THE BATTLE WITHIN

INTRODUCTION:

ILLUSTRATION:

The famous cuckoo bird never builds its own nest. It flies around until it sees another nest with eggs in it and no mother bird around. The cuckoo quickly lands, lays its eggs there, and flies away. The thrush, whose nest has been invaded, comes back. Not being very good at arithmetic, she gets to work hatching the eggs.

What happens? Four little thrushes hatch, but one large cuckoo hatches. The cuckoo is two or three times the size of the thrushes.

Over time, the bigger cuckoo wants the smaller thrushes out of the nest…so a battle begins.  The cuckoo wages war against the thrushes.  Eventually, the cuckoo wins the battle by throwing the smaller thrushes out of the nest.

1.           Just like the cuckoo and the thrushes, we likewise have a battle on our hands…our battle, however, it not in the nest… it is waged inwardly…it is waged within.

2.           The Apostle Paul understood the internal battle we experience.  Remember his words in (Romans 7:15), "I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."  In other words, Paul experienced a clash of forces -- a battle between doing what is good and what is bad.

IN (MARK 1:21-25), WE ARE GIVEN SOME INSIGHT INTO OUR INNER STRUGGLE AND HOW TO DEAL WITH IT.

I.                    FIRST, LETS EXAMINE THE CONTEXT OF THIS STORY.

1.       Read (Mark 1:21-25).

2.       One Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in the synagogue.  Everyone was listening…for the people were amazed with His teaching.

3.       People were on the edge of their seats -- when out of nowhere a tortured scream shattered the silence…"What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us?"

4.       The people were startled, looked around and saw a man ranting and raving like a crazy person waving his arms as he shouted.

5.       A chilling fear, almost panic probably gripped the crowd.   But Jesus seemed undisturbed, unmoved, showed no fear. He looked the man in the eye and issued a direct order…"Be quiet and come out of him!"

6.       Notice what happened. Jesus didn't speak to the man per se, but to something within the man.  He addressed the evil spirit that was causing the man havoc. 

7.       After Jesus spoke, there was a struggle…the evil spirit shook the man violently and eventually came out of him.

II.                  SECOND, HERE ARE SOME PRACTICAL LESSONS THAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THIS STORY ABOUT OUR INNER STRUGGLE.

A.           FIRST, FROM THIS STORY, WE LEARN THAT WE ALL STRUGGLE WITH EVIL…DOING WHAT IS GOOD.

1.      The man in this story was controlled…under the influence of an unclean spirit.  He was enslaved by an evil presence.

2.      You see the Bible teaches that there are beings in the spiritual world who are evil just as there are men and women in this world who are evil.  The Bible calls these beings "evil or unclean spirits."  Notice that the very word evil is used in their name which describes exactly what their nature and mission are.

3.      Evil spirits have been around a long time, and they are still around today.
 

4.      Let me ask you…do you think that these evil spirits only harass and attack non believers?  Do evil spirits attack believers?  According to this story, the man with an unclean spirit was in the synagogue…a place of religious worship.  He was probably a regular worshipper…a man who knew God…had religious training…but who had somehow been influenced by evil.

5.      My friends, it doesn't matter if you are a believer or non believer…Satan and His troops are after you.  They want you and me to sin and fall away from God.

6.      Although we may not undergo the same treatment as the man in the story (in other words we may not be possessed by Demons today) but the truth is that we all experience evil in our lives.

7.      If we are honest with ourselves, we would all admit that we experience evil thoughts…thoughts that are impure and unholy.  We all struggle with sin. 

8.      When we find ourselves battling sin and evil, we need to understand that sometimes we are battling not only with our sinful flesh…our world thoughts…but also with evil spirits.

§         For Paul said in (Ephesians 6:12), "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

9.      So one lesson that we can learn from this story is that we all struggle with evil.  We all have inner struggles that we must contend with.

B.          SECOND, FROM THIS STORY, WE LEARN THAT JESUS CHRIST HAS THE POWER TO PURGE EVIL FROM OUR LIVES…TO HELP US WITH OUR INNER STRUGGLES.

1.      The Lord has power to overcome destructive forces in our lives.

2.      Instead of battling evil alone, we need the Lord's help. 

3.      The next time you are struggling with the sins of the flesh…sexual immorality, jealousy, unjustified anger, lust, greed, drunkenness, or impure thought…ask God to send Jesus to the battle field. 

4.      Jesus will come to your rescue.  He will confront the evil knocking on your door.  If evil already has a foothold in your life, then Jesus can cast it out.  He has the power to say, "Come out"…and it will be gone.

5.      If we want the destructive and evil influences sent packing…then we need to send Jesus.  He has the power to destroy evil.

6.      There are people all around us who like the man in the story are being tortured by evil influence and sin.  In fact, some of us may have invited evil into our lives through the destructive forces of sin.

7.      If you are in this condition, I've got some good news.  Jesus can bring you freedom.  He can set you free from the sin and evil in your life.  He can bring you peace.

CONCLUSION:

1.       All of us struggle with inner purity.  We all want to be good and do good, but sin and evil are constantly bombarding us with obstacles and temptations.

2.       But we don't have to set back and take the abuse.  When we are tempted to sin or when we are tempted to do wrong, we must invite the Lord into the picture and ask him to purge the evil from our thoughts and lives.

3.       Yes.  We all struggle with the battle from within…each battle can be won…through Jesus Christ…and the help He provides.

4.       If you have been losing the battle, come down during the invitation song and ask the Lord for help. 

5.       If you are subject to the Lord's invitation, please come now as we stand and sing.