Who is This? The Deliverer!

January 30, 2018

21 Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law.
23 Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24 “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25 But Jesus reprimanded him. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. 26 At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him.
27 Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” 28 The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee.

Authoritative teaching brings out the evil spirits here. Who is this? The Deliverer!

This was an overt confrontation. But what about us? What are some of the evil spirits we deal with?

Truth is, in our culture, for better or for worse, we do not see overt manifestations of demons like this very often. But that doesn’t mean we are without our problems. The single biggest problem we have which opposes the authority and presence of Jesus is RIGHT HERE! It’s Self!

AW Tozer writes of this challenge to each of us and he compares it to a veil. A covering. Something blocking the unhindered flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives to transform us.

Where does he get that idea? From the Bible…

2 Corinthians 3:13 We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14 But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.
16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

Do you recall what happened when the Jews saw Moses after he was on Mt. Sinai for 40 days and night receiving the 10 Commandments? His face was GLOWING with the Glory of God! It was awesome. But what did the people ask him to do? Cover it up! They didn’t want that much glory. It disturbed them.

It was the same way when the mountain was quaking with fire and smoke. They said to Moses, you go up there. We don’t want to go up there or we will die. You go to God for us.

You see, we like our safe distances away from God. We have more control that way.

The idea of the veil in 2 Corinthians 3 was referring specifically to Jews and their religious heritage, but Tozer sees an application to all of us, Gentiles included, who hold onto a veil that keeps us arms distance away from God. It must be removed.

“What is it? What but the presence of a veil in our hearts? A veil not taken away as the first veil was, but which remains there still shutting out the light and hiding the face of God from us. It is the veil of our fleshly, fallen nature living on, unjudged within us, uncrucified and unrepudiated. It is the close-woven veil of the self-life which we have never truly acknowledged, of which we have been secretly ashamed, and which for these reasons we have never brought to the judgement of the cross…an enemy to our lives and an effective block to our spiritual progress.” (The Pursuit of God, Tozer 42)

“The threads of this veil are not something we do, they are something we are, and therein lies both their subtle and their power…self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them. They dwell too deep and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them.” (Tozer 42)

Self can live (very long) unrebuked at the very altar. Religious people can exist for a looooong time without removing that veil.

One of the greatest passages in the Bible that describes what we are getting at is in a conversation between Jesus and his leading disciple, Peter.

21 From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.
22 But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”
23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

“We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us. We must bring our self-sins to the cross for judgment. We must prepare ourselves for an ordeal of suffering in some measure like that through which our Savior passed when He suffered under Pontius Pilate.” (Tozer 43)

“It is never fun to die. To rip through the dear and tender stuff of which life is made can never be anything but deeply painful. Yet that is what the cross did to Jesus and it is what the cross would do to every man to set him free.” (Tozer 43)

We have known too many church-going Christians who are NOT FREE. Ego, Fears, Absorbed with Self, Pride.

God wants us free. He will do the work, but we have to “take up our cross”. We have to be willing to lose our lives. This is an invitation to pain.

There is a word of caution here. Many religious leaders who are actually wolves in sheep’s clothing, charlatans, understand this principle. It is within us. Innately, we understand that like Jesus, our journey leads to a cross. We know deep down that is where the victory lies and so we are open to this conversation and then a wolf comes in and says give it to me, along with your money or your body, or whatever. (Tozer 44)

This has to be the work of God. People must only facilitate and encourage the work in others, not interfere with it.

“Let us beware of tinkering with our inner life, hoping ourselves to rend the veil. God must do everything for us. Our part is to yield and trust. We must confess, forsake, repudiated the self-life, and then reckon it crucified. But we must be careful to distinguish lazy “acceptance” from the real work of God. We must insist upon the work being done. We dare not rest content with a neat doctrine of self-crucifixion. That is to imitate Saul and spare the best of the sheep and the oxen.” (Tozer 44)

“Insist that the work be done in very truth and it will be done. The cross is rough and it is deadly, but it is effective. It does not keep its victim hanging there forever. There comes a moment when its work is finished and the suffering victim dies. After that is resurrection glory and power, and the pain is forgotten for joy that the veil is taken away and we have entered in actual spiritual experience the presence of the living God.” (Tozer 44)

Let’s pray that we enter into that work.

I pray that you might have a “Cone of Silence” (from Get Smart) experience with God today. Where God and you can communicate together without interruption or interference and He can reveal to your heart where you might have a VEIL that needs to be removed.

Let’s pray…


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