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Would You Leave a Newborn Infant Unguarded?

We ignore spiritual warfare with young Christians.

Luke 11:21-26 (ESV)

“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

In the previous passage, Jesus cast out a demon, and then explained how it’s ridiculous to think He could have done this by the power of Beelzebul. Now He paints the casting out as the overpowering of a strong man, fully armed, by one stronger than he. Jesus doesn’t want anyone to miss the significance of what they just observed. He’s the king of this new kingdom.

Then He presses the issue saying, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Jesus is leaving no room for people to be wishy-washy.

But then He says something strangely alarming – that the man who had the demon is now at risk to being repossessed. This passage is unique in that Jesus doesn’t give any details about how to prevent this. He describes it as analogous to leaving a vacant house unguarded but that’s it.

Notice that there’s no hint that the seven other demons are needed to retake the house. The house being clean and unguarded just makes it attractive. The demon finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes to its buddies and says something like, “Hey guys, I found a great place for us!”

They need to pay attention to spiritual warfare.

So, what’s the application? Is this analogous to anything in our lives?

You bet it is. The church often pays too little attention to new Christians. We sometimes even “keep score” by counting how many folks make a confession of faith, and leave the rest on auto-pilot. This is a catastrophic mistake. We leave vulnerable houses unguarded.

New Christians must be shepherded. They should be a high priority; they’re definitely a high priority for the enemy. Not only are new Christians vulnerable to external attack, they’ll generate a zillion questions on their own. This is healthy – if someone is there to give them quality answers. Otherwise, they may be tossed to and fro by waves of doctrine and doubt.

Would you leave a newborn infant unguarded?

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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