Victory Over Evil Forces

Scripture: Romans 8:37
Date: 11/10/2012 
Lesson: 6
"In Christ, we have victory over all forces that would oppress us."
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church in Sacramento, California. We are thrilled that you have tuned in to study with us this morning. We are thrilled that you are joining us live on the internet - streaming - either through radio, through television, in your own sanctuary - however you're joining us we are thrilled and we know that you will truly be blessed by studying God's word together. All over the world we are studying God's word and it brings us together as a family. Praise the Lord.

Our first song we're going to sing this morning is 'amazing grace' and if I read every name that has requested this song we'd be here all day and I'd be taking up Pastor Doug's time. So I'm going to read a few of the names and if your name is not mentioned, you know who you are and so does the Lord. This comes as a request from adhemar, ariclene, denise, and mauricia in angola, David, jelena, and lana in croatia, rachel and marilyn in the dominican republic, alex in hungary, ivan in iraq, george in kuwait, noel and John in myanmar, murray and maylene in new zealand, caddie in nicaragua, Isaac and isabel in peru, isabel in portugal, alwin in saudi arabia, nelcie and rouddhency in the turks and caicos islands, and there's a whole bunch more of you but, for time, we're just going to turn to hymn #108 and we're going to sing all five verses. I am looking forward to that day when we can spend eternity with Christ. Amen.

If you have a Christmas hymn that you would like to sing with us - found in our hymnal - on a coming presentation, I invite you to go to our website at '' and click on the 'contact us' link and there you can request your Christmas hymn and we will sing that with you coming up soon in the Christmas season. Our next hymn is hymn #31 - it's our new hymn of the week and this actually even comes as a request from a jo who is 19 years old that lives in england. So we are going to sing hymn #31 and we are going to sing the first, the second, and the last verses. Let's pray. Our Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for the privilege that we have to tell out the glory and the graciousness of who you are.

And lord, help us not to be slack in that because we want you to come soon and we want to do our part. So just bless us today with your words. Help us to take them to our heart and to spread the news of your soon coming and your infinite and great love for each one of us. Please bless Pastor Doug today as he brings us your message, lord, and help us to just be more like you. We pray these things in your name.

Amen. Our study this morning will be brought to us by - not pastor doug - it's what I wrote - it's what I saw on the paper. This is pastor harold white and he is our administrative pastor here at Sacramento central. Some people say Pastor Doug and I look a little bit alike and I always tell them, 'I'm the one with hair.' Oh boy, well, Pastor Doug couldn't be here and he sends his sorrow that he couldn't be. He's off to a funeral and this funeral happens to be in Texas.

Elder cyril miller, who was a worker in the church for many, many years - became a conference president, a union conference president - passed away this past week - I think it was about a week ago. Elder cyril miller was the president that gave Pastor Doug his first call to ministry and so, we have a great deal to owe cyril miller for doing that. And as I understand the story, elder cyril miller was the one who came up with the idea for Amazing Facts. He was listening to Paul harvey one day - all of you who are a little bit up in age remember Paul harvey - some of you younger people might not, but he was on the news every day. And people, when it came time for Paul harvey, they'd stop what they were doing and listen to Paul harvey.

And then he had this five-minute program or so called 'the rest of the story' and cyril miller was listening to that one day and he said, 'that's what we need to do with the church. We need to get a radio program and do something special like that. And so, he was friends to elder bill may and they got together and talked and they said, 'well, we need somebody with a good radio voice.' And they said, 'well what about joe crews - our friend joe crews?' So they talked with joe and he wasn't too excited about it at first but they kept after him and then he decided, 'okay, I'll give it a try.' And aren't we ever glad he did? Amazing Facts has been a wonderful ministry for many, many years and so now you know the rest of the story. A good story indeed, right? Today, I want to welcome all of you who have come to join us here in Sacramento and all of you who are joining us online from wherever you are - the internet, satellite, radio - we're glad you have joined us in our class today. We have a very special offer today, offer #105 entitled 'the ultimate deliverance'.

Is Jesus coming soon? Yes. Do we know the day or hour? No. Don't ever get caught up in that little concept. If people are predicting a date, don't have anything to do with that. But this is a subject we need to understand very thoroughly because there are a lot of misconceptions about Jesus' coming and millions - absolutely millions will be deceived on this very issue and they won't be ready for the real coming of Jesus.

So if you have never gone through this lesson, now is the time to call and ask for 'the ultimate deliverance' - offer #105. -866-Study-more or -866-788-3966. If it's been a while since you've gone through it, order it and go through it again. Well, we have a wonderful lesson to go through this - today. 'Victory over evil forces.

' And if you will join me in reading Romans 8:37, I would appreciate it - taken from the new king James version and it's found in your quarterly. Are you ready? "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Yes. Victory over evil forces is really what life is all about in these last days of earth's history that we're living. The word 'forces' is very descriptive in itself. Forces - it is a concept that is contrary to God because God doesn't force, does he? God does not force anybody to do anything.

He gives us a free choice. And so, when you see the word 'force' it's very easy to see that it would go along with the word evil - 'victory over evil forces'. The juxtaposition of those two words is very adequate and natural. I like that word, don't you? Juxtaposition. It has character.

Use it every chance I get. But it is - these two words go together very, very clearly. The backdrop of all worldly activities, I believe, has a great deal to do with the theme of the Great Controversy. The Great Controversy - what is the Great Controversy all about? It's about this battle that's going on between what? Good and evil, right? And that is the backdrop to everything that is going on in this world today. Everything has its connection and the lesson kind of brings that out also.

So let me ask you the question, 'how evil is evil?' How evil is evil? That's an interesting thought. Is the enemy just some kind of half fictional character that the world makes jest of or is the enemy as evil as evil gets? I contend that the enemy is as evil as evil gets. He delights in bringing pain and misery and death and all kinds of bad things upon this earth. He delights in it. Perhaps many of you have read this little passage that's taken from 'early writings page 152.

It's an interesting insight to this foe. There it says, "I was shown satan as he once was, a happy exalted angel. Then I was shown him as he now is. He still bears a kingly form. His features are still noble, for he is an angel fallen.

But the expression of his countenance is full of anxiety, care, unhappiness, malice, hate, mischief, deceit, and every evil. That brow which was once so noble, I particularly noticed. His forehead commenced from his eyes to recede. I saw that he had so long bent himself to evil that every good quality was debased and every evil trait was developed. His eyes were cunning, sly, and showed great penetration.

His frame was large but the flesh hung loosely about his hands and face. As I beheld him, his chin was resting upon his left hand. He appeared to be in deep thought. A smile was on his countenance, which made me tremble. It was so full of evil and satanic slyness.

This smile is the one he wears just before he makes sure of his victim and as he fastens the victim in his snare, this smile grows horrible." The enemy is as evil as evil gets. It's not some make-believe battle that's going on, it's for real. Well then, the question is deserved to be asked, 'how good is good?' Well, good in us is not very good without the Lord. In fact, the Bible says our hearts are deceitful above all things, right? But with God, then the picture changes because God is perfectly good, right? God's goodness is perfect. So then, let us ask the question, 'how close in equality - how close in equality is the power between these two sources - behind good and evil?' The power behind good - how equal to the power behind bad? There is no comparison.

Even though the enemy has a great deal of power, he has more power than we have on our own. He is smarter than all of us put together because he is an angel fallen. He's had 6,000 years - even tormenting us - to continue studying life and even the word of God, so he's very smart and he's very powerful, but he is absolutely no match to the power of God, would you agree to that? No match whatsoever. So that begs the question then, why does mankind struggle with evil so much? If the power behind all goodness is infinitely greater than the power behind evil, why would we ever struggle? Well, that is one of the questions we want to address as we go through the lesson this week. And the closing sentence there on the opening page says that, 'in Christ we have the promise of victory over those forces - the evil forces - in our world.

' And that is another issue that we will want to address this morning also. How do we claim or acquire this victory if it has been promised to us? So let's move on to Sunday's entitled, 'a stage set for victory.' Somebody has Ephesians 1:18 through 22. Somebody has that this morning? Okay, 1:18 to 22 - the stage, of course, here - as the lesson points out - is the death of Christ on the cross and - not only the death of Christ on the cross, but his resurrection. Those two events give complete assurance of victory. And that's what we want to read about now in Ephesians chapter , verses 18 through 22.

And I think we're ready for that. Okay. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what are riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And he put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church." Thank you very much. Can we say then that the cross provided the victory? His resurrection helps to understand that the deal has been sealed.

He rose from the dead and that gave proof that the cross was a victorious event. He was raised to new life and that is what our experience should be. Once we accept Christ we are raised to new life in Jesus. Now, does that mean up until the cross that all these poor people who lived in old testament times lived in a great deal of anxiety and fear wondering if and when the Messiah would ever come - would he actually be able to fulfill the promises that were there? Did they live in anxiety? Was there uncertainty? When old testament people looked to the sacrifices - each lamb that was slain, the blood that was spilled - did they wonder, 'will he really come? And if he does come, as a man among men' - which they should have understood - 'will he fail to accomplish his task?' Now, if they would have realized that the Messiah would have to come and live as a man - a perfect man - and die a perfect sacrifice, I think many of them would have said, 'i don't know if that's going to happen if he's going to have to do this as a man.' You know why they didn't have those questions? Because they knew they weren't living as a perfect human being and they looked around them and they could see that no one they knew was living as a perfect human being so how was this Messiah going to come and do it as a man? How would he ever succeed? So they probably had some real questions about how this was all going to take place. I suspect most people - maybe even all people - didn't even realize or understand the aspect of the coming of the Messiah - that he would have to live as a perfect human being without using any divinity.

They probably had this concept that when the Messiah came he was going to be like this majestic being who was going to take the throne and live above all sin because he was a different kind of human being - which he was but he didn't use his divinity, right, to overcome? It's kind of hard to know what they thought about the coming Messiah in some respects. We know they had it all wrong in many respects. So back to our question - up until the cross was there still some uncertainty? Could Jesus have failed? Yes he could have. He could have failed. He could have given in to just one sin and he would have failed.

By faith, though, the children of Israel - they could have looked to the sacrificial system - they could have looked to the sacrifices and realized that the sacrifices that were brought to be slain, they were perfect sacrifices without blemish. And that represented the Messiah who would come - who would be perfect and without blemish - so they should have understood, by faith, that this mission was going to be victorious. But ask yourself, would you like to have been living then more than you'd like to be living now? I'm glad I'm living now. I'm glad I'm living in a time when the stage has been perfectly set because of the cross and the resurrection. That's my concept.

We know, without a doubt, that the sacrifice has been perfect. The resurrection and ascension took place likewise and Jesus did something at his resurrection - he brought several people from the grave, right? People were raised with Jesus. I've always wondered why the Bible writers didn't say more about that and who some of these people were. That would have been very interesting to know. But he did raise some people and he took them back to heaven with him.

The fact that there are earthlings in heaven with God now should even give us greater assurance. We might call them the supporting cast. They give support to the concept that this is a perfect stage - the cross and the resurrection. They are enjoying the splendor of heaven which means victory has been provided, right? Can you imagine them being yanked out of heaven and brought back to earth to be destroyed because the victory wasn't, somehow, acceptable and wasn't victorious? No, what Christ did for us was enough. It was all he could do, he couldn't do any more, and he did it perfectly.

So the stage is set and it's not any ordinary stage, it's the most glorious stage possible. How do we take advantage of this? I mean, we know about the stage, right? We're studying about it. We know the facts about what it tells us in regards to victory - our victory, but then, lo and behold, we're sailing along, we're enjoying the victory, we understand these things, 'Christ died for me. I'm so happy. I'm so free in Jesus.

He's giving me victory.' And then lo and behold, today or maybe yesterday or tomorrow we blow it. You've been there, I bet you. You were doing pretty good and then all of a sudden something comes up and you sinned. Isn't that an awful feeling? How come? How awful is that? Perfect stage, perfect provisions for victory, but perfect failure on our part to achieve victory all the time. Oh, how does that happen? Can we blame the stage? Is the problem with the stage? No.

As we said, that was perfectly done. Never - we must never entertain such a thought, actually. It was a perfect sacrifice, it was a glorious resurrection - the problem, of course, is that our focus was taken off the stage. Somehow, the enemy was able to draw our attention away from this perfect stage and then we fell. And this is the whole reason behind Paul's admonition here to the Ephesians - to remind them where they should keep their focus.

We are to learn from our mistakes, are we not? And our admonitions from the Word of God. Have you ever heard of will rogers? Will rogers was an entertainer some time back. It began - his entertaining - by doing rope tricks and he was really good with a rope, by the way. And one day on stage in the middle of an act he got all tangled up in his lariat. Instead of getting upset, though, he drawled, 'a rope ain't so bad to get tangled up in if it ain't around your neck.

' And all the people laughed and they thought that was great. So he learned something from that episode. He started adding humor to his act and he became much more well known for his humor than his rope tricks. He learned from his mistakes and we are to learn from our mistakes. We get tangled in our own ropes at times - they will not become ropes around our necks and unto our demise if we take the admonition that Paul is sending us here - admonition from the rest of the Word of God - to learn from our mistakes and go on from victory to victory because that's what God wants for us.

It's when we don't take the admonition and focus our minds on this perfect stage that we'll have eternal problems. Now, let's move on to Monday's - entitled 'hope of victory'. Now this is perfect timing for at least we who live in the united states of America. I say that because right here in the united states we are nearing the national elections for the presidency of the united states, right? That's all you hear about. And we're also, right here in the united states, going through the major league baseball playoffs working its way to the world series, right? And all that's on people's minds - between the presidency and baseball - is victory.

And if you don't have your mind set on victory you're not going to get there. If these men running for the presidency of the united states - if they don't believe that they can be victorious do you think they would have a chance? No, they wouldn't have a chance in the world. They believe - both of them believe - and the polls say it's very close, but they both believe that they can be the one to be victorious. Now, what about the baseball players? Do they believe they can be victorious? Even the san francisco giants who get down three to one? They still believe! They come back and win again and again and again. So yeah, they believe and if they don't believe they won't win.

If they don't eat, sleep and drink baseball and victory they will lose. And my friends, if you and I in this Great Controversy don't think, eat, drink, and sleep victory, we'll probably lose too. It should be the focal thought of every waking moment and even those dreams that we get involved in should have something to do with victory in Jesus. Our minds should be focused on that. But I would ask the question, 'is there an element of teaching, even within the church, that victory over sin isn't possible?' There is.

There is that element that says, 'oh we can't be perfect. We can't live perfectly. We all sin.' We know we all sin but there is promises from God's word that says we can rise above all sin. Maybe we haven't obtained perfection but can anything less than perfection be our goal? I say no. Absolutely not.

Not if we call ourselves Christians because if we call ourselves Christians that means we are saying we are endeavoring to pattern our life after Christ and Christ was perfect. So how can we say we have - we would choose anything less than perfection to shoot for? Because he lived a perfect life and he didn't use his divinity to do so. He did it within the framework of humanity. Just after Paul tells us there in Romans 8, verse 28, "all things work together for good to them that love God." He goes on to say in verses 29 and 30, "for whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover who he predestined, these he also called; whom he called, these he also justified; and who he justified, these he also glorified.

" Now, as the lesson points out, these verses have been the battleground for the concept of predestination - we won't go into that this morning - today - but the larger point of this verse is an amazing promise. What does 'predestinate to be conformed to the image of the son' mean if it doesn't mean his desire for us to be just like Jesus? If we were just like Jesus we would be victorious over temptations to sin. We will live victoriously. God would have us look to Jesus - this is an interesting concept - God would have us look to Jesus for the concept of perfection. Likewise, Jesus would have us look to The Father for the concept of perfection.

Somebody has Matthew 5:48 - who has that? Matthew 5:48 - over here - and we will see, in this verse - :48 I guess over here - that in this verse where we just got done reading that God would have us look to Jesus for his concept of perfection, in this verse we find just the opposite - Jesus having us to look to the father for this concept of perfection and we are ready to read Matthew 5, verse 48. "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your father in heaven is perfect." Okay, that's Jesus speaking - red letters in Matthew - Jesus is speaking, 'be like The Father. Be perfect as The Father in heaven is perfect. That's what I want you to be. That's what you should shoot for.

' I've had to laugh a few times because those people who don't like the concept we should be shooting for perfection - that we can live above sin - I've heard people say, 'well, that word 'perfect' doesn't mean perfect in this text, it has more with the meaning of the concept of mature. 'Be therefore mature as your Father in Heaven is mature. Well, bless their hearts, I don't care what word you put in there, it all comes down to being perfect. If God is perfectly mature, which we know he is, then he's perfect. You can throw any word in there.

Be ye therefore kind as your Father in Heaven is kind. He's perfectly kind. You can throw any word you want in. And it all comes down to the same thing: we are to be like The Father who is perfect in everything so it means the same thing. So yes, both father and son would have us look to the other and realize that our goal is never to be anything less than perfection.

As the lesson points out, verses through 39 in Romans 8, it gives us an array of entities over which the Christian can be victorious. It's quite a list. "Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword." If that isn't enough, 38 talks about "neither life, nor death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature." He doesn't miss much. None of these entities - none of them - can strip us from our victory. Going back to baseball for just a moment - can you imagine if a manager had a person like this on his team.

'Man, they got the best pitchers in all the world. There's no way we can ever get a hit off this pitcher - and their relief pitchers are better than their starting pitchers. There's no way we could ever hit those pitchers. And our pitchers, you know, they're not very good - their hitters are going to hit everything they throw out there - everything - they hit it, they hit it, they hit it, they hit it - and don't worry, if you get lucky and hit one they're going to catch it because they're the best fielders in all the world and their fans are even better than our fans. They yell better - they yell better, they have better things to say and they yell louder.

' Do you think that manager is going to be very happy with that person? No. But you know, you have probably heard a person within the church almost give the same kind of Lamentations. 'Oh, it's so hard to be a Christian. I don't know if I could ever do this. It's so hard.

There's so many things you've got to do and so many things you can't do and it's just - it's just hard. I can't do it.' If you talk like that you won't do it, right? We are to talk faith. We are to talk hope. We are to talk victory. Through Christ it's possible.

That's what we should be encouraging one another - 'did you have a rough week? Did you fall? Don't stay down, get up. Victory is a possible thing through Christ.' Absolutely. So think about it. Can we say that the same - can we say the same of hope that we can say of faith? You know the Bible says, 'faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.' Could you put hope in that? Sure. Hope cometh by hearing.

And the more you read the Bible the more hope you have. Isn't it true? Hope of victory. If you sense yourself lamenting to any degree in this great controversy we are in, renew your hope by going to the promises in His Words. So let's go to Tuesday's lesson entitled 'Christians versus the devil'. Now, in one way I don't particularly like this title because if it's just the Christians versus the devil we lose.

Whatever you do, don't try to go up against the devil by yourself. Now if it says - it would be better to say, 'Christians in Jesus versus the devil' that would be better but maybe the concept of the word Christian in itself is enough because we assume that if you are Christian Christ is in you, right? So I'm sure that's what was meant by that term. But don't ever try to go up against the devil by yourself, you will lose. Someone has James chapter 4, verse 7 - who has that this morning? James chapter 4 - okay, we have it over here. Actually, James is one of my favorite books in the Bible because the book of James is so very practical.

Have you ever noticed that? The book of James is such a practical admonition on daily living and things we have to contend with and James chapter , verse 7 is actually one of my very favorite texts in all of the Bible. James 4:7 - we are ready to read that now, thank you. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Isn't that a good verse? We need to do this verse in order.

First of all, submit yourself to God. If you don't do that, forget the rest of the verse. Submit yourself to God then resist the devil and then comes that wonderful promise - he will have to flee. Sometimes we don't give the devil enough credit for the power he possesses and other times we give the devil too much credit for the power he possesses. He is a created being.

We are created beings. Yes, he was an angel created above us, and yes, he's very smart and he has a lot of power, but he's still a created being. Submitting to God gives us the edge because we have the power of the creator living in us created beings and that puts us above him. Even though he has a lot of power, it still puts us above him. Like Paul, we can say, 'Christ lives within us.

' With Christ in us, what does that mean? Well, think about Jesus' earthly ministry. Did the demons know who he was? Somebody has Mark 1:23-25 - who has that this morning? Right behind you over there. Mark 1:23-25. This is an interesting passage because we find in this passage that the demons addressed Jesus and they, very clearly, as you will see from this verse, they very clearly understood who Jesus was and what he was all about. Okay.

Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, '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!' But Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'be quiet, and come out of him!'" Thank you very much. If Christ is living in us, then if we come in contact with this kind of situation, we should expect the same results, right? If you come in contact with somebody that you believe is demon possessed and you pray - you submit to God first - you resist the devil in the name of Jesus Christ secondly, you should claim the promise then the devil has to flee. For is not the devil - and I use this verse every time we have an anointing - somebody is sick and they ask the elders to come and anoint them - and I refer to this text every time in my prayer. Why? Because, first of all, in my prayer I submit myself to God and I pray that those who are involved in the anointing service will likewise do the same and they've already done the same but renew that submission right then and there.

And then I resist the devil in the name of Jesus and I begin to claim the promise that he has to flee. Why? Because the devil is responsible for all wickedness and all evil and all sickness, right? He's responsible for every pain that people experience. Now yes, I know, we have to take some responsibility by our intemperance and things we do wrong, but he, according to the book of job, is ultimately responsible for every bad thing on earth. So we want him to flee when we're praying for somebody to have healing. Because he's responsible, we want him to get out of there.

So at an anointing, first of all, we instruct the person requesting the anointing to read that very precious chapter in 'ministry of healing' that tells of the requirements of the person seeking healing. Once that is done then we can claim James chapter 4. Now that doesn't mean that healing will take place every time at that moment. Sometimes I've prayed for people and they've gotten healed pretty quick or right then and there almost. I prayed for a little baby once that was born with all kinds of things going on and its insides all mixed up - they weren't even going to try to help the poor little fellow because they said his organs were all in the wrong place.

So we had an anointing for him - they went ahead and did the operation - the guy is now a grown man with children so God has different ideas sometimes than the devil does. So, yes, sometimes it happens that way. Sometimes it doesn't happen at all - people go to their grave. When Jesus comes though, there's going to be a mass fulfillment of answered prayer because when you've prayed for healing and you've done so according to the requirements and you've surrendered everything to God, you are going to be healed either right then or in time or when Jesus comes. You will put on an immortal body which means you'll have a glorified body and there won't be one taint of that disease that you had back on earth.

So you're going to be healed, right? This mass answer to prayer when people are raised from the grave - how will they come forth from the graves? Glorified. Just because they weren't healed at that time, the devil still had to flee. And why is that important? It's important because if you know the devil has to flee, you can have peace. Whatever happens to your life - even if you lie down and rest in your grave, you know that you have peace with Christ. You're in his hands.

So he still has to flee one way or another. That should be our attitude in this battle between Christians versus the devil. As we move on to Wednesday's entitled 'examples of victory' an important part of today's lesson concerns itself with the power over demons and unclean spirits. The seventy were sent out - even though they weren't given direct counsel about overcoming demons and unclean spirits, it seems to be that's what they came back the most excited about. 'Oh, even the unclean spirits were - they had to yield to us.

' And these experiences can be exciting and inspiring when God works to free people from the demonic world. Over thirty years ago my wife and I were studying with a young couple and the young lady was spanish and didn't speak any english - her husband did some. They had some relatives, another young couple that they were with together - they were both adventists - but this young lady was never an adventist, didn't have any understanding about adventists. The young man had been but kind of slipped away but now he was really getting back to the Lord and we had a wonderful time studying with this young couple. And eventually - my wife went with me because she understands spanish.

So it came time for her to be baptized and her husband was going to be baptized with her. We went over to their house on Friday evening and the women went upstairs and us men stayed downstairs. Unbeknownst to us men downstairs, something was going on upstairs. This young lady that was getting ready to be baptized was having an awful experience with demons. They were trying to lift her up off her bed, take her breath away from her, and immediately my wife understood what was going on and she, with this other lady, knelt beside that bed and prayed fervently in the name of Jesus and that spirit left and she was well and that was the last experience she ever had with that.

About two or three years ago, after thirty years of not seeing this couple, we ran into them and they're just a beautiful young couple, have adult girls now going to seventh day adventist colleges and so it was so good to see that once the lord delivered her, he delivered her once and for all. Now it doesn't happen always. People can go back - like dogs go back to their vomit, right? People can go back to their old ways and sometimes that happens. I remember another young lady, she went through all the Christian seventh day adventist schools and when she was in academy she did something not very smart - she played with the ouija board - you've heard of the ouija board, right? Well, when you play around with things like that, the demonic world comes into your life and that's what happened to her. She was plagued every so often with these demonic forces in her life.

And she was a newly married young lady and we got to know them and we experienced some of these times that she was going through and we would pray fervently for her and she would find relief. But the thing is, with this lady, she was struggling about making a real commitment to God and she really never did. She actually ended up getting divorced and leaving the church and so even though it looked like she had been delivered when we prayed for her, she always went back. It always came back because she hadn't made that full surrender. That's what's so important about making a full surrender to Jesus before we even begin to pray like this.

I suppose once she left the church she probably wasn't even bothered by these kind of experiences anymore because the devil, he had the victory, right? He didn't have to do that anymore. Well these are the kind of examples of victory that enrich our lives in the Lord. Does deliverance from demonic powers in a person's life ensure that they will always be free from those powers? No, not always. So, examples of victory that are recorded in God's word are given to us as an encouragement that there are no powers that can take victory from us if we are surrendered to the powers of all powers. And on Thursday's lesson entitled 'examples of victory' - taken from the book of acts - we get some further insight to that which we have been talking about already in Wednesday's lesson.

When Jesus was here in person, he had several contacts with the demonic world, remember? I'm sure you remember reading about those. And each time he was able to deliver these poor souls from the demon powers - demonic powers. And there was an occasion or two when he ordered the demons to come out of that child or whatever - that person was thrust to the ground and looked like they'd even died and the people drew back and gasped and they said, 'he's dead! He's dead!' But no, he wasn't dead. The demons had left and when he stood up he was in the full vigor of life - full mental capabilities restored to him. And so every time you read about Jesus coming in contact with the demonic world in his day, every one of them was victorious because of his great power, of course.

But as we move to the book of acts and some of the experiences the disciples had with the demonic world - it seemed to be part of their ministry only as it became necessary and it didn't seem that anybody got proud. Now, some people have gotten involved in this kind of ministry because it is so exciting and it kind of makes them popular - that they begin to specialize in demon possession deliverance. And I think that's a dangerous thing to do. I mean, if you are - if you come in contact or are confronted with this kind of situation, do all the things you know to do, biblically speaking - pray the right kind of prayer, submit the right kind of submission to God and meet that head on, but don't go looking for trouble or trouble will find you. And some of these people I've known who've gotten specialized in this kind of ministry, it's taken them off track quite a bit - sometimes they never recover.

So yes, meet it head on but don't go out of your way to seek this kind of thing. Somebody has acts 5, verses 12-16. Who has that? Right over here. Acts the 5th chapter, verses -16 and this is a - even Peter is involved in this. The old Peter, as we realize, often became very proud, but let's read acts 5:12-16.

And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

" Well that's quite an experience. You think about it - I mean, Peter and his disciples were just like you and myself - they're just human beings. But imagine you go out into the throngs and people - they'd bring people to you that were sick and even dying and they would be healed and maybe even just because they passed through your shadow. That's pretty amazing stuff. How many of us would not tend to become proud about those kinds of things happening because of our ministry? I'm not sure I would really want to have that kind of power.

I don't want to become proud like that at all. But it didn't seem to even make Peter - he'd really been through an experience and I think the days of his pride were - vanished when he denied his lord. You know, one of the most solemn and sad texts in the Bible, I think, is when you read about how Peter went out and wept bitterly. It's just a tragic thought in my mind as I see Peter going out and just uncontrollably - weeping uncontrollably. So he lost all of his pride and he was able to do this kind of thing without it affecting his purpose for life.

I don't know if these people kind of thought this became a superstition thing that they just would pass through the shadow. It's not really clear from this passage but it's something to think about. Now, I'm going to turn to acts and read a couple verses. Acts 16, verses 16-18. Acts chapter 16, verse 16, "and it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling.

This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, 'these men are the servants of the most high God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.' And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the Spirit, 'i command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.' And he came out that very hour." Now, for us reading this it sounds like this lady was doing a good thing. She even said a very wonderful thing about these men - 'they are the servants of the most high God.' But Paul was able to perceive there was something not quite right about this lady. He was under the influence of the Holy Spirit and he knew things weren't right and so he prayed that the demons would come out of her and they did. Now this is an experience, I believe, a little bit more like the example sometimes that we go through.

Sometimes we meet things and we're not very clear about what's going on here. There's some strange things. They're talking religious, they sound religious, they sound like they could be on the right track, but then there's something just not quite right and sometimes we pastors have gotten together and talked about that in certain situations and we soon find out - through the spirit's leading or whatever - things aren't quite right. And so I think this is an example of the kind of things we may run into in our lifetime and our experiences. That's just something to keep in mind.

You know, I believe we could write a book of acts. You know, since the book of acts was all about what the disciples did, the apostles did - and it's only a few chapters long and quite a few wonderful stories in there, but Sacramento central could write a book of acts just in one years' time we could write a lot of experiences that have happened right here - and people who have come out of the drug scene, people who have been demon possessed - yes, some even here - people who have done some very terrible things and they've come out and accepted Jesus. We could write a book of acts. Wouldn't that be exciting actually? We should start doing that and they'll come here and write about every good thing and every bad thing that happens here at Sacramento central. And from some of you that we hear from online - some of the amazing things that are taking place in our world because of this Great Controversy between good and evil.

There's going to be some exciting things - even more so - happening in the days ahead of us, don't you think so? This Great Controversy is coming to a close. We are coming to the climax of this battle between good and evil. And what is the thing to keep in mind? Good will win. We can be victorious and if we say anything less than that we're only hurting ourselves and hurting those around us. So may God bless us with the decision to live victoriously in Jesus Christ, our lord, our Savior, and our master.


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