Today I want us to consider the parable of the empty house. To put my message in perspective I would like to share briefly a story I found while preparing this sermon. That story was about a house that sat empty because its owner lived in a houseboat. He abandoned his old residence and bushes and trees grew up around it in a short time. Very soon it became a hangout for drug addicts, vandals, and prostitutes.
In this parable, Jesus likened a man delivered from demon possession and yet not repented to an empty house. In context, the main point of Jesus’ parable was not on principles of demon possession. His point was the seriousness of rejecting Him as completely as the Pharisees had. Nevertheless, the parable of the empty house shows us some interesting principles of demon possession also. Let’s read from Matthew 12:43-45.
1. The Parable of the Empty House shows the Nature of the Evil Spirits
I. The Jews believed that demons occupied dry places. A modern interpretation would be demons occupying places where God isn’t present.
II. They are driven by a strong desire to harm God’s creation, including us. They can’t rest until there’s an opportunity to carry out their evil plots.
III. The parable of the empty house, shows they tend to revisit their former hosts. Many experienced Christians have testified to such incidents.
2. The Parable of the Empty House shows 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 from demon possession. 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 Parable of the Empty House shows 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, Judaism as a religion was good at sweeping and garnishing the soul but not filling the vacuum in man.
The Parable of the Empty House dispenses some very familiar and powerful yet not so well received implications for us today. Let’s consider these truths and their relevance to us living in the 21st century.
A. The Presence of God must be a daily Experience
In life, God’s presence must be a regular experience. If not some other spiritual presence will take that place. Apart from the Holy Trinity, there are only two types of spirits: Angels and Demons. Angels don’t possess us.
B. Deliverance without Repentance is Temporary
Without repentance, deliverance doesn’t last. The Holy Spirit begins to indwell us only upon repentance and acceptance of Christ as our Lord and personal Savior.
C. We are to live by God’s grace and not by Religion
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 because religion will always leave us dry and empty.
It’s interesting that Jesus said this parable to a group of Pharisees who demanded a sign just like the masses of our time who chase after signs and wonders but not after the undiluted gospel or its life-transforming power.
The parable of the empty house shows that Jesus regarded demons and demon possession as real phenomena and not just contemporary superstition. This is a very important fact because there are churches that don’t believe demons are real and they possess a personal interest in every individual on earth. We learn that Apparently demons (or at least some of them) desire a human host and look for a place among the empty, seeing it as an invitation.
Ultimately this parable presses the urgency for repentance which precedes regeneration and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Being far more heavily possessed by a host of demons, resulting in severe suffering, is worse than being possessed by a demon. Being filled with the Holy Spirit of God is the solution to such anguish. Today even if you forget all the three truths we learned from this parable don’t forget to live a life filled with the Holy Spirit.
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