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Spiritual Warfare 401: How to Gain Deliverance from Demonic Influence, Part 2

From the series The Invisible War

What do you do when you suspect someone you know is under demonic influence? Do you know what to do? Should you do anything at all, or is this kind of thing reserved for the “professionals?” Join Chip as he tackles the important and controversial subject of deliverance ministries.

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Message Transcript

There’s a supernatural world and there’s supernatural mindset. So just what I want you to know is this is very common. The New Testament writers provide clear direction. If this wasn’t a valid ministry, we’ve got James chapter 4, right? “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he’ll flee from you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

There’s a very clear process of submission to God, resistance of the enemy, and very specific steps you take with your actions, with your heart. And then he says, “You humble yourself and then God will exalt you in due time.”

And then contemporary balance ministry deliveries do exist. Write down the name Mark Bubeck. He’s got a book called Overcoming the Adversary.

Dr. Michael Pocock of Dallas Seminary, he’s the head of the missions department, has been all around the world firsthand with all of this. And then Neil Anderson. There’s reputable people who are balanced and do deliverance ministry.

Now, here’s why some of us are very suspect of this is, here’s some of the problems. Extremism and fanaticism tend to negatively color this ministry. I mean, you don’t have to be flipping the channels and have some person on TV go, “We’re going to stomp out the devil. Come on. Join me right now. We’re stomping out the devil. Okay, everybody.”

Or the guy that I told you about, they brought him up, he was demonized and they’re kicking him. I mean, there’s kooky, kooky, wacky, weird stuff when it comes to ... And there’s people that use it for manipulation. But let me just give you a little overview of some of the problems. And let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Another one of the problems is the confusion concerning demon possession which is about internal control versus oppression of believers. It clouds the ministry and its validity. In other words, believers are taught, “If Jesus lives in me, I cannot be demon-possessed so all this deliverance ministry, it’s completely unimportant.”

Michael Pocock, in his writings, has a continuum and he talks about demonic influence can be over here all the way over here, but he talks about: it begins with oppression. Then it can move to harassment, then to obsession, then to compulsion, and then the appearance of possession, just total control of at least unbelievers.

Fear and ignorance have caused many people to simply ignore. This can’t be. This is like ... I’ve had people say ... One person started reading the book and was thinking about doing the series and they got like into two chapters and some weird stuff happened. “I’m not doing that. I’m not doing that. It’s too spooky.”

Well I mean I didn’t want to say it because it wasn’t appropriate at the time. “So, you just want to be blind and live in fear and so if the victory is already done and ...” I mean there’s just people like, “You know what? I don’t want crazy stuff happening in my life.”

Translation: “I want my life and my comfort on my terms. I don’t want to do anything that sort of rocks the boat of my life instead of being aware and becoming an ambassador and a follower and a disciple that can make more of a difference.”

Those who engage in this ministry are often tempted by pride or they become singularly focused. They fall into theological error and they start to go beyond Scripture.

And then I think one of the other problems is assigning blame of all of one’s problems to demonic influence versus assuming personal responsibility and using biblical common sense that calls ministries into question, sort of “The devil made me do it.”

Now, here’s the deal. I told you a little earlier about I had some notes that didn’t come out quite right, and my first thought was, “Man, the enemy’s messing things up.” My next thought was, “And you didn’t review the notes.” And guess what. I’m thinking both are true. I’m thinking human error and trying to mess people up and get them frustrated, of course.

So, here’s what you should be getting. This is a valid ministry from Jesus all the way through the early lines of the Church. You should know there’s some very clear problems that make many people suspect of it for very good reasons.

Third, here’s some causes of demonic influence. In other words, if you start with oppression, harassment, obsession, compulsion – in other words, these are some of the ways that people knowingly or unknowingly get involved in demonic influence.

One is yielding to sin. John 8:34 says when you commit a sin, you become a slave to it. If you ever work in downtown, CityTeam, rehab-type places, inner city, homeless people, drug addictions, sex addictions, there is an amazing connection between demonic influence and people that have addictions. Am I saying that every addiction is demonic influence? No. What I am saying is once people surrender themselves and find themselves in addictions and perversion, the strongholds, they become slaves because the MO is accomplished.

What is Satan’s goal? To kill, to steal, and destroy. When you find people who make decisions and we can kill ourselves with food, we can kill ourselves with media, right? It’s not just drugs and alcoholics and cocaine addicts.

See, as long as we can keep thinking like that, these are issues for those people out there. What if we had some strongholds? What if workaholism? I couldn’t think of anybody that’s ever had that problem. Or people-pleasing or codependency, what if there’s something inside of you that, because of your family of origin, you’ve got to please people all the time so you get overextended and it’s ruining your health and it’s ruining relationships and no matter how hard you try, could it be that you’re believing a lie? And could it be that when you try to break out of that, you get opposition and maybe even harassment? And maybe there’s a reason why. Whatever program you went through didn’t work because it was based solely on willpower or psychology.

So I’m just saying that when you yield to sin… Second, spiritual rebellion, I mean, when ... And this is why in parenting, I am ... Kids make mistakes and they can fail and they have good attitudes and bad attitudes, but when they actively, defiantly rebel, as a parent, you need to understand, boy, that is not something you ever allow.

And if you don’t start when they’re small, boy, when they get old, there’s not much you can do. Rebellion, according to Scripture, is like the sin of divination. And when we rebel against God, when you know, when God speaks to you ... Can I mess with you just for a minute? Because we have an epidemic in the Church.

Can I give you maybe the top two or three sins that really good Christian people live with and we gloss over and I think hinders our spiritual life dramatically? Number one is unforgiveness. We just ... “I’ll never talk to her again.” “I forgive him, but I’m being passive-aggressive in what comes out of my mouth. I talk about them. I have anger fantasies in my mind. They don’t deserve it.”

Second one is our money. I’m not talking about some legalistic “Are you tithing or not?” That is a beginning point. If God does not have my money, I don’t care how you feel, how high your hands go up, how deep emotions, and how much you even read the Bible. According to Jesus, if He does not have your money, He does not have your heart. If He does not have your heart, He is not your Lord. If He is not your Lord, you are not having the kind of life He wants for you and He’s not using you.

But the key behind why you don’t give Him your money, are you ready, is you don’t trust Him and you don’t trust Him because you don’t think He’s good and you don’t think He’s powerful and you don’t think He’s sovereign, and that’s a very big insult to God. And the reason He wants you to give the first portion and then learn to become a proportional giver is, one, He wants to change the world, there’s all these ministries and all these opportunities that are underfunded, and He wants to change your heart.

And if you can’t trust him with the minimum of the first ten percent of your income, how in the world are you trusting Him for your eternal life, for changing your children, for breaking strongholds? So, what I just know it’s just epidemic.

The third area where we seem to just give ourselves a pass is in the area of sexual purity. We’ve just come to where in our culture today believers sleep together, we watch things. I mean, if you could, if I could put you in a little time machine because the problems that happen so gradually, so gradually, so gradually, if I could put you in a time machine that would just go back thirty years and then I could sit you down with the world and the culture and what came on the tube and then just out of the blue, play just what’s normal primetime programming now, you would go, “Oh, I can’t believe this. This is terrible. This is an outrage.” But over time, we laugh. Over ninety percent of all sexual activity on primetime TV is by people that aren’t married.

You don’t understand. It’s not just pornography. It’s lies about relationships that become norms.

Here we go. Specific steps for deliverance from demonic influence.

Number one, for an unbeliever, it’s to accept Christ. It’s to understand you don’t have the power. In John chapter 1, verse 12, “But as many as receive Him, to them He gives the right.” Literally, the word is authority, “to become the children of God as many as believe on His name.”

Second is, for a believer, is to confess your sin. There’s some demonic influence. By the way, we’re talking ... It doesn’t mean everything’s weird. There’s oppression or maybe it’s harassment. Maybe it’s not so overblown and you have prayed and maybe you even said something like, “I never saw it like this until now,” because isn’t this what the Scripture does? It opens our eyes and you say, “Lord, I have been deceived. My money does not reflect your lordship, and I’m telling You I’m sorry. I thank You that you forgive me, and this is my step of faith that my next check is going to look like this and this is the first portion because I trust You. It’s, all of it is Yours. Not ten percent, twelve percent, thirty percent. It’s all Yours, but You’ve commanded me to declare that I trust You.” It’s no different than the manna. They went out and got the manna just to know He’ll provide. And there’s a reason why you had to pick up two one day and none another day. The thing wasn’t about bread or manna and it’s not about money. It’s about this.

Or you may say, since we always tend to pick on men, “Lord, I think I’m addicted to romance novels. I think I have some deep resentment toward my husband. I think we don’t have the romance and the marriage that I would want, and I vicariously live and when I have free time, my mind is in romance novels and an occasional Hallmark, I’m good with.”

But, you understand what I’m saying? What if the need to work on the marriage, the need to say, “This really hurts,” and the need to address some things gets substituted for that? And what if it seems so benign and it’s a stronghold? And God wants you to have a great marriage and He wants what you’re reading about in books to be a part...

And I know you’re going to say, “But my husband ...” Yeah, here’s what you got. You can’t change him, but you can do what God wants you to do. And when one person in any relationship takes a step of faith, chain reactions. I’m not guaranteeing that everyone’s going to change, but God will do in you and through you and for you what He wasn’t doing before.

And so you confess. And by the way, I think if you’re going this way to be light and salt and do what God wants you to do, I think oppression and harassment, I think you’re going to expect those things.

Third is renounce the works of the devil. Just if you found yourself, “I was just goofing around and it was a palm-reading deal,” renounce it. 2 Corinthians 4:2. If you have any occult objects, you destroy them. “It’s an heirloom.” Well, you don’t want that kind of heir.

These are ... I don’t know where this would be but break friendships with people in the occult. We always have this tension and this struggle and you need to do it lovingly, kindly, and winsomely, but there’s some relationships that the value of the relationship and we “so don’t want to hurt people’s feelings” you can do it in a way that, “You’re involved in this. I know that’s very important to you. That isn’t something I can be involved in. Okay? I don’t want to hear about your readings and what you’re doing and this and that. I need to make a break with that.”

Rest in Christ’s deliverance. Colossians 1:13, Colossians 2:14 and 15, memorize a couple of these verses to remind yourself they’ve been disarmed. You don’t have to be afraid. They’ve been conquered. Meditate and apply on God’s word, have we not talked about that a bit? And then engage in corporate prayer.

And then, if necessary, I almost hate to say this word, but exorcism in the name of Christ. I’ve given you an outline here. It’s by a spiritually qualified counselor. Galatians 5 is real careful about when you’re going to go address something like this, make sure you’re in good standing, walking with God, who manifests humility, who wears their spiritual armor, who knows the Word of God, and is supported by prayers of believers. It’s a very specific situation and there are times where you really do need an expert.

And sometimes when I explain this, I’ve had many, many calls from people who say, “Would you come? And we have this situation,” or “Will you come and teach this? Because this is what’s going on.” And by and large, my answer is always no. I mean, I kind of think I told you before. I feel like if instead of a pastor, I’m a doctor, I’m a general practitioner. I’m not an oncologist, I’m not a baby doctor, I’m not a surgeon, I’m not a cardiologist.

There are experts in this, and I will tell you when I read the books of the Neil Andersons or Pococks, I mean they are ... I’m like, “Hey, guys. All of us regular people, we need to learn and get our game up.” And then there’s stuff and expertise and wisdom that I’m going to handle whatever comes my way, but this is not an area of expertise. This is an area I’ve had a lot more experience than I asked for, so I know these things are true, but there are certain things and certain times where you need an expert.

But here’s what I would say. I just want to repeat. I think most of the time until it gets into some bizarre, bizarre things that you’re thinking, “Yeah, this is way over my pay grade,” but the same is true at least for me in counseling. I think most all of counseling can be done with believers with believers helping one another, but there’s some counseling that there’s some issues that happen in people’s lives. Man, I refer. I want a godly, wise, super-smart, Christian counselor who knows way more than me and has way more experience, but I also don’t want to say every time there’s some demonic-type activity that I outsource it.

One of the things that happens ... It happened and that’s why I told you the story about my ten-year-old boy. I think I learned more from that than he did. I mean his attitude, I still remember I heard it and it happened like it happens. We always kept the bathroom light on, you know when your kids are small?

And I heard what happened and I’m the dad, I’m going to go help him, and I could see because of the bathroom light he was there. He undoes his covers, does this, “Lord, I’m really tired and I want to get back to sleep. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world even those who believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And they overcame him, Satan and the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony and they did not love their life even unto death. Now, evil spirits, in Jesus’s name and by His authority, you have to leave right now. So, leave and don’t come back.”

And he went like this with the covers and went to sleep. And I thought, “Boy, he really needs my help.” And the next morning, I just wondered, but I think that’s a childlike faith. I told him those verses are true. He’s ten years old. He’s not sophisticated to know better like some of us who think, “Oh, maybe. Oh, I don’t know.” And at breakfast the next day, “How’d you sleep?” “Okay, dad. Yeah, pretty good.” I’m fishing. “Well did anything happen?” “Yeah, I had one of the satanic nightmares.” Yeah, we have a lot of those in here, don’t we? Yeah. I said, “Well you didn’t come and get me.” He said, “Dad, I’m so sick and tired of this. I thought I’d just do it myself.”

Lord, we are in tremendous, tremendous need, but You are the victor, You are the King. Your Spirit lives in us. And we need each other. God, give us the grace not to be embarrassed, but to just accept our weakness and our need and say, “Will you help me?” Would we be bold to ask others to help us? Would You work in and then work through these sons and daughters of yours?