(If you would like to receive Pastor Harris’ weekly sermons via e-mail, Click Here)
(If you would like to download the PowerPoint presentation for this sermon, Click Here)
Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
January 22, 2017
Dealing with Devils
Turn once again to Luke 11:14. I want to look again at the passage we examined at last week and then go little farther. I will expand on the particular area of what demons can and cannot do and the importance of being in God’s kingdom.
This is a very fitting message for this morning for it was 44 years ago today that the U.S. Supreme Court gave one of its worst opinions ever, both from a legal and a moral standpoint. From a legal position, Roe v. Wade was an exercise in raw judicial power that squashed a constitutional right – the right to life – by redefining human life, and then creating a right that is not in the Constitution. The reverberations of the decision by seven politically appointed lawyers have been felt ever since as SCOTUS has moved farther away from the text of the U.S. Constitution to change law according to its opinions through precedence.
From a moral standpoint, their action was nothing short of evil resulting in not only the more than 58 + million estimated abortions in the United States since 1973, but also the corruption of our culture resulting in the devaluation of human life. That in turn has increased multiple related evils such as child abandonment, child abuse and euthanasia. Our increasingly depraved nation has pushed for the same in other countries resulting in countless more millions of abortions and its related evils around the world.
The demonic is also seen in the twenty faith leaders, mostly those proclaiming to be Christian pastors, that went to the newest Planned Parenthood facility in Washington, D.C. on January 10 to bless it. Regardless of any actual health services Planned Parenthood does provide, a place in which abortions take place is not “sacred space.” 1 Timothy 4:1-2 provides the connection between this travesty and the demonic, But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron . . .” Paul continues to give specific examples, but this is a current example of the work of demons in our own time.
Please follow along as I read Luke 11:14-28. 14 And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute; when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” 16 Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven. 17 But He knew their thoughts and said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls. 18 “If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 “And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? So they will be your judges. 20 “But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. 22 “But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder. 23 “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters. 24 “When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 “And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26 “Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.” 27 While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” 28 But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
Last week we saw that Jesus performed a miracle of casting out a demon that was causing a man to be mute. As soon as the demon was gone, the man began to speak. Most of the crowd that witnessed this miracle was amazed. Though they had undoubtedly heard about if not previously seen Jesus perform miracles, it was still astonishing to see it happen in front of them.
However, some in the multitude were opposed to Jesus and accused Him of doing this miracle by the power of Beelzebul, one of the names the Jews gave to Satan. Others demanded that Jesus perform a sign from heaven as evidence of His identity. They either wanted something on a cosmic scale or similar to Old Testament events in which God spoke from the heavens.
Jesus rebuked and refuted their accusation showing it was illogical, inconsistent, insurrectionary and inane. Satan is evil, but he is not an idiot and even he knows that his kingdom would crumble if he were to fight against himself. It is illogical to claim the casting out of a demon was done by Satan’s power. It was also inconsistent with the practices of their own “sons” who cast demons out, and they were not accusing them of doing it by Satan’s power. This miracle of casting out the demon is actually a demonstration of Jesus doing His work by the finger of God. Their false accusation was insurrection against God. And finally, their accusation was inane for it was stupid to think Jesus was under Satan’s authority when the very miracle was proof He had overpowered Satan and taken what was his.
Jesus warned them that if they were not working with Him, then they were working against Him. He followed that warning with a description of the danger they faced by having some sort of moral reformation in which a demon left the person, but the individual did not have protection to keep the demon from returning with additional demons resulting in a final condition being worse than the beginning condition. Be very grateful that God will grant the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who ask (Luke 11:13), for He is the only true protection any human has against such demonic forces.
I concluded last week by encouraging you learn to avoid the trap of those who falsely accused Jesus or demanded further miracles. Too many professing believers fail to recognize the finger of God at work and end up falsely accusing God of not being good and being unfair to them in particular. If you see God at work, then you need to look, and when you do look, you must see things from His eternal perspective. If you have false expectations, you will not recognize what He is doing even when it is obvious and in front of you.
Avoid spiritual myopia by learning to see the steps by which God has led you on the path that has brought you to the place you are currently. Learn of who God is according to His revelation of Himself and then step out in faith in obedience to His command and trusting His promises for each step along the way of your future path.
Be wary of the deceptions that are all around us. They arise from our own desires, from false teachers who will exploit you, and from demonic sources that substitute true godliness with religion and philosophy. Before I go on the verses 27-28, I want to expand on the subject of demons and counter some of the deceptions that occur because people tend to look to experience, folklore and superstition instead of the Scriptures to know the truth about demons and how to deal with them. It is only my intention to lay a basic Biblical foundation for you on the subject. It would take many weeks to cover this thoroughly and I want to keep the focus of our morning worship services on Christ instead of our adversary. The ladies Bible study on Wednesday evenings has been examining this subject for many months, and I am sure Diane would be happy to give you her notes from that study if you would like them. I have also listed resources in the notes in the bulletin for your further independent study.
Identity of Satan and Demons
Lets start with some very basic questions. Who is Satan? What are demons? And what is their purpose?
Satan and demons are angels that have rebelled against God. Angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:7-14) that apparently were created at the beginning or just prior to the beginning since they are present at the laying of the foundations of the earth (Job 28:4-7). They are finite beings that travel from place to place in their work (Hebrews 1:14). They possess personhood having attributes of intellect (Daniel 8:13; Ephesians 3:10; 1 Peter 1:12), volition (Hebrews 1:6; Jude 6) and emotion (Job 38:4-7; Luke 15:10). They are always referred to in the Scriptures in the masculine gender, and though they are spirit beings, they can manifest themselves in physical form, and when that is in a human form, it is as a male. (Something to consider next time you want to call a woman an “angel”). They do not reproduce (Mark 12:25), so there are no baby angels. They have continued as eternal beings since their creation. They do not die (Luke 20:36; Psalm 148:2,5-6).
The angels are organized into a hierarchy of ranks with a cherub being at or near the top. A cherub is a mighty being ( Psalm 18, Ezekiel 10), not a baby angel. Satan, also commonly referred to as the devil, is a cherub (Ezekiel 28:14-16) that Isaiah 14 indicates became full of pride and rebelled against God. This occurred at some point after the initial creation week since God pronounced everything very good at the end of the sixth day (Genesis 1:31). By Genesis 3, Satan has begun his rebellion against God and efforts to usurp Him. Revelation 12 suggests that about a third of the lower ranking angels joined Satan’s rebellion. These fallen angels are commonly referred to as demons and evil or unclean spirits. Except for their wicked moral character, they have all the attributes and abilities of the holy angels.
Take heart, the holy angels are ministering spirits for God’s glory and the benefit His people, and there are twice as many holy angels as evil ones. Not only that, but Jude 6 tells us that some of these demons are so evil that they are currently bound in chains under darkness until the great day of judgment when they will be cast for eternity into the lake of fire (Revelation 20) which was prepared for the devil and the demons (Matthew 25:41). The book of Revelation indicates there are other evil angels that are currently bound that will only be released at specific points during the period of the Great Tribulation. That means the ratio of holy angels ministering to us verses evil angles seeking to attack us is greater than two to one.
Since the demons serve Satan, their purpose is to help him fulfill his plans and efforts. Isaiah 14 speaks of Satan’s pride in seeking to be like the Most High in position by ascending to heaven and exalting his throne above all the other angels. Whether this is striving to become superior to God or only equal to Him is immaterial since either way he is trying to gain for himself what only belongs to God. Satan seeks to get other beings to worship him if possible. Demons join in that effort and will receive that worship for themselves too if possible (Deuteronomy 32:17; Revelation 9:20). Satan and demons are the power behind overt Satanism, occult worship, false religions and cults (1 Corinthians 10:19-20).
If Satan cannot get a person to worship him either directly or indirectly through demons, (the realm of false religions and the occult), his envy of God seems to drive him to be content getting the person to do anything other than worship God properly. While Romans 1 is clear that man is responsible for suppressing the truth in unrighteousness and yielding to his own futile speculations, there is also no doubt that Satan and demons prod man to worship created things in the heavens and on earth instead of the Creator. That is a clear path not only to paganism and animism, but also to idolatry.
Satan also seems content if he can get man to worship himself. From the beginning this has been one of his major lies by which he seeks to lead humans astray. One of his slanders in Genesis 3:5 against God and enticements to Eve is that she could become like God by eating the forbidden fruit. The abomination of desolation during the Tribulation is when the anti-Christ exalts himself to take his seat in the temple of God to display himself as God (2 Thessalonians 2:4). There are many false religions, cults and philosophies that pursue this lie that you can become a God like being.
Another avenue that Satan and demons take is the promotion of the false worship of the true God. This is the realm of cults and of false teachers among Christians that twist the scriptures so that professing believers remain self-righteous and proud instead of humble before their creator. Their worship and service to the Lord is according to their own understanding and desires instead of according God’s revelation of Himself and His will. That is why Paul warns in 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 about “false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
Abilities of Satan and demons
The next logical question is what can Satan and demons do? What abilities do they have in the pursuit of their quest to usurp God and keep people from giving true worship to the Lord?
Since they are fallen angels, they have the same abilities as holy angels. They are spirit beings that can manifest themselves in physical forms including appearing as men. They communicate with each other and are sent out on missions within a hierarchy of rank with Satan at the top. Daniel 10 reveals that in the spiritual realm they strive to thwart the mission of holy angels, and though they can delay such missions, they cannot prevail. They can do things in the physical world both directly and indirectly. While people tend to be more afraid of their direct physical actions which can even be supernatural, the greater danger is their indirect actions which influence people to do evil.
The healings that Jesus brought to people by casting out demons give some idea of the ability of demons in the physical realm. By casting out demons, Jesus gave sight to the blind (Matthew 12:22), hearing to the deaf (Mark 9:25), voice to the mute (Luke 11:14), sanity to the deranged (Luke 8:26-35), calmness to the self-destructive and suicidal (Matthew 17:15-18) and healed a host of other diseases not specifically identified (Matthew 8:16; Luke 8:2). While demons are not the only cause of these various physical maladies, they certainly can be a cause of them, and I will point out from Job 2:7 and his case of sore boils, that the person does not have to be inhabited by a demon to be physically afflicted by one.
From Job 1 we also find that demons caused supernatural events including fire falling from heaven to kill Job’s servants and sheep and a great wind that struck the home of Job’s son killing all of Job’s children inside it. And since angels can kill men by various means (2 Samuel 24:15-16; 2 Kings 19:35; Acts 12:23), we must conclude that demons can do the same. Jesus warns in Matthew 24:24 and Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:9 about demonically empowered false prophets and teachers that will do signs and miracles to deceive, if possible, even the elect of God.
The supernatural ability of demons is and should be frightening to people, for unless the Holy Spirit intervenes, all people exist within Satan’s realm. Jesus calls him the “ruler of this world” in John 12:31, and Paul calls him the “god of this world” in 2 Corinthians 4:4. This is why believers are so grateful for the gift of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). Unlike non-Christians, we do not have fear the demonic because the Holy Spirit that resides within us is greater than Satan and his forces (1 John 4:4).
While the ability of demons in the physical world is great, of greater danger and concern is what they do by influencing people toward evil. Ephesians 2:2 describes Satan as the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience with verse 3 adding, Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. Those are descriptions of people who have not been made alive by the Spirit and saved by God’s grace. People are capable of great evil all on their own, but that is only made worse by Satanic influence and demonic empowerment. Christians also must be wary about this because if you are not walking with Christ according to His Spirit, then you can also be deceived to believe lies about God and do things contrary to His commands.
That is why there are so many warnings in Scripture to believers to be prepared so that you will not fall for any of Satan’s schemes. Paul describes the “armor of God” and its importance in Ephesians 6:10-17 so that you can stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 2 Peter 1:1-3 warns about the false prophets that will seek to deceive believers, and 1 Peter 5:8 describes our adversary, the devil, as a prowling, roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Ephesians 4:11-16 explains the importance of the church body working in harmony so that we are not tossed around by false doctrine, the trickery of men and the craftiness of deceitful scheming but will instead grow up into full maturity. The greatest danger to the Christian is false doctrine that would lead him astray from the truth of God’s word. That is why it is so imperative that you study the Bible for yourself. Your beliefs and convictions must arise from and be grounded in the Scriptures and not the teachings of men no matter how well they speak or logical their presentations.
Let me quickly add here a clarification about what is often called demon possession. The correct term would be demonization and it is a matter of degree of influence and not ownership. Demons seek to influence individuals, and to the degree the person yields to that influence, they will be controlled. If the person yields enough, the unclean spirit can inhabit the individual resulting in greater affliction and oppression. However, even a demon inhabited human retains volition, the ability to choose, even if they do not feel that way. Tenaciously preach the gospel to such people. You do not need to exorcise the demon first (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). The evil spirit will flee if the person responds with repentance and faith in Christ.
Protections Against Satan and Demons
Satan and demons are powerful, so how can people protect themselves? First, it must be clearly understood that despite all the traditions and superstitions that have developed about spiritual warfare resulting in religious rites, incantations and holy objects, all those things do is put in you danger of what Jesus warned about in Luke 11:24-26. You get rid of one demon for a while, but then you get him back along with his more evil friends in the future. There is only one true protection, and that is the Holy Spirit. His current restraining ministry gives some protection to non-believers from how bad it could be in the present and will be in the future when that ends, but every non-Christian is within Satan’s realm and therefore in grave danger. That should be frightening.
However, it is the fear of the Lord, not the fear of Satan, that is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Proverb 1:7; 9:10). Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Whatever harm men and the demonic can do to you in this earthly life does not compare to God’s judgment of the sinner for eternity. The first step of protection against Satan and demons is to change your mind and turn way from your sin to believe in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ and follow Him. The Holy Spirit indwells the believer (Romans 8:9-11), and He is greater than Satan. The Holy Spirit also seals the Christian so that there is no doubt that you are an authentic child of God by adoption and God will fulfill all His promises to you. Your eternal future is secure.
The second step of protection is for the believer to learn to walk in God’s spirit. This begins with being filled with the Spirit which is yielding to His control of your life. The greater your knowledge of God, His commands and will, the better you will be able to walk in obedience to Him. This actually makes spiritual warfare very simple in theory, but not always easy in practice. James 4:7 states it succinctly, “Submit therefore to God, Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” If you are filled with the Spirit, you will be walking with Him and submitting to God which automatically results in resisting the devil. That always brings victory in spiritual warfare. The hard part is humbling yourself to submit to God. Satan and demons are always at ready to exploit your pride to lead you away from God.
Remember that walking with the Lord does not mean you will escape the devil’s attacks. Even Jesus was directly attacked and tempted by Satan. What walking well with the Lord does mean is that you will not succumb to our adversaries attacks or scheming. If there is a problem and you find yourself stumbling, the problem and the solution lies with you. Humble yourself before God to believe Him and do things His way and you will regain victory every time. Remain proud and you will continue to stumble and be led further astray by Satan’s lies and scheming.
True Blessedness – Luke 11:27-28
With all that in mind, turn again to Luke 11:27-28 to see what it means to be truly blessed. 27 While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” 28 But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” This woman certainly meant this as a compliment. She has gone from amazement at the miracle of the mute man speaking after Jesus cast out the demon, to being joyously unrestrained to pronounce a blessing. However, the blessing is from her own limited understanding and perspective and so is inadequate.
A woman’s status in that society was directly tied to the success of her son. Mary certainly knew she was blessed by God in being chosen to give birth to and raise Jesus, and she expressed that in what is often referred to as the Magnificat in Luke 1:45-55. To tell a man that his mother is blessed for giving birth to him and nurturing Him was a way to indirectly compliment the man that you think he is great. We have something similar in our own society when a person might say to someone else, “Your mother must be so proud of you.” It is a statement of indirect praise and admiration to that person.
Jesus uses this opportunity to give the woman a gentle correction by pointing back to the true cause of blessedness. It is not in being associated with someone great including being that person’s mother. It is not in seeing a demon cast out and a man miraculously healed, or even being that man. It is not even in being the one casting out demons, for Jesus gave this same lesson to the seventy disciples in Luke 10:20 when they were joyous over doing that very thing.
True blessedness arises from hearing the word of God and observing it, and it takes both elements to bring about that blessedness. To hear the word of God and not do it is to delude yourself (James 1:22). To hear it and do it is a demonstration of love for God and will result in God’s blessing including the Holy Spirit (John 14:21-26). The true cause of joy is having your name recorded in heaven (Luke 10:20). True blessedness is related to the eternal.
Jesus warns in Luke 11:23 that you are either with Him or against Him. You are either in His kingdom or Satan’s kingdom.
Satan and demons can be and should be frightening to the non-Christian, for the unbeliever lives in their realm and has no protection against them. They are against Jesus and in Satan’s kingdom.
The believer needs to be aware and be prepared to do battle with the demonic for they are dangerous, but we need not fear them for the Holy Spirit indwelling us is greater than Satan, and as long as you are humble to submit to God and resist the devil, even he will flee.
Sermon Notes – 1/22/2017
Dealing with Devils – Luke 11:14-28
Roe v. Wade was done in raw judicial power __________to the U.S. Constitution
Roe v. Wade has brought multiple evils upon us – ______million aborted babies, devaluation of human life
“Christians” celebrating Planned Parenthood is an example of _____________influence – 1 Timothy 4:1-2
Jesus cast out a demon and a mute man spoke ________________ the crowd – Luke 11:14
Jesus’ ____________accused Him of doing it by Beelzebul & others demand a sign from heaven – vs 15-16
Jesus _________them showing their charge was illogical, inconsistent, insurrectionary and inane – vs. 17-22
Jesus ______they are either with or against Him, & exorcism without the Holy Spirit is dangerous -vs.23-26
Learn to __________for God’s hand at work without false expectations
Avoid spiritual myopia by seeing how God has directed your _________in the past, have faith for the future
Be wary of ______________whether it comes from your own desires, false teachers or demons
Identity of Satan and Demons
Satan & demons are _________(finite spirits existing at the start of Creation) that have rebelled against God
Angels are ___________(intellect, volition, emotion), always referred to as masculine, and do not reproduce
They are organized into a hierarchy of ranks, with a ___________being at or near the top
Satan / the devil is a cherub who became prideful and ______________ against God soon after Creation
A ________ of the angels followed Satan & some are already bound – Holy Angels outnumber them 2+:1
Demons seek to assist Satan in his effort to _________ God by diverting worship from God
Satan & demons seek to be _______________ if possible (Satanism, false religions, occult, idolatry)
Satan & demons will encourage man toward the worship of ________things (paganism, animism & idolatry)
Satan’s lies and entices man to think he can be _____________ (false religions, cults & philosophies)
Satan’s lies and demonic doctrine promote ____worship of the true God -cults, false teachers, false worship
Abilities of Satan and demons
Satan & demons have the ____________abilities as holy angels including manifesting themselves physically
They can delay God’s holy angels, but cannot ____________- Daniel 10
Demons can cause ______________diseases and handicaps – Jesus healed people by casting out demons
Of greater danger and concern is the ____________of Satan and demons upon people to do evil (Eph. 2:2-3)
Christians do not need to fear Satan & demons, but they should be __________for battle – Ephesians 6:1-17
To the extent a person _________to demonic influence they are demonized and controlled – even inhabited
Protections Against Satan and Demons
Traditions & superstitions (religious rites, incantations, holy objects) can make things _____-Luke 11:24-26
The first step of protection is ___________and faith in Christ – The Holy Spirit seals and indwells Christians
The second step of protection for believers is to be ___________with the Spirit and walk with the Lord
James 4:6-7 – Be ____________, Submit to God, Resist the devil and he will flee from you
If you walk well with the Lord you will still be attacked by the demonic, but you will ________________
True Blessedness – Luke 11:27-28
She meant this as a compliment, but because it is _______________by her perspective, it is inadequate
Complimenting the mother is an _________compliment of the son – “your mother must be so proud of you”
Jesus gently corrects her and points her to the ____________cause of blessedness
To hear the word of God and __________is a demonstration of love of God – John 14:21-26 – a true blessing
True blessedness is related to the _________________, not the temporal
You are either with or against ___________, in His kingdom or Satan’s – Luke 11:23
The _______________lives in Satan’s kingdom and has no protection against him
The ______________lives in Christ’s kingdom and is protected by the Holy Spirit against Satan & demons
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word “demon” is mentioned. 2) Discuss with your parents what is necessary so that you are not afraid of them.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. How is the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court ruling an evidence of demonic influence? What is the meaning of Jesus’ story in Luke 11:24-26? Who / what are Satan and demons? How do we know they are persons? Can they be female? Can they reproduce? Satan is a cherub – what is a cherub? When were they created? Why did Satan rebel against God? When did that happen? Relatively how many angels followed Satan? What is Satan’s primary desire? In what ways is Satan or demons worshiped today? What involvement do Satan and demons have in people worshiping of created things instead of the Creator – paganism, animism, idolatry? What is Satan’s involvement in getting people to think they can become god like? How have you seen that idea expressed in our society? What is the involvement of Satan and demons in the promotion of the false worship of God? How is that manifested in our society? What abilities do Satan and demons have in the spiritual realm? In the physical realm? What supernatural events have they caused or will cause in the future? Can they kill people? Explain. Should non-Christians fear them? Explain. Who should non-Christians fear more? Should Christians fear them? Why or why not? What is demonization? Demons can inhabit humans, but can they “possess” a human so that the human no longer has a will or volition? Explain. How can a non-Christian become protected from Satan and demons? What protection is given to Christians? What should Christians do to be assured of victory in spiritual warfare? Are you prepared to stand firm against Satan’s schemes? What brings about true blessedness for humans? Are you blessed?
Brooks, Thomas, Precious remedies against Satan’s Devices, Banner of Truth, 1984 reprint
Dickason, C. Fred, Angels: Elect & Evil, Moody, 1975
Mayhue, Richard, Unmasking Satan, Victor, 1988
Wiersbe, Warren, The Strategy of Satan, Tyndale House, 1979
(If you would like to receive Pastor Harris’ weekly sermons via e-mail, Click Here)
For comments, please e-mail Church office