Demons, Demons Everywhere2
Pastor Mills: [In] Last Sunday['s gospel reading] a demoniac suddenly and brazenly interrupted Jesus’ Sabbath sermon in the synagogue of Capernaum. Modernly we tend not to give credence to demon possession. In first world countries our complacency is no doubt the result of Christianity’s missionary success and historic influence.
Pastor Kavouras replies: As hard as it is to believe when taking stock of the culture, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ still exerts a mighty influence over our nation and its people. As the nitrogen in the atmosphere prevents a conflagration every time a person lights a match so the Gospel, with its message of divine Light and Truth, suppresses the demons. Believe it or not: Things could be worse!
Pastor Mills: Still one only need look to places in the world where the church has been suppressed to see evil in the lives of benighted men and women. And if we look to our own devolving spiritual lives it is hard to deny loss of civility, love, and in public discourse an ascendant animus among men and women holding differing values and views.
Pastor Kavouras replies: In nations where the Gospel is excluded, such as fundamentalist Muslim nations, cruelty under the guise of strict justice and righteousness is the order of the day. Think, for example, of honor killings. The West is not far behind, as it spews the Gospel from its collective psyche at an alarming rate. Thus the troubling increase in demonic evil such as mass shootings, sexual violence, and the irrational narrative of those who are supposed to be the brightest and best among us.
Pastor Mills writes: In any event the profanity of a demoniac confronting Jesus in the synagogue is but paradigmatic of mankind’s problem in general, that by sin we are misshapen, unholy creatures, no longer authentically human in the image and reflecting the likeness of our Creator. We rage against the will of God in our lives and like the possessed man are hostages to an alien spiritual nature.
Pastor Kavouras replies: Though Jesus did not come into the world to fix it, but to redeem it, the Gospel has exerted a calming and civilizing influence wherever it holds sway. What else could happen when people in number turn away from their sins, find remission in the cross, and seek to walk with God each day?
What St. Paul writes is true: "If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.(1 Corinthians 15:19). But let us never discount the temporal blessings the Gospel bestows. By "us" I mean two groups of people. First, let all people know, whether they hold the faith or not, that to give the Gospel free reign is to bless the world, and to rage against it is to curse the world. Secondly, the Baptized. As often as you practice your faith (by by right faith, right worship, and right living) you are lighting a candle, and chasing away the demons. As Scripture says, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." (James 4:7) And as the Lord himself says: Begone Satan! For it is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve." Matthew 4:10
Jesus set you free from Satan's tyranny when he died on the cross. Don't submit again to the yoke of his slavery! Instead in the words of the hymn, "Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ the Newborn King." (TLH #136) By so doing you have an effective hand in the noble quest of making the world a better place. Of leaving it better than you found it.