November 13, 2019
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It's one of the ugly words of our time - hostage. I mean, look, we've all seen our share of hostage situations on the news. Right? Some right here in the United States. When someone has taken a hostage or several hostages, the first thing they do is bring in the hostage negotiating team and the police do their very best to use their psychology and their human relations to talk that person, of course, into releasing their hostages.
Sometimes the person will give up and the hostages go free. But too often the negotiations fail, and then it can get a little more violent. Well, in come the highly trained commando units, the SWAT teams, and if necessary they'll shoot the hostage taker, because that's the only way hostages can be saved. But can you imagine just rushing in there to rescue the hostages without first dealing with the one who is holding the hostages? Well, we do that all the time.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Free the Hostages."
Our word for today from the Word of God is in Mark 3, and I'll begin reading at verse 26. Here's what Jesus says: "If Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions until he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house." So, Jesus says here that it's necessary, if we're going to take people back from the strong man, and we know from the context that strong man is Satan, that we first have to tie him up - to bind him to deal with the hostage taker. See, you don't negotiate the Devil out of his hostages. You don't shoot the Devil, but you tie his hands. That's Jesus' strategy.
Now, who are these people that are referred to as "his possessions"? Well, they're some people you know; people in your life whose lives the Devil is pretty much having his way with. They may not know it's the Devil - probably don't. You can tell pretty much that they're away from the Lord. In fact, it might even be someone you love very much.
I know you've prayed for his hostages. You want to have them freed. You talk to them sometimes about Jesus; you worry about them. But so often we miss what Jesus said is the first step - tying up the one who is holding the hostage. You can't neutralize the Devil with a program, or a committee, or words, or a task force, or marches, or demonstrations. He is bound only by the prayers of God's people. And I don't mean, "Now I lay me down to sleep" or "Bless the missionaries" kind of prayers. This is prayer that aims all the majestic resurrection power of Jesus Christ at the enemy who is holding the lives we care about.
The book of Revelation says "they overcame him by the word of their testimony and by the blood of the Lamb." You plead the blood of Jesus, you come against the Devil's grip on those people. And you come under the power of the blood of Jesus Christ. The Devil's death warrant was signed in the blood of Jesus. This isn't a human struggle. It's a clash of supernatural kingdoms.
See, the person you want to rescue from being a hostage of the enemy? You can't just go running in to try to bring them out. You've got to first fight for them on your knees. Deal with the one who is holding the hostage. Turn Jesus loose on them! It says in Mark 3:11, "Whenever the evil spirits saw Jesus they fell down before Him and they cried, 'You are the Son of God!'" They didn't fight. They fell down.
When the Devil is confronted with the presence, and the power, and the name of Jesus Christ, he surrenders and the hostages can go free.