[Jesus said],“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” Luke 11:24-26
There are dozens of sermons in this passage. Allow me to briefly focus on just one: the security & authority one has in Christ.
First of all, this passage must not be taken out of the context of the canon of Scripture. One who has professed their faith in the risen Christ cannot be demon-possessed (cf. 1 Cor. 6:19-20; Eph. 1:13-14) A believer is already “possessed” – by the Holy Spirit. John MacArthur rightly comments on this passage: “When a demon is defeated by the power of Christ, the soul vacated by the power of darkness is taken over by Christ.”
It should be noted that the principles taught by Jesus in this passage apply without restriction to a non-believer. This truth is sobering. The torment of evil spirits can be manifested in chronic anger, bitterness, a critical spirit, unforgiveness, pride, sexual addiction, lying, disrespect for authority, fear, etc. For the non-believer, to try and “will” these self-destructive habits away can, indeed, lead to momentary improvement. But, according to Jesus, the relief is merely temporal. Christ, the Bible tells us, is the only “cure” for sin. (cf. Romans 8:1) A demon is not afraid of “a house swept and put in order.” A demon, on the other hand, is terrified of a “house” possessed by the risen Christ. (cf. James 2:19)
For the believer, as previously stated, the Bible is clear: we cannot be demon-possessed. However, the enemy is no fool. As Billy Graham purports, satan is a strategic genius. As such, demonic oppression is quite common and can be manifested in the very self-destructive habits mentioned above. New Testament scholar, Dr. David Garland, comments, “Demons…do whatever they can to neutralize” and twist biblical truth in a believer’s life. The difference between a believer and a non-believer, when in this state, is profound. For the believer, all that is required is a conscious re-focusing on the truth: God’s Word. Jesus said, the truth sets us free. Paul wrote, “For we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” In sum, satan has no hold on believers. He only wants to make us think he does. The enemy’s best and most used weapon, after all, is deception.
If you’ve never placed your faith in the risen Christ, please consider His claims. Honestly investigate the historicity of Jesus and the reliability of the Gospels. 1 Consider the evidence. Make your own decisions based on the evidence. Consider Him who loves you so much that He died a horrific death on a wooden cross, then, three days later, authenticated His claims about Himself by rising again.
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” The Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 15:3-4)
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick
1 Two very good, very readable books on the topic of evidence for the Christian faith were written by former atheists: More Than a Carpenter, by Josh & Sean McDowell; The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel. A third book, a little harder to read, but a classic, is Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, also a former atheist.