Again, it is the Sabbath. Jesus has gone to Capernaum. He goes to the synagogue to teach. Everyone is amazed at His teaching. He taught with authority. He could say with absolutes what the Scripture meant.
A man with an evil spirit begins to cry out to Jesus. The spirit wants to know what Jesus will do with them. The evil spirit has fully recognized Jesus. Maybe this same spirit had seen Jesus before He was born on earth. The evil spirit calls Jesus "the Holy One of God."
Jesus commands him to be quiet and demands the evil spirit leave the man. Suddenly, it is gone. The people really start freaking out now. Jesus has authority and evil spirits obey Him. Immediately they started texting all their friends about this one called Jesus. Soon, everyone was tweeting about Him.
I don't believe that most Christians believe this story found in Mark 1. Their actions make me think that they have no understanding of evil spirits. The certainly don't believe these spirits could be found in church, inhabiting one of their members. They will excuse any bizarre behavior as the quirky things that people do. Most of the time they will be right. However, we should not exclude the possibility that an evil spirit has inhabited someone whom we have known as a member of our church.
Evil spirits cannot inhabit someone who possesses the Holy Spirit. Those who have trusted in Christ as Savior and Lord are exempt from being filled with an evil spirit. The evil spirit cannot occupy the same person who has God's Spirit. This is why Jesus' presence agitated the evil spirits so. They know they can be destroyed by Him and shrink away as quickly as possible.
We would love to say that every member is a believer in Jesus. We can never be completely sure of this. Faith is something that happens in the heart. The words and the actions of the person will probably prove whether or not a person believes but these people on the Sabbath Jesus taught probably knew this man and may have believed him to be one of them. Only his outburst gives us a reason to believe that they thought otherwise.
Evil spirits are must completely obey God. This one immediately obeyed the command of Jesus. It had no other choice. It had control of the man but could not exercise an authority over Jesus. It spoke in fear of what Jesus would do to all the evil spirits.
Evil spirits do not know what God is up to. This spirit asked if Jesus had come to destroy them. This is very interesting to me. The Scriptures are known by the evil spirits. (This is proven by Satan's misuse of Scripture when he tempted Jesus.) Yet, they do not know how to interpret Scripture. This is because Scripture was breathed into men who wrote it so that others can have the breath of God exhale it out of them. In other words, Scripture is divinely inspired from beginning to end. The Holy Spirit breathed it into the writers. The readers interpret it as the Spirit gives them understanding. This is why it seems like foolishness to those who don't possess God's Spirit.
Believers should have no fear of evil spirits no matter what the horror movies say. Believers not only possess the Holy Spirit but also the authority to defeat these spirits. These spirits recognize Jesus to this day. They obey Him to this day.
I come very early to church each Sunday morning. I spend most of the time preparing for the services. Some of that preparation is spent in prayer. I walk into our sanctuary and pray that God will keep the devil outside our church for the service. Of course, what I am really asking is that God's Spirit inhabit the place and those who come will know His presence. I ask this in the strong name of Jesus.
During each of our services there are people in a prayer room praying for the service. They pray for the salvation of souls and that the devil will be kept from influencing anyone who comes.
We are very aware that evil spirits come to church too.
Mark 1:25-26 (NIV)
25 "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!"26 The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.