day, is that we wake up to the spiritual reality around us
1. Life is short and this is not our home.
1. And the devil would like nothing more for you to be a nice person, keep to yourself, and never talk to anyone about Jesus.
1. But what if you would allow God to make an impact through you through His WORD & POWER?
2. Think back, for a moment, to the days of WWII…
1. As a European in those days, living in one of the Allied Countries…the easier option, was always to do nothing about what was happening
1. Don’t ruffle any feathers…just look out for you…take care of yourself
1. And many did just that.
2. And yet, the people whom we remember are the ones who did something.
1. Who risked something.
1. People like Nicholas Winton.
1. Nicholas Winton was a British man who was worried about the Nazi’s beginning to take over Europe.
1. In 1938 and 1939, while many stayed home and just read the papers and complained about darkness taking over Europe…
1. Winton went right to Czechoslovakia and began to rescue and evacuate Jewish children to Britain before they could be shipped off to concentration camps.
2. And while doing so, he kept a list of the names of the children he rescued, 669 in all.
3. About 50 years later, his wife found the notebook of all of the children’s names and showed it to a BBC program.
1. And this is what happened:
1. (Play Sir Nicholas Winton Video)
1. Here’s my challenge to you today:
1. Hear that question loud and clear: Who here owes their life to Nicholas Winton?
When you get to heaven someday, and God says, “Who here owes their life to (insert your name)?”
Who heard about me…from you?”
Who will stand up?
Get off the sidelines.
Trust in His Word and his power.
His Word has promised you that in You, He can do even greater things than what He did on earth.
He will use you.
Make yourself available.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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