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Let’s read that account.  It’s found in Luke 11 and in Matthew 12.  Let’s read Matthew 12:43-45, “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”  We know from the scriptures that a person who is saved cannot be possessed by a demon.  While a saved person can certainly be influenced by a demon, the Holy Spirit, who dwells in each believer, will not allow a demon to occupy the same person in which He dwells.  1 John 4:4 tells us, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  The Holy Spirit that is in each believer is greater than the one that is in the world…namely Satan.  This same verse calls us overcomers.  So, we see that these verses in Matthew 12 are speaking about an unsaved person.

In the portion we are considering, notice that the unclean spirit was not driven out of this man; he just left of his own volition.  He was not compelled to leave this person, so it was not under the power of God that he left.  This unclean spirit, or demon, still claimed ownership of this person.  Notice how he says in Matthew 12:44, “…I will return into my house from whence I came out…”  When the demon returns, he finds his house empty, swept, and garnished.  This speaks to us of a person who determines to change his life under his own power.  Perhaps he gets rid of his drinking habit, gets rids of his pornography collection, gets rid of his old destructive ways.  Getting rid of all those things, he has become empty.  As one who is not saved, he is not filled with the Holy Spirit who will give him the strength to overcome the temptations of Satan.  No, what happens is that the demon returns and brings seven more spirits with him…all of who are more wicked than himself.  After trying to improve himself, this man is now worse off than before.

May we all learn this very important lesson.  Self-improvement is not salvation.  The determination to be a better person does not give us the strength to overcome Satan or his demons.  We do not need to become better.  We need to become brand new!  The only way that can happen is when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation.  2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  We become brand new when we have the Lord Jesus as our savior.  We become overcomers.  We are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and have the power to refuse the temptations of the devil.

Those who are not saved are under the influence and power of Satan.  Speaking to believers, the Apostle Paul reminded them in Ephesians 2:2, “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”  Unless we are saved, we live under the power of Satan.  Upon accepting Christ as our savior, we learn in Colossians 1:13-14 that the Lord, “…hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”  What a wonderful work of grace!  Through faith in Christ Jesus, the Lord rescues us from the kingdom of Satan, from the power of darkness, and brings us into the kingdom of his dear Son.  (93.1)