Jump Start # 2190
Luke 11:24 “When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’”
Our verse today is one of the shorter parables found in Luke. It is obscure. When studying the parables, this one is often left out. In this section, Luke shows Jesus’ powerful fight against Satan. Demons were being cast out. Darkness was evaporating into the light of truth. The hand of God was at work. The removal of demons was a sign that the kingdom of God had come.
Jesus tells two stories, parables. The first is about a strong man who guarded his house and possessions. That’s Satan. Someone stronger comes, that’s Jesus, overpowering the strong man, then plunders the house. Jesus was winning souls. Satan’s greatest power was death, and Jesus would soon bust that wide open with His own resurrection. The first of many more to come. The enslavement of sin was being destroyed by the faith and hope that was found in Christ. Good news, the Gospel, was filling the air and sweeping the land. The dominance of Satan was over. The strong man had been overcome.
The second story, is about a demon that left a man and went searching for rest. Unable to find any, he returns to the man and finds it all swept and in order. The demon brings seven more evil spirits with him, and they dwell in the man. The end is worse than the beginning. This story is connected to the first one. Once a person has come to Christ through faith, his house is swept. He’s cleaned up. It’s like the naked demon possessed man in Mark 5. Once the demons left, the man was sitting down, clothed and in his right mind. His house was swept. Obedience to Christ, cleans our hearts and our souls. Forgiveness and grace changes us. New attitudes. New thinking. Walking like Jesus. Compassion fills what was once selfish hearts. Kindness has replaced indifference. Righteousness dominates our choices. The house is swept.
My last year of college, me and three other friends rented a small house. It was a dump, a real dump. While some of the guys were working on the yard, that was nearly knee high, I started scrubbing the floor. Walking across the floor would leave footprints, it was that dirty. It’s from this image that my college nickname, “Mamma” came from. One of the guys looked in the window and there I was on my hands and knees trying to clean that floor. They said that I looked just like mamma back home. It took a long time for me to move away from that nickname and I won’t share some of the ridiculous and embarrassing things that came with being called that, even by my teachers. But when we boys got done, the house was clean. The house was swept. But what Jesus is saying, if you don’t keep it clean by staying with Jesus, Satan will be back. If you do not follow Christ and obey Him, Satan will fill your heart and the end will be worse than the beginning. Following these words Jesus declared, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” The house is swept. The house is clean. But if you don’t keep it that way, Satan will be back and it will be worse than before.
It is in this second story that our verse is found. It is a quotation from the unclean spirit. The demon, or unclean spirit declares, ‘I will return to my which from which I came.’ The house, is the life and heart of a person. Once evicted, this demon is returning, and he is coming with more companions. Seven of them. Worse than he is. And, they will only make matters worse.
Today, our thoughts gather around the ownership of the house. Whose house is it? The demon declared, ‘I will return to my house”. Did the house, did the person, the life, the soul, belong to the demon? He thought so. He declared that it was his house. The demon was overstepping his boundary. He was claiming something that didn’t belong to him. The house wasn’t his. It was never his. He was trespassing and freeloading. The house belongs to God. We are made in the image of God. We are created to glorify God. We are wired in such a way to desire God and to want to spend eternity with God in Heaven.
How often do we refer to the church building as “God’s house.” In the O.T., the Temple was God’s house. The Babylonians took all the articles out of the house of God and they burned the house of God (2 Chron. 36:18-19). That house, was a real house, a building, The Temple. But here, Jesus is showing us God’s true house is our lives.
We do not belong to demons. We are not the property of Satan. We belong to God, and doubly so, if we are a Christian. The blood of Jesus, ransomed us and purchased us and we now belong to God. We are His.
So, before us is the grand issue of just how do we take care of God’s house. It’s not ours. It’s not Satan’s. It belongs to God.
Some have a rental car philosophy. I rent many cars. The people know me because I always rent from the same place. I have walked right back into the rental office before and requested a different car after we have signed papers. The reason, the car was too dirty or in most cases, smelled like smoke. One of the guys that cleans the cars was telling me how trashed the cars are when people return them. Filth. Mud. Trash. Spills not wiped up. Stains on the carpet and on the seats. Burned marks on the ceiling of the interior. Why do people treat these rental cars so carelessly? Because it’s not theirs. They don’t care. If it was their own cars, they’d treat them better. This is how some treat God’s house. Abused, misused, neglected and nearly destroyed. Never feeding the soul. Never giving any thought to the eternal. Never taking care of the spiritual heart. The rental car concept has destroyed many lives.
We need to keep the house swept.
We do that by dumping the junk that comes into our lives every day. Negative thoughts. Impure thoughts. Attitudes that are not healthy. Judgmental and condemning spirits. Some things are not worth reading. Some things are not worth watching. If you are not careful the trash will build up in your hearts and Christ won’t have any room. Satan will be back and it will be worse than what it was before.
Live with a purpose. God has a plan for you. Follow that. Obey the Lord. Live righteously. Think of others. In a selfie world, it’s hard not to be consumed with self. But we must. Pray. Pray often. Pray deeply.
Repent of your sins. Satan will always lurk around. He’s got his eye on you, but so does the Lord. Recognizing words that we shouldn’t have said, or attitudes that weren’t nice, or selfish moments, change those and confess those. Get close to the Lord. He’ll get your house clean.
Surround your life with godly people. They have a way of helping us to think the best. They have a way of getting us off the lazy seat and they encourage us to be what we ought to be. Quality people in your life will make a great difference in your life. People that you can count on. People that will be honest with you. People that put the Lord first. These are the people that you and I need to call friends.
The house belongs to the Lord. You are merely taking care of it. How are you doing with that?