Even the Demons Believe and Tremble

Miracles  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Satan is not free to do as he pleases, he can only do what God has allowed him to do.



Series Recap - Miracles, Showing the Providence of God in the natural world, the spiritual world and over life and death
My definition of providence - sovereignty means that he is over all things, providence means that he is not only over all things, he interacts with all things, directs all things for his purposes
Last week - Calmness in the Storm - That God is not only with us in the storm but he sees us through it and is in control of it
Today - Even the Demons Believe and Tremble
Satan and his demons are not free to do as they please, they can only do what God has allowed them to do.
This might be surprising to some
we have heard so often the Satan is the King of this World and can do whatever he desires
he does roam this world and look for those that he might devour, but he can do nothing in this world that is not with the permission of God
Think of Job, in chapter 1. Satan seeks permission to test Job, God gives the permission, with boundaries

When he had come to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him as they came out of the tombs. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 Suddenly they shouted, “What do you have to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”

30 A long way off from them, a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 “If you drive us out,” the demons begged him, “send us into the herd of pigs.”

32 “Go!” he told them. So when they had come out, they entered the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water.

In this miracle we see that Jesus is not only more powerful than the demons, but they are as obedient as the wind and waves when he gives a command.

Demons are Un-Challenging

Suddenly they shouted, “What do you have to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”

One thing that always caught my attention whenever Jesus cast out demons, they know who he is
there is no challenge on who this is
when we go to children’s camp I wear a t-shirt that tells everyone that I am the official adult of the group
because sometimes when I am around a lot of children, it is hard to tell
these demons call him the “Son of God”
this is something that the Father calls him twice in scripture
after his baptism - This is my Son in whom I am well pleased
on the Mt. Transfiguration - This is my Son, listen to Him
this is a term that is used in Psalm 2:7 & 12;

7 I will declare the LORD’s decree.

He said to me, “You are my Son;

today I have become your Father.

this is a Psalm that they would sing anytime they would anoint a new king. The Father uses this term, Son of God, to show that this is the Messiah, the Eternal King of Israel
This is what the demons know him as, there is no confusion
something the disciples did not do as of yet
they had seen him cast out demons, heal people and calm storms and all they could say was, “What kind of man is this, even the wind and waves obey him.”
there was no discussion, Jesus’ feet were still in the water coming to shore off the boat
what do you want with us, why are you here, it is not time!
They did not challenge his power
Are you here to torment us?
they knew their time was limited, that a time would come when Jesus would judge them and cast them out
showing that their theology is better than ours
they know who God is
they believe that there is no power anywhere that can stand against him
They did not doubt who Jesus is, or his power, but we do
We constantly doubt who God is
is he really merciful, maybe I should do a little work just in case I need some help getting into Heaven
does he really love me
maybe he will cast me out like the demons,
maybe he will forget that I am here at all
is he really God
is this really God in the flesh who came to take away the sins of the world, better yet, take away my sin
Too often, if we do get to the point that we believe that he loves us enough to act in our lives, we doubt his power to actually do so
The demons were unchallenging in who he is and the power that he has
the tense is important, Jesus is not just somebody that was in the past, he is alive right now and he just as powerful
Jesus is alive today, and the unchallenged power over the demons he had then he still has today

Demons are Obedient

There is so much we can learn about the demons from this passage
they love death
they lived in the tombs
I do not believe because this is simply where the people put them because they could not contain them any other way
the demons wanted to be around death
once inside the pigs they rush to the sea in a suicidal rage
Matthew 8:32 CSB
32 “Go!” he told them. So when they had come out, they entered the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water.
On thing that jumps out… they are obedient
Jesus says go, they go!
more obedience than we ever have
we obey with a limited understanding / they fully know who he is
we obey with a sense of pride
as if we deserve something because of our obedience
we are so much like the Pharisees in that aspect,
thank you for not making me like one of those sinners
look how amazing I am for obeying God
don’t believe me, look how often we have posts on social media showing us having a quiet time
I am having such an amazing time with Jesus that I am going to leave it and get on social media
the demons obeyed in a humble and fearful way
am I saying that we should obey out of a sense of fear
yes… we should absolutely obey God because we love him and owe him our all
but we should absolutely obey him out of a sense of fear for who he is
He is the holy God
He is the one who can kill your body and soul in Hell
Matthew 10:28 CSB
28 Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
this is what Jesus tells his followers after warning them the persecution will come to those who follow him
The demons were simply obedient to the commands of Jesus, are we
Mark Twain illustration - Man told Mark Twain that one of his life goals was to travel to the holy land and read the ten commandments on Mt Sinai. Twain responded, “you could start by obeying them in Boston.”

Demons Can’t Stop God

To some, the thought that God allows Satan to do evil brings questions
number one on the list, would be, “If God is truly over Satan, that Satan cannot do anything without the permission of God, why not just take Satan out? Why allow him to roam and devour, causing chaos and pain all over the world?”
Because of how God is defeating Satan, I believe that it is better for us, that Satan is defeated slowly, in the perfect time of God than with one word of God and have him gone for good
John Piper, Providence four ways that God is defeating Satan slowly instead of one quick strike
Satan is being defeated with showing
showing who Jesus is, that he is the Son of God who came to take away the sins of the world
something that the disciples were starting to see with these miracles that they were witnessing
Satan is being defeated with suffering
Christ suffered the most painful death on the cross, which means salvation for us
Colossians 2:13–14 CSB
13 And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with him and forgave us all our trespasses. 14 He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.
if there was no suffering of Jesus there would be no salvation for your souls
Satan is being defeated with Satan
What Piper means by this is that the plans of Satan work out for the good of the Lord
think of Paul and his thorn in the flesh
2 Corinthians 12:6–9 CSB
6 For if I want to boast, I wouldn’t be a fool, because I would be telling the truth. But I will spare you, so that no one can credit me with something beyond what he sees in me or hears from me, 7 especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. 8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.
Satan comes up with a plan to torment Paul in effort to get him to stop following the Lord, to get him to doubt the Lord, not be so zealous for the Lord and God uses it to show Paul what true grace is, how the grace of God is all that we truly need
without this messenger from Satan, Paul knows he would be boasting of the extraordinary revelations that the Father has given him
the thorn that Satan sends only drives Paul closer to the Lord
We see this all the time
Satan’s two main ways of attacking people
cause enough suffering that you do not believe that God cares
give you so much that you do not think that you need God, or that God might even need you
Satan is defeated by savory
by allowing Satan to continue in his work, we get to truly see the difference between the evil that is satan and the grace and love that is our God
that we would truly savor God and desire him
2 Corinthians 12:9 CSB
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.
Satan will be defeated, but please know, that the removal of Satan would not remove your future sin
meaning that if Satan and his demons were sent to Hell for all eternity today, we would still sin tomorrow
may we not be so foolish to believe that we would not sin if Satan was not here
the reason we will not sin in heaven is not because Satan will not be there
but because we will have new glorified bodies
we will know him fully as we are fully known
James 1:14–15 CSB
14 But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. 15 Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.
all Satan does is help you see what it is that you already desire in your own heart
we sin because we desire to be God ourselves
James tells us that we need to draw near to God and flee Satan
James 4:7–10 CSB
7 Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
God is over Satan providentially
Satan has no power that God does not permit him to have
but if God removed him and his evil ways, it is still us who would have sin on our hands
that sin should break our hearts that because of that sin, Jesus had to go to the cross
humble yourself and repent, and he will not cast us out as the demons, but exalt us to spend eternity with him!
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