Archive for January, 2012

More on casting out demons

January 16, 2012

What do you think about people today casting out demons?  Was that only for the Apostolic era?  Can Christians do that today?
Good question. I wrote a book called How to Meet the Enemy and it will give you some further detail about it.  Let me express this to you in sort of a condensed way if I can.  John F., Jr. MacArthur
We do not have the power to command the demons–that is a power that belonged to Jesus Christ.  There is no one in the Old Testament who ever exhibited that power, not a prophet, not a priest, not anybody.  That is not something that is germane to belonging to God–to have command over the kingdom of darkness.
What happened when Jesus came into the world is that the kingdom of darkness “cranked up” its major assault to obviously thwart the purpose of God, and the conflict was raised to a fever pitch.  So as I said the other night, demons were then, I think, more aggressively trying to hold on to the souls that were within the hearing of what Jesus was preaching, and the conflict was tremendously heightened.  But that was only a part of it; the real issue was, the Messiah, if He was going to save souls, save sinners, would have to move people out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of His dear Son, as Paul put it.  So, the Messiah had to demonstrate not only power over disease, and power over nature, but He had to demonstrate power over Satan and demons, not only on His own behalf, such as in his temptation, but on the behalf of other people.  So, everywhere Jesus went, two things were happening: He was doing physical miracles and He was casting demons out.  There is no occasion where He ever did that to anybody who is identified as a believer.  There was no spiritual process going on by which that person was divested of the demon other than the absolute authority of Jesus over those spirits.  You find, what we said the other night in Luke 4, that the demon is saying, “Is this it?  Are you here to destroy us?”  They know that He has that power and they know that their ultimate destruction is already written–they know.  They were saying, “Is this the time?”  If you remember, the demoniac of Gadara, when Jesus sent the demons out of that individual after an amazing conflict into the pigs and they all dove into the sea.
This kind of exhibition of power goes on throughout the life of Jesus, to demonstrate that He has absolute authority over the kingdom of darkness, and to verify that the Apostles were in fact the representatives of Jesus Christ, who spoke the truth in the midst of all kinds of teachers and preachers and philosophers and religionists who paraded around.  What set them apart as the preachers of the truth was not that they squared up with the Bible because the Bible hadn’t been written, there was no New Testament, so how would you verify that they were the true representatives of the true Messiah?  Jesus knew how, they could do, essentially, the same kind of miracles that He could do, and that has to do with physical miracles and the casting out of demons, so that in 2 Corinthians 12:12, Paul says, “These things are the signs of an Apostle.”
When the Apostles pass from the scene–those things pass from the scene.  And that is why you have absolutely no instruction anywhere in the epistles of the New Testament as to how to do that, because that is not something we are capable of doing.  I cannot command demons to do anything.  I cannot bind Satan, which is absolutely ridiculous.  I cannot bind demons.  I cannot pray them out of my house or somebody else’s house.  I cannot pray away territorial spirits–that is absolutely ludicrous.  I have no authority over them whatsoever.  But I can resist the devil and he will flee from me, and if I come to Christ then my life is not going to be a dwelling place for demons–it’s going to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.
So what we need to do is to resist the devil, put on the armor, that’s indicated in Ephesians six and we will win the battle.  I said this the other day and I will say it again, people who are running around talking to demons…
I was at a pastors conference one time where a guy got up and said, “Let’s pray,” and here is how he started his prayer, “Satan!”  I’m telling you, I almost fell off my seat!  Is he talking to Satan?  I’ve never said a word to him in my entire life and don’t intend to, besides he’s not omnipresent–he might not even hear me, and if he did, “Ha, ha, ha, what is that?”  “Satan we bind you!”  I don’t want to mock that kind of thing, but who are these people kidding?  The Bible says, “He goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour,” it doesn’t say “comma, until you bind him!”  You can’t bind him!  And by the way, whoever is binding him keeps letting him loose!
This idea of praying against demons, that’s not spiritual warfare.  I tried to say before, when you look at 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, that is a definitive passage on spiritual war.  If you understand that passage then you understand spiritual war.  It is an ideological war.  It is a war engaged between the truth and error, and if I want to free men from the bondage of Satan’s lies then I have to bring the truth to their minds.  Chasing demons is pointless–it’s pointless.  We’re not called to evangelize demons.  We’re not called to bind demons.  We’re not called to talk to demons. We are told to preach the truth to every one, to give the gospel to men.  The real spiritual war is fought when we bring the truth against the ideologies that have been raised up against the knowledge of God, and the truth shatters those ideologies and the walls come down, and we bring those people out and bring them captive to Christ.
So these people who spend all their time fussing around with demons–it’s like Shakespeare said, “It’s much ado about nothing.”  OK, that’s kind of a short answer, but that book will help you.
By the way, just as a little footnote, Jesus said to Peter, “Satan desired to have you.”  Remember that, Luke 22.  If I had been Peter I would have said, “You told him, ‘No’ right?”  Jesus said, “Actually, I told him, ‘Yes,’ just like I told him with Job.”  So you might be chasing away Satan when Jesus sent him.  Who do you think you are to be trampling around in that realm anyway?