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THE SERVANT UNDER ATTACK
Intro: Have you ever been misunderstood? Have you ever been misrepresented? Has anyone ever taken your words and motives and twisted them around and used them against you? If you live long enough in this world you are going to face that kind of a personal attack.
I can remember an instance in another church when a certain group in that church took my preaching tapes and listened to them to find words and phrases they disagreed with. These disagreeable sayings were brought up in a business meeting and used to attack me personally. It hurt at the time, but it was a good lesson to me. It served to remind me that God’s servants will be attacked. It also reminded me to think about my words before I say them because I might be called on to give an account of them.
The earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus was surrounded by constant controversy. Nearly everyone He met misunderstood Him and what He came to this world to do. Nearly everyone was guilty of misrepresenting His words and His works. The things He did and said in love were used to attack Him in hate!
We have already seen that the religious leaders had no use for Jesus. They hated Him and they hated everything He said and did. They despised Him so much that they actually plotted to have Him killed, Mark 3:6.
This passage shows Jesus being attack by two groups of people. Both of these attacks have something to teach us about our own walk with the Lord.
If you are a follower of the Lord Jesus, you will come under attack! That is His promise to His followers, John 15:18; 1 John 3:13. No one likes to think about being hated for their faith, but you shouldn’t be surprised when the devil and His crowd attacks you and treats you like they treated Jesus.
Let’s look in on these verses today and see the kind of trials our Lord endured. Watching Him will help us when we face our time of persecution. Notice the attacks Jesus faced as I preach on the subject The Servant Under Attack.
I. v. 20-21 HIS FRIENDS
ATTACKED HIS SANITY
(Ill. The first attack in this passage comes from a very unlikely source: His friends and family. We know it is His family because they cannot get in to see Him because of the great crowds that have gathered around Him. So, they send word to Him to let Him know they want to see Him, v. 31-35. We will look at those verses in detail in our next study.)
A. Their Reasons Jesus has just returned from an all-night prayer meeting in the mountains, Luke 6:12, and from choosing the twelve men who would serve as His disciples, v. 13-18. He and His men have returned to town and have entered into a house, v. 19. They are hoping to get some much needed rest.
Their plans are shattered by a multitude of people who come to Jesus and His men for help. They are so busy ministering to the crowds that they do not even have time to eat a meal.
When His friends hear about what He is doing, their first thought is that Jesus has gone crazy. The phrase, “He is beside Himself means exactly that! Why would they think Jesus was crazy? Look at the evidence:
· He claims to be God – Mark 2:5
· He calls men to follow Him around the country to preach the Word – Mark 3:13-18
· He refuses to rest and take care of Himself – Mark 3:20
· He refuses to work as a carpenter, choosing rather to wander around the country and preach.
· He doesn’t work for a living, but trusts God to supply His needs.
· He draws such vast crowds that there is a danger of His being trampled and crushed by the crowds – Mark 3:9. The danger was so real that Jesus had a boat standing by in case He needed to escape the press of the crowds.
· All the intellectual and learned men in Israel believe that He is crazy too – Mark 3:22.
His relatives misunderstood Jesus and His ministry. Because they couldn’t understand Him, they thought He was off His rocker.
(Ill. It amazes me that there are people in our world who think just like the Lord’s family. For instance, a family has a son or daughter and that young person is starting to spread their wings a little. They are going out and doing things they were taught not to do. Often, the parents will say, “Oh, they’re just sowing their wild oats. They’ll settle down in a little while.
You take that same young person and you let them get saved. They start living for the Lord and doing crazy things like going to church three times a week, praying, reading their Bible, paying their tithes, living clean, dressing right and acting like a Christian.
Those same parents who excused the sin in their child’s life cannot cope with them being sold out for the Lord. They will say things like, “That Jesus stuff has gone to their heads! The have become a fanatic! That religion has made them crazy! Those people over at that church have brainwashed my child. I just don’t understand why he has to live like he does. I worry about him so much. You would almost think they would rather their child live for the devil! Of course, as long as their child is living worse than they do, they dont feel condemned for their own hellish lifestyle. But, you let their child start living a clean, holy life and that ungodly parent becomes ashamed of the way they are living. They cant stand being shown up by someone younger then themselves.
You might as well come to terms with it today, not everyone is happy that you got saved! There will be some people in your family and among your friends that will criticize you for living for Jesus. They will call you fanatic, Jesus freak, religious nut, holier than thou, Holy Roller, preacher, deacon, etc. Of course, Jesus said it would be this way, Matt. 10:34-38.
Don’t let that crowd get to you! They called D.L. Moody “Crazy Moody, because of his zeal for the Lord. They said Paul was mad, Acts 26:24. They said Jesus “hath a devil, Mark 3:22. They said the same thing about Martin Luther, John Bunyan and John Wesley. If serving Jesus is madness, then we need more “Sanctified Insanity in the church today!)
B. Their Remedy These people came to get Jesus. They came to stage an intervention. The phrase lay hold on Him literally means to take by force, to arrest. These people came to grab Jesus, take Him back to Nazareth so lock Him away until His thinking was straightened out. If they had had a mental institution in those days, Jesus would have been locked up by these people.
(Ill. Don’t be shocked at what your family and friends will do to get you off this “Jesus kick. They will try to talk you out of your commitment. They will try to make you feel guilty for putting Jesus and the church ahead of them. They might even try to tempt you to sin. They will try anything they can to draw you away from the Lord. Doing so makes them look better in their own eyes!
When their attacks come, stay strong in your commitment to Him, 1 Cor. 15:58; Gal. 6:9. He saved your soul; He changed your life; He is your Lord; not them. He will help you to stand for Him and live for Him in spite of what anyone else may throw across your path.)
II. v. 22-30 HIS FOES
ATTACKED HIS SPIRITUALITY
(Ill. While His loved ones are on the outside trying to stage an intervention to save Jesus from Himself, the scribes are on the inside listening to Jesus and watching Him work. These men do not attack His sanity, they attack His spirituality. They do not think Jesus is insane, they think He is demon possessed. Let’s examine this attack.)
A. v. 22 The Attack These men consider the words and works of the Lord and they say He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of devils casteth He out devils. They attribute the miracles of the Lord Jesus to the power of the devil. Beyond that, they accuse Jesus of working under the influence of Beelzebub. The name literally means The Lord of Flies or The Lord of Filth.” Beelzebub was a loathsome, wicked demon associated with all things dirty and filthy. It was a cruel, heartless attack. Why would they say something so foolish and so cruel?
· If they acknowledge that Jesus is working His miracles in the power of God, then they will be obligated to follow Him too.
· If they acknowledge that Jesus is working His miracles in the power of God, they will have to admit that their old system of believe is dead and is being replaced.
· If they acknowledge Jesus and what He is doing, they are out of business and they know it! They will have to change and that is not about to happen.
So, they attack Jesus and accuse Him of being in league with the devil. If this charge sticks, they can undermine His ministry with the people and draw away His crowds.
(Ill. It is easy to attack people you don’t agree with. You don’t need facts; just make a few wild accusations and people who are not spiritual will take the bait. When that takes place a life, a reputation, a family, or a ministry can be destroyed.
Beware that you are not in the business of attacking others. When you do, you are truly doing the work of the devil! He is a destroyer 1 Pet. 5:8, and he loves to enlist others in the destruction business!)
B. v. 23-27 The Answer Jesus calls His attackers to Him and He totally destroys their arguments. His uses three illustrations from life that prove Satan cannot be in the business of casting out Satan.
1. v. 24 A Secular Illustration A kingdom in division is a kingdom that cannot stand. When there is civil war and strife within a kingdom, the stability of that kingdom is compromised and that kingdom is more likely to fall. For a kingdom to be strong it must be united.
Satan is out to win the battle between himself and the Lord. He is not going to do anything to weaken himself in that fight. For him to cast out his own demons would be counterproductive.
2. v. 25 A Social Illustration A house that exists in division is a house that cannot stand. Children who grow up in a home where mom and dad fight like cats and dogs do not stand a chance. A marriage that faces a constant barrage of fighting is a marriage that cannot stand. A home is not a home unless it is filled with love, unity and peace.
Again, Satan is out to win! He is not in the business of fighting with himself. It doesn’t make sense!
(Ill. That which is true in a kingdom and in a home is also true in the church. Unity gives us great power with God and against our enemies. Division on the other hand destroys us from within! It is imperative that the church maintain a unity of love and purpose in the midst of differing opinions, 1 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 1:27; 1 Pet. 3:8-9.)
3. A Spiritual Illustration Jesus says that you cannot rob a well defended home unless you first tie up the defender of that home. The illustration is clear, Satan defends his kingdom, but Jesus had the power to invade Satans kingdom and deliver whomsoever he desires from the devils grip. Jesus has power over the devil!
(Ill. It may be that you are in the grip of sin and the devil. Do not despair! Jesus is able to set you free. He is more powerful than Satan and He can invade the fortress of your heart and break the shackles that have you bound. He is able to set the sinner free! (Ill. Rev. 5:9; Gal. 4:5; 1 Pet. 1:18-19)
It may be that you have someone whom you love that is in the grip of sin and the devil. Again, do not despair! Our Lord is able to touch their heart and set them free. He is able to break the bondage of their sinful addictions and give them new life in Himself. Never stop believing and never stop praying. The Lord knows where they are He knows how to reach them.)
C. v. 28-30 The Alarm These religious men do not see the terrible spiritual danger they are in. They have looked at Gods Messiah and called Him the servant of the devil. They have looked that the answer to all the prayers of the saints; the fulfillment of the Law and the prophets and they have accused Him of being demon possessed.
In response to their accusations, Jesus issues a very serious warning to these men. He warns them that they are in danger of crossing the line with God. They are in danger of committing an unpardonable sin.
This matter of the unpardonable sin has caused many people much worry over the years. Many people have talked to me concerned that they or others may have committed this sin. More people than I can remember have come to me worried because they think they are guilty of this sin.
Let’s take a look at these verses and talk about this matter of the unpardonable sin for a few minutes. Perhaps we can shed some light on what it is and how a person can avoid committing it.
1. v. 28 The Sin That Can Be Forgiven Jesus makes a glorious statement in this verse. All manner of sins and blasphemes can be forgiven! Praise the Lord. Take any sin you may have committed; any blaspheme you may have spoken or thought; and it can be forgiven. No matter how vile the sin or the sinner, forgiveness is available if a person will just come to Jesus and ask, 1 John 1:9; Col. 2:13; 1 John 1:7; Isa. 1:18. When sin is brought to Him, He does away with it forever, Psa. 103:12; John 1:29; Heb. 9:26.
Please do not allow some sin or some wicked deed stand between you and Heaven. Regardless of what you are what you have done, He will forgive you and He will not turn you away! (Ill. If the Lord will take Saul of Tarsus, He will take anybody – 1 Tim. 1:12-15.)
2. v. 29 The Sin That Can Never Be Forgiven Having told us that all sin can be forgiven, Jesus now tells us that blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness. The word blaspheme means to speak evil of. The scribes were guilty of speaking evil of the Holy Ghost.
How? Jesus was healing the sick, casting out devils and preaching the Word of God all in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not work in this world as God in the flesh, though He was. Jesus worked in this world as a Spirit filled man. When the scribes attributed the work of the Spirit to the devil, they were guilty of blaspheme against the Spirit. Jesus said they were in danger of committing a sin that could not be forgiven!
The question that arises here is this: is it possible to commit this same unpardonable sin today? The answer is no! This sin could only have been committed by people living in those days when Jesus walked the earth. This sin could only be committed by people who looked into His eyes, saw His miracles, heard His words, experienced His love and grace in action, and said that He was of the devil.
The only way this sin could be committed today is for Jesus to be here in the flesh, doing the same works He was doing then. The unpardonable sin, as it is described in these verses, cannot be committed today! Don’t let the devil, some preacher or some Christian scare you with this accusation. It is impossible to commit this sin today. Even if you could commit it, you would care. If you are concerned about the condition of your soul, you have not committed the unpardonable sin, because the Lord is still speaking to your heart!
(Ill. However, there is a sense in which a person can commit a similar sin that is also unpardonable. You see, even though Jesus is not in this world physically, the Holy Spirit is still testifying of Him, John 15:26. The Spirit of God beings conviction on the heart of the lost person, John 16:7-11; John 6:44.
When the Spirit of God does this, He is calling the sinner to come to Jesus. If the sinner comes, repenting of his sins and believing on Jesus, that sinner will be forgiven and saved. However, if that sinner turns a deaf ear to the call of the Spirit and harden his heart against the will of God, that sinner will continue on his way to Hell. There is no “Plan B. God only speaks through Is Spirit!
If you reject His call, the Spirit of God may call again and He may not. If He does, it is pure grace. If He does not, it was just grace that caused Him to call the first time anyway.
The only unforgivable sin in this day is saying “no to the call of the Holy Spirit for the last time. When He comes calling and you say no for the last time, He will abandon you to your choice and He will allow you to go to Hell!
Please don’t walk away from the Lord today. If He is calling you to come to Him, now is the time to come, 2 Cor. 6:2; Isa. 55:6.)
Conc: Are you under attack for your faith? Are you being misunderstood and misrepresented? If you are being attacked for your faith in Jesus, you are in good company. You ought to come today and thank Him that you are being counted worthy to suffer with Him, Matt. 5:11-12. You should also pray that He will help you to be steadfast for His glory.
If you are lost and He has been calling you to come to Him for salvation, I would suggest to you that you say “Yes to His call today. Come while He is calling. Come while you can be saved.
If there are needs, this altar is open today. The Lord stands ready to receive you and to help you.