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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

He Who is not With Me (Luke 11.23)
Date Posted: October 26, 2020

When the previously mute person spoke, it was quite enough to convince those who were open-minded of Jesus' authority. However, not everyone concluded that He was sent from God; some accused Him of being one of Satan's ministers. Specifically, they said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” (Luke 11.15).

“But He [Jesus], knowing their thoughts, said to them: 'Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.'” (Luke 11.17-23).

It was from this discourse that we get our saying, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” This was also the text to which Lincoln alluded when he gave his House Divided speech to the representatives of the Illinois state Republican convention on June 16,1858. To state that this saying of Jesus is well remembered is certainly an understatement. Beyond the novelty of the saying, however is the substance and truthfulness of the statement. The folks who saw His miracles rightly surmised that there were but two great, and opposing, forces relative to the concept of good and evil. In the absolute sense, God is the originator, sustainer, and supporter of all that is good. In that same vein, Satan is the originator, sustainer, and supporter of all that is evil. Good and evil, of course, in this context are used as they can only be used when it is granted that Creator God truly exists. If there is no Creator God, then the entire concept of good and evil are nonsense!

Now to Jesus' statement, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” The allegiance of people in this statement is not tested as to principles; it is questioned as to persons. Jesus did not say that if one did not believe in life after death, then that person is against me. He put Himself in the central place of representing all that is good. By so doing, He affirmed that He was Himself aligned with all that is good and ally to nothing that is evil. He knew that no mere man could make such a claim for all ordinary men are wrong in some point or another. Yet, Jesus said if a person was not with Him, they were against Him. In making this statement, He claimed more than to be a leader of men, though He certainly was a leader of men. In making this statement, He claimed to be more than a great theologian, though He certainly was a great theologian. In making this statement, He claimed to be more that a morally good man, though He certainly was a morally good man. In making this statement, Jesus identified Himself as God – God in the flesh. That is the only way He could have truthfully made the statement.

Some people comment about Jesus and give Him lip service as a good man, a smart man, a compassionate man, a good teacher, etc., etc. However, some of them deny that He was God in the flesh. Here is the truth as I see it – Either Jesus was the person He claimed to be, or He was none of those things these people say He was. Either Jesus was God in the flesh, or He was a pious impostor who should have been caught and punished for His deceptive deeds and claims. Jesus – take Him for all He is or don't take Him at all. We must be for Him, or against Him; it is that simple!

Questions:

1. In today's focus text, what did the “house” represent in Jesus' analogy?

2. What does it mean to be “for Jesus”? Can one be “for Jesus” and knowingly oppose something He taught?

3. Was Jesus a good man? Did He teach truth at all times? If Jesus was not the Son of Man as He claimed to be, was He a good man? Why or why not?

4. In theory, how can we be for Jesus? Explain.

"Today's Little Lift" from Jim Bullington

Heir of the World (Romans 4:13)

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Biography Information:
Jim Bullington - A Christian writer whose insight into the scriptures is reflected in practical application lessons in every article. The reader will find that the Bible speaks directly to him/her through these articles. God is always exalted and His word is treated with the utmost respect in this column.
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