Words of Faith 3-27-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice,  "Ha! 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!"
 "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.
 All the people were amazed and said to each other, "What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!"  And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.
The first ploy of the enemy to draw people away from the Word of God was simply distraction by disruption. There was a second ploy as Jesus dealt with a demon in the Capernaum synagogue. It was misdirection. The unclean spirit addressed Jesus in an unexpected way.
"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!"
This devil knew who Jesus was, and said so! If we did not know better we might think that this man was quite religious and very discerning, among the first to identify the Messiah. But it was a misdirection.
The enemy used several forms of misdirection. The enemy identified with the people by using a plural pronoun. If we did not know from Luke that this was a demon, we might assume the man was speaking for the people. The enemy also claimed and professed the religious knowledge of who Jesus was. The enemy tried to create a misdirection by actually revealing the identity of Jesus before the right time! The misdirection may have been an attempt to draw Jesus into a religious controversy.
The key here is to recognize the profound difference between knowing who Jesus is and actually trusting by faith His identity and work of salvation. In other words, don't be fooled by religious talk or by people who use the name of Jesus.
Jesus was clear, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Matthew 7:21-23)
James, the brother of Jesus cautioned, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder" (James 2:19). Religious talk and easy belief are not the same as saving faith.
The enemy also claimed to be a victim of the Lord. Often the enemy will use this ploy of bringing complaint against the Lord, "Would you destroy us?" The victim syndrome has been around a long time and can be a huge misdirection.
The response of Jesus to all this was simple and direct. "Be quiet!" Jesus said sternly. Jesus quieted the demon. He might have engaged or debated it. He might have been flattered by the confession. Basically the demon was the only one so far who has really confessed who Jesus was.
"Come out of him!" Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. All the people were amazed and said to each other, "What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!" The news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.
We need to see that it was the Word of Christ that quieted the distraction and cleansed the misdirection. We cannot battle in our flesh. The enemy works in similar ways today seeking to distract the people of God from the Word, from worship and from His purpose among them. The devil and his cohorts are not so much at work in the world where people have already given themselves over to worldliness and the flesh.
In Capernaum the devils went to the synagogue first. The devil is much more at work in the church where the Word of Truth threatens to call people to repentance and new life, than in the places where people are already astray.
The forms may change and the temptations may vary. But the devil and his cohorts seek disrupt, distract and misdirect the people of God. We need to do whatever it takes to focus on the Word of God, worship the Lord, quiet the voices of distraction, and remove the misdirection of the enemy.
If you are not in the Word of God, you need to be there. If you are not in a place of vital worship, you need to get there. In the last passage in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught on the danger of getting distracted from the Word. "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." (Matthew 7:24-27)
Father God, may Your Word cleanse and empower Your church. Clear out the disruptions and distractions. Keep us focused on You. Give us discernment and free us from misdirection. May we worship You in Spirit and in Truth. In Jesus' name.