Evil Spirits

Paul wrote that 'our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.' Sandy Shaw reminds us: They Dominate, Manipulate, Intimidate – that is what Evil Spirits do!
 
 
first published 29/11/09

Boat in StormWHAT a sight greeted Jesus Christ. Jesus and the disciples have just sailed across the Lake of Galilee, having been in a violent storm, which he calmed and rescued the situation from possible eternal danger (Luke 8).

A man them came to Jesus. He is naked - controlled by evil spirits - demonised.

Remember this book is being written by a doctor, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, and we have read of how reliable this book is in Luke’s opening four verses. These facts we need to keep in mind particularly in these sceptical times.

This man is wild - restless - uncontrollable - dangerous. Demons want to make a man what they are like. When this tragedy of a man saw Jesus Christ he began to cry and yell and roar, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?"

He is wild and filthy. Evils spirits compel and control. They are intense and persistent. They distract people. Something keeps recurring, and normal Christian discipline will not deal with it - it needs to be cast out.

They dominate - manipulate - intimidate. These are characteristic marks of evil spirits.

Sometimes we do not know where they come from. A mosquito bites, and later you contract malaria, and you cannot remember being bitten. It can be like that in spiritual warfare, if we drop our guard and do not wear the armour which God provides (Eph 6:10-17).

They recognise who Jesus is - they know who Jesus is - but they struggle and fight and rebel and argue with JESUS. They know that He is the Son of God, but they are unable to serve and worship. Immediately, there is a negative reaction to Jesus. This man's behaviour is pitiful and irrational. There was no reason for the man to behave in this way, and not even Jesus could reason with him.

Now, there are some people you cannot reason with. Some people fight and struggle and rebel and argue and you wonder - why are they reacting like this. It is irrational!

If you find someone is seeking to dominate you, or manipulate you, or intimidate you, know where that is coming from, and be very very careful!

Society could do nothing with this needy man, and could do nothing for him.

Perhaps, he thought no-one could ever do anything for him - a totally hopeless case. Yet, he comes to Jesus. He has been rejected by everyone - family and friends - he is lost and lonely and isolated and fearful.

v 30 Jesus asks him his name, and the answer comes "Legion". His mind was like a regiment of Roman soldiers marching and marching - such was his trouble distress, turmoil, burden and restlessness.

Jesus Christ casts the evil spirits out of the man and into a herd of pigs. All that is needed from Jesus Christ is one word of authority, and they have to go. The pigs ran down the hillside and were drowned in the Lake.

Jesus Christ has no mercy on evil. Jesus showed no kindness to evil. He treated evil firmly, and with power and authority.

When evil confronts Jesus Christ it is warfare, and Jesus conquers it. He deals with it, and casts it out. When we are confronted with evil we are to cast it out, and get it over with.

Jesus does not say that this man needs six weeks counselling. He doesn't pray about it. He exercises the authority which He had received, and Jesus does not deal with any other manifestations of evil in that area. He only deals with the evil which confronts Him, and He deals with it in public.

When those who fed the pigs saw what had happened, they ran into the town and all over the place, reporting what they had witnessed. The people went out to see. They were curious. "What is all this about?"

They saw that dear man sitting at the feet of Jesus - clothed - dressed - and in his right mind - at peace. And, they were afraid. When they realised what had happened they told Jesus to go and take His Ministry elsewhere. Jesus had only just arrived, but instead of rejoicing, they ask Jesus to depart.

The locals could live with a demented man, but not with Jesus. It is as if they preferred their madman and pigs to Jesus. It is as if they cared for the pigs more than people. They cared more for animals than a man in great need.

Jesus is prepared to sacrifice a herd of pigs to reclaim one man. Jesus is prepared to sacrifice them to see one man receive peace. To Jesus the welfare of one man is important. This why within the Fellowship of the Church of Jesus Christ, no-one is excluded. If we ever draw a circle that excludes someone, Jesus comes and draws a larger wider circle which will include that person.

The healed man stays close to Jesus, and yet, people are trying to push Jesus away - out of the road - leave us alone! Jesus knows when He is not wanted, and He leaves that area. The healed man wants to go with Jesus, but Jesus says "No!" Sometimes Jesus says "No" and there is normally a reason. "Go home and testify - go home and tell what God has done for you - share you experience!" And He obeys Jesus Christ the Son of God. Now, that is another miracle.

What a testimony that must have been - just to see him walking along the road - healed - in control - filled with peace - so changed - transformed - a new man - a totally different person. He was not embarrassed nor ashamed at what he had been.

Some people want Jesus to go - one man is wanting to go with Jesus. What lessons these disciples must have learned that day - what training they received unknowingly - in the boat - and on the shore.

In every experience, learn and grow, and let His Word guide. Some will be sent back home to serve and work and witness there - others Jesus will take in the boat to travel with Him to some other area. The important thing is to serve where He wants us to serve, knowing that His Promise is to be with us at all times, and Jesus never breaks His Promise.

There are things which have to be cast out, and there is no use trying to crucify then. And there are works of the flesh, which have to be crucified, and there is no point in trying to cast them out. You cannot crucify an evil spirit.

Here we see the King at work in His Kingdom. The enemy was out to destroy. He is in the destruction business. He is in the death business. Jesus comes to rescue and restore and give live and peace. Jesus saw the world in the terms of the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. To minister like this we have to be filled.

Do you think there is anything wrong with the pilot who has just flown to Inverness and asks to be filled up before He sets off back to London? No. He has been emptied - drained. If you cannot have your aircraft filled with fuel at the airport where can it be filled? If you cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit when you come to worship, where can you be filled?

There are lessons here which demand serious study.

 

Sandy ShawSandy Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn and is committed to ensuring his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word. Sandy has over the past few years been ministering in Africa. He writes for a local newspaper and also broadcasts 'A Word from Scotland' on an internet radio station.
 

Sandy Shaw, 22/05/2014

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John Wilson (Guest) 27/11/2009 18:28
Paul wrote that 'our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.'
It might be just my experience but I haven’t generally come across much teaching on spiritual warfare up north. I think it’s a bit of a taboo subject because it’s often associated with overly charismatic, self glorifying and often counterfeit deliverance and healing ministries that work through God TV. I thank God for those he is raising up to teach this subject biblically and wake up the Church up on this vital issue.
I became a Christian 5 Years ago when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour and I love him with everything I have. The first Year I was so caught up in God I felt nothing could separate me from his love. This was confirmed to me through his word (Romans 8.39) and I even wrote songs about it (agape)
During the next three years of my Christian life I grew in scriptural knowledge and felt confident of my identity in Christ, I began to put to death sinful habits of my former lifestyle and put on the new self which was being renewed in knowledge after the image of my creator. I was writing many songs and through reading Gods Word, an intimate prayer life, and regular worship, I began to mature in my faith and was growing in the fruits of the spirit. Yet, having been exposed to pornography at the age of eight I was also locked into a secret habitual sin of lust and masturbation which brought about allot of shame and guilt. It was only after I was born again and tried to stop that this sin intensified and turned into an addiction and I prayed many times with repentance and brokenness for God to help me defeat this Giant in my life. However, after the first year I began to doubt Gods willingness to do so.
I quickly became confused about the discord there was between my love for Jesus and my rebellious behaviour. Both theologically and in my heart I knew I was a child of God, hidden in Christ, a citizen of heaven, a co-Heir with Christ, and predestined in him before the world even began. Yet as a Christian I was also struggling with bitterness, un-forgivenss, and rejection from a past relationship. God’s Word declared to me I was a new creation In Christ (2Corinthians 5.17) and therefore more than a conqueror, yet I began to see myself as “just a sinner saved by Grace.”
I would often go from one extreme worshiping God, feeling secure in his presence and everlasting love to being fearful he was going to strike me down and take my life at any moment because of my disobedience. I would then be plagued with condemning thoughts about hell and would be very insecure in my salvation fearful that Jesus would say to me “away from me I never knew you” (Mathew 7.23) Also I began to hear accusations about the character of God that where contrary to whom I’ve come to know and love. These thoughts and feelings were not always strong or regular but would always surface intently after I would do a concert or share the gospel with people or freinds.
With many tears I would pray to God often asking him to help me put to death my habitual sins, and expressed this in my song “a righteous Man.” I confessed to some family and friends, took a biblical Christian counselling course, and experienced momentary victory and relief but soon fell back into the old shameful habits because there was a thorn in my flesh that was stronger than my will and Christian discipline. Never did I once consider that my struggles might be spiritual because I was taught that the Holy Spirit would not dwell in the same vessel as anything unclean.

One night after an incredible evening of worship I went back to my hotel and I was suddenly burning with lust and tempted to look at pornography. I took a conscious decision to submit to God and was ready to take the TV out of the room and smash my £700 computer to pieces. Suddenly for no reason an overpowering sense of guilt and commendation overtook me. Except this time I had suicidal thoughts and was having feelings of anger and hatred towards God which were not reflective of my true feelings at all. Immediately I felt oppressed and confused. I fell on my knees in prayer, cried in silence for nearly three hours and once again asked Jesus to forgive me and help me, I was emotionally and spiritually torn not knowing what to pray for anymore, so verbally I asked the Holy Spirit to Pray on my behalf. (Something I had never done before) All of a sudden I started murmuring and talking in tongues (something I had never done before either) then cried out for deliverance not even knowing what that meant.

Two weeks later I visited a Christian retreat in England. I had been invited there to help with the musical side of things but it soon became apparent that I had been invited for another reason. One evening I went forward for prayer and without me saying anything the pastor knew everything about me and my struggles with very detailed knowledge.
to cut a long story short I was delivered of an unclean spirit that had entered through my eyes and had gained a stronghold in my life through habitual sin and as a result I was living in bondage to sexual sin for three years of my Christian life being robbed of my Joy in Christ and tormented by deceiving spirits because I was holding on to bitterness and un-forgiveness in my heart (Mathew 18 32-35) at the same time I was delivered from pride in education, chronic tiredness and nightmares about snakes in my bed that had plagued me since childhood.
All glory to God I now have a clear head to love him with ALL my mind and am free form condemning thoughts. I now have more energy than I have ever had in my life and it has freed me up to be a more effective servant in the church. I can now see through the lies and accusations of the enemy taking them obedient to the word of God and I have more songs of praise in my heart than ever before. I am no longer in bondage to the past. I want to share with everyone how merciful and beautiful Jesus is.

We must never blame demons for our sin it is our responsibility and choice as to whether we give in to temptation. However, Paul warns us “neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians4.27 he wouldn’t warn us if it wasn’t possible for us to do so.

Some people will say that a Christian who is born again and has the Holy Spirit cannot be demon possessed because they are a temple of the Holy Spirit. Whilst It is true a Christian cannot be “demon possessed” because they belong to God. Most scholars agree that “possessed” is a mistranslation in the King James Bible and does not carry the same meaning as demonized or to have a demon. Satan was in the same room as Jesus during the last supper. He was in God’s presence when accusing Joshua before the angle of the Lord. He was with Jesus In the desert And also he stood before God with the rest of the angles in the book of Job. What would be the point of casting out demons from an unbeliever who hasn’t accepted Christ as Lord and saviour? That person would end up in an even worse state than before (Luke 11:24) Deliverance is for the church and we have been given authority and pow
john wilson )continued) (Guest) 27/11/2009 18:38
power to trample on serpents and scorpions. (Luke 10.19)
Let us place all our focus, attention, and worship on the Lord Jesus Christ glorifying him and rejoicing that our names are in heaven (Luke 10.11) He is the shepherd who gives abundant life. But also let us not be ignorant of our enemy’s devices. (2 Corinthians 2 vs. 11) The sheep (Christians) belong to the shepherd (Jesus), it doesn’t stop the thief from coming in to steel, kill and destroy especially if the sheep unknowingly invite him in. The church needs to wake up and get to grips with spiritual warfare. Satan can only work through deception lies and influence but we have allowed him to infiltrate the body of Christ through our passivity, ignorance and unbelief in this area and there is a lot of housecleaning to do. We need to take up the authority Christ gave us and drive out the roaring lion, because he is mortally wounded foe and has already been defeated and disarmed on the cross.
'Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.'
Editor 27/11/2009 19:58
John, may the Lord bless you for your integrity, honesty and courage; and it is my prayer that He will use what you have written in the hearts of the many who struggle with these issues.

Note to readers: If you have personal experience of being set free in Christ from any besetting sin, please know that the Lord honours testimonies like the one above that bring glory to Him.

Many outside of Christ might deny God's word, but it is more difficult to refute the personal stories of what God has done in the hearts of those who give their lives to Him.

And if there are any who are struggling and do not have immediate access to help please be in touch (in complete confidence) with editor@christianstogether.net
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