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Saturday, March 31, 2018

3-30-2018        Deliverance

The angel of the Lord over the defeated Satan       No Greater Love

We’re using the Gospel of Mark 5:1-17 (6-10).

Matt. 8:28-34 and Luke 8:26-39 relate the same event.

Jesus had crossed the Sea of Galilee to the country of the Gadarenes and after getting off the boat He is met by a man possessed by a demon, in fact, by many demons.  This man lived among the tombstones (graveyard) and ran around naked, cutting himself with stones and challenging anybody who crossed his path.  Though the people tried to bind the possessed man, he would break the chains.  So when he saw Jesus, I don’t think he ran down to Jesus just to say ‘hi’ for he asked Jesus if had He come to torment them before their time, that is send them to the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10-15).  They begged Jesus send them into a nearby herd of pigs, which once the demons had entered in, that herd ran down into the sea and drowned.

Jesus had just delivered a man possessed by many demons which called themselves “legion” for they were many.  A Roman ‘legion’ contained between 3,000 to 6,000 foot soldiers, but here, as with the phrase “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years” (2 Peter 3:8)  implies that there were countless demons in the man. 

Note that once the man was delivered, he was clothed and in his right mind and sitting at the feet of Jesus.

In 1973, Frank Hammond published a book called “Pigs in the Parlor”, which was the first book published as a practical guide to deliverance and used as an authority by many.  He defines demonic possession through Biblical examples and personal experience and then how one can be delivered from that influence.

As we see, with the possessed man in the Gadarenes, both mind and body are affected by possession, so both mind and body need to be delivered.

We usually consider that demonic possession only happens to the ‘unsaved’ because they have no protection from demonic attack, but Christians are also prone to demonic attack.  That’s why we put on the armor of God – so we can resist the enemy, keeping him from entering into our beings.  Unfortunately, when we slip from our Christian walk, that is commit sin, we open the door for demonic assault.  First, Satan gets our attention and lets whatever seed he has planted into our minds, fester into our souls.  Once we’ve agreed with the devil, that maybe it’s not such a bad idea to do what he has suggested, we’ve opened the door.  Then we act on that suggestion, and sin is committed (James 1:12-15).  Yet consider what Jesus uses lusting after a woman as an example “The law says don’t commit adultery but if one lusts after a woman in is heart, he has already committed adultery (<att.25:27-28).   So sin is not just doing, but even considering ‘doing’ for Christians, becomes a sin.
The sin is bad enough, but if we don’t confess and repent that sin as soon as we realize what we’ve done, it does fester.  It grows and starts drawing us away from our heavenly Father.  It deadens our awareness of “God in us.”  Once the enemy has our attention, he can then manipulate us, saved or unsaved.  Because we have travelled so far from God, we have given the enemy permission to take up residence – within our souls.  The Greek word used for soul is ‘psyche’.  Our psyche contains our intellect and our emotions (Pigs in the Parlor).  So if a demon is in our psyche, what does he control?  Do you suppose that means that he just may be in our hearts?

‘Pneuma’ is the Greek word translated as ‘breath’ and is used for the word ‘spirit’.  It is also the word used, but with a capital “P” in reference to the Holy Spirit.  And it is the Pneuma that connects us spiritually with God.  It is not the soul or psyche (1 Corinth. 2:14) but the spirit.  When the Holy Ghost comes into our life, He doesn’t live in our soul, but dwells separately in our pneuma.   As we learn to live in His love, our life is spent bringing, or yielding, our soul (psyche)  into agreement with the God’s Holy Spirit (Pneuma).  Our soulish man wrestles to keep that agreement with our spiritual self in obedience to God.  Our wrestling is confessing, renouncing and repenting of any sin that enters into our lives so the door is slammed shut in the enemy’s face so he cannot enter in and stay.
‘Possession’ is any devil, not just influencing our thinking, but taking up residence within our soul (psyche).  ‘Obsession’ is a demonic spirit Impacting how we think and act without actually taking up residence within us.  There’s no indwelling, but that demon still has control over our psyche, our thoughts, our emotions, our will.  The only difference is residency.

Does possession mean we all run around naked, cutting ourselves and screaming like a banshee and chasing people off?  Not necessarily.  , Paul encounters a woman possessed with a spirit of divination.  She followed after Paul and his companions mocking them “These are men of God who show the way to salvation!” (Acts 16:16-19)  If she were texting this I can see the “lol” (laugh out loud) at the end of her statement.  Paul commands the demon to leave her and it does (deliverance).  Unfortunately, for her masters, they realize that they’ve lost their meal ticket, their source of income, and weren’t exactly happy campers.  Too bad.

The disciples couldn’t cure a lunatic boy.  Jesus rebuked the devil and the boy was healed at that very hour.  Jesus reminds his disciples that this takes, along with faith, prayer and fasting to deliver some folks (Matthew 17:14-21). 

When Jesus healed, a common phrase He used was “Go and sin no more.” Which Jesus spoke to a man, who had been unable to walk for many years and sat by the pool at Bethesda.  Jesus also told him to take up his bed and walk, which the man did (John 5:1-14). 

Jesus encountered a man who was blind from birth.  The disciples asked whose sin caused this blindness, the man’s or his parent’s?   Jesus replied “neither …, but this man is like this so the works of God could be manifest in him”.  Jesus told the man to wash in the pool if Siloam, he did and he gained his sight (John 9:1-7).  Even though demonic possession or sin may play a part in things that beset us, this is not always the case.  Some things are so God can demonstrate His glory, His love for us.  Nonetheless, in a healing, whether natural,  possession or obsession, It may be necessary to deal with demonic forces.

So we see examples of violent demonic possession - the man in the graveyard, passive possession - the fortuneteller who taunted Paul, and in illness – the lunatic boy.  We also see where all illness isn’t necessarily brought on by demons as with the blind man.  However we do see where faith is involved in each of these situations, even though there isn’t a demon ‘under every rock’.  This is where discernment from God helps us to determine what is being dealt with. 

There were seven sons of a man named Sceva who apparently had observed Paul casting out devils.  They thought they could do the same.  They approached a demonic possessed man to cast the demon out by Jesus whom Paul preached.  BUZZZZZ!  Wrong!  Confronting the demon possessed man, the demon said “I know Jesus, I know Paul but who are you?”  Seven adult men got their butts kicked by one, possessed man.  Jesus gave the disciples power and authority over devils and sickness (Luke 10:19), by the way, He also gives it to us, all believers (John 14:12).     Knowing what to do has to be accompanied with the authority and power to do it. 

So, once we recognize the need for deliverance, we also need to operate in the power and authority God gives us, coupled with fasting, praying drenched in faith to accomplish any deliverance.
However, the greatest source of our deliverance comes from what this time of the year, this season is all about.

This is Good Friday.  Not because of “what” happened on this day, but because of the results of what happened. 

In the wee hours of Friday morning, those sent by the chief priests and elders came with Judas to the mount and ‘arrested’ Jesus.  He was bought before the Jewish council, then later before Pilate.  Finally, after He was beaten and humiliated, He was taken to the cross to die.  There, on the cross, He shed the last drops of His precious blood to deliver us from our sinful natures and from any bondage to demonic activity.   

The Jewish Sabbath is Saturday which begins at 6:00 P.M. Friday night.  According to Jewish law, Jesus had to be buried before that hour.  And He was. 

But our ultimate deliverance is about to come to pass.  The day after the Sabbath, Sunday, is a comin’!  In the wee hours of Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body for there was no time to do it on Friday.  They figured they could get the soldiers to roll the stone away from the doorway of the tomb.  But when they got there An angel of the Lord had already rolled the stone away.  The soldiers were laid out upon the ground and the tomb was empty (Matt.28:1-7, Luke 24:1-12) !  Halelujah!

All our deliverances are wrapped up in the empty shroud of Jesus – and laid in the tomb.  For in His resurrection, we have victory over sin and death, with and through Him.  We are alive in Jesus as He is no longer in the grave, but is risen and seated at the right hand of the Father, counting the moments until He comes back for us.  All we have to do is live for Him, with Him and in Him.  We must learn to agree with the Holy Spirit which Father gives us as believers, living in the reality of God’s love.  Abiding in the baptism of the Holy Ghost, as Jesus promised us for through Him we have power to combat the enemy (Acts 1:8).  Satan cannot operate where God’s love abounds, or if you will, in Christ’s love we have the right to give that ole devil the “boot”.  There is “no room at the inn” (our inn)

What is deliverance?  Living in God’s love because we have made Jesus Christ, our Lord, as well as our savior and by abiding in that love.  We are strengthened because God’s Holy Ghost lives within our hearts, our pneuma, and gives us the strength to live for Him, day by day.  Strength to stand  firm in Jesus Christ resisting the onslaughts of the enemy.  Will we always be successful?  We are a work in progress so when we do “mess up” we have an advocate with Father pleading our cause (1 John 2:1-3).  When we confess our sins, we will be forgiven them (1 John 1:9).  The enemy cannot possess that in which he has no grounds (sin) to work.

Living in, for and through Jesus Christ our Lord is how anyone attains and maintains true deliverance.


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