Boy, it scared me. And I remember, I couldn't go to sleep at night without worrying about these creatures that once you turn off the lights I'd imagine that there they were under the bed, or in the closet. And if you happen to watch something that had to do with aliens coming down, little green monsters, it was very easy to replace the bogeyman with aliens, or gremlins, or ghosts. But it seems like it anywhere you go in the world, in just about anybody's life, at some point there are these minions of darkness that scare us. The Bible has another name for them. They're known as demons, devils, or evil spirits. And you'd be surprised how much the word of God has to say about this subject. That's our message for today; how to defeat demons, devils, and evil spirits.
Before you completely zone out and say, “Oh, Pastor Doug has gone sensational. Why would we want to talk about something so negative? Why would you want to talk about something so fantastic?” There are even those who profess to be Christians who say there is no such thing as devils and evil spirits or demons. They don't believe in them anymore they believe in boogiemen. But you've got to be careful if you say you're a Bible Christian because Jesus believed in them. And He dealt with them, and He talks about them. And you and I are given a work to do in relationship with these evil spirits. So if you're going to be a Bible Christian then bear with me, and you see if I can't give you biblical evidence.
We have a divine mandate from the Lord in how we ought to relate with these forces of evil. Mark 6:12, when He sent out the disciples preaching. “They preached that people should repent.” How many still believe that still part of our message? “And they cast out many demons and anointed many with oil who were sick and healed them.” How many believe in the teaching about anointing with oil and healing? So I believe in the repenting part; we believe in the anointing part. Do we believe in the part that’s sandwiched between the two, casting out many devils/demons? Do we believe all the Word of God? Mark 16:17, Jesus is about to ascend to heaven. Part of His great commission, final utterance. “And these signs will follow those who believe.” It doesn't say the signs will follow the apostles. It says those who believe. By the way, isn't that supposed to be all of us who are saved? “These signs will follow those who believe. In my name they will cast out demons.”
It's interesting He would mention that first. “In my name they will cast out demons.” Then He goes on, “They’ll speak with new tongues, and there are other signs. But I wanted to emphasize that the last words of Jesus maybe should have a first priority among Christians. It's something the Bible deals with. It's not a pleasant business, and so we're not sure what were supposed to do. And I think we've all seen that the subject of devils and evil spirits has been exploited and some preachers have used it to fear monger and take advantage of people and manipulate people. And sometimes it's spooky.
Whenever you hear about someone who's been delivered from evil spirits we picture somebody who is writhing on the ground, they're back arched; or they're sitting on the floor and their whipping their heads back and forth so fast their hair cracks like a whip, and their head turns around on their shoulders 360 degrees. We've got these pictures when you talk about evil spirits and possession that scare us. It's a little more comfortable to just say, “Really in the Bible when it talks about demon possession it was just another way of saying depressed or mentally disturbed.” That's not what the Bible teaches. There's more to it than that.
Maybe I ought to begin by saying where did these powers come from? Where did devils and evil spirits come from? Interesting, in the last few years angels have sort of made a comeback. You can hear about angels and read about angels and everybody thinks that angels are great. And people have little crystals of angels, and they've got little angel signs and angel wings. You say angels and people just go, “Oooooo.” It's wonderful. But they forget but about a third of those angels are evil, but they can appear good. It stands to reason to me, it says in II Corinthians 11 that Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
So it should not surprise us if his angels can also be transformed into angels of light; evil angels that can appear as good angels. God did not make devils. God made beautiful angels that fell. You can read in Isaiah 14, Satan, who started out as a perfect angel fell. He was cast out of heaven. Isaiah 14:12, “How you are fallen from heaven O Lucifer, son of the morning.” He was a light bearer. And you can read then in Revelation 12:7, “And war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought with the dragon and his angels.” Christ as His angels and the dragon has his angels. “Fought, but they did not prevail.” Good news. God and His angels are stronger than the devil and his angels. “They did not prevail, nor was there place for them in heaven any longer.”
Bad news. They're not in heaven any more. Where are they? “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, for the devil has come down unto you having great wrath.” I’ll get to that in just a minute. And it says, “their place was not found in heaven. So that great dragon and was cast out, that serpent of old call the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was cast to the earth and his angels were cast out with him.”
Now how many angels are there? We don't know, but we can get some kind of round figures here. We know there's at least one guardian angel for every human and there's 6 billion people plus in the world today. It's possible every person has at least two. Some scriptures seem to indicate people not only have guardian angels, but they've got a recording angel. I think angels could probably do both, but God may have plenty and maybe they work in twos as Jesus sent off the disciples.
Don't know, but let's suppose that there are at least 12 billion angels because, after all, the population keeps growing. And that would be the good ones. And angels are ministering spirits of God. They don't just work here on earth. Before the world fell God had angels. They were His ministering spirits through all of the eternal cosmos. So there are probably billions and billions of angels. The Bible says 10,000 times 10,000. And when you think about the temple of God, these angels were engraved on the walls of the sanctuary, symbolizing that the presence of God is surrounded with walls of ministering spirits. Billions of them.
One third of that number, whatever that number is, followed Lucifer from heaven to this world. And often in the Bible when it talks about what the Devil did, “The Devil does this and the Devil does that. The Devil is the enemy who sows the bad seed among the good seed.” It's not Satan himself, but Satan is offering through his angels. And there's oftentimes when you almost have a car accident and then you're delivered and you say, “Jesus saved me.” Well Jesus saved you through His angels. So a lot of times we give the credit to the big characters, the generals, but he's operating through his soldiers. And these are the angels.
Today, more specifically, we’re talking about being on guard and understanding how to deal with and combat the fallen angels, better known as devils. They've got names. Sometimes they are called devils. Take off the d, you’ve got evils. They are demons: evil or wicked spirits. Fallen angels. Some people think they've seen gremlins and goblins and ghosts and aliens and boogie man. I don't know, they probably manifest themselves a thousand different ways, but these are fallen angels that are out there to try to tempt and to discourage, to try to distract from the purposes of God. I believe in them. I’m in good company.
Jesus believed in them, too. Believing in them does not mean I endorse or approve them. It means I believe they exist. Christ plainly says they exist. The Bible teaches they exist. I see evidence of their work everywhere. And the great scholars of the Christian church over the ages have all almost unanimously agreed that they exist. So if you’re going to take on an enemy it’s a good idea to start with finding out if he even exists. Some people are having problems dealing with the devil because they don’t even recognize his existence.
Now before I go any farther I want to make a few things clear. I’m not going to ask for a show of hands to say who here is demon possessed. But just as a test for my own benefit; how many here will admit that you are demon harassed? Every hand ought to go up because if you say, “Oh, I’m not demon harassed.” Or maybe you’re afraid the person next to you is going to think, “Oh, you’re demon harassed? I’m moving over.
I don’t want to sit next to someone who’s demon harassed because I might catch it.” It doesn’t work that way. You can put on a surgical mask and you can still get it. It has nothing to do with who you’re sitting next to. If you are alive you are demon harassed. Especially if you’re a Christian, you’re demon harassed. You’re in good company. Jesus was demon harassed. It means being tempted.
And it’s not something that may happen once or twice in your life. Every day we’re doing battle with the devil. It’s a wonderful thing when you experience those spells, as when Christ fought with the devil in the wilderness and it says Satan left Him for a season. All the devil did is he left to regroup figure out what the next plan was. And most of us live with little spells of peace between the battles. And once you recognize that and you accept it it makes it easier to understand what’s going on and how to deal with it. And because we’re all harassed by the devil, all of us, you need to realize that we need help. Because, we just read it in Ephesians, we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood. By the way, while I’m on the subject, Psalms 8:4, “What is man that you are mindful of him? And the Son of Man that you visit him?” verse 5, “For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honor.”
Man has been made in some ways inferior, in strength and intellect, to angels. So if you think you’re going to take on these fallen angels in your own power, well you’re pretty arrogant. It takes the Holy Spirit and God’s power to defeat them. The most perfect specimen of humanity that ever existed was Adam and his wife Eve. They, with their superior bodies and minds were overcome by the devil. So you’re pretty arrogant if you think, “I don’t need God’s help to fight against the devils.” We do need help. We cannot do it. Without Him we can do nothing. We are powerless. We are simply playthings and toys in the hands of the devil if you think you’re going to take him on without divine assistance. You’re done for. It’s like going against Goliath without a sling. So we’ve found out where they came from. We understand something about their names.
Now there’s a story in the Bible I’d like to direct your attention to. You’re going to find this in Mark 1:21. If I were to ask you, what's the first miracle of Jesus? Water into wine, that's right. That's if you're reading the Gospel of John. But that's not the Gospel of Mark. The Gospel of Mark says the first miracle of Jesus was delivering some one from an evil spirit. John, when he talked about miracles, he was thinking about something where you supernaturally transform something from one thing to another. Maybe his definition was different. And based on that definition turning water to wine, that's inanimate things out here. Spiritual battle, he may not have qualified it that way. But if you want to go by the first supernatural engagement, it was actually where Jesus, when He began preaching, cast the devil out of someone.
Mark 1:21, “Then they went to Capernaum and immediately, on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.” This is right after Christ begins His preaching ministry. He's just called Peter, James, John and Andrew to follow Him. A small ensemble of apostles. “And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, not as the scribes.” By the way, that's repeated in Matthew 7:28. Jesus taught with authority. And what's the evidence of His authority? Notice here, “Now there was a man in the synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out saying, Let us alone,” sounds like he might have more than one spirit. “Let us alone. What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” Seems like the man, first of all, he's got his plural and singular all scrambled up here. Which is often the case with a person demon possessed. Sometimes you don't know if you're talking to one person or 10. Or if you're dealing with a demoniac there in the beach of Gaderra (?). He had legions of demons, meaning that more than one demon can possess a person.
Mary Magdalene, out of whom Christ cast seven devils. Jesus tells a parable about a man who has a devil cast out and he cleans his house and sweeps it, but he doesn't replace it with anything better so that devil roams around in desolate places for a while and he comes back again and he finds his former dwelling cleaned and swept and he brings seven other devils worse than himself and they all move in together and have a fraternity party in that person’s life. And if you can have a person with multiple devils, and you've got a man who's got 5,000 devils or a legion of devils. And sure, he can break chains and he's running around naked and dirty and cutting himself with stones and screaming, living in a cemetery surrounded by pigs.
That's the man who had the legion of devils. If you cut that number in half and he only had half as many it might have looked a little better. A quarter of that number, maybe he's only got a hundred devils, he might've been able to walk up and down the streets without being arrested. Get him down to 50 devils, you might even hire him and not know. Do you see where I'm going with this?
Which means that people can have varying degrees of demon possession; once again, take a look at the person sitting next to you. I shouldn't tease because you know what? It really is true. There are some people who are possessed. And they're able to conduct themselves in a civilized way, but the Devil’s got his claws in them and they need deliverance. There is some area in their life where they are owned by the enemy. This is getting pretty real, isn't it? This is what the Bible teaches.
I want to read the whole story to you. “Let us alone. What do we have to do with you, Jesus?” Did they know who Jesus was? Why? They are eternal. They lived before Lucifer fell. These were once holy angels that used to worship Jesus. They know who He is. It's amazing that there are some people that don't think Christ was God become a man. Even the devils admitted it. “But Jesus rebuked him saying, be quiet and come out of him! And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice he came out.” Why did he convulse first? Please, don't anyone have a convulsion now. But that often happens. And you know what it illustrates? The devil doesn't let go easily. There is a convulsion because there's a battle, there's a resistance, that's happening.
When the children of Israel were coming out of Egypt, did the Pharaoh write them all farewell cards and send them down the road, waive his hanky, say have a nice trip? Or when Moses said, “Let my people go,” did the Pharaoh tighten his grip? He made their labor harder. He guarded the borders. He refused to let them go. And when they finally were starting to extricate from Egypt he chased after them.
The whole nation went through a convulsion of deliverance before they were born. Have you noticed that there are sometimes contraction pains before a birth? A woman might walk around glowing during pregnancy and say, “Oh, this is wonderful,” but wait until the labor pains begin. And that little baby is going to be delivered. Sometimes there's a convulsion before they deliverance. And that's what happens often when Christ casts out devils.
You'll see that there were some physical criteria. “And when the unclean spirit had convulsed and cried out he came out with a loud voice.” He cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. “They were all amazed and they questioned among themselves saying, what is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority.” Notice how he started out. It says they were amazed at his authority. And at the end of the experience of this exorcism it says, “for with authority He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey Him. And immediately His fame spread throughout the region of Galilee.”
When you begin to tell the truth about the spiritual warfare that is going on out there the devil does not want people to take him seriously. How many of you want the Holy Spirit and believe he's a real person that will move into your hearts? If you don't have the Holy Spirit there's only one other alternative. You are demon harassed or demon possessed. There's no neutral ground. “I'm not ready for God's Spirit and I'm not going to let the devil bother me. I'm in charge of my own life.” You're kidding yourself. You belong to the devil. There are only two powers in this life, if you believe the Bible. Jesus said, “If you’re not with me, you're against me.” Right along with the devil who's against Him. And so I advise you to join the winning team, friends. There's only one.
Something else we learn from this story. When Jesus cast the devil out of that man it says, “Christ went into the synagogue on the Sabbath to teach.” What was that man doing there? He must've been a church member. Am I stretching it? He didn't start crying out and wigging out until Jesus came in, then there was a battle. I’ve seen it happen before. I'm teaching or preaching; it seems like it's more predominant in some of the third world countries, where there is so much spiritualism and satanic worship. A lot of these people came out of that kind of lifestyle. And you start preaching the word and some people are hearing the Gospel.
All of a sudden, in the middle of the service, someone shrieks. I had it happen in Africa, in India, South America. And that pastors recognize it and they take the person sometimes out into a room and they pray over them. And we've seen devils just come out of people. And the Lord sets them free. We're more sophisticated. We've learned how to internalize our demonic frustrations. Frankly, I prefer it that way. But it's just as real. People feel the battles. I'm not fishing for an exorcism today, friends. Have I made that clear? But I want to preach this message.
So yes, the devil comes to church. James 2:19, “You believe there is one God. You do well. Even the devils believe and tremble.” Have you ever noticed that if there is anything good or holy, the devil hates that? The devil hates when we sing the praises of God. And the devil hates the Sabbath day because it's a day commemorated for the Lord. The devil will always try to schedule his attacks before church.
Because he doesn't want you to go in the right spirit. And you'd be surprised how many people come to church, they're coming out of a sense of obligation that may have nothing to do with the Spirit guiding them. They've just been raised with a sense of obligation that they're supposed to be here. But they're in such a bad spirit; they've been living in sin through the week and they come. They're not coming because they're seeking deliverance. They're coming because “I ought to be here.”
I won’t ask for a show of hands, but in families getting ready for church the devil loves to bring in some kind of strife, contention between mom and dad or between the kids. Just anything that will destroy the atmosphere and the spirits. That's why the preparation day is so important. Because one of the most important things you could do on the preparation day is to pray that God will set a hedge of good angels about you and protect you from these attacks. And God will. You can enter into the Sabbath with peace and protection and the Lord will shield to against those attacks. You ought to be praying for that. It's not just making sure you've got your casserole ready. What good is it if you've got your casserole ready if your heart is just not prepared?
Is the one of the best things you could do in preparation for the Sabbath is just to pray, “Lord, I want you to shield our family. We want to receive the blessing you promised in this day. Hold back the devil and his minions that would like to come in and rob us of our blessing by bringing in strife or causing some kind of problem: the pipes will break or the plumbing backs up, or something.” The devil loves to do those things. And you’re preparing to go to church and get a blessing. How many of you know what I’m talking about? OK, so I’ve got a witness here that he does like to do it. Or you’re on your way to a bible study. Or you want to have your morning devotions.
Sometimes I’m studying something very important, or I’m praying and I’ll get a phone call. Early in the morning, I’m praying, during my devotions. And it is the most frivolous thing. And I get off the phone and I say, “That was from the devil.” And he might have used a perfectly nice person that had no idea that they’re calling to ask me whatever it was, that just brought in a distraction at a crucial moment. It’s like when the pastor’s making an altar call and the Holy Spirit’s wrestling with people and the devil’s wrestling with those same people. And they’re praying about what to do. And the pastor’s getting ready to give a scripture and it’s just the scripture that person needs. Right at that moment, someone will pinch a baby.
A demon usually. And it will scream and everybody will look. Or you know what happens? I remember one time I was making this altar call. It was such an important time. And I held my microphone down and I pointed it at the monitor and it made that screaming noise … that feedback noise. Everybody jumps out of their chairs, a baby started crying. I thought, “Boy, I just lost the moment.” That’s one of a thousand things that devils concoct to try to prevent us from hearing what the Holy Spirit is saying.
I know you’re thinking, “Pastor Doug, I had no idea you were so superstitious.” You’ve known me long enough to know that I don’t go around looking for boogiemen everywhere. But I know they’re there. Talk about devils, evil spirits. I know there’s a war going on. I don’t even like preaching a sermon like this because I almost feel like I’m directing you’re attention towards the negative. But Jesus does and you need to know it’s real. You need to be aware because sometimes we pooh-pooh and play it down so much; we’re so sophisticated we forget that we are in a spiritual battle.
So this was the first miracle of Jesus, in Mark 1, to cast out a devil. You can also find this in Luke 4:33. It says, “There was a man who had an unclean demon.” That doesn’t mean the man was dirty. The word unclean there would be like you’ve got an unclean animal. It means it was a fallen angel. Something else we learn from a cursory view of this story is that sometimes devils speak through people. Remember, that devil said, “What have you come to do with us?” You find this also in Luke 8:30, “Jesus asked him saying, what is your name? And he said, Legion, because many devils had entered him. And they begged Him that He might not command them to go out into the abyss.” Here they’re having a conversation.
Let me give you one more verse. Acts 16:16, “Now it happened as he,” Paul, “went to prayer.” When does the devil want to bother him? On the way to prayer. “That a certain slave girl, possessed with the spirit of divination met us, who brought much profit to her masters by fortune telling. And the girl followed Paul and us,” Luke is speaking, “and cried out, saying, these men are servants of the Most High God who proclaimed the way of God.” She was creating a diversion. She was almost like saying, “I endorse what they're doing,” so it would give her credibility for the work of Paul and Luke and the others. And it was creating great confusion. And Paul’s going, “No, we do not work together. You are into astrology. You are spirit possessed. You are devil possessed.
We have nothing in common in our ministries.” And you notice, it's on his way to prayer that the devil started to speak through this girl. He cast the devil out of her and caused a great ruckus. He ended up in jail for doing it. He made the devil very mad. Paul and Silas got beaten because of that. So it's not an easy thing when you take on the devil. Ultimately many were converted in that city. And you got a book in your Bible called the book of Philippians that's there because of this incident where he cast devils out of that young girl. But the Devils were speaking through her.
When we talk about the devil speaking it doesn't necessarily mean that all of a sudden a person's going to be talking to you in their voice changes and gets really weird and guttural, “Hi, we’re in here,” and that means that’s the devil speaking. And you have heard stories of people with these multiple personalities where all of a sudden a girl’s talking, and all of a sudden a boy’s voice comes out. Some devil is speaking. “It was a different voice I heard.” Most of the time in the Bible when devils speak it'll sound just like that person. Matter of fact, I've got a theory that when a person loses their temper and they begin to rant and rave, they are at least temporarily demon possessed.
That's what it means when it says you lose your temper. It's like you lost it and someone else found it and they're using it. And even temper means you're under control. You lose your temper it means someone else got control. And a lot of people in a fit of anger, when they're out of control and devils have gotten a hold of their tongue and their mind, they say mean, cruel, biting, harsh things to their spouse or their children or their employees or their boss or whoever it might be. Painful, ugly things. “Where did that come from?” Well it came from the devil, but he used you. The devil will use things that you've got in your mind.
The devil cannot read your mind. But in the same way that God can place impressions in your mind, evil spirits can put impressions in your mind. That's what happens every time you're tempted. Just before Sabbath, as I'm preparing for this message, I got a letter yesterday that was a very disturbing letter. I thought, “Doug, don't think about that.” I kept trying to figure out how to solve this problem. Somebody was doing something terrible. And I thought, “I can't deal with it now. Sabbath’s coming.
I don't want to be distracted by that. Doug, don't think about it. Get ready for the sermon.” But it kept coming back and every time it came back I realized, “Hey, look, it's not that big of a problem. But somebody's trying to make it big problem and make me think about it when I don't want to think about it.” I finally had to pray and put it out of my mind. And again, even today, it kept popping back into my mind.
Sometimes on your knees, you're praying, and you're talking to God and all of a sudden a terrible thought goes through your mind. “Lord, forgive me. Why am I thinking that? I'm on my knees praying. This thought that no Christian should ever think, and I'm on my knees praying. Where’d that come from?” Well now you’ve got someone to blame it on. The devil will put things in your mind trying to tempt you. They can't read your mind. Sometimes they can look at your expressions. Even your spouse can sometimes tell what you’re thinking by body language, right? They can look at your expressions. God and God only knows the thoughts of men's hearts. By the way, don't be afraid to pray out loud thinking, “I don't want the devil to hear my prayer.” Let him hear your prayers. Many Bible heroes prayed out loud. The devil trembles when God's people pray. Don't be afraid to pray out loud.
But yes, sometimes the devils can speak through people and do some ugly things. They can cause physical reactions. We just read a minute ago, when he said, “Come out of that young man.” The young man convulsed. This father had a boy that was possessed with a dumb and a mute spirit. He said sometimes the devil had him going into these convulsions and he fell into the water and sometimes he fell into the fire. And the devil’s trying to kill him. And Jesus identified that it was a devil.
Now I want to pause. “Pastor Doug, how do you know where to draw the line between what we would today call a medical condition, but for the days of Christ they use the word evil spirit, but all they needed was a simple surgical procedure or some medicine, or there was a chemical imbalance and we know today that a pill will solve that problem? How do you explain that?” Well I do think that there are some people that might have a chemical or a physiological problem that makes it easy for devils to manipulate them and to torment them. And yes, medical treatment or medicine might take away the advantage of the devil to use that.
A person might have a problem with epileptic fits. But you know something? Even those who struggle with epilepsy or some kind of convulsion, they don't know when it's going to happen. They can't always time, “When will my next seizure be?” The devil sometimes can influence those things. Do you see what I'm saying, friends? A person might have a chemical imbalance and it could give them a little sense of melancholy, but the devil can turn that into a suicidal depression. And so you see what I'm saying? There's the mixture of these things. But just because of modern medicine and science it doesn't mean that the devil doesn't know how to exploit these things and really make it a demonic possession.
So sometimes it causes physical reactions. Mark 9:26, this boy who was having these seizures, Jesus said to the father, “How long has this happened?” And later the disciples said, “Why couldn't we cast out that devil?” And Jesus said, “These kind of devils don't come out except by prayer and fasting.” Christ said it was a demonic problem. Mark 9:26, “Then the spirit cried out and convulsed him greatly and came out of him. He became as one dead. So many said, He’s dead. But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up and he arose. There was no more problem anymore.”
So, what is the work of devils? They've got a pretty broad job description. One thing I want you to know is that deception is one of the top tools in their box. They deceived about what they're doing. They'd like to blame it all on anybody or anything else. Revelation 16:14, “For they are the spirits of devils.” What is the work of demons? “The spirits of devils working miracles.” And devils work miracles? Can they? Can they make it appear that it's a miracle of God and it's really a miracle from the devil? When Moses went before the Pharaoh and he threw his rod down and it became a serpent. In the pharaohs magicians came in and they counterfeited the miracles of God.
The devil can do that. The devil can make a person sick and then miraculously appear to remove that sickness so someone says, “Oh, that faith healer must be of God because look they got better.” Well they never would've been sick if it wasn't for the devil. He just temporarily withdrew the affliction to give the illusion that this person has the power of healing. So you can't even use miracles or healings as a sign for who’s really from God. The devil can counterfeit these things. And some people might go to a diabolical faith healer. There'll experience some relief, and it could be genuine relief because Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole.” The person might go with a genuine, sincere faith and they are healed by their own faith. It's called the placebo effect. The devil will use that to his advantage.
You remember King Saul? I Samuel 16:14, “But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.” Meaning, that when God's angels and when God's Spirit withdrew their protection that allowed an evil spirit to come and torment him. Saul would go through great spells of depression where he was bordering on homicide and suicide. One time, depressed, he threw the spear at David. David would come in and play soothing music for him and actually alleviate the problem, at least temporarily.
Telling us that there were practical things a person could do to relieve the demonic harassment. Listening to the right kind of music. I think some people open themselves up to demonic depression and influence by listening to the wrong thing. Now we know what listening to the Word of God will do. The opposite of that, of course, is listening to the words of the devil. Based on what I've seen, based on what I've heard, some of the music that these young people are listening to, if you don't find the words diabolical enough. There is such a thing has diabolical music, even without any words, that would just put a person's mind in a state where there are open to all kinds of evil suggestions. So you've got to be careful what you listen to.
I want to jump to something else. What is the final fate of these fallen angels? Jude 6, “And the angels that kept not their proper domain,” the fallen angels, “they left their own abode he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.” II Peter 2:4 says almost the same thing. “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved for judgment.” The Bible says these angels are held in this dark world, awaiting their judgment. That's why when Jesus came, many times the angel would say, “Have you come to torment us before the time?”
They know that their punishment is coming. Matter of fact, they are really hyper active right now because you can read in Revelation 12, “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, for Satan has come down to you having great wrath, for he knows his time is short.” And so they're kind of in a frenzy now because they know they're running out of time. And they just love it that the church doesn't even act like they exist. Because they're able to cause all kinds of problems in churches, and all kinds of problems in families.
I think there's one devil and his specialty is pride. So many arguments and so much dissension is because people have this god of pride, this tumor of pride, inside of them. There's another demon up their probably called lust. The Bible talks about the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes. And I think there's a demon out there that specializes in credit cards. All different manifestations of demons out there. What's their fate? The devil knows he has a short time. John Milton, the one who wrote that book, Paradise Lost. “The strongest and fiercest of spirit that fought in heaven is now fiercer still by despair.” He knows his time is short.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:41, “Then he will say to those on the left hand, “Depart from me ye cursed.” There are only two people: the saved and lost, the blessed and cursed. “Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” So they share in the fate of their leader. Revelation 20:10, “The devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and they are tormented there day and night for ever and ever.” That word day and night forever and ever indicates that they are going to be burned up according to what they deserve and they never ever will exist again. They are gone forever and ever. When you translated from one language to another.
If you were wondering what happens to the devil also happens to his angels, Ezekiel 28:18, “Therefore I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee. It will devour thee. I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. Thou shalt be a terror and never shalt thou be anymore.” He is going to be consumed, burned up, perish. God is not going to immortalized gremlins and boogiemen and devils in the lake of fire. There will be punish probably more than anyone else for what they have done.
Now I’m going to venture in the last few minutes to talk about casting out devils. I enter into this subject carefully for fear that people might misunderstand what I’m saying because when I talk to you about casting out devils how many of you have seen ministers and pastors that claim to have a specialty in this and you see it happening in churches where folks are lined up and one by one they’re getting hit and they’re writhing around. It just looks like cattle being branded or something.
Well we’ve all got these different concepts of what does that mean. Or you’ve got 14 people holding somebody down. I’ve seen that before. You read about that man in Mark 5, Luke 8. Often they would bind him with shackles and chains and he’d break them. Keep in mind; he had a whole legion of devils. It usually doesn’t happen that way. It takes more than just a few words spoken over the phone. So what do you do to cast out devils? How does it happen? What does the Bible say?
Mark 1:34, evicting demons. “He healed many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons.” I want to pause here for a minute. Do you see the Bible making a distinction between a physical sickness and spiritual sickness? “He healed those who were sick with various diseases and cast out many devils. And he did not allow the devils to speak because they knew him.” I always worry about these folks. I’ve run into folks that have these exorcism ministries and they say, “Yeah, I was talking to this devil right here and I identified him. He was a devil of the hay fever. I said, you sneeze out you devil of hay fever!” They talk to them. You don’t want to engage the devils to talk. Jesus said, “Be quiet.” He always told them, “Be quiet.” Only one time He said to that one, “What is your name?” And He did that for our benefit so we’d know how many demons had possessed that man. But He didn’t want to enter into dialogue.
Even the devil, when he came to get the body of Moses and Michael came to resurrect Moses, the devil said, “You can’t have him. He’s mine. He sinned.” And Jesus said, “No, I’ve forgiven him.” He didn’t enter into a conversation with him. He said, “The Lord rebuke thee,” and he took Moses to heaven. So you don’t want to get into a dialogue with the devil. By the way, we’re all in trouble today because Eve got into a discussion with the devil. You’ve heard about a silver-tongued devil? He’s the one that started with it. You don’t want to think you’re going to out talk him. The only thing you want to quote to the devil is scripture and the name of Jesus.
Jesus said, Matthew 10:8, when He sent out the apostles, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you receive, freely give.” Mark 1:27-28, “They were all amazed and they said, ‘what is this new doctrine?’ For with authority he commands unclean spirits and they obey him.” So whose authority do we have? Ours? We don’t have any authority. Does He have authority? Do you really believe that Jesus has authority over the devil? Then if you enter into prayer with that in mind and you believe you’re going to see results.
Let me share this with you real quick. Some of the principles in the Bible for casting out devils. First of all, prepare your own heart. If you’re going to be praying for somebody that you really believe is more than just demon harassed, and we should always pray for each other because we’re all tempted, make sure that you are in a position to pray. Ask God to forgive your sins. Ask God to hear your prayers not because you are righteous, but for the sake of Christ’s righteousness. The Bible tells us, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness,” humbleness, “considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” You’d hate to go to someone to cast out the devil and you catch what they’ve got. So do it in an attitude of humility.
By the way, you know why I said that? When you enter into this activity you want to pray and make sure that you’re sent of God. Acts 19:13, “Some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call on the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits saying, we will exorcise you by Jesus whom Paul preaches. Also, there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” You want to make sure that you know Jesus. What did that devil say? “I know Paul, and I know Jesus, but I don’t know you.” So if you’re going to enter into prayer that someone else is delivered then you make sure you’ve got that relationship with Him.
Number two: pray and fast. You remember that father, brought his son to Jesus? The disciples tried to cast out the devil and they couldn’t. Don’t be discouraged if you are unsuccessful, you’re in good company. Sometimes the apostles were unsuccessful. Don’t give up. They said, “Lord, why couldn’t we do it?” He said, “This kind only comes forth by prayer and fasting.” You might have some loved ones or children that they’re addicted to drugs or something else and you want them to be free. Fast and pray for them.
Cite scripture. And I’m not doing these in order of priority. That might be the first one. Use the word. What did Jesus use when the devil tried to tempt Him in the wilderness? It was the word of God. The devil’s words are what often puts the devil in people. It’s Christ’s word that expels them. When Jesus was battling the devil over and over He said, “It is written, it is written.” Very simply, I believe that devils could be cast out today from people who are either sitting here, who are listening or watching through TV or tape. They might not fall on the ground. Their eyes may not roll back in their head.
Their veins may not stand out in their neck. The word of God might do it quietly. The word of God can set people free without some big demonstration. And so I think more times than not when Jesus went out preaching and said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” casting out devils it was the preaching that cast out the devils. The preaching of the word gives people victory. So most of the time that’s how it happens. Make sure that you’re claiming the promises of God and citing scripture. He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, casting out devils. Preaching, casting out devils. Mark 1:39. It happens through the preaching of the word.
Pray for those who are afflicted. I know that stands as a basic, but not only fast and pray, but you want to be praying on an ongoing basis for them. Mark 9:23, “Jesus said, if you believe,” you want to believe, “all things are possible to them who believe.” So when you’re fasting and praying believe that God is going to set them free.
Number five. You might anoint them and pray. Anointing them with oil. The Bible’s clear that some people, physically sick, if they’re sick call for the elders to come and to pray over him. We don’t always know if the sickness is purely medical or maybe it’s a combination of medical and spiritual. Either way, oil is a symbol of what? The Holy Spirit. Pray over them and anoint them with oil. That is James 5:14-15.
Invoke as your authority the name of Jesus. Now I’ve heard pastors abuse that and they almost repeat the name of Jesus in an irreverent way. We should take the name of the Son of God with reverence upon our lips. There are examples for this in the Bible. Paul greatly annoyed when that demon-possessed girl was following him turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ.” You want to know what to say, say what Paul said. “To come out of her. And it came out of her that very hour.” Proclaim the name of Jesus and the authority of Jesus. Christ said, “These signs will follow those who believe. In my name they will cast out demons.” Again, Mark 16:17.
And finally, point seven. Repeat all of the above as often as necessary. Mary Magdalene, out of whom He cast seven devils. You read in the book Desire of Ages and it makes it sound like Mary fell seven times back into her old patterns. And Jesus had to deliver her again. It sounds that way. Remember? Jesus said, Matthew 12:43, “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and he finds none. Then he says, I’ll return to my house,” I’ll go check back at my old house, “from which I came; and when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order.
Then he goes, and he takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it be with this wicked generation.” In other words, if you are praying for deliverance from some habit or practice or way of life or thinking that you know is out of God’s will make sure that you overcome evil with good. Don’t leave a vacuum. If you’ve been reading the wrong kind of material start reading the right kind of material. If you’ve been; well, I don’t need to give you any more examples do I? You get the idea? If there’s anything in your life and you say, “I need to stop this,” replace it with something that is good. Otherwise you just create a vacuum and the devil comes back and says, “They’re just back where they were when I found them in the first place except the house is clean and swept. Let’s all move in.” Makes it worse.
So sometimes you’ll find you pray for deliverance in some area from the devil who’s harassing you and you fall. Don’t give up. Get up again. The Bible says a righteous man falls seven times and rises again. You may have to pray many times. Many times Jesus had to pray over His own apostles and they fell. But God wants to set us free. The good news is greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. The way we’re going to win is Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the whole armor of God.” In the word of God, in the Spirit, through prayer. That’s these things I’m talking about. This is all the armor of God. Through that we can be shielded against the attacks of the devil. And ultimately the word of God, which is the sword of the Sprit, that’s going to give us the power to overcome the enemy.
So friends, I just wanted to cover this with you. This is a biblical truth. And if they needed this back when Jesus came the first time I think the church needs it as Christ is preparing to come the second time. The devil has come down with great wrath. We need to know we have a very real enemy out there and that God has given us the tools to find victory. He wants you to be free. You can be free. You can do all things through Christ. Greater is He that is in you. Christ’s authority, Christ’s name, He can set you free from whatever those demonic harassments are and in some cases it might be that they’ve moved into some area of your life. And He wants to set you free.