We’re in the third week of our series called “Supernatural”. In week 1 we talked about the reality of spiritual warfare. In week 2 we explored the power of the Holy Spirit. Next week we are going to examine the role of angels in our lives. But today, our focus is on satan and his demons.
Mark 5 records a familiar scriptural account that reveals just how powerful demons can be. “When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him.” – Mark 5:2-4 (NIV)
So, here we see a regular guy who was possessed with a demon, and he is so strong and so powerful that not even chains could not subdue him. “Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.” – Mark 5:5 (NIV) Here we are today, two thousand years later, and people who are still hurting and cutting themselves. Why? Because we have a spiritual enemy, and his mission is to steal, kill, and destroy.
“When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!’ For Jesus had said to him, ‘Come out of this man, you impure spirit!’” – Mark 5:6-8 (NIV)
When Jesus asked this evil spirit, “What is your name?” He said, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” This many was possessed by many demons. And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area, but instead, to send them into a large herd of pigs that were feeding on a nearby hillside. Jesus granted their request. So, the demons came out of the man, and they entered the pigs. The herd of about two thousand pigs then rushed down the steep bank into the lake where they drowned.
You say, “Steve, you don’t believe that story, do you? Surely you don’t believe in demons.” I absolutely do. Jesus obviously believed in the devil. He spoke openly about the devil and his influence. Jesus encountered the devil and his demons personally. Satan and his demons are just one more facet of the unseen spiritual world that we have been talking about in this series.
Many of you know that satan was originally an angel in Heaven. He was one of God’s most beautiful angels. His name was Lucifer. He was often called the morning star. Satan became jealous of God. He wanted to be God. Instead of being like Jesus, who wanted the Father’s will to be done, Lucifer desire was for his own will to be done. That is an attitude that always gets us in trouble.
This attitude is why this fallen angel was cast out of Heaven by God himself, along with a third of the angels in Heaven who followed him. Satan himself is a fallen angel. The angels that followed him are believed to be the demons of today. Revelation 12 provides this account…“Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” – Revelation 12:7-9 (NIV)
That ancient serpent now attempts to lead the whole world astray. When Lucifer said, “I will be like God,” God said, “No, you won’t. There is none like me.” Then satan and his fellow angels were cast down to the earth, and they are behind the forces of darkness that we deal with in the world today. We see evidence of their activity all around us. But not every bad thing that happens on earth is because of satan and his demons.
Some things are the result of bad choices. Others are because of the selfish carnal will of man which is consistent with the attitude of satan who wanted to be God. But make no mistake about it, there is a level of darkness, evil, and wickedness in our world today. And according to the Bible, satan and his minions are doing all that they can to influence are world away from our Heavenly Father.
We don’t know everything there is to know about satan and his demons. I have tried to avoid speculation and focus specially on things we can know, according to the Bible. Demons are fallen angels, so when I speak of demons, just know I am also speaking of satan, because he is a fallen angel himself. But when I speak of the devil, Lucifer, or satan, I am referring to a specific fallen angel who is at the head of the evil influences in the world.
What we know about demons:
1) Demons work to influence the LEADERS of NATIONS.
Satan knows that to have the greatest impact, he must begin by influencing the influencers. That is why he focuses on influencing the leaders of nations. Isn’t it true that when you look at what’s going on in the world, there are certain situations and places that seem especially dark? In many of these places there are leaders who are being influenced by demonic forces trying to bring about the will of the devil.
Daniel 10:13 helps illustrate this. We looked at this verse in week one of this series. Daniel had prayed, and nothing was happening. But after 21 days, an angel of the Lord appeared to Daniel and said…“The prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.” – Daniel 10:13 (NIV)
An evil prince, this evil spirit was doing battle in the spirit realm as he tried to intercept the angelic messenger that God had sent in answer to Daniel’s prayer. Behind the scenes, in the spirit world, demonic forces are attempting to influence the leaders of governments.
Think about some of the darkest event in human history. The holocaust, genocide, places where innocent people are killed because of their faith in God, etc. Who do you think is behind these things? There are forces of darkness at work in our world.
Demons working to influence the leaders of nations. Their wicked schemes have brought about more darkness, destruction, and death in our world than you can imagine.
Some may ask, why does God allow this? He allows it because the day of judgment has not yet come. Admittedly, there is so much we do not know or understand in this world, but one thing we can be sure of, a day is coming when evil will be judged, and Jesus will say once and for all…“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” – Matthew 25:41 (NIV) That day is coming and it is wise to be prepared.
2) Demons inflict SUFFERING on people.
Imagine being the father who approached Jesus and knelt before Him and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.” – Matthew 17:15 (NIV) This man’s son was suffering greatly.
Why was he suffering greatly? Because an evil spirit was trying to kill this little boy.
So, what happened? Jesus confronted the demon that was attempting to destroy the life of this child and his family. “Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.” – Matthew 17:18 (NIV)
If the demons will do that to a child, what do you think they want to do to you? They want to steal, kill, and destroy everything that matters to God. That want to ruin everything that is good. Demons influence the leaders of nations. They try to inflict suffering on people.
3) Demons scheme to LURE US AWAY from God.
They’ll study you until they discover where you are weak and vulnerable. They will do whatever they have to do to lure you away from God. “The Spirit (of God) clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” – 1 Timothy 4:1 (NIV)
Be careful who you listen to, and make sure that you are reading and applying the Word of God to your life because God’s Word will enable you to discern truth. It is wise to know where you are vulnerable. The demons of darkness will attack you at your weakest point.
I don’t know what that means for you. You may be tempted by sexual temptation, pornography, drugs, alcohol, power, material possessions. The demons will use anything possible to lure you away from the truth of God.
4) Demons attempt to PARALYZE us with fear.
They want you to go through life worried and always overly concerned about something. It could be anything. Satan and his satanic forces want to force us to live in fear. Some of you are living there right now. You’re worried to death about your kids. You worried sick about the schools.
Why do you think elementary students are facing active shooter training? It is because we live in a world that is influenced by darkness. Others are paralyzed with fear about your health or the health of someone you love. You’re worried about the future. What’s going to happen next…What’s going to happen to my marriage, the economy, our retirement, etc.? Demons want to paralyze you with fear.
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NIV)
The spirit of fear is very real. It originates with the evil one, who wants us to live paralyzed by fear. You need to understand something. I hope you hear this and don’t ever forget it. Satan and his demons hate you. They despise you. They want to destroy you. Their goal is to take you out. That is why you must be ready to do battle God’s way to defeat them.
How We Battle the Forces of Darkness: There are three things that we need to know.
1. We should NEVER treat our enemy LIGHTLY.
No matter what, take this seriously and whatever you do, don’t treat the enemy lightly. “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” – Jude 9 (NIV)
You are no match for the demons. Even when the archangel Michael was not flippant in how he approached the battle. He was fighting the Lord’s battle. He said, “The Lord rebuke you.” We never treat our enemy lightly.
There is a great story in Acts, chapter 19. It’s about the seven sons of Sceva. “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, ‘In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.’ Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.” – Acts 19:13-14 (NIV)
So, one day these brothers thought they would go around casting out some demons in the name of Jesus. They were in over their heads, but they had no idea what they were into. “One day the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?’ Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.” – Acts 19:15-16 (NIV)
Did you catch that? One demon-possessed man whipped seven other men so badly that these men came out of the house naked and bleeding. This story teaches us the principle that we should never treat our enemy lightly.
2. We should NEVER flirt with the DARKNESS.
Christians have no business playing around or toying with darkness.
Stay away from it at all costs! Sometimes I am amazed at the things people watch, listen to, or allow into their homes. Contemporary society has been so desensitized to the evil influences that surround us, some to the point of considering these things as little more than entertainment.
But the Word of God tells us plainly that we should never have anything to do with evil forces and the deeds of darkness. That is why we don’t mess around with Ouija boards, séances, consulting mediums or spiritists, playing with Tarot cards and other games that are built around satan, demons, witchcraft, sorcery, and other forms of wickedness.
Now, if you have any of this stuff in your home, or if you believe it is acceptable, that is between you and the Lord. Please don’t send email to try to defend it. I have heard the arguments that some of this stuff is just innocent fun. It is just entertainment. It is only a movie. It is just a TV show. It is all make believe.
As your pastor I would challenge you to avoid the very appearance of evil. “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” – Ephesians 5:11 (NIV) Have NOTHING to do with the deeds of darkness. Do you know what that means? Don’t even toy around or get close to these questionable things.
“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD; because of these same detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.” – Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (NIV) We don’t treat our enemy lightly. We never flirt with darkness.
3. We NEVER fight in our own POWER, but with God’s AUTHORITY.
There is a big difference between our power and God’s power. Our power is not great enough. We fight in the authority of God through the name of Jesus Christ. “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” – Matthew 10:1 (NIV)
Jesus didn’t give His disciples His power. He gave them authority to do drive out demons in the power and in the name of Jesus, and there’s a big difference.
I’ll illustrate it like this. If I go down to one of the elementary schools here in town, and I decide to stop traffic by yelling a people to STOP, some will laugh, some will try to run over me, and a few might stop. The problem is that people would know that I don’t have the power to make anyone stop. I have no authority.
But, if I was dressed in the uniform of a Seymour police officer, and if I had a badge, and a gun, and I then said, “STOP!” traffic would stop. Why? So, I didn’t shoot them? They would also stop because I have authority. The Mayor, the City Government, and the Seymour Police Department all stand with me and stand behind me. I am there, stopping traffic, representing them.
When we do spiritual battle, we don’t battle in our own power. We battle in the authority of the name of Jesus Christ. In His authority and by His power, we have victory over the forces of darkness. Please understand, there is a very real battle that is taking place in the spiritual realm. The kingdom of light against the kingdom of darkness.
We never want to take our enemy lightly. We don’t flirt with the darkness. We don’t fight with our POWER, but with God’s AUTHORITY. There is an evil force that is more wicked than you could ever imagine. Their goal is to steal, kill, and destroy everything that matters to the heart of God. The demons want to destroy you, your family, your marriage, your children, your finances, your health, and your relationship with God. The bottom line is, they want to destroy you.
Satan, is described as a roaring lion, seeking someone, anyone to devour. He wants to take you out! You should never go into battle in your own power, but only in the authority Jesus Christ. We fight, not with the weapons of this world. We fight with the spiritual weapons of warfare. We put on the full armor of God that we talked about two weeks ago. We fight with faith, and ultimately, we fight with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
After 40 days of prayer and fasting, this is how Jesus fought His battle with the devil himself. “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’” – Matthew 4:2-3 (NIV)
In Matthew 4, Jesus did battle with satan and His weapon of choice was the written Word of God. “Jesus answered, It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:4 (NIV) Satan came back
to him a second time and said…
“Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. For it is written:
“’He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” – Matthew 4:5-6 (NIV) Once again, Jesus countered satan’s attack with scripture. Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” – Matthew 4:7 (NIV)
Finally, satan took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. He said…“All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me.” – Matthew 4:9 (NIV)
One more time we see that Jesus quoted from the Word of God…Jesus said, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” – Matthew 4:10-11 (NIV)
Please hear me! There is another world. It is as real as the world you see with your physical eyes. It is just as real, and it is even more powerful than the physical world that we all live in. It is the spirit realm. It is supernatural world, and it is not a game. We are in a battle in the spiritual realm and James tells us how to prepare…“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” – James 4:7-8a (NIV)
Some of you would have to say you are not fully submitted to God right now. Maybe you have submitted partially, but not all the way. You have been trying to get by without fully surrendering yourself to the will of God. This could be the day you go all in. Today could be the day you submit yourself to God completely. For others, today is the day to invite Jesus Christ into your life.
Please pay attention when the Spirit of God is speaking to you. The scripture then says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Tell the devil to go. It is time to clean house. Get rid of anything and everything that is associated with the dark world of satanic influence. My Commitment: I am a fully DEVOTED follower of JESUS. Therefore, I will have NOTHING to do with the DEEDS OF DARKNESS.
Is that where you are living. It can be.