Do We Still Cast Out Demons?

Part 1

The sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed laid under the five porches near the pool of Bethesda and in the shadows of the Temple. All awaited the waters in the pool to be stirred up by an angel because the first one to step into the pool would be healed. The others – even though they had waited for months and maybe years – who then followed the first man into the water would not be healed.

An unknown Man walked into their midst. He stepped over and around numerous sick people as if He were looking for one individual. Many grunted and complained that He was in their way and ruined their chances of getting healed if the angel arrived at that moment. The Man ignored their complaints as He searched the porches.

Finally, He walked up to one man and said, “Do you want to be made well?

The sick man answered by listing his reasons why he had not been healed.

Jesus said, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”

The man was totally healed. He picked up his bed and carried it away, even though it was the Sabbath.

Then, what followed is described in the Bible as the greatest healing crusade in Jesus’ ministry. Everyone rushed or called out to Him, asking to be healed. And everyone was healed and glorified the God of Israel.

Actually, disregard the last paragraph because it never happened. Not one of the other sick people said anything to Him.

Oh yes! The people saw Jesus heal the man, but as soon as it happened, they turned their eyes back to the pool in hopes the angel might show up.

They couldn’t move past their Temple teachings and traditions to see the Fountain of Living Water standing in their midst. After all, this religious practice had healed a few in the past. Why change?

Sadly, this is where the Church stands today.

So, do we believers still cast out demons?

Part 2

Put on your Bible thinking caps for a moment, okay?

How many demons did Abraham cast out of people during his many journeys? How many demons did Moses cast out? Or Joshua? Or King David? Or Elijah? Or Elisha? Or Isaiah? Or Jeremiah? Or Ezekiel? Or Daniel?

And what about John the Baptist?

For he [John the Baptist] will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. (Luke 1:15)

Jesus said that John the Baptist was the greatest prophet that was born under the Law, and even though John was filled with the Holy Spirit, he never cast out one demon during his twelve to eighteen months of ministry.

The angel Gabriel even talked with John’s father, Zacharias, about the special son that Elizabeth was going to give birth to, and said:

“He [John the Baptist] will go before Him [Jesus] in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17)

But yet, with all the power that heaven invested in John the Baptist, he did not cast out one demon. Not one!

So, why did John the Baptist fail to cast out demons? And why did all of the Old Testament heroes of the faith fail to cast out demons?

 

Part 3

What did the Jews do when a person was tormented by demons?

Now the Spirit of the LORD had left King Saul, and the LORD sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear. Some of Saul’s servants said to him, “A tormenting spirit from God is troubling you. Let us find a good musician to play the harp whenever the tormenting spirit troubles you. He will play soothing music, and you will soon be well again.” (1 Samuel 16:14-16)

In Jewish theology, the scholars believed that everything came from God, even tormenting spirits. They had very little insight on Satan and the kingdom of darkness. Thus, soothing music was sometimes used to stabilize a tormented person. This was, in fact, the reason David was first introduced to King Saul.

The Jews also had exorcists who traveled from town to town. These men were basically fortune tellers, conmen, and magicians who put on a show and received money for their services. Spells and enchantments were uttered by them to heal sick people and to cast out demons.

It’s interesting to note that these exorcists did use a name to command the demons to leave people. As stated by Josephus, the historian, the name used by the exorcists was supposedly that of Solomon because the king wrote a book on magical healing and exorcism.

“In the name of Solomon, we command the demons to leave you!”

How successful were these Jewish exorcists?

A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” (Acts 19:13)

Obviously, the income for the Jewish exorcists had dropped quite a bit when Jesus and the apostles arrived on the scene. To compensate for their losses, the above group quit using the name of Solomon and began using the name of Jesus in their exorcisms.

What then happened to the seven sons of a leading Jewish priest named Sceva is one of the funniest stories in the Bible:

But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered. (Acts 19:15-16)

Why did this happen to the seven sons of Sceva?

Part 4

If we surveyed one hundred Christians and asked them, “What did Jesus preach?” All would answer that He preached the gospel.

If we then asked the same one hundred Christians, “What is the gospel?” We would then receive one hundred different answers, each having a part of the truth.

Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God (Mark  1:14)

Jesus did not arrive on the scene, give an altar call, and ask everyone to repeat a sinners’ prayer. He preached and taught a life changing message: the gospel of the kingdom of God.

The Greek word euaggelion is translated into our English word gospel in most Bible translations. And the word gospel itself has been handed down to us from the Anglo-Saxon word godspel, which actually means “good story.” Today, we just assume that the word gospel means “good news.”

But what was the good news that Jesus preached? The kingdom of God.

Let’s look at an eyeopening incident, okay?

Jesus cast out a demon that had caused a man to be mute. The people were amazed, but the Pharisees stated that He did it by the power of Beelzebul (or Satan). Jesus turned their words around on them and said –

“If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?” (Matthew 12:26)

What a profound statement, but then Jesus went a little further –

“And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they will be your judges?” (Matthew 12:27)

This was a “put-up or shut-up” moment for the Pharisees because Jesus knew the Pharisees could not cast out demons. They didn’t have the power. Thus, all of their followers could not cast out demons either.

Yet, Jesus did not leave us in the dark about casting out demons.

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matthew 12:28)

 

Part 5

John the Baptist languished in prison and his spirit was at its lowest ebb. He sent two of his disciples to Jesus to inquire if Jesus was truly the Christ. Jesus answered by saying:

Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. (Luke 7:22)

Jesus did not give a four-point sermon on why He was the Christ, but instead, He pointed to His acts, demonstrating that the kingdom of God had arrived on earth. He was the King of Kings and the Head of the kingdom of God on earth.

The two disciples of John the Baptist were satisfied with Jesus’ answer and departed.

Jesus then spoke about John the Baptist and his ministry. He stated that John was the messenger who prepared the way for Jesus and He added:

“For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist…” (Luke 7:28-a)

You have to remember that Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, and all of the prophets were revered by the Jews. Thus, when Jesus ranked John the Baptist at the top of the list, His words flabbergasted and astounded every listener.

Yet, the second part of Jesus statement was even more amazing –

“…but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than John.” (Luke 7:28-b)

When Jesus stated that the lowest member of the kingdom of God – the one who got in by the skin of his teeth – was greater than John, Jesus was not referring to a person’s eternal rank or position. This could not be the case because all of the Old Covenant’s prophets’ positions for all of eternity were already set in place by God’s word. No one can ever usurp their positions in the kingdom of God.

So, what was Jesus referring to when He spoke Luke 7:28-b?

Part 6

If you are like me, you read the Old Testament and are amazed at the prophets’  exploits.

Moses parted the Red Seaproduced water from a rock, and spoke words which opened up the earth to swallow Korah and his familyJoshua prayed that the sun would stand still and it obeyed him for a whole day.

King David, along with three men, stood in the middle of a field and defeated a whole army of PhilistinesElijah prophesied so it did not rain for three yearsthe prophet prayed fire down from heaven for a sacrifice and slew four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal; he killed two fifty-men groups of soldiers with fire from heaven; and he was taken up into heaven in a chariot of fire.

Yet, Jesus said that John was greater than all of these prophets, but then He added:

“…but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than John.” (Luke 7:28-b)

You see, unlike the Old Testament where the Holy Spirit came upon the prophets so they could do exploits and speak anointed words, the Holy Spirit lives in believers 100% of the time. The Helper never takes a vacation and is always ready to assist us. And unlike the Old Testament where the prophets had to obey the Law as subjects living in a theocracy ruled by God, we are born again as sons and daughters of the King who rules over the Kingdom of God.

As royal sons and daughters, we have all of the privileges of our King. In fact, the things He did, we can do, and even greater things than He did while He walked here on earth.

Jesus said that the least person in the kingdom of heaven has more royal privileges and power than all of the prophets in the Old Testament. What a powerful statement for us to believe and walk in today.

Part 7

We Evangelicals major on talking about “being born again,” but do you know how many times our Lord spoke on this issue? Just one time. Period.

Yet, there are more than thirty instances in the four Gospels where Jesus cast out demons, gave power to His disciples to cast out demons, or taught about casting out demons.

Now, how is it that we Evangelicals can talk for hours about the importance of being “born again,” but yet, we draw blanks when it comes to casting out demons?

So that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

Paul wrote the above verse in reference to a man who had committed sexual immorality with his father’s wife. The apostle recommended that the man be delivered to Satan for the destruction of the man’s flesh. Then, the man repented and Paul recommended the man should be accepted back into the fellowship.

But the important point is this: Satan has schemes and plans to destroy the effectiveness of us believers.

Okay, who benefits the most by us believers not being able to cast out demons? The Kingdom of God? Or the kingdom of darkness?

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matthew 12:28)

It’s obvious that if we believers do not understand how to cast out demons, the kingdom of darkness rejoices at our ignorance. Why? Because our power and authority in Jesus’ name remains impotent before the god of this world: Satan.

Oh dear! What should we do?

 

Part 8

Early one morning, Smith Wigglesworth was awakened in his Yorkshire, England, home by a rustling sound in his bedroom. He rolled over and saw someone sitting in the chair at the foot of his bed. He squinted his near-sighted eyes and then recognized who it was.

“Oh, it’s just you, Satan,” said Wigglesworth as he rolled over and went back to sleep.

Wigglesworth told this story at one of his meetings, but what do you think?

(An excerpt from Storming the Kingdom by Larry Nevenhoven, 2014, an Amazon eBook.)

It’s easy for us modern skeptics to look at Wigglesworth (1859 – 1947) and consider him, his ministry, and his visions to be nothing more than ridiculous Pentecostal fantasies from the past. But the nation of Sweden and its king, Gustaf V, did not think of Wiggleworth as a tongue-talking charlatan. They took him seriously.

In 1921, Smith Wigglesworth held healing meetings throughout Scandinavia. Thousands were healed and saved. His success prompted Swedish doctors to convince authorities that Wigglesworth practiced medicine without a license when he laid hands on the sick. Thus, the authorities notified Wigglesworth that he was not allowed to lay his hands on the sick when he visited Stockholm. If he refused to obey the law, he would be arrested and sent to jail.

King Gustaf heard about the new law and wrote Wiggleswoth a note asking him to find a way around the city ordinance so that the evangelist could minister healing to the Swedish people.

What did Smith Wigglesworth do?

Wigglesworth arrived on schedule and preached a faith message from the Bible. When he finished preaching, he asked the sick people to lay their own hands on themselves. He prayed a short healing prayer for everyone. As soon as he finished, miracles happened throughout the auditorium. The people who were healed jumped up and shouted with joy, which stirred up the faith of others to believe for their own healing.

The Sweden healing crusade turned out to be one of Wigglesworth most successful ones.

There’s no doubt that Smith Wigglesworth was a unique man, but he never considered his ministry unique. He believed that every Christian could do the same thing he did, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, and casting out demons.

Okay, how could Wigglesworth think this way? And what was his secret?

Part 9

 

A pastor friend felt frustrated in his calling. So, he fasted and prayed, crying out to God, “Lord, I need Your power to do miracles and deliver people from demons.”

He continued in this fashion for days until he felt the Lord had whispered to his heart this message: “If I had what you have right now, I’d go out and do miracles.”

This was not what the pastor expected. He thought he’d receive a new Acts 2experience from heaven with a mighty rushing wind and tongues of fire. He sat down and thought about what he had in his divine arsenal.

“I have Jesus living inside me, the Holy Spirit as my helper, and a Bible. That must be enough to do miracles,” he said aloud.

Okay, was my pastor friend’s revelation scriptural? 

But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. (Luke 11:20-22)

Before Jesus arrived on earth, nobody – including anointed prophets, priests, or kings – could defeat Satan in a head-on spiritual battle. He was the god of this world and headed the kingdom of darkness. But Jesus is our stronger one who appeared on earth to destroy the works of the devil.

The Apostle John wrote:

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Jesus went a step further when he commissioned us as His disciples:

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations… (Matthew 28:18-19)

As we can readily see, we have the Greater One living in us who is stronger than Satan – and – we have authority through Jesus to walk on earth as He walked during His earthly ministry.

I believe the pastor’s revelation is accurate. We have everything that’s needed to do miracles and cast out demons.

So, if we’re not casting out demons right now, the fault must on our end and not the Lord’s. We can either change our thinking and walk in scriptural faith to defeat the god of this world or continue in our powerlessness.

(Conclusion For Now)

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