A House Divided

In Matthew 12:22-30, Jesus performed another miracle, confirming His word and His claim to be the Messiah. Some people thought He was the son of David while others, in hatred, thought Him to be Beelzebub. Jesus responded to the critics, knowing their thoughts. The Lord made three basic arguments: 1) The strong man must be bound (12:29); 2) the children cast out demons (12:27-28); and, 3) a kingdom divided cannot stand (12:25-26). It will be the purpose of this short article to examine this last one in detail. Let’s observe this principle in relation to Satan, the church, and the home.

First, Satan seeks unity in error. He seeks unity in doctrinal error (Revelation 2:12-16) and unity in moral error (1 Corinthians 5:1-6). Many advocate today, “Let’s agree to disagree.” If Satan exposed his own error, his kingdom of darkness would crumble (Ephesians 5:8, 11, 13; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5). It would be absurd for Satan to fight against himself. He does not do this because he can effectively find others for the task!

Second, God commands unity in the church (1 Corinthians 1:10). We should all have unity because we are following Christ (1 Corinthians 3:5-15). Division in a church brings destruction, defilement, and damnation (1 Corinthians 3:1-17). Doctrinal error divides and destroys churches (Acts 20:30; 1 John 2:18-19) and overthrows faith (2 Timothy 2:16-18; Romans 16:17-18). The church experiences doctrinal division today in the form of divorce and remarriage (Matthew 19), fellowship (Romans 14), and the non-literal treatment of creation (Genesis 1). Immorality also divides and destroys churches in the form of sexual immorality, drinking, and dancing (Galatians 5:19-21). Finally, pride, selfishness, and gossip divides and destroys churches (Galatians 5:15). Some like to be a dictator (3 John 9-11); some like to be self-centered (Philippians 2:3-8); and some like to be idle talkers (1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-11; 1 Timothy 5:13).

Third, God commands unity in the home. The home is to be a place of peace and harmony, where the family can be nurtured in the Lord (Colossians 3:18-21). The home is under attack by Satan, for it was instituted by God for man’s well-being (Genesis 2:24). Some more notable examples over the centuries of difficult homes are Cain and Abel, Samson and Delilah, and David and Absalom. Some problems that can divide the home would include selfishness. For example, a husband not considering the wife, or vice versa; parents not considering their children, or vice versa (Ephesians 5:22-33; 6:1-4). More problems would include sexual immorality (Matthew 19:9; 5:28-32) or materialism (1 Timothy 6:6-10). “Religion” can even divide the home if one spouse is a Christian and the other is a Methodist (1 Corinthians 7:10, 12-15). Finally, child raising can divide the home (Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13, 14; 29:15, 17). Divided homes lead to lost souls (Psalm 127:1)!

A house divided cannot stand — even Satan acknowledges this principle. Heed God’s commands to be united in the church and home. A heart divided will lead to a divided church and home (Matthew 6:24, 19-21).

Adapted from Steven Deaton