Satan Goes To Church Too
28 And all they in the SYNAGOGUE, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way,
31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.
32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.
33 And in the SYNAGOGUE there was a man, which had A SPIRIT OF AN UNCLEAN DEVIL, and cried out with a loud voice,
34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.
If there’s one place on earth where the “peace of God which passeth all understanding” should reign supreme, it’s the assembly of God’s people. However … experience has taught us otherwise.
It’s counter intuitive to imagine that the Devil is a regular attendee in our assemblies, but he is. Satan has his infiltrators doing his bidding. And many times it goes unnoticed by the regular attenders. Experience has taught us that as well.
Why is the assembly of God’s people, at times, more like a battlefield then a field of lilies? We’ve all heard the horrific stories of church splits, pastors being run off, financial improprieties …. The list could go on and on.
I have to think that if I were the Devil, I’d go to the place where I could claim the most victims in the most efficient manner with the greatest fallout - congregations/churches.
Don’t get me wrong, Satan is an expert sniper. He picks off folks one at a time with alarming accuracy. But, He’s also like a mass bomber as well. He plans his attacks where he can maximize his efforts with the least amount of time and effort.
When we read about the life of Yeshua in the Gospels, it seems like whenever He showed up all Hell broke loose. This was especially true in the synagogues. The hidden spiritual powers felt their authority being challenged — and they didn’t like it.
Consider our passage.
On one occasion, Yeshua gets the demonic forces so enraged that all the synagogue attenders attempt to toss Him from a city on the brow of a hill. Imagine the amount of Satanic rage that lay hidden, buried beneath the surface in the hearts and lives of those people.
On the next occasion in our passage, there’s a guy attending synagogue possessed by an unclean devil and nobody knows it. That’s scary. And on top of that, he seems to be the only one in the assembly that recognized who Yeshua really was. That’s even scarier.
Now, one might conclude that all this happened and went unnoticed because these poor Old Testament people didn’t have the Holy Spirit yet. And therefore, since we’re New Testament people that now have the Holy Spirit, nothing like this could be happening in our congregations.
I’m not saying we should go to our congregations looking for demons under every pew. However, I am saying we do need to be more on the alert for potential spiritual forces that want to reek havoc. Otherwise, one day we’re going wake up and find out there are a lot more tares amongst our wheat than we realized.
So … what was it that fueled the embers of opposition in our passage? Here it is: “And they were astonished at His doctrine: for His Word was with power.” (v.28) Simply put, it was the powerful unleashing of the Word.
The unadulterated and unfiltered preaching of God’s Word will (and always has) shine a light upon the dark pockets in our assemblies. It’s the only thing that will do it. As long as we dumb down God’s Word through pablum like preaching, Satan has nothing to worry about. His tares will be able to hide in plain sight and nobody will be the wiser.
Satan likes, and encourages, pathetically spineless preaching. Could that help to explain, in part, the spiritually deficient state of our people? Perhaps our pulpits are using pea-shooters instead of howitzers.
Preachers aren’t doing anybody any favors when they don’t faithfully present the Word. They are commanded to “preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” (II Timothy 4:2) Preaching is supposed to cause a little discomfort at times.
Solid biblical preaching is the best way to equip God’s people to “put on the whole armor of God, that [they] may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11) We must not hold back from boldly declaring the whole counsel of God. (Acts 20:27). Paul knew that. And the lasting impact of his preaching is affecting lives to this very day.
Satan desires to weaken the structural integrity of God’s people. Let’s not let him in the door.