Friday, August 3, 2018
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Okay, I'm sort of a news junkie, and I really like to watch a national news cast sometime before the day is over. But there are some words I cringe at when I hear them in the news, like "hostage". I mean, soon as you hear that word "hostage" you know that there is a potential life or death standoff going on between some angry desperate assailant and the officers. The law enforcement people are trying to save the hostages that he's holding. You know, recently I talked with a police officer friend of mine, and I asked him how they handle those dangerous rescues. He said, "First you want to use something like tear gas, or fatigue, or a marksman. Then what you've got to do is to immobilize the hostage taker."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Spiritual Tear Gas."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 12:29, and Jesus is describing the ultimate rescue operation. "How can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house."
Now first of all, Satan's the strong man in the context here. When Jesus talks about Satan's possessions, I believe He's talking about people that he thinks he has. People who don't know Christ, who belong to the enemy because they've never been rescued by the Lord Jesus. And when you carry off Satan's possessions that should never have belonged to him, you are literally bringing those people to a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:13 describes it this way, it talks about the fact that we have been rescued from the Kingdom of Darkness. God has placed us in the Kingdom of His dear Son. You see, evangelism is really a rescue operation.
Now Jesus describes the mission further in these words in Luke 11:21-22. "When a strong man" there's the devil again, "fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe." O.K. now Satan is fighting to hang on to the people that you know who are without Christ. But it goes on to say, "But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder."
See, our Lord wants us to see these people who we work with, or go to school with, or that we live near, or we recreate with. See, they're prisoners of the Prince of Darkness. And if we see what Jesus sees, that's what we'll see. He's trying desperately to hang on to them until the day they die so he can have them forever. But Jesus wants us also to see the life-or-death mission that we each have to rescue them by introducing them to the Savior. But often in our efforts to reach people for Christ we miss an essential first step. Just like the police in a hostage situation, we have to immobilize the assailant before we go running in to rescue his hostages. Like Jesus said we have to tie his hands. We need to tie up Satan first.
Now no program can do that, no plan, no organization, no work. You can only tie Satan's hands through prayer. Any rescue effort that is not preceded with a strong enemy neutralizing time of prayer is likely to fail. We need to spend fervent time with the One described here as "someone stronger." Oh, I love that! We need to pray by the Name and the Blood of Jesus that the enemies efforts to blind, to distract, to confuse, and hold his prisoners will be totally overcome by Jesus. That kind of prayer is the spiritual tear gas that renders the devil powerless.
My police friend said that the bottom line whenever an assailant is holding hostages is this, "Never let him be in charge." Well, especially when that hostage taker is the devil himself. On our knees, unleashing the overcoming power of a resurrected Jesus we can make sure that our enemy is not in charge.