Mark 3: 22-28 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons." So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: "How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man's house. "This is a passage often used by ministers. Jesus says that a house divided against itself is doomed to failure and we stop there. Jesus says you cannot rob a strong man without first tying him up and only then can his house be robbed. Perhaps Jesus is talking to us about the family of God not the enemy, Satan.
Satan has been very effective in tying up the hands of the church at large. He keeps us bickering and condemning each other so that the world is turned off. He keeps us worried about what others might think of us as individuals so that we hide our Christianity and we are no longer witnesses to the power of the Holy Spirit.
The early church was awesome because they were proud of what Christ had done for them. They were excited about sharing the Good News with everyone. And they were so effective that the world took notice. Some set out to persecute them and others set out to follow them. They did what Jesus had commissioned them to do and left the outcome to the Holy Spirit.
We are a house, the house of God, that is divided and we are collapsing. Satan knows he cannot steal our salvation but he can destroy our witness and our effectiveness. When we hide our faith and try so hard to fit in and be socially correct we are no longer of any value to the cross or the world. God does not expect us to be ‘Bible thumpers’ but He does expect us to live a life that lifts up Jesus. A life that stands for good and right against what is not. He expects us to love the sinner and hate the sin. We are not called to be judges but ambassadors for the cause of Christ.
We do the loving and He does the judging and changing of people and their lifestyles. We have no problem loving the mentally ill or those who struggle with an addiction. We recognize that it is the weakness of their humanity that keeps them from being overcomers. But we have a hard time recognizing that sin is the problem of lifestyles that do not follow what God has set us out to be.
Yes, we need to stand up against bad laws and practices, but we cannot change anyone’s heart or behavior. That is the work of the Holy Spirit and the choice of the individual. We need to check our attitude towards others. Are we tied up in our attitude of criticism of others inside or outside of the faith? Does the law of man keep us from living under the law of grace? Do we display Christian love to everyone or just to those we deem worthy?
I think it is past time for the church to be the body of Christ not just another religion that demands that others conform to its dogmas or be condemned by them. The church is to reach out in love and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. Do you agree?