Mark 3: 23-28
And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.” The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.
Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
We don’t often hear sermons about this passage yet how important it is to the Lord’s disciples.
Crowds were gathering wherever Jesus went, and most notably when He came home to Capernaum. And of course, the Pharisees were there – they always were – and they were accusing Jesus of casting out demons by the power of satan.
In His answer Jesus begins with a pointed question: How can Satan cast out Satan? You would think that the Pharisees would have said ‘DUH’! But they didn’t.
Jesus continued by explaining that if demons were cast out by the power of the devil, then satan was fighting against himself! And if that were true, satan’s kingdom would quickly disintegrate.
As a house divided against itself cannot stand, so neither could the kingdom of satan continue to exist if one evil spirit was fighting another evil spirit in their quest to possess the minds and bodies of men and women.
We recognize the wisdom of that principle in the life of a nation or a community. Division wreaks havoc.
But have you thought of it this way?
Do you not know that your body is a temple [house] of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? I Cor. 6:19
The worst division of all in the life of a disciple of Jesus is the division within oneself. To say it another way, the worst division of all is when your soul is in a state of war with your spirit.
The soul is comprised of your mind, will and emotions. The spirit is the eternal part of you, where the Spirit of God dwells in you. Therefore the body and the soul are the ‘house’ in which your spirit is host to the Spirit of God. If your ‘house’ is at war with your ‘spirit’, chaos disrupts your relationship with the Lord, as well as your inner peace, joy and fruitfulness. To make it simple: when your selfishness overrules what the Word of God calls you to be, you are at war with yourself whether you acknowledge it or not.
Paul expounded on this truth: For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. Romans 8:5-9
So how do we keep from living in a state of ‘war’ within ourselves? Look at what Jesus said next.
No one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house. Mark 3:27
Jesus acknowledges that satan is ‘strong’ but there is One Who is stronger – Jesus Himself. After His death on Calvary, Jesus invaded satan’s dwelling (hell) and by the power of His shed blood, Jesus bound ‘the strong man’ and ‘plundered his house.’ Then He preached to the Old Testament saints waiting in Sheol, was raised from the dead and they after Him (Matt. 25) and shortly thereafter ascended into heaven and was enthroned as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
It is because Jesus ALREADY entered the strong man’s house and ALREADY bound the enemy and plundered his property, that you and I are empowered to live this life in the peace and victory of Jesus Himself who did only what He saw the Father do and spoke only what He heard the Father speak. Jesus lived from His Spirit, not from His flesh, so that we might be empowered to do the same.
News flash! The war has been won!
Our thoughts, our emotions and our choices (our will) CAN and MUST operate in submission to the Word of God and the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit within our spirits. The Spirit of God will never tell you to do something that is not in keeping with the Word of God.
Sadly, the Pharisees just didn’t get it! But we must.
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. I John 3:8
He did it for us. ‘It is finished’. There is grace for each of us to live a ‘united’ life and to be free of the chaos of division within our own beings.
Praise the name of the Lord!