While doing research for today’s sermon I came across an illustration that describes a house which sat empty because its owner lived in a houseboat. He didn’t maintain his old residence at all. So the bushes and trees grew up around it in a fast phase. Everybody in the neighborhood knew the house was unoccupied and very soon it became a hangout for drug addicts, vandals and prostitutes who broke into the house.
Jesus in his parable titled “The empty house” uses this very same scenario to describe what happens to a man or a woman who is an empty house. Here are some observations on the parable and its implications for the church.
Text: Matthew 12:43-45
1. The nature of the evil spirits
I. Occupies dry places as believed by the Jews. A modern interpretation would be that demons occupy places in which God isn’t present.
II. A strong desire to bring harm upon God’s creation, including us. They cannot rest until there’s an opportunity to carry out their evil plots.
III. According to Jesus’ parable they tend to visit their former victims again. Many experienced Christians have testified to such incidents.
2. The need for regeneration
I. Upon his return if the demon finds the body he left is not occupied by the Holy Spirit, he will cause more havoc by introducing his allies into that body.
II. This indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not parallel to deliverance. The person must be regenerated.
III. Regeneration is the process of transformation the Holy Spirit carries out in a person followed by repentance and submission to Jesus.
3. The dangers of religion
I. Jesus said it will be the same with this wicked generation. He was referring to the entire nation. Not just the religious leaders of the day.
II. The observation of religion was seen by Jews as the only path to righteousness. Anything higher or more spiritual (Jesus) was condemned.
III. Like the man in the parable the Jewish religion succeeded in sweeping and garnishing the soul. But it could not replace the spiritual vacuum in them.
I. The presence of God
God’s presence should be an ongoing experience in our lives. If his presence is missing from our lives something else will take his place.
II. Personal repentance
Deliverance without repentance is short lived. The Holy Spirit begins to indwell us only upon repentance and acceptance of Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.
III. Walking in grace
In an age even the church is facing the danger of being religionized let us not forget that grace is the core of Christianity and remember to walk in it every day.
Image: Cindy Cornett