One of the thrilling aspects of studying the Bible is learning how the Bible fits perfectly together to give a complete revelation of God’s message to man. The Bible is a composite book; there are many component parts that at times may seem independent of others, but when studied correctly and interpreted correctly the Bible will come together to reveal God’s intended message. We see this often when using our method of preaching God’s word. We have three separate studies going on in three different services, and yet we find the themes often overlapping and accentuating one another.
I cannot say that with intent I began a study of 1 John thinking it would fit perfectly with the same themes that we were studying in Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount. Nor did I purposely choose Revelation for the Sunday night series because both Matthew and 1 John have bearing on that study. Some would say this must be coincidence, but I prefer to believe God knows the plan far before I do.
In our study today in Matthew 8, the common theme of scripture blends together in another compelling story. This is the demon infestation of two men in Gadara. The salvation of the two men would probably be the thrust of most sermons on the subject, and we will speak of this in the next message, but I have chosen for two weeks to discuss another aspect. This is the authority Jesus has over the powerful forces of darkness. Some believe that God and Satan are opposing yet equal beings. We often see good and evil depicted as equal opposites with man being the determining factor over which one wins out in his life. This clearly is not the teaching of scripture.
Although Satan is a very powerful creature, more powerful than we can imagine, still he is just this—a creature. He is subject to the Creator of all things visible and invisible (Col. 1:16) and only exists by the divine permission of God. His demon cohorts are the same, and they must surrender to the authority of Christ (Matt. 8:29).
In this story of demon possession, we find a precursor for our Revelation study. We are very soon approaching the 20th chapter which reveals the incarceration of Satan. As easily as God spoke the worlds and all creatures into existence, He is able to banish Satan and his co-conspirators. This is not a struggle that God wins with difficulty; it does not put a strain on Him. As we see in the 19th chapter, the King of kings and Lord of lords rides forth on His white horse and by the sword of His mouth, the spoken word of God, His enemies are vanquished. The response of the demons in Matthew 8 shows no resistance. They are very much aware of who they are and who Christ is. They know they are subject to Him and they do not mount a defense. They also know their inevitable fate; they are doomed to the torments of hell. Luke reveals they plead with Jesus not to cast them prematurely into the abyss.
These themes in Matthew and Revelation work perfectly together. The devil and His angels must surrender to Christ. There is a final day of destruction for them because it is Christ’s intent to banish evil forever. Matthew’s design is to establish the Kingship of Christ and this miracle of casting out demons to demonstrate His authority is one more step in that process.
I love this type of study. If you do not attend the Wednesday evening and Sunday evening services, you are missing important information that will reveal the comprehensiveness of scripture. If you miss this, the component parts remain nothing but components, or at the very least will be a much harder and longer process to assemble for your complete understanding. I often say that with only three services per week I will not live long enough to teach it all. With only one service of attendance, you are way behind the curve!
Pastor V. Mark Smith