What were the sons of Sceva missing in Acts 19:13-17? Sometimes we meet people who seem to be possessed or afflicted by demons. How can we care for them? What are we supposed to do? How can we drive out demons?
Background and Introduction
Reality of the Spiritual World
Naturalism vs. the Biblical View
Naturalism: Nothing exists outside / in addition to the natural, physical world identifiable by our best empirical science.
The Biblical View: “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (2Co 4:18).
The kingdom of the air (Eph 2:2); the “world” (Jas 4:4, 1Jn 5:19).
Good angels (loyal to God) and bad angels (aligned with Satan).
“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb 1:14).
Michael (Dan 12:1; Jude 9); Gabriel (Da 8:16; Lk 1:19).
Perceiving Spiritual Reality
Accessible to the “spiritual man” with the Spirit of God (1Co 2:10-16), whose eyes have been opened (2Ki 6:16,17).
Spiritual reality as real as the physical world (not-naturalism).
The Nature of Spiritual Warfare
Christian Life: The Spiritual War Zone
“For 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” (Eph 6:12; cf. 2Co 10:3-5).
The devil and his army - fallen angels (Rev 12:7-9). Satan (adversary): devil, prince of demons, Beelzebul, the ancient serpent, prince of this world, prince of the power of the air, accuser.
Be self-controlled & alert; resist him; stand firm (Jas 4:7; 1Pe 5:8).
Conflict in the heavenly realms
“...your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But 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.” (Da 10:12-14)
Angels move in response to believers’ prayers
Angels are finite & have different levels and strength
Battles are fought in the heavenly realms between spiritual powers
The devil appoints demons to oversee his interests among nations
The Strong Man and the Stronger Man
Satan's Dominion of Darkness (The Strong Man)
Calling to discipleship not into neutral territory, but into one kingdom (Christ’s) that is at war with another (darkness).
“...we do not wage war as the world does… the weapons we fight with… have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2Co 10:3-6)
Satanic deceptions holding people in bondage (Jn 8:44).
Hinder the knowledge of God and obedience to Christ.
Genesis 3: How strongholds are established (Satan’s strategies)
False arguments and pretensions set up in Eve’s mind / heart:
God’s restriction outweighed His gift
God had lied because He was afraid they would become “like God”
Becoming “like God” is something desirable
If God really loved them, He would not have withheld this from them
False views facilitate disobedience
The result is death (separation from God) - the devil’s goal
Examples of Spiritual Strongholds
Strongholds exist at the individual, cultural, national and global levels
ISIS / Radical Islam - destroying Christians
Western Secular Humanism - hostile to the gospel
False Religions of the world
Sexual immorality - pornography, sex tourism, sex trafficking
Legalistic self-righteousness (Mt 23:25-28): The most dangerous / serious?
Strongholds rooted in deception & lies must be demolished by divine truth. Jesus Christ is the truth. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth.
Christ's Triumph over Satan (The Stronger Man)
Jesus is Stronger
Satan is under God’s sovereign rule (Job 1-2)
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1Jn 3:8)
Jesus the stronger man overpowering the devil (Mt 12:29)
Jesus' Victory by His Cross and Resurrection
Christ triumphed over Satan and authorities by His cross and resurrection (Col 2:13-1)
The battle is the Lord’s (David vs. Goliath)
The risen Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth
We fight from the place of accomplished victory in Christ
Spiritual Authority & Weapons
Authority Rooted in Relationship with God / Faith
Identity–Jesus is the Son of God and we are the sons of God. We are seated with Christ Jesus in the heavenly realms. We have authority over all creation including the demonic powers. (Jn 1:12; Eph 2:6)
Commission–As Jesus commissioned his disciples, he gave them his authority over all demons.(Lk 9:6; Mk 16:15-18)
Holy Spirit–Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit and his power over the demonic powers of the evil one. (Ac 1:8)
The Church as the King’s Army
The gates of Hades will not overcome Christ’s church (Mt 16:18)
Key: Prayer and Dependence on the Holy Spirit
Defensive Weapons against the flaming arrows of the enemy
Our God is our shield and defender (Ge 15:1; Ps 11:9:114). Clothe yourselves with Jesus Christ (Ro 13:14)
The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace and shield of faith. (Eph 6:14-15)
Prayer and the Word (Mt 4:4). We can defend ourselves with the word.
Offensive Weapons to Demolish the Devil’s Works
Praise and worship (David and Saul)
Prayer and Intercession (Moses, a mother, and Daniel)
Mk 9:29 - Prayer and fasting
The word (the truth of the word shall set us free - Heb 4:12)
The blood of Jesus (1Jn 1:7)
The name of Jesus (Mt 18:18; Ac 4:12)
As much as we grow through years of Bible teaching for discipleship, we are to grow through years of spiritual warfare by depending on the Holy Spirit.
Distinguish between the person afflicted and the powers afflicting
Act in love; maintain person’s dignity; strengthen their will to be free
Primary goal: To see the whole person free and healed
The Ministry of Inner Healing, Deliverance, Intercessory Prayer
Demons attach themselves to our emotional & spiritual garbage
Parents’ responsibility: “Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4)
Legalism → Rule-based parenting vs. Grace-based parenting
Love One Another
Forgiveness and acceptance (as Christ forgave and accepted you)
Live “under the cross” with Christ’s attitude: joyful, thankful, prayerful
Cultivate Emotional Health
Grow in emotional maturity - vulnerable, self-care, loving well
Our spiritual authority is in direct proportion to our spiritual intimacy with God because driving out demon is done not by our own might or power but by the Holy Spirit (Zec 4:6)
It is appropriate to expect that even today triumph over the power of demons is a normal part of each believer’s life in spreading God’s kingdom
In Luke 10:20, Jesus says that we should not rejoice too much or become proud in our authority over demons, but that we should rejoice rather in our great salvation. We must keep this in mind lest we become proud and the Holy Spirit withdraw his power from us.