Good evening everyone. It has been a pleasure to be here with you as usual, but especially in this capacity to share with you from God's Word. It has been a tremendous blessing to know the Lord's presence and help with us, and it's been encouraging just to hear a little bit of feedback - but the Lord is not finished with us yet. I believe tonight, I suppose all that we have learned so far is going to come together, and I do hope it will do such in a great experiential crescendo for some of you tonight as you break through with God in a new way that you have never done before. If you haven't been with us, well, where have you been? If you haven't been here, I will try and fill in as best as I can. The series has been called 'Deep Healing', and we've been looking at identifying and overcoming hindrances to Christian growth. We've tried to sum it up, I think quite exhaustively in a sense, generally speaking that the three major obstacles to growth in the Christian life are: 'Sins', 'Wounds', and 'Demons'. Tonight we're looking at 'Demons', the last of those three.
So I want you to turn with me to Matthew chapter 12, and we'll read a few verses from there, and we'll be looking at numerous scriptures tonight again. Matthew 12 verse 22: "Then one was brought to Him", to the Lord Jesus, "who was demonpossessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, 'Could this be the Son of David?'. Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, 'This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons'. But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: 'Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad'".
Down, please, to verse 43, the Lord is speaking again and He says: "When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came'. And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and 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 also be with this wicked generation".
Now, I'm going to repeat myself, but hopefully for your benefit, those of you who have been here already, to remember these things; and in introduction for those who haven't been at this study so far. We have been saying that the three major obstacles to maturing in the Christian life are sins, wounds, and demons. It is imperative, essential, that we diagnose, as it were, what your particular problem is - because the cure for each of those problems is different. Sins, we saw in our first week, need to be repented of. Wounds need to be healed and, as we will see tonight, demons must be expelled. Those remedies cannot be applied to the other conditions. In other words, you can't cast out a wound, or cast out a sin for that matter. Wounds must be healed, sins must be repented of. You can't heal a sin or a demon, sins need to be repented of, demons need to be cast out - they cannot be healed. You cannot repent of a demon, repentance will not be enough to deal with demonic force. Neither can you repent of a wound. A demon has to be cast out, and a wound must be healed.
I think we have seen that all of us, to lesser or greater extents, can and often are a combination of all these three problems. Often our sinning can be a coping mechanism for wounds that we have deep within our human spirit and in our past memories. Equally so, those sinful behaviours can be empowered where those wounds are used as a seed bed, a breeding ground for demonic infection. So demons can enter into our lives through sins and through wounds - but I have to say that we must be very careful not to become infatuated by the demonic realm. I want to really warn you about this, this is vital, because some people are obsessed with demonology. Some people see every problem in Christian life and non-Christian life as being of demonic source: there is a demon for this, a demon for that, a demon for the other. Now I believe that the demonic realm is widespread and infiltrating human life and society at large, but we must be biblical in everything that we say and everything that we do. We must not fall into what is a demonic trap of practising the presence of darkness, rather than practising the presence of God. Some people who are constantly doing what they call 'spiritual warfare', which I believe in biblically speaking, but some who have popularised this are doing nothing but wrestling with principalities and powers, and actually attracting all the demons of hell to their back door.
Our dealing must be with God, we practice the presence of God, we pray to God, we look to God for our salvation, for our covering, for our protection - and we must remember the plain on which we do battle. Even the Archangel Michael, the book of Jude says, would not bring a railing accusation against Satan regarding the bones of Moses - and we would do well to take a leaf out of his book, and know our own station as humankind. We are to engage in spiritual warfare, but we must understand what that really is and not fall into the trap of becoming infatuated with the demonic realm.
Now, I want us to pray, as I have been asking you just before I delve into these studies each week. I want you to ask the Lord, in conclusion of this series and also as we touch on this new subject tonight, that the Holy Spirit who brings discernment, who is the One who identifies and causes us to overcome these barriers, that He may discern your problem and bring wisdom and knowledge and revelation to you just now, to put His finger right on the very issue that you need to deal with tonight. I'm grateful for the leadership who have given me free rein tonight, and we're going to take time this evening not just to study, but to have a time of prayer where we will deal with these issues before God. So let's come and ask the Lord to enlighten you, and to open your mind and heart to what He has to say to you.
Heavenly Father, we come to You, we say: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. We offer up this prayer, as our Lord taught us, in His blessed name. We invoke the precious power of the shed blood of the cross, and we say: Lord Jesus Christ, who pronounced to Your own before You ascended into heaven, 'All power is given unto Me in heaven and on Earth, go therefore and make disciples', Lord Jesus, standing in our midst right at this moment, release Your divine power as the resurrected and glorified Lord. Come now and do what You alone can do, thwart the powers of darkness and exalt Your holy name, and release the mighty power of the Kingdom of God through the Gospel. In the mighty name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
Now I'm not going to take time tonight, and I don't have the knowledge to delve into the origin of demons. You might think it's a very obvious origin, where they came from, fallen angels and so on - but it's a little bit more complicated than that, because there seems to be a hierarchy of demonic beings. But they are here, and they are alive and well on planet Earth, but we must understand where we fit into this whole equation in the creative sphere. The demonic, as the angelic, fit into a category that we would call 'celestial beings', or 'heavenly beings'. They are spiritual entities. God has created them, and they inhabit - in our sphere anyway - the heavenly realms and further afield. So angels and demons fit into the celestial realm of spiritual beings. Then here on the Earth there are what we call 'terrestrial beings', 'earthly beings', the beasts of the field and the birds of the air - pure flesh.
Now, mankind, created in the image of God, is unique - because he is made up of both of these realms. He is both spiritual - God breathed into Adam, and he became a living soul; He breathed 'ruac', 'spirit' into Adam and he became a living being - but there is this spiritual part of us that we looked at last week that is our identity before each other and before God, the human spirit that is given - it is spiritual. But we are also physical, we are flesh, and so humankind is unique in that he is, if you like, an interface between these two dimensions where both spiritual and physical collide. An 'interface', in computer terms, is a point of interaction between two powers, if you like. We are the point of interaction between the celestial and the terrestrial realm, the spiritual and the physical worlds. Before man fell in the Garden of Eden, of course Lucifer fell from heaven, and was cast down. Of course he turned up in the Garden of Eden in some kind of guise called 'the serpent', and there that devilish power that he embodies wrested from Adam's hand dominion over the created realm. You see, Adam was given authority over creation by God, and hence you see him naming the creatures and so on - but Adam, by an act of his will, in disobedience to God and obedience to Satan, give the dominion of this world over to the enemy. That's why, at the temptation of our Lord, Satan could give to Jesus, if He had bowed down to him, all the kingdoms of this world - because they were in his dominion. That's why Paul says, 'This world lies in the lap of the wicked one'. Paul calls him 'the god of this world, who has blinded the minds of those who do not believe'.
So, from that very moment in Eden, Satan and satanic forces have sought to manipulate mankind - and they are still doing it today. Paul is very graphic in Ephesians 2 - I don't want you to turn to it, because I want you to listen to it as I read it from the Amplified Version. Ephesians 2 verses 1 and 2, listen, Paul says: 'You He made alive, when you were dead, slain by your trespasses and sins in which at one time you walked habitually. You were following the course and fashion of this world, were under the sway of the tendency of this present age, following the prince of the power of the air. You were obedient to and under the control of the demon spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience, the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God'. Now, listen to that again, we 'followed the prince of the power of the air. We were obedient to and under the control of the demon spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience'.
Now, unconverted people characteristically think they are free to do as they please, go where they like, do what they want - but the fact of the matter is (and if you're not saved in the meeting tonight, you've got to understand this, may your eyes be opened to realise) that Satan and his demons are pulling your strings. They are manipulating your life and your behaviour, and they are in control to some degree or another. Paul spoke to Timothy about how unbelievers are in the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. That's the way we are before we are converted, but isn't that wonderful - as we started off that first Thursday evening from Isaiah 61 - to know the good news of the Gospel. As Jesus said in Luke chapter 4, that 'The Spirit of the LORD God has anointed Me to preach glad tidings to the poor; to heal the brokenhearted, to set at liberty the captive', those who are in the fetters of Satan and sin, and to bring those who are in darkness out of darkness into light, to open the prison to the prisoners and to let them go free. You see, that's what the Gospel of Jesus Christ does: it gives victory over sin, it gives healing to wounds, and it defeats the devil.
We looked at that little verse last week, 1 John 3 and verse 8, where the apostle says: 'For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil'. We saw that that word 'destroy' in the Greek is the word 'luo', which means 'to loose', 'to dissolve', 'to sever', 'to demolish'. The root meaning is 'to come unstuck', and this is why Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world. When the fullness of time came, He came to free us from evil and demonic influences - what a Saviour we have! Then the reading that we read this evening at the beginning, from Matthew chapter 12, if you look down at it again you will see in verse 28 Jesus said to the accusation that He was casting demons out by the prince of devils, Beelzebub, Jesus said in verse 28: 'If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you'. This was a sign that the Messianic Kingdom, in spirit at least, had come in Jesus Christ.
In the ministry of our Lord we see that He went beyond all Old Testament precedents. As far as I'm aware, in all the miracles that you have in the Old Testament there is no record of any prophet or any patriarch who ever cast out a demon. There is demonic activity, and there is various relief from demons - but nowhere, I believe, do we find an actual casting out of a demon never to return. It appears from biblical history that this was reserved for Jesus, and it was a unique demonstration that the Kingdom of God had come. Look at that verse 28: 'If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you'.
Do you remember when Peter was preaching to Cornelius and his household? He preached Christ, and he said in Acts 10:38 that 'God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him'. Do you know that a third of Jesus' earthly ministry was deliverance? One third of His ministry was deliverance from the demonic. In verse 29 of Matthew 12, if you look at it, Jesus said: 'How can one enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house' - and Jesus is that stronger Man, who has bound the strong man, Satan. He has invaded Satan's house, He has overcome him, He has taken his weapons and He is now claiming His spoils. Often we preach the cross of Jesus, and we sing about the blood of Christ, but we have not truly plumbed the depths of the victory of what Calvary does for us. Thank God for victory over sin, thank God for healing from wounds, but we don't appreciate the extent of Calvary's victory - namely regarding Satanic realms and the demonic! In Colossians chapter 2 and verse 15, Paul said that through the cross Jesus 'spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in His cross' - wonderful!
I believe that this is the ministry of the church today in part. Something that we are meant to do is proclaim the victory of the cross over the demonic realm and, by the power of Christ, through the Holy Spirit, release people from the bondage of the Satanic. In fact, in Mark 16 and verse 17, Jesus Himself said: 'These signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues'. Now, a common attitude within evangelicalism is: 'Well, when you're born again, surely the demonic cannot be a problem for you?'. Some people have levelled against me that I'm a heretic - that might not surprise some of you - because I would tend to speak on the demonic realm in relation to Christian people. Let me ask you a question if this is a query in your mind: would any of you suggest that, when you're born again, sin no longer becomes a problem? Any of you? I'd love to meet you! If you're here tonight, please introduce yourself to me, because you might have a few tips for me that I don't know already! What about when you're born again: is the world no longer a problem to you? What about the flesh? That old, sinful, fallen nature within us - is that not a problem when you're born again? Of course it is! Well, why then should the Satanic realm and the demonic not be a problem or an issue?
In fact, if you're honest with the New Testament, you will see that the overwhelming material in the New Testament warns Christians of the works of Satan. In fact, the New Testament was written to Christians, even the Gospels were written to Christians - so this material about being aware of the demonic, Satanic realm, is to instruct believers of the great danger of dabbling in darkness. In fact, we are told not to be ignorant, Peter says, of Satan's devices, but to be sober, to be vigilant, because Satan - as our adversary - goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Who is he trying to devour? Christians! Ephesians 6 and verse 12, in that great excursus on the armour of God, Paul tells the Ephesian believers: 'We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places'. I don't have time to even touch upon the material there is in the New Testament warning Christians about the demonic realm.
Now, maybe the problem for some is that they conceive of, when we're talking about the demonic related to Christians, that we're trying to insinuate that Christians can be possessed by demons. That is not what I'm talking about! The concept of possession would indicate ownership, when you possess something you own it. We're not talking about ownership, a Christian cannot be owned by the devil. What we're talking about, and what I believe is more correct according to the original languages - and I'm not a scholar, but am dependent on other people - I believe it's more accurate to talk about demonisation, the influence of the demonic that can be from lesser to greater extents. All of us, every single one of us without exception, are being influenced by the demonic.
A Christian cannot be owned by the devil, but I do believe that a Christian can be demonised - and some can even be heavily demonised. You might say: 'Well, how? How can that possibly happen?'. Well, it's actually more simple than you would think. When any of us, including myself, give the devil a right to be in our lives, he will take up residence - not presidence now. Let me illustrate it to you like this: you might own a car, and it's your car, you have purchased it, you have paid for it, it's in your possession - but even though you own it, you are within right to give someone else permission to drive that car, isn't that right? Even though you're owned by the Lord Jesus Christ, if you're a believer, you can give permission for the enemy to have certain ground in your life. To use the same analogy again, you could even be in the driving seat of the car, you own it and you're driving it, but there might be some unsavoury characters in the back seat trying to tell you where to go, and distract you from the right direction.
That might be disconcerting to some, but let me try and explain the demonic as simply as I can. Think of it like this: just as the Holy Spirit empowers godly choices in our lives as a Christian - in other words, when we obey the Word of God, and the will of Christ, the Holy Spirit will empower those decisions - equally so, whenever we make ungodly choices, and effectively follow the direction of the enemy, the enemy will seek to empower those choices. Just as the Holy Spirit empowers godly choice, the enemy will seek to empower ungodly choice. So just think of demonic spirits as empowering forces that will get behind ungodly behaviour - and that's what often makes it very difficult to give up sin. I said to you, I think in week one, that it's never impossible, but it's well-nigh impossible for some people because of the demonic influence that is in their lives. They have been engaging in habitual, sinful behaviour, they are overcome, and maybe their sinful behaviour has been a coping mechanism for many wounds in their past or in their present, and deep in their spirit - and so this is why it can be so difficult to dislodge certain behaviours from people's lives, because the demonic has got an empowerment there. Do you understand?
Now let's deal as practically as we can with: how does Satan gain access to our lives, even as believers, even as believers? Well, I'm going to think about it in two ways. First of all: he gains access through knowing participation in sin, our knowing participation in sin. Secondly: he also gains access at times through unknowing participation on our part, through ignorance, or maybe being forced to do something, or for that matter the iniquity of others related to us or around us that can affect us. The bottom line is, whether it's knowingly or unknowingly, the enemy is looking for a foothold in our lives - and if he can get a foothold, he wants to build a stronghold. Eventually, if that stronghold is allowed to exist, it will become a stranglehold.
In fact, Paul actually uses that terminology in Ephesians 4:27, the NIV translates it like this: 'Do not give the devil a foothold' - that's the word. In fact the word is 'topos' in Greek, that's exactly what it means - the picture could be that of a rock climber, and you know the way he's looking for a small ledge on which to put his foot, or a crevice to gain a grip; that is what Satan is looking for in your life, Christian! Just a ledge! Just something to put his foot in to grip hold of, and there he will build an edifice, a stronghold of empowerment that will strangle the life out of you! Satan is a legalist. I don't know whether you knew that or not, but he is. If you give him a right to be in your life by a choice that you make, he will take up squatters rights, and he will possess that plot until his right is taken away again - whether you're a Christian or not.
Let's deal with these things. He can gain entrance when we knowingly participate in sin, let's deal with that first of all. Now we're all sinning - I have sinned this week, and sinned this day, I'm very sure of it, in thought and word and deed - but what we're talking about is when we wilfully and freely indulge in any sin, any sin, without confession, without repentance, without a challenge upon our own spirits. Now we're all struggling with temptation, and we're all falling - but what I'm talking about is when we wilfully give in, and we don't confess and keep short accounts with God. We don't repent, we don't bring it into that relationship that we talked about on the first night, bringing all these failures even into relationship with our Abba Father - when these things remain unchallenged in our lives, we are opening a doorway to the devil.
Let me give you a couple of examples - and nothing I'll share tonight will be exhaustive. Take the sexual realm. Sex is good, and God created it, and He had the first thought about it - it's pure and holy, and the marriage bed undefiled. But it's a very powerful thing, and Satan tends to take powerful things and use them for ill. Fear is another one. Fear is a gift from God you know, that's why you don't walk across the road without looking, or stick your hand in the fire - fear is a gift from God, but it's meant to be your servant, it's not meant to be your master. It's powerful, and what happens is: because he knows it's powerful, he capitalises on it, just like sin. When we engage in sexual union there is a tie that takes place, a spiritual tie - so much so that Paul says, not that sexual sin is worse than any other sin, but it's different. He does say that, it's different. There can be heart ties, emotional ties that we have, even where there is no sexual union, we can have ungodly ties with other people that can actually affect us and, if you like, channel to us demonic power.
Now, I don't want to go into details that may not be appropriate tonight, and I'm only learning many of these things myself - but from the very limited knowledge that I have experientially, I was just thinking recently a couple of weeks ago - you know, you read Leviticus, and some of the gory details about the things that are forbidden in God's law, and you scratch your head and think, 'Boy, does it have to be so near the knuckle there?'. Wait till I tell you: do you know why it's there? Because people are into it, people are into it, every single thing on those lists, people are into it! God gave that law to prohibit His own people dabbling in the things that the ungodly nations round about were doing in their fertility rites, in their Baal worship, and their Asherah worship. If you wilfully give in to sexual sin - and a lot of Christians are doing this - they are disregarding vows that they have made before God when they married their spouse, and even before. I'm not getting into divorce and remarriage, that one is too big for tonight, I'm telling you that - but what I am saying is: there are those who are even engaging in things before they are even divorced. I'm not saying it's right or wrong before or after, I'm just saying that they are throwing caution to the wind, and anything is going - and they don't realise that this isn't just a sin you can wash your hands of, this can actually give the enemy demonic power and a foothold in your life!
Sexual ties, sexual sin - addictions is another way that opens a doorway to the enemy. Of course, that word for 'pharmacy' in the English language comes from the Greek word in the Septuagint for a form of witchcraft. When you dabble in drugs, you do open yourself up to another realm, and the same in alcohol abuse and even other addictions. Do you know something? I found out from second-hand information that some people get free of a particular addiction, but they're not actually free of addiction. This can happen, I'm told, when people go to hypnotists. They maybe go because they want to get rid of the cigarettes or something else, and they go and all of a sudden overnight they've got rid of the habit of cigarettes - but I heard of a man who smoked, I think it was 60 a day for about 40 years, and then when they put the tax up so much he couldn't take it any more. He gave up like that, and then do you know what he was addicted to? Polo mints! You wouldn't have seen him any time of the day when he hadn't a Polo Mint on his tongue. He wasn't delivered of addiction, it was just that the addiction moved on to something else. Here's a big one, and you'll love this one - a lot of people get delivered, supposedly, of alcohol or drug addiction, and then they take on religion, and they get addicted to that. They become the tightest, most legalistic people, rules and regulations, that you could ever know - and it's addiction! It's addiction. It's an opening to the enemy.
Another one, obviously, is the occult - if you knowingly participate in the occult. You see, a lot of people think the occult, you know, is worshipping the devil as god - but, do you see around this countryside, when you go for charms, you're opening up a doorway to the devil! If you engage in any form of divination - whether it's tea leaves, horoscopes, dousing, or whatever else you like - if you dabble in Ouija boards, you're actually opening yourself up, and many have come under curse because they have given a cause - as Proverbs says, 'A curse without a cause shall not alight'. If there is a curse on many a person's life, it's because they have been dabbling in darkness, even Christians. You would not believe what Christians are dabbling in!
Some people - don't ask me to explain this - but some people are still affected with these things, even after conversion. Things that they have dabbled in before, it's like a rope on their leg that is stopping them going on. They're going on so far, but it's pulling them back, it can be a tie on them moving forward. One of the biggest things that we knowingly engage in, and it's one of those aspects that we might say has become the Christian sin, and we've sanitised it to be not too bad, is fear. When you knowingly engage in fear, you're opening a doorway to the devil, because fear is believing a lie. Fear is believing something that the devil has put in your head, and you accept it. It's like signing the dotted line, 'OK, Satan, I'm going to think about that, I'm going to analyse that, I'm going to consider that' - and you actually absorb it, and you assimilate the lie, it goes down into your emotions and it actually affects your behaviour eventually, because you have given a foothold over to the enemy because you believed a lie. It's unbelief, and you need to repent of it. It's not enough to say 'Oh my Mummy was worrier, and my Granny was a worrier, and all the rest' - listen, you heard your Pastor preach on Sunday morning: 'God has not given you a spirit of fear'. Do you want something that didn't come from God? Because God didn't give you fear! If you engage in it, many phobias come out of that.
I was very interested in something a Roman Catholic exorcist from the Vatican, believe it or not, by the name of Father Vincent Lambert, said. He said this, it was on Sky News: 'I don't think the devil has upped his game, I just think more people are willing to play his game'. I think many more people are willing to play his game, but I do wonder if the devil is upping his game as we come closer to the Lord's return. Not that he knows all those things, I'm just saying, definitely in our society there is a dense darkness that is coming over the land that there has not been, historically speaking.
So, knowingly participating in sin will open a doorway to the devil, but secondly - and as common, if not maybe more common, who knows - are those of us who unknowingly participate and open a doorway to the devil in complete ignorance. Now one - and I know I'll maybe fall out of favour with some of you, and maybe many of you tonight, through things that I will say - but one big way I believe of opening doorways of danger to the demonic is the martial arts. Churches are opening their doors now to practice martial arts. I heard of an evangelical minister who was recommending that some young men go into martial arts. Sometimes when folk are wayward, boys are wayward, they might say: 'Well, go and do that, and channel your anger and your hatred and all that energy into something good'. They think that it's anger management, when it's not - because what you're actually doing is, it's a religious, a spiritual exercise. You're actually opening yourself up to channel anger, not just your own, but to get in touch with what they call 'the Chi', this great force in the universe of strength. People who have been doing this long enough will tell you that there is a superhuman strength that they experience when they engage in the martial arts. If you have dabbled in it at all, and done incantations and meditations, it may well be that you have a problem with anger.
Another unknowing participation in ignorance for many is alternative medicines and therapies. Now I'm not laying laws down here tonight, you search the Scriptures and you look into these things - but before you engage in a treatment, ask where it came from. Who was the guy who originated it? How was it originally used? If you look at many alternative medicines, often their origin is in false religion, very much eastern mysticism, even exercise regimes like yoga. Do you know what 'Yoga' means? It means 'yolk', and the idea of yoga originally was that you link your life to the Hindu deity, you come into yolk with the Hindu god - and, incidentally, many of the Hindu gods are animalistic. If you look at the exercises of yoga, they are animalistic. By the way, many spirits at times manifest in animalistic ways.
This was just my daily reading today, Isaiah chapter 2 verse 6, this one popped out to me, listen, speaking of God's people in Isaiah's day, God says: 'They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines, and embrace pagan customs'. Has much changed today? All I'm saying to you is: do you know what you're doing when you're indulging in acupuncture, when you're indulging in reflexology, when you're indulging in all these things? Do you know the philosophies behind these things? 'Ach', you say, 'I don't believe that, and my doctor doesn't believe that - oh, we can separate the spiritual from the practice' - do you think you can? Are you going to take that chance? I know people who have thought they could, and they have been in bondage to something.
Here's another one, unknowing participation: secret societies. In any secret societies you take oaths - and when you take the oaths, you actually take a blood oath in many of them, Freemasonry for instance, even institutions in our land based on Freemasonry. You take an oath to cut your throat, pull out your tongue, if you divulge the secrets of the organisation - that's bringing a curse upon yourself and upon your family. Are you in a secret society? Do you think it's a Christian thing to put a noose round your neck, and a hood over your head, and stick a dagger in your breast? Do you think that's Christian, not to tell anybody what you're doing, to take a blood oath? Wait till I tell you - I didn't mean to go into this tonight - but there is a monument in the centre of town celebrating a blood covenant, and I don't believe it's of God. The only blood covenant that was of God was the New Covenant, and that's the only blood that I need, that's the only shed blood that I need. There are covenants throughout our land in both communities, both communities, and they are blood covenants - and we wonder why we have had centuries of bloodletting! I didn't mean to go into that.
Another unknowing participation that we can enter into is: generational iniquity. Now this is a controversial one for many, and it might have been taken to silly extremes by some, but it is misunderstood - because people, when you talk about generational iniquity, think you're talking about generational guilt. There is no such a thing. Ezekiel chapter 18 says: 'The soul that sins, it shall die', and Ezekiel is very explicit there in saying that a father will not suffer the guilt of his son's sins, or the son suffer the guilt of his father's sins. We will all stand before God and answer for what we have done, but we are not talking about generational guilt. We're talking about generational iniquity, which is a bentness that comes to us because of the sins of our forebears.
Let me show you this, turn with me to Exodus 34 verse 6. Now God was revealing Himself, His character, to Moses. This is God's character - people say to me, 'Oh, this is Old covenant, this is the Old Testament, God doesn't do this any more'. Now you read this and tell me if God is like this, look, verse 5: 'Now the LORD descended in the cloud', Exodus 34, 'and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD'. This is a revelation of God's name, which is His personality: 'And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, 'The LORD, the LORD God, merciful' - is He still merciful? Say 'Amen'. 'And gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty' - so He's the same in all those things - 'visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation''. Oh, but He doesn't do that bit any more? Can you do that? I didn't know you could do that! Can you do that? Well, I don't think you can when you consider that that's not the only place where this is stated as a revelation of God's character. You find it in Exodus 20 at the giving of the Commandments, and in Lamentations you find it, you find it in Numbers I believe, and also the Prophets were noteworthy for confessing the sins of their forefathers. How many times? You read of it in Nehemiah, you read of it in Amos, and many of the other prophets - they confess the sins of their forefathers.
Now please don't misunderstand me: we're not saying that we are guilty of the past deeds or misdeeds, but what we're saying is that there is an effect on the present, there are consequences for things that are done in the past. In the New Testament you have it in Romans 1, nationally. The Romans, and every pagan nation, suppressed the knowledge of God in unrighteousness, they pushed down what they knew instinctively from the heavens above, from their conscience within, they disregarded, ignored God and went on sinning. They worshipped the creature rather than the Creator, and their foolish hearts became darkened - and what happened? They were given up! People say: 'Well, what about these nations around the world that don't know the Gospel' - do you know that most, if not all, of those nations, they once knew the truth but they suppressed it in unrighteousness, and their foolish hearts were darkened, and they started worshipping the creature rather than the Creator. I'm not saying they're beyond redemption, far from it, and we've got to go to the four corners of the world with the Gospel - but three times we have in Romans 1, 'God gave them up', 'God gave them up', 'God gave them over'. What's that saying? Do you see the decisions the United Kingdom is making in the 21st-century? It's going to have spiritual consequences for our children and our grandchildren! There is a spiritual darkness that will come upon the land because of it.
That's all we're saying: generational iniquity. It happens nationally, and even Peter in 1 Peter 1 verse 18 says: 'You know that it was not with perishable things, such as silver or gold, that you were redeemed from your empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ'. The empty way of life handed down from your ancestors, that's all we're talking about. It can be learned, something that they have taught you that you have done. It can be a tradition, it can be a family trait - I spoke about fear and worry, I believe there is a family trait of fear in my family, and many of you might be the same. It could be addiction, it could be something else, or various sins of all sorts and kinds. It could be demonic influence, it could be demonic influence. It could be a curse, it could be a particular spirit - but what this generational iniquity does is: it just makes you more open, more susceptible, because of the choices of your ancestors. It needs to be faced, it needs to be faced!
Another big one which I'll not spend much time on tonight where we unknowingly participate in opening a door to the enemy is unforgiveness. I touched on it, I think, every week so far. You remember that parable in Matthew 18, where there was the unforgiving servant. He owed a great amount of money to his master, and he was forgiven of it - and then a friend of his came along who owed him a small amount of money, and he wouldn't forgive him. The master heard of it, and he cast the first unforgiving servant into prison. Jesus said: 'His master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him', Jesus said, 'So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses'. Do you think you can hold a grudge against a brother or sister in Christ, and there is no consequence? No! You're giving ground to the enemy, and I believe that 'torturers' here is an inference to demonic spirits that will torture your mind and heart if you've got bitterness and resentment there, even as a Christian.
Some of the most bitter and twisted Christians that I know are unforgiving, and they're tortured by it. Even Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2, remember the man who committed incest with his stepmother, and they put him out and delivered him - and he was a believer, now - it says they delivered him, Paul and the church delivered him to Satan, put him into the world's sphere for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit might be saved. That messes up our theology a wee bit, doesn't it? But it was always to recovery - discipline in the New Testament is always to recovery, and that man repented, and that man came back into the meeting. Paul said to them: 'I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices'. What Paul is inferring there is that if you have got unforgiveness in your heart toward that brother for what he did, you're giving Satan an advantage.
Now, we must not be introspective with all these things. I'm not asking you to do a post-mortem of your life, and apply this to every soul gathered here - but what I am saying to you over these last three weeks is: if God witnesses that there is a problem in any of these areas, you need to deal with it, especially if you're not moving on in your Christian life. Don't invent things, don't be one of those people: 'Oh, that applies to me, oh, I have that' - there are people like that. Don't be doing that, but let the Holy Spirit bring it up in your consciousness. I'm asking you tonight in the realm of the demonic: are you experiencing backseat drivers in your life, and every now and again they reach over your shoulder and they yank the wheel to go down a different road? Can I tell you something: neutrality is not an option! Neutrality, that's a myth and a lie of the devil: 'Oh, I don't have to go all out for Christ, I don't want to be one of these fanatics, but I'm certainly not going to go and become a devil worshipper or anything like that!'. You look at what Jesus says, if you look back at Matthew 12, our text for tonight, look back at it with me. Matthew chapter 12 verse 30, Jesus said: 'He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad'. You're either for Christ or you're against Christ - this is a spiritual war being waged today, and neutrality is not an option! Can I tell you tonight: God's plan for you is to get born again, to get filled with the Spirit, to get completely delivered of all Satan's influence, the flesh, and sin, and be filled completely and controlled by God - but an empty life is not an option. This becoming a Christian and just ticking over, it's not an option.
You need to beware of it, look at this chapter again, look at verses 43-45 that we read, Jesus said: 'When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came'. And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and 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 also be with this wicked generation'. I'm not saying this is always the way to do things, but I will not pray for deliverance with a person who will not submit entirely to Jesus as Lord, because they will end up worse. I will not pray with an unbeliever for deliverance unless they agree to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, because they will end up worse. But you could be a Christian who has got a foot in both worlds, both kingdoms - can I tell you: that is a standing invitation for Satan to go to work on you.
Ananias and Sapphira, you remember in Acts, they sold a plot of land, and they made out that they were giving all the money to the church - but they pocketed a wee bit. Now it wasn't wrong for them to keep back some of the money, what was wrong was: they gave the impression they were giving it all. Your money is your own to do with as you like, but they were giving the impression - and in fact Peter said, 'You lied against the Holy Ghost, you lied against God'. Do you know what happened? Everybody wants revival, but I tell you, we mightn't want this part of it! They dropped dead in the church and were carried out. Do you know something? Ananias and Sapphira had this concept that you can be 95% obedient to God, but remain safely disobedient in one small area - but that one small area was a patch big enough for Satan to gain a stronghold. Do you know how I know that? Peter said: 'Why has Satan filled your heart?' - strong language, isn't it? Can believers be affected by demonic spirit? 'Oh, no, no, no!'. 'Why has Satan filled your heart to lie against the Holy Ghost?'.
Let me finish by turning you to Acts 19. What do you do? If you have been conscious tonight of knowing participation in any of these areas that I've mentioned, and of course there are many many more; or if it has been unknowing participation in ignorance, if it has been something you were forced to do, or it has been the iniquity of another that has contaminated and affected you - what do you do? Well, look at chapter 19 of Acts, verse 11: 'God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them'. Of course there was this incident where some itinerant Jewish exorcists, they saw what the apostles were doing in exorcising spirits in the name of Jesus, and they went to do it. The demons spoke back at them, verse 15 says: 'The evil spirit answered and said, 'Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?''. Then the man in whom the spirits were beat them up, and fear came upon everybody. Verse 17: 'This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified'. Look at verse 18: 'Many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds'. The ESV translates that, listen: 'Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices'. Those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices - why? Because of fear. They saw what happened to these Jewish itinerant exorcists by the power of the demonic, and they realised that they had been dabbling, and were maybe still dabbling in darkness.
This might sound foreign to you, but this is on the mission field - this is very, very common. People profess Christ, are genuinely born again, and then go back. Now, what did they do? Verse 19: 'Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totalled fifty thousand pieces of silver' - that's 50,000 drachma. One drachma is a day's wage, and Google told me that day's wage in the United Kingdom - now you mightn't agree with this - is £95, OK? If you multiply that, £95, by 50,000 drachma, you get £4,750,000 - that was the cost of those books, magic instruments, those things that they used in their divination and their witchcraft, that was the cost - and there will be a cost for you tonight to confess, to repent, to renounce the works of Satan and the things that you have dabbled in: idolatry, heart ties, all sorts of things. There might even be a riot because of it! There was a riot here in Ephesus because of what was going on by the Holy Spirit power that was delivering people - don't think the devil is going to be happy about that!
The result is found in verse 20, after the cost and the riot, you read in verse 20: 'So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed' - that's what will happen in your life, that's what will happen in this church, that's what will happen in this community when people start to get serious with the doorways of danger that they have opened.
Let us pray. Has the Lord identified for you in these weeks the obstacles, the hindrances? Has He shown you, has He diagnosed, has He put His finger on it the week we talked about sin, last week the wounds, this week the demons? Maybe the combination of them, and them feeding off each other, and the demonic manipulation of all these? We don't concentrate on the demons, we don't concentrate on the demons, we concentrate on repentance and the power of the Lord Jesus Christ to heal and to set free, and the demons will have to go when all of that is sorted out and they are commanded to go. Now I want to help you as best as I can tonight, and we've all been at sort of a loss how to end this - but what I want to do is, I want to lead you in prayer.
I want to lead you all in prayers that are applicable to all, or most of the truths that we have covered these three weeks. It will take a wee bit of time, but we're going to take time tonight. If you feel that you want to pray all of these, do it. If in doubt, sort it out! But if you know the specific area, you pray in that specific area as we come to that point. Now I would encourage you tonight, in the presence of God - and God has been so real in these meetings, He has come so close - there is an opportunity, I believe, for you tonight to get free. I believe there is power here tonight, and through this ministry and the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit, there is a better opportunity perhaps than you have ever had to get release. So I urge you tonight to go with it.
Now, there is one thing I would ask of you, and all of you can say this to help those who are saying it if you wish - but you need to say it audibly. The devil cannot read your mind necessarily, the only One who is all-knowing is Almighty God. If you want him to hear loud and clear your confession, your repentance and your renunciation, you need to speak it out. Now he's not deaf, you don't need to shout it out, but if you even take it on your lips when we come to delicate things like confessing sin, and like forgiving people, just take the name or the sin on your lips, just whisper it. The person beside you doesn't even need to hear, but it would be good for you to speak it out. Up and out, remember we said that on the week on confession, let it come up and out in confession.
Now I want us to now pray - and if any of you need further help, and if any of you feel that you want even come to the front and prostrate before God. Now we don't want amateur dramatics, we want to stay clear of all that tonight, we are being real here tonight - but if you want to come to the front and deal with God on your knees, you can do that, just feel free - and if you need help afterwards, we'll be available. Now first of all what we're going to do is personally affirm your faith in Christ and His Lordship in your life. Just pray after me these words: 'Lord Jesus Christ, I believe You are the Son of God and the only way to God. You died on the cross for my sins, and rose again that I might be forgiven and receive eternal life. I submit to You as Lord of my life'. Now, can I just stop you for a moment: don't pray this if you don't mean this. 'I submit to You as Lord of my life, spirit, soul and body. Everything that I am, and everything that I have, I surrender'.
Now we're going to humble ourselves before the Lord, God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble: 'I renounce all pride and religious self-righteousness, and any dignity that does not come from You. I have no claim on Your mercy, except that You died in my place'. Now we're going to confess any known sin: 'I confess all my sins before You Lord, and hold nothing back'. Let me pause for a moment. We're going tonight to confess specific sins, the sins that you feel you have not had victory over, the sins that you feel have given the enemy a foothold - not all the sins you've ever committed in your life, those sins that God has put His finger on that you know are an issue. 'Especially I confess the sins, or the sin of' - and you tell the Lord, take it on your lips and confess it between you and the Lord, confess it. Now we're going to repent of all sins: 'I repent of all my sins, I turn away from them and turn to You, Lord, for mercy and forgiveness'.
Now we're going to come to forgiving all other people - and if you have got wounds, this is a big issue probably with you - people who have harmed you, offended you. Maybe you still revere them, but let's be truthful here, it might be Mummy and Daddy and you mightn't want to fault them at all with your upbringing - but, look: tell it like it is. Facts are facts, and if they did harm you in whatever way, even unconsciously, they didn't mean it, you've got to let them go to God and pronounce forgiveness. You might need to receive forgiveness for yourself - on the top of the list for many people is that they can't forgive themselves, and they can't receive God's forgiveness because of something they did, and they're still holding themselves in judgement. Maybe your resentment is toward God, maybe you have something against God, something He did, or you think He did or He didn't do when He didn't come through for you, when your back was against the wall or something happened to you, and you need to release God. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but you need to actually come to God and say: 'Lord, here is my resentment and bitterness toward You' - He already knows it's there, just give it up and get rid of it.
So pray with me now: 'By a decision of my will I freely forgive all who have ever harmed me or wronged me. I lay down all bitterness, all resentment and hatred. Specifically I forgive' - now speak their names. It's not an emotion, it's not saying what they did was right or OK, it's not forgetting, but it's letting them go to God - off your hook and onto God's, and getting out of the way. Speak that name, and maybe you have to say to the Lord just in the quietness: 'Lord, I receive Your forgiveness, I give up this guilt of this sin to You completely, once and for all I'm going to receive Your forgiveness for this'. Maybe you need to say to the Lord: 'Lord, I confess that I have had resentment in my heart toward You over x, y and z. Lord, I release that resentment to You. I know that You did not want to harm me, I know that You're not to blame. I don't understand everything, but I release this bitterness and this pain to You'. Now pray with me all of you: 'Now, Lord, heal my damaged emotions, and bless these people'.
The next prayer we're going to pray is to break with the occult and all false religion, so that's anything that you've been dabbling in or have dabbled in and never really dealt with perhaps. It covers Freemasonry, it covers other secret societies and blood oaths and curses and all sorts of things. If that's applicable to you, just say: 'I sever all contact I have ever had with the occult, or with all false religion, particularly' - and name the thing. We need to break ungodly ties, that might mean you doing something actual about a relationship or a manipulation or control that is in your life, or an abusive situation - boundaries might need to be put in. But there is more than that, there is a break needs to be made spiritually and sometimes emotionally with bind and ties.
So let us pray regarding that: 'Lord Jesus, please break the ungodly tie between' - and you name that person and yourself, or those people and yourself. Now there are good ties that we have in families and in marriages, but we're not talking about those, we're talking about the bad ones. Any person, or any organisation, or anything that has brought an ungodly influence on your life, you can be tied to it - so ask the Lord to break the ungodly tie between you and it. Do you know something? I know people and their ungodly tie was with their church, and their church became an idol to them. Now pray: 'Separate me, Lord, spirit, soul, and body, from the effects of this ungodly tie'.
Now we come to releasing from generational iniquity or curse that there may be. If this is applicable to you, if there are sins in your life that you know have been running through your family, or traits, pray this: 'Lord Jesus, I forgive my forebears for their sins that have harmed me. I confess engaging in those same sins' - if that's applicable to you - 'I confess engaging in those same sins. I renounce those sins and ask You to cut me off from any iniquity and curse coming down to me through my mother's and father's family line'.
Now we're going to pray a prayer preparing you to be released from every bondage or your life: 'Lord Jesus, I thank You that on the cross You were made a curse that I might be redeemed from every curse, and inherit God's blessing. On that basis, I ask You to release me and set me free to receive the deliverance that I need'. Now you're going to take your stand with the Lord - and I just want to help you if you feel unusually uncomfortable in anyway, feel nauseous or anything like that, don't worry about that: 'I take my stand with You, Lord, against all Satan's demons. I submit to You, Lord, and I resist the devil. Amen'.
Now we're not finished. The Bible says: 'Submit yourselves unto God, resist the devil and he will flee from you'. What do you do with demons? Expel them. So we're not praying now, you don't pray to the devil - we're going to speak to the enemy on the authority of what you have said, confessed, renounced, repented of, those you have forgiven, praying to break ties, and anything else that might be on your life. Having taken your stand with God, I want you to say this now - and you're saying it to the enemy: 'Now I speak to any demons that have had control over me. I command you to go from me now, in the name of Jesus I expel you'.
Now, Father, upon the confession and repentance, and the act of forgiveness, we agree tonight that people in this gathering should be released, released from the bondages of sins, released from wounds, released from demonic empowerment. We agree together, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I command every ungodly spirit to leave from those who have submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, to go now. You must go. You have no right to stay, every single one of you, in the name of the Lord Jesus - every unclean, dark, demonic spirit that has been latched onto anybody, mind, body, soul, spirit, go now in Jesus' name. Go now in Jesus' name, you must go by the authority of the Kingdom and the blood of the Lamb. You are overcome. Lord Jesus Christ, come, Jesus of Nazareth that came in the flesh, send Your holy angels to help to release people, to minister to them in their need. Lord, pour out Your Spirit to release the captives in Jesus' name. Lord, I pray for healing deep down in those wounds - if the enemy has gone, Lord, for the wounded place that He has been manipulating, Lord, as Your children come to you now, Lord, give the healing deep down in the spirit, the human spirit, deep, deep, deep into that broken, bent, bruised place. May they grow up straight before You, Lord, as Jesus did, as a tender plant before God. May their spirit stand erect, not bowed down to idols or to themselves or to Satan, but straight up to You, Lord. Bind up the wounded place, and bring the healing, Lord, now. Bring the healing, pour in the oil and wine, Lord, bind up the wound with Your nail-pierced hand. Bring the healing balm of Gilead, Lord Jesus.
Let's just wait on for a moment or two in the presence of God, and you allow the Lord to deal with you. You deal with the Lord, if you want to come out to the front you can, if you want to just sit where you are, I'm not telling you what to do - you do whatever you want to do, but just be real with God. It's not a public prayer meeting, I don't want anybody really praying out loud here just at the moment - but, in the quietness, maybe there has been something sticking, even sticking in your throat.
While the heads are bowed here tonight, while the heads are bowed - now, please, respect this - while the heads are bowed: it would be impossible to deal with everybody as an individual tonight, but is there anyone just at this moment that is stuck. Is there anyone is having a problem, just as we speak now, and stuck? Right there's a couple of people: Father, I pray for these souls that I'm looking at just now. I pray for them now, and I pray that by the finger of God You will release them now from their bondage, that You will bind whatever it is, Lord, that is preventing them going through. Lord, do it now, bind it and loose them, loose them from the enemy's hold in Jesus' name. Loose them now.
Now you must be obedient, and you must go through with God - wherever you're stuck, confess it and get it out. Let me just pray and then I'll hand over to the Pastor: Father, we don't want to be practising the presence of darkness. We believe that it is Your presence that releases people, it's only Your presence we want, it's only light can dispel the darkness. We don't want anything to do with the devil and his demons - we hate even giving them this time but, Lord, we need to be real about them. We thank You that Jesus is stronger than Satan, and Satan to Jesus must bow. Lord we want there to be, tonight, a demonstration of Divine Kingdom Power in Jesus Christ. We want people's lives to be completely released. Maybe there are people and they are coming regularly for some form of healing, and they're not getting through, and it's because there are sins or wounds - Lord, release them tonight, release them from demonic empowerment tonight, set them free from all sorts of bondage, Lord. It's Your work, it's Your cause, it's Your kingdom, it's Your claims, Lord, it's Your reputation! So honour Your Word, Lord Jesus Christ, slain, risen, glorified, ascended Lord Jesus. Come and set the captives free tonight for Your glory, Amen.
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This sermon was delivered at Portadown Elim Church in Northern Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the third recording in his 'Deep Healing' series, entitled "Demons" - Transcribed by Preach The Word.
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