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The Demon of Distraction

The Demon of Distraction

Words of Faith 3-26-18

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 4

    [31] Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people. [32] They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority.

    [33] In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, [34] "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!"

 

     Jesus has just left what most would call a stunning failure.  In His home town of Nazareth, Jesus was rejected, but Jesus did not miss a beat.  He did not withdraw or lick his wounds.  No pity party here. He marched right down to Capernaum, a place where He had already been received, and began to teach again. 

    As Jesus taught in the synagogue it was immediately clear that this teaching was different.  Rabbis typically would read the Law and then cite the various rulings and opinions of famous rabbis.  This form of teaching, like the giving of case law, was complicated and tedious.  It often did not lead people any closer to the Lord. 

     But Jesus did something quite different.  He did not quote any Rabbis.  He did not site any case law.  He taught out of His own authority. Clear and concise. The difference was noticeably powerful.  He had authority that came from the most personal relationship possible with God, His Word, His Law, and His Grace. 

       That kind of teaching has power. As soon as this sort of Word begins to enter our lives things start to happen.  People begin to grow and respond as they awaken to the truth of God.  Scripture is clear about the power of the Word that comes with authority.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  We are cleansed by the washing of water and the Word.  The authoritative Word dynamically changes people and it is more than the enemy can stand. 

       Whenever the Word is at work, the devil will take notice.  Sure enough, there was an attack.  There was a new confrontation with evil.  The devil who left until an opportune time had found his opportunity.  It was not in the desert; it was in the synagogue! 

      As Jesus was teaching, there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, "Ha!"  This time the encounter was not with the Devil himself but an underling.  The enemy used two different tactics-- disruption and misdirection. 

      A loud utterance in a place of worship was a huge distraction.  "HA!"  But it makes perfect sense.  There is nothing that the devil wants more than to disrupt the teaching of the Word and distract. The devil and his cohorts will do anything possible to get you off track from the Word or to disrupt the teaching of the Word. 

      In this case, the distraction was a simple outburst.  But the enemy has many more sophisticated ploys designed to distract.  He may use disruptions.  He will create factions.  He will incite us to gossip.  He may even entice us with busy activity, even religious activity.  He may attempt to involve us in good works to the exclusion of the Word.  There can be many great community activities that draw us away from the Word.  Weekends get jammed with sporting events that distract us.  Whatever it takes.

      Every day and any Sunday that the devil can get us distracted from the Word he wins a battle.  Every Sunday that a teacher sets aside the Sunday School lesson or arrives unprepared, the enemy has won.  Every Sunday that the devil can get us to settle for eating doughnuts and prolonged conversation rather than hearing the Word, he has won.  If the enemy can distract us through a person, an event or an interesting but unrelated question, he has won. 

       Every time that we stay out of Bible study, he has won.  Every Sunday that we miss being in a place of sound teaching, he has won.  Every time we cancel our Bible study, he has won.  Every time he gets us to look at some spectacle instead of the Word, the devil has won.  Every time we are distracted from the Word in worship, he has won. 

       I have been in worship services where it was obvious that Word was being proclaimed with authority, because the enemy took notice and began to throw in the disruptions.  The sound system would screech, fits of coughing would distract, a baby would cry, or people get up and just wander around. Once a bird flew into a Sanctuary where a great message was being given and drew everyone's attention away from the Word. Sometimes strange things happen, and more often than not, that is a sign we are on the right track and the enemy is trying to distract us. 

     Jesus taught directly on this issue when He was in the home of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38