A House Divided

division, Unity No Comments

February 14, 1860, Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to O. P. Hall, J. R. Fullenwider, and U. F. Correll.  In it, he clarified some of the things he had said.  He wrote, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.  I believe this government can not endure permanently, half salve, and half free” (Wit & Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln by Jack Lang, p. 75).
Lincoln quoted from the book of Matthew chapter twelve verses 22-30.  In these passages, Jesus addressed a false accusation made about Him by the Pharisees. Lincoln knew that division destroys and conquers.
The Miracle.
Jesus performed a wonderful miracle.  He healed a man possessed with a devil.  The effects of this demon possession was that the man could not see nor could he speak.  Jesus healed the man completely and instantaneously.  The man could both see and speak.  The miracle amazed those who saw it and they said of Jesus, “is not this the son of David?”  The miracle had its designed effect.  It produced faith in Jesus as the Messiah.
The Accusation
The Pharisees, a religious sect among the Jews, attributed Jesus’ power to Beelzebub, the prince of the devils.  Later, Jesus referred to him as Satan.  This was a false accusation that was designed to smear Jesus’ work and reputation.  The unbelief of the Pharisees motivated them to make this statement and Jesus shows that it is an irrational comment.  All unbelief is irrational!
They could not deny the miracle.  They could only denounce the Messiah.
The Reply
Jesus knew their thoughts and their words.  He states, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (v. 25).
If you divide, you can conquer or destroy.  This underscores the power of division.
The Applications
First, Jesus applies this principle to Satan’s kingdom.  If Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?  The logic is impeccable.  If Jesus is a servant of Satan and He cast out a devil, then Satan is working to destroy himself! Who could believe it?  But, Jesus is a servant of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit He cast out the devil.  Therefore, the kingdom of God is breaking forth at that time and conquering the kingdom of Satan.
Second, Jesus makes an application to His redemptive work (v. 29).  Jesus would enter the strong man’s house and spoil his goods.  Satan’s power is limited and it is overcome by the power of Christ.  Satan’s power is limited by Jesus’ authority.  Satan’s power is limited by the atoning power of the blood of Christ. Satan’s power is limited by the truth.
Third, Jesus makes application to each person.  “He that is not with me is against me.”  Every person must become one with Christ (reconciliation that results in spiritual union with Christ).  Every person who follows Jesus must remain one with each other (spiritual union with Christ results in spiritual fellowship with one another).  We must abide in the doctrine of Christ in order to have spiritual freedom (John 8:31-32).  We must abide in the doctrine of Christ in order to have fellowship with God (II John 7-11).  If we transgress (teach doctrines contrary to the doctrine of Christ or support those who do), then we lose both spiritual freedom (once again enslaved in Satan’s lies) and fellowship with God.  We lose our reward.
Christians must constitute a house united in Christ and upon the doctrine of Christ.  Our strength comes from the Lord (Eph. 6:10).  Our strength comes from unity.  From this position of strength, we will be victorious.