The Cup of Demons

1 Corinthians 10:14-22

In C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, Uncle Screwtape offers his nephew a little advice on the goal and strategy of temptation.

You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness.  But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy.  It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing.  Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick.  Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

Your affectionate uncle,

Screwtape

Contact With Demons Exposition: (1 Corinthians 10:14-22)

Historical/Cultural Background.  The going taboo in Paul's day was eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols.  This practice posed three problems.

  • THE SACRIFICIAL DINNER. This posed a problem for the Christian who was invited to this event where meat was served that had just been sacrificed to idols.
  • THE MEAT MARKET. This involved the question for the Christian regarding whether or not he should buy meat in the marketplace that had earlier been sacrificed to idols.
  • THE PRIVATE DINNER PARTY. The Christian who was invited to this event held by an unbelieving Gentile had to make the decision as to whether or not he would eat in this particular situation.

Practical Principles

  • A PERILOUS ACTIVITY MAY APPEAR SAFE INITIALLY - 1 Corinthians 10:19-20 “What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.” (NKJV)
  • PARTICIPATION BRINGS CONTAMINATION - 1 Corinthians 10:20 “Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.” (NKJV)
  • CONTACT WITH DEMONS BREAKS COMMUNION WITH CHRIST - 1 Corinthians 10:21-22 “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” (NKJV)

Their Entrance - Ground and Hold

Ephesians 4:26-27 "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. (NKJV)

  • GROUND. The demons need a ground of entrance to get into our lives. "Ground" has been defined as "anything that gives advantage to Satan." Examples of "ground" that give opportunity for the devil and demons to enter are: uncontrolled anger, disobedience, religious fanaticism, false cults, lust, sensuality, etc. According to Mrs. Penn Lewis, in her book War on the Saints, "This ground needs to be discovered, confessed to God as sin, and then cancelled in the name of Jesus Christ.”
  • HOLD. Once a demon gains entrance, it must maintain a "hold" within the person. It is not always the same in every person. In King Saul's case, his open disobedience to the Word opened the way for a demon to enter his life. The demon's hold on him was depression and serious anxieties connected with murderous thoughts.

WHAT ARE DEMONS LIKE?

  • IMMATERIAL: They are spiritual beings, and as such are not material. Jesus said, "Touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have' (Luke 24:39).  Being spirits they are independent of matter.
  • INDEPENDENT: They are personal beings. Personality and corporeality are not to be confused. God is spirit, but He is not corporeal. The same arguments used to prove the personality of God can also be used to demonstrate the personality of demons. They have the power of thought, speech, and of action (Acts 19:15-16), since they have power to influence a human personality. The fact they "did not keep their own domain but abandoned their proper abode" (Jude 6) and that they sinned (2 Peter 2:4), shows they had the power of moral choice. They were sensitive to fear (Luke 8:3 1), and had the power of rage (Matthew 8:28).
  • INTELLIGENT: They are intelligent beings. The unclean spirit who controlled the man in the synagogue cried out, "I know who You are-the Holy One of God" (Mark 1:24). Their replies to Christ were couched in intelligent language. The evil spirit said to the sons of Sceva, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?' He could discern the true from the false. Some have suggested that the Greek word demon derives from a word meaning "intelligent.' But their intelligence is debased and devoted to evil purposes.
  • INVISIBLE: They are invisible beings. Being incorporeal, they are neither visible nor tangible.  There is no record in Scripture of their taking visible or tangible form.
  • CONVINCED: They are believing beings. There are no atheists among them. "You believe that God is one.  You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder' (James 2:19).  They have faith, but not saving faith, for it does not lead them to repentance. They recognize and confess the deity of Christ, but refuse to give Him their allegiance. They also know who are true believers, and they obey the authority of Jesus' name (Acts 19:15).
  • BODYLESS: They are incorporeal beings, but seem to have a strange passion to possess living organisms, whether human or animal. "The demons entreated Him, saying, 'Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.' The unclean spirits entered the swine" (Mark 5:12-13). "Then it goes, and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first' (Matthew 12:45). It appears they must have control of bodily organs to enable them to execute their hellish assignments.  Having once gained control over a human body, they seem to be able to come and go at will.  "When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came'" (Luke 11:24
  • POWERFUL: They are powerful beings, and exercise superhuman strength. And they are also able to impart superhuman strength to their victims. "A certain man... who was possessed with demons; He was bound with chains and shackles ... yet he would burst his fetters" (Luke 8:27,29). They delight to make use of human bodies for evil purposes.
  • COUNTLESS: They are innumerable and well organized, so they can represent their prince in any part of the world (Mark 5:9; Luke 8:30; Matthew 12:28-27).
  • DOOMED: They are painfully aware of their impending doom. "What do we have to do with You, Son of God?  Have you come here to torment us before the time?" (Matthew 8-29, italics added). Their destiny is "the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41-).
  • DEFILED: They are all wicked, but not all equally wicked. The unclean spirit who had gone out of a man returned with "seven other spirits more wicked than itself.  (Matthew 12:45, italics added).
  • MALIGNANT: They have power to inflict physical disabilities. "My son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth" (Mark 9:17-18).

 

 

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