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Christians Can and Do Have Demons

 

When you enter the ministry of casting out demons, inevitably you are challenged by the question, “Is it possible for a born-again believer to have a demon?”  In charismatic circles the question is: “Is it possible for a believer who is baptized in the Holy Spirit to have a demon?”

“Absolutely not!” comes the stock answer. “The Holy Spirit cannot coexist in the same body with a demon!”   This answer is designed to shut off all further inquiry and to close the mind even to the possibility as unthinkable.  It is invoked with the insistence of a slogan.  Yet, it is not a Scriptural answer.  It is an extra-Biblical piece of logic that stands quite by itself.  The often heard statement does not rest on Scripture; it rests on an assumption. Actually, the answer to both the above questions is definitely “yes.”  It is a particularly dangerous delusion to think that Satan or the demons adopt any kind of a hands-off policy toward believers.

As a matter of fact, they affect and afflict believers as much as possible.  They buffet, oppose and seek to tempt and deceive to lead them astray.  They look for, and quickly seize upon, any opportunity to hinder believers.

Almost one hundred percent of the deliverance we have seen has been among the born again believers.  Most of them were baptized-in-the-Spirit Christians.  However this is no guarantee against the inroads of evil spirits.  Demons are by no means automatically disposed of through these or subsequent spiritual experiences.

Although evil spirits may have been rendered temporarily inactive or unable to function there is always a possibility of a “revival” of their power during times of stress and pressure, as long as they are inside.  This explains the absolute necessity for removing them completely.

Some teach that under no circumstances can born-again persons have demons.  These same people will automatically attribute all emotional, moral and spiritual problems to something other than an evil spirit.  If this be true then there will be no need to cast out demons.

Of course this will create a severe problem because of the clear command of Jesus to do it.  Was He confused?   Did Jesus fail to foresee that all of our modern problems would be solved by psychiatry and counseling rather than by deliverance?  Why would He advocate something which was not necessary for the believers?

After ministering deliverance since 1970, one thing has become extremely clear.  Those who most vigorously oppose the deliverance ministry are the ones who need it most! It is the enemy spirits inside (which they deny having) who make that layman or minister resist the truth which could set him free.  Paul’s directions to Timothy come to mind:

The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. (II Timothy 2:24,25)

To refuse deliverance is to reject the only means powerful enough to break the shackles of demonic bondage.  This will make it possible to move into that closer walk and victorious life in Christ Jesus which so many seek.

Savage opposition to the real deliverance ministry is faced everywhere.  Worker’s motives and words are constantly twisted and misunderstood.  We must check to see who is manipulating persons and situations against us.

Press the battle against demonic foes who seek to block.  Defeat of the enemy will allow this message to be scattered.  This in turn will bring multitudes into the reality and power of the kingdom of God.

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.  To deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (I Corinthians 5:4,5)

Here the apostle deals with the case of a disobedient and sinful believer in the church  at Corinth.  In verse 10 of the same chapter he specifically emphasizes that he is not speaking about evildoers of the world but in the church Paul writes:

Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

Several arguments are advanced to “prove”  that under no circumstances can a born-again person have a demon.  The most common statement is that a Christian cannot be “possessed.”   This will be discussed later as a misnomer.  In summary the arguments run something like this:

1. The believer is inhabited by the Holy Spirit; therefore the demons cannot co-exist within the same body.   The proof text usually used is I Corinthians 2:12; however the verse does not say this.

2.  Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil  (I John 3:8), and indeed He did.  In the case of problems caused by demons, the remedy and method of doing this is to cast out the demons in His name.

3.  The struggle inside the believer is always revealed to be the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit,  and not a struggle involving demons (Romans 6 and 7).  Were that the case, the conscientious claiming of the promises of God would solve every human problem.

4.  The believer is delivered from the power of Satan and his demons (Colossians 1:12,13; Ephesians 2:1-3). Yes, but like many other promises, not automatically, but only as we voluntarily meet God’s conditions for deliverance.

5.  The Christian is provided with complete protection from the fiery darts of the enemy  (Ephesians 6).  This overlooks the rather obvious fact that the armor is designed for defense from external, not internal enemies, and also that even so the believer’s armor is not always in place.

In spite of these arguments, the dismaying fact remains that born-again Christians, including leaders, are having difficulties and problems which can find no solution in natural infirmities.  Even the endless conflict between flesh and Spirit does not explain the extreme intensity of the battle here.

It is no secret that many have become discouraged and filled with awful despair.  Some have dropped by the wayside.  Others have even committed suicide in their desperation and inability to find a solution within the framework of their theological understandings.  Lack of knowledge in dealing with demons can be fatal.

In his tract, Demon Activity and the Christian, Ernest B. Rockstad rightly concludes that:  “Experience, of course is not the basis for the interpretation of the Bible.  Nevertheless, if consistent experiences run counter to an interpretation, the dedicated seeker after truth will set out to find the reason.  There must be a willingness to re-study interpretations under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  He must be prepared to make any necessary corrections so as to be in full agreement with the facts as they are.”

He further points out that understanding the Biblical doctrine of human depravity is essential here.  It should cause one to marvel and wonder that the Holy Spirit would enter a human being under any circumstance.

No one can argue anyone into believing that the old fundamental stand against Christians having demons is fallacious.  Donald Jacobs illustrates it this way:  “There once lived a skeptical fisherman who heard unbelievable stories about people catching fish two feet long.  He had never caught one over twelve inches. “One day he caught one three feet long, held it by the tail, shook his head, threw it back into the water and said,`Just another lie.’  Likewise, faced with the evidence of a `real live demon,’ a western man would probably react just about this way. `There are just no such things,’ he would say.” 1

There is an excellent presentation of the whole question in Don Basham’s book, Can a Christian Have a Demon?  Non-charismatic writers like Frances Manuel, Merrill Unger, Mark Bubeck, and Robert Peterson also teach that a Christian can have demons.

In his very balanced and scholarly treatise, “Demons in the World Today,” Dr. Unger writes, “In demon influence, evil spirits exert power over a person short of actual possession.  Such influence may vary from mild harassment to extreme subjection when body and mind become dominated and held in slavery by spirit agents.  Christians, as well as non-Christians, can be so influenced.  They may be oppressed, vexed, depressed, hindered and bound by demons.” 2

Dr. Unger is frank to say that he had written in 1952, “To demon possession, only unbelievers are exposed.”   Twenty years later, he writes: “This statement was inferred, since Scripture does not clearly settle the question.   It was based on the assumption that an evil spirit could not indwell the redeemed body together with the Holy Spirit.” 3   Missionaries from all over the world wrote to him, telling of cases to the contrary and he notes that the claims of the missionaries “appear valid.”

Hobart Freeman points out that “….as a result of erroneous teaching and beliefs, which are based neither upon Scripture or experience, Satan has deluded many concerning the question, can a Christian be oppressed by Satan or possess evil spirits? Can one who has never participated actively in any form of occultism be subjected or oppressed?”

“The answer to both questions is yes, supported both from the Scriptures and experience.  Believers can be oppressed, vexed, depressed, hindered, bound, and afflicted by Satan or suffer infestation by demonic spirits.” 4

Dr. Freeman differentiates between two states.  One is full possession (where the life and will come totally under the demonization and control of Satan) and the other is an invasion of the mind or body by spirits of infirmity, fear, resentment, doubt, depression, etc.  This condition he terms infestation, which is aptly descriptive.

In his helpful pamphlet, “Expelling Demons,” Derek Prince explains facts linguistically which should help unsnarl the semantic tangle. “The New Testament Greek word for demon is `daimon-ion’…in the King James Version …often translated `evil.’  Associated in the New Testament with the noun `daimonion’ is the passive verb `daimonizomai.’  The literal meaning of this verb is `to be demoned,’ that is, in some way under the influence or power of demons.

In the King James Version this verb is usually translated by some phrase such as `to be possessed’ or to be vexed’ by demons or by evil spirits.  However, there is no distinction in the original Greek text to support these (translated) distinctions.” 5

We dare not rest a theological distinction about the work of demons on a distinction in words of a language which does not even exist in the original Greek.

The term demon possessed is misleading when used to refer to a Christian, for it implies total ownership and domination.  The Greek text does not use the term.  Those with evil spirits had demons,  or were demoned  or demonized.

Jesus commanded evil spirits to come OUT of victims and they obeyed.  Thus, inhabited, infested  or demonized are more accurate descriptive terms than demon possessed or demon possession.

Believers were definitely subjected to demonic attack in the Scriptures.  The physical affliction and other disasters of Job are shown to be Satan’s work in chapters l and 2 of Job.

In the synagogue there was a man with an unclean spirit (Mark 1:23).  A woman called “a daughter of Abraham” (father of the faithful) had been bound with a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years (Luke 13:11-16).

There is no reason to conclude arbitrarily in the two latter cases that the persons involved were not believers.  In II Timothy 2:23-26, where Paul discusses contention and disputings over doctrine, believers are indicated who have evidently slipped and need to “recover themselves from the snare of the devil, who are taken captive of him at his will.”

A member of the church in Corinth seems to have been overcome by a spirit of lust (I Corinthians 5:1-5).  Jesus rebuked a spirit of fever in Peter’s mother-in-law (Luke 4:38-39) and he left her and she was well.

In Mark 3:33 and Mark 9:25, Jesus uses this same term to rebuke Satan.  Sickness is described as an oppression of the devil in Acts 10:38.  Jesus often healed by removing spirits of infirmity, which are simply another method of Satanic attack.(See Luke 4:40,41)

Consider Peter, who one moment spoke by Divine revelation, declaring that Jesus was the very Christ.  In the next moment he was reprimanded by Jesus, who rebuked Satan in him, saying “thou savourest not the things that be of God” (Matthew 16:13-23).

Simon the magician is presented as one who believed and was baptized.  Evidently he had not been delivered from his occult bondage and he was commanded to repent and pray (Acts 8:20-24).

How did Satan manage to “fill the heart”  of the believers Ananias and Sapphira? (Acts 5:3)  The apostle Paul himself reports that he suffered buffeting from a “messenger of Satan” (II Corinthians 12:7). 6

Dr. V. Raymond Edman, the late president of Wheaton College, wrote the following in answer to a question as to whether or not a Christian could have a demon:  “…The unguarded Christian may have demon possession in the soul, which would affect mental processes and emotions; or in the body, as was the case of the woman who had a ’spirit of infirmity eighteen years and was bowed together, and could in nowise lift up herself.’  (Luke 13:11)

“Of her, the Saviour said when He healed her, `Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, who Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?’ (Luke 13:16) To say that a Christian cannot be demonized in any area of his life is a happy but inaccurate generalization.” 7

Paul reproves the Corinthian Christians for receiving another spirit than the Spirit they had previously received (II Corinthians 11:4).  This is a case in which the language of the King James translation does not fully convey the force of the original.

The Phillips translation says: “For apparently you cheerfully accept a man who comes to you preaching a different Jesus than the one we told you about, and you readily receive a spirit and a gospel quite different from the ones you originally accepted.”  Or, as the Living Bible puts it, “You swallow it all.”

Paul inquired, in Galatians 3:1, about who had bewitched  the believers to draw them away from the truth.  “Bewitched”  carries the overtones of the use of witchcraft and the casting of spells.  The effects upon them were not just the effects of wrong mental impressions conveyed by false teachers.  It was evil spirits imposing false doctrine through false teachers.  These references emphatically do not suggest that believers enjoy an easy exemption from the activities of demons.  Rather than this they are particularly targeted for attack by them.

Robert Peterson makes an interesting comment: “It appears that the full force of deceiving spirits is directed against the spiritual believer in doctrinal rather than worldly matters, although the latter may be used after the believer has been ensnared by the more subtle means.  In I Timothy 4:1,2 the Apostle Paul gives a full account of how wicked spirits attack the spiritual believer and by deception beguile him away from the faith through the use of false prophets.” 8

This passage begins:   “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

Don Basham sums up the matter when he writes that there is an “almost universal sense of fear and loathing toward the whole subject of Satan and the evil spirits.  Many believers have adopted the fallacious idea that if they ignore Satan, he will ignore them.  Scripturally, such a position is indefensible” (I Pt 5:8,9; James 4:7; II Cor 2:11). 9

People are mentioned in scripture who were under various forms of demonic control.  Matthew 16:21 recounts two unusual instances.  Peter was first used by the Holy Spirit and then by an evil spirit!  This sort of thing can definitely happen today.   By divine revelation Peter had received the truth about Jesus and declared, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

Jesus verified that this truth was revealed to Peter by the Heavenly Father.  The apostle was an instrument in God’s hands to clearly state this fundamental doctrine upon which the entire body of truth and the church is built.  Shortly after this Jesus began to share with the disciples about His coming sufferings and death.

In Matthew 16:22, Peter rebuked him saying, “Be it far from Thee Lord; this shall not be unto Thee.”   Another translation renders this as, “Lord, have pity on yourself.”   Thus Peter was attempting to correct Jesus and to create self-pity, which is demonic.  Evil spirits will drive us to feel sorry for ourselves and our situations.  Thus Peter became an instrument of the devil.

In verse 23 Jesus rebuked Peter:  “Get thee behind me Satan.”  He discerned Satan speaking through his follower, trying to dissuade Him from the cross.  His leading disciple was being used by the devil in an attempt to interfere with God’s plans.  Peter became an instrument in Satan’s hands.  This alerts us that even very strong believers can become demonized.

Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil.  (John 6:70)

The wording is explicit, not one has a devil (demon) but one is a demon.  From the beginning Jesus knew Judas Iscariot was Satan’s tool to betray him.  Tragically, he was called out, had perfect teaching and travelled with an outstanding group of men, but was not changed by the experience.

Through Judas, Satan infiltrated the ranks of those close to Jesus.  It still happens today.  Judas is a perfect example of unregenerate persons affiliating with the church.  They are starched and ironed, but have never been washed!  With a perfect leader and teacher, one in twelve was so thoroughly demonized that he was said to be a demon!

When I was with them in the world I kept them in Thy name.  Those that thou gavest me I have kept and none of them is lost but the son of perdition (Judas) that the scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17:12)

Strangely enough the Antichrist is the only other person in the Bible who is designated as the son of perdition.

It is recorded that Satan personally entered into Judas in Luke 22:3; John 13:2,27.  As he surrendered to devilish lies Satan took over completely.  It is possible that from this moment on Judas was scarcely aware of what he was doing.  When one yields so completely to the enemy he loses control over his physical, mental and emotional faculties.

There is no evidence of genuine repentance, only deep remorse (Matthew 27:3-7).  Like so many today he was not sorry for his sin, he just regretted that he got caught.  It may have been only after the crucifixion he emerged from a kind of trance.  Then he began to comprehend his dilemma. Nobody likes a traitor.  Religious leaders who bribed him wanted nothing to do with him and even refused the return of bribe money.

The apostles pulled back in shock and horror from one they had trusted and counted as a brother.  As so often happens when demon power has run it’s course, the dupe who has been used becomes suicidal.  Judas hanged himself (Matthew 27:5).  Evidently the rope snapped for the record says that “…falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst and all his bowels gushed out.”  (Acts 1:18)

In Luke 9:55 Jesus sent the disciples ahead to arrange for lodging and food in a Samaritan city.  Racial animosity flared and the Samaritans refused to receive them.  The incensed disciples came back to the Lord and offered to call fire down from heaven to consume the hostile villagers.

Wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them and destroy them as Elias did?  (Luke 9:54)

Jesus rebuked them saying, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” They were unaware that evil spirits of Hatred and Revenge were directing them to retaliate and get even.  Angry and frustrated, they wanted swift judgment upon those who had offended them.  When we give way to a desire to get even, we open ourselves to wicked spirits of Spite, Anger and Resentment.

Note that Jesus told them they did not know  that the demons were manifesting through them.  Because they were speaking and acting under demonic influence and direction, the Lord was forced to check them.

When such feelings flood in because someone has hurt or disappointed us, we tend to react angrily and defensively.  Instead we need to examine carefully to see what is actually taking place and move into binding and loosing spirits.

After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, a spirit of generosity swept throughout the body of believers (Acts 5).  People sold possessions and liquidated assets.  They brought the proceeds to the apostles’ feet to be dispersed and managed.  It was a ministry to poor and needy people in the church body.

Ananias and his wife were believers who sold something belonging to them.  Because they received more for it than expected they decided to say it brought in less.  The gift was given to Peter, and declared to be the entire amount.

By revelation, Peter asked the man why Satan had filled his heart to lie to the Holy Ghost and to keep back part of the money.  He had attempted deception with the Holy Spirit in order to make a religious show.  Peter asked him bluntly, “Why has Satan filled thine heart?”  (Acts 5:3)

Ananias and Sapphira’s hearts had yielded to seducing evil spirits who persuaded them to lie.  Because you can neither deceive nor lie to God the couple was smitten and died the same day.  They failed to repent and confess their sin of covetousness.  If God did this today as a matter of course, many churches would be decimated!

Two passages in scripture speak of Paul being affected by evil spirits during certain times in his ministry.  On his last visit to Ephesus he gave the Myletis elders a farewell address.

And now behold I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there.  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city saying that bonds and afflictions abide near or are awaiting me.    (Acts 20:22,23)

The Holy Spirit had not bound Paul’s spirit but he was impelled to go on to Jerusalem, overruling every warning.

He knew that going to Jerusalem meant he would suffer bonds and afflictions.  They sailed to Tyre to stay a week.  Disciples received prophecies warning that there was very real danger awaiting Paul in Jerusalem (Acts 21:3).

The veteran warrior Paul was no stranger to suffering for Christ.  As they tarried in Caeserea many days, a Judean prophet, Agabus took Paul’s girdle.  After binding his own feet and hands he said,

…..Thus saith the Holy Ghost, so shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.  And when we heard these things, both we and they of that place besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.    (Acts 21:12,13)

Paul’s companions and the members of the Caesarean church all pled with him not to go to Jerusalem.  His answer:

….What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart, for I am ready not to be bound only but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. (Acts 21:14)

Having set his course he refused to deviate from it.  Some feel that in this instance he may have been bound by an evil spirit.  However, Paul had a good track record and perhaps he pushed on, knowing and accepting the danger his friends so feared for him.  This is exactly what Jesus did.  “He set his face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem.”  (Luke 9:51)

Paul was received gladly and cordially by James and all of the Jerusalem elders.  For thirty years Paul had attacked legalism and all kinds of Jewish beliefs and traditions, correctly teaching that Jesus was the only sacrifice for sin.  Lies had been scattered that Paul was preaching against the temple and the law; therefore they advised him to shave his head, go into the temple and offer sacrifices.  To pretend adherence to these things now would seem to be compromise.  However Paul evidently felt no check in his own spirit about it.  Doubtless he felt that, like Timothy’s circumcision in Acts 16:3, it was not necessary, but merely expedient.  Perhaps he was operating in the same rationale he indicated when he said that he was willing to become all things to all men that by this he might save some (I Corinthians 9:22).  Later he would write:  “For it I build up or I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.”   (Galatians 2:8)

In the temple he was denounced, arrested and imprisoned.  From that day on he was unable to minister openly.  Later he was a prisoner in a rented house in Rome.  Here he was able to reach only a few who came to see him.

However this was the period which produced the prison epistles to the churches.  Without a doubt this part of his ministry was the greatest thing he ever did.  These invaluable writings have guided, nourished and undergirded millions in the body of Christ over the centuries.

Some claim that in Acts, chapters 19,20,21 there are indications that Paul erred.  If this be true, then he was subjected to a demonic onslaught so cleverly devised that even the veteran apostle failed to discern it’s purpose.

His personal conviction caused him to keep on going, disregarding all warnings and prohibitions.  Keep in mind that Paul was wiser than his peers in the ways of the Lord and certainly far ahead of any of his modern day detractors.

The word translated “bound”  is a very strong term, meaning you no longer have freedom to decide for yourself.  Something was binding him.  A Christian can be invaded by an evil spirit and be bound.  This can heavily interfere with the operation of the gifts, particularly with discernment.

Believers are to minister, worship and see truth, in the Spirit.  A common example of binding is that many cannot lift their hands to praise the Lord or pray because they are bound in the spirit (Psalm 134:2; I Timothy 2:8).

Although we are not to submit to demonic manipulation, we should prayerfully consider what others suggest.  This is particularly true of those who are proven friends of the ministry.  This openness to correction and suggestions coming through friends must be balanced with caution however.

When God is sovereignly leading you, others without the vision and insight given you may sincerely try to curb or change your course of action.  Because they are wrong they thereby can be used as tools of Satan to hinder or stop the work of God.

It is an awesome responsibility to pioneer a work of God.  Only abject and continuous submission to God will be able to protect you from becoming puffed up and misled.  This is where seasoning and time spent walking with the Lord become absolutely essential.  It is possible that even directed prophecy may be influenced by the vessel through whom it comes.  Therefore it is not always 100% accurate.

Had I listened to my peers and others close to me I would have never moved into the stormy waters of deliverance.  On occasions I have yielded to pressures from well meaning friends and associates.  When this overruled my own strong leadings from the Lord, serious blunders occurred.

For example, well intentioned concerns of people around me brought pressures to set aside elders to assist me and ease the load I was carrying.  I had some checks in my spirit about doing it but did not want to seem to be a proud know-it-all.

Accordingly, I set aside two men.  For the next five years the ministry went through hell!  They attempted to set in motion covert plans to wrest the leadership of the church from me.  Determined to adulterate the vision of the deliverance ministry they planned to set themselves up as dictators over the little flock.

They wanted me to preach, draw in the crowds and raise the funds.  From behind the scenes they would quietly direct and control everything, including me.  Rather than sharing the deliverance vision of service, they were hungry for power and dominance.  They regarded their positions as an opportunity to take over the ministry for themselves and their sons.  I would have become the figurehead and they the power behind the throne.”   Echoes of Korah!

They were set on a course which would destroy the vision and the ministry which God had given to me.  At first I did not want to suspect them of such gross carnality, ignorance and selfishness, but it became more and more obvious as time went on.

Long before these men came on the scene, the church was financially sound.  There was no mortgage and money was piling up in the bank to buy a larger facility.  I had a growing, enthusiastic army of workers, already trained in evangelism and deliverance.

Foundations of the ministry were established upon my vision from the Lord and the scriptural foundations I had taught.  When these men walked through the doors of the church, they knew less than nothing about demons and deliverance.  Their families were total disasters, in the occult, drugs, alcohol and sex.  The ministry was the salvation of all nine of their children.   I asked the Lord if I should force them out of the positions.  I had asked the church to set them in and knew the flock would back me in demoting them.  However, the Lord said this would give them an importance they did not have.  I was to  checkmate their moves to hamstring the ministry and in His own time He would remove them.

I fervently promised Him that if he would deliver me and the church from these two I would never appoint any more.  We have many men in the fellowship who function as elders and the flock recognizes and depends on them.  They are elders by function, not by title.  Some people cannot handle titles for Leviathan and Behemoth leap into control.

God cleaned house after five years and they fled the flock taking thirty-three with them.  They left, following a false prophecy given by a demonized woman of their group.  Deluded pride convinced them that their leaving would cripple the church and force me to seek their help to restore order.  Instead, the exodus produced the greatest blessings that had come in five years!  (I John 2:19)  Much damage and treachery came to light after they left the fellowship.

Almost immediately young people once more began to pour into the church.  The women, whom the “elders”  had discouraged from ministering, again surged enthusiastically into the battle to free the captives.  Offerings flowed in and four months later the $46,000 note on the new building was paid off, making us debt free again.

In Acts 20, “bound in the spirit”  doubtless refers to a spiritual binding but in Paul’s case it had physical implications as well.  When we do not have the peace of God about a course of action it is better to cancel it.  A good rule of thumb is; if you doubt, don’t!

With spiritual growth and advancement come greater dangers.  These involve confrontations with stronger and more cunning demons.  Many servants of God crash out from the lofty heights of success.  Unfortunately they may come to believe that their spiritual gifts and successes immunize them from pitfalls faced by ordinary believers.

The question arises whether a thirty year veteran like Paul was so deceived that he adopted a wrong course which led to his imprisonment.  If indeed he was led astray, God certainly did make the best of a bad situation.  In Jerusalem the Lord told him to be of good cheer for He was with him and had prepared him to be a good witness in Jerusalem and Rome. (Acts 23:11)  God never rebuked Paul but rather endorsed his course of action.

Paul had a great prophetic ministry and was even transported to the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12).  He saw things which cannot be explained in human words.  With all his success in the ministry some speculate that Paul may have given place to pride, resulting in carnal confidence.  This is a notorious problem among leaders and especially in people who believe in deliverance.  We must always be on guard lest we trip and fall in this area.  Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.  (Proverbs 16:18)

When the disciples returned from ministry they were rejoicing because demons were subject to them.  Jesus set their priorities straight.  Deliverance on earth dramatically affected things in the heavenlies.  As they were ministering to demonized people, He saw Satan fall as lightning from heaven.

Jesus warned his disciples:   “Not withstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”  (Luke 10:20).

He was cautioning them to spare them from falling into a trap of pride, self confidence and boasting.  Also He was reminding them that to have their names written in heaven was to be the source if their rejoicing.  The battles here on earth ebb and flow but that which is in heaven is established for eternity.

II Corinthians 12:7 declares that lest Paul be exalted above measure because of the abundance of revelations, he was given a thorn in the flesh.  This was a messenger {angel} of Satan, literally a demon,  to buffet him.  This evil spirit had entered Paul’s flesh causing excruciating problems.

It is impossible to know if this was a physical or moral weakness or a combination of both.  One thing is certain, it was so painful that it drove him to his knees.  Many speak of their having a thorn in the flesh.  However, this thorn was given because of the abundance of revelations.   Most of these persons have little or no revelation, but they have huge ambitions backed by powerful spirits of Behemoth and Leviathan!

Three times Paul earnestly sought relief but the Lord refused, saying he must endure and be patient.  It had been sent to keep him from pride.  The mighty apostle was under fierce demonic attack and this was permitted by God for good and sufficient reasons.  Strangely enough most of the other explanations of the thorn come from those who seek to debunk the deliverance ministry.

Probably all illness was brought about by the fall of man which contaminated all nature.  Contact with nature brings us in contact with multitudes of germs.  Workers were dealing with a person infested with tropical amoebas and other parasites.  Manifesting demons declared that they gave life and protection to the invaders.  Evil spirits will not come out with pills or injections.  When sickness does not respond to proper medical treatment, suspect that it is demonic.  Discernment is a spiritual radar which will pick up signals that an evil spirit is operating.

Pray for healing by laying on hands and/or anointing with oil.  If healing does not come it is likely that a strong evil spirit is hidden somewhere in the roots of that ailment.  Demons will not come out by laying on of hands although in some cases this might cause a very violent reaction.

There are scriptures which indicate that believers can and do have demons:

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor for we are members one of another.  Be ye angry and sin not, let not the sun go down upon your wrath. (Ephesians 4:25,26)

Lying is mentioned in verse 25; anger in verse 26, is followed by an admonition that no place be given to the devil.  This warning would not be necessary unless it was possible to do it.  Through lying, wrath and other sins, believers can and do open the door for demons.

The sun is not to go down on wrath, perhaps because demons are so active at night.  After midnight most people are asleep and restless evil spirits come out to roam and prowl.  They will seek out, attack and harass anyone who is open and vulnerable.

Jesus used a parable to warn against going to sleep while the enemy sows tares.  Retiring when upset and angry may well leave one exposed to attack.

The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him and delivereth them. (Psalm 34:7)

The condition for protection is to forsake evil.  Anger and wrath are sin, not just weaknesses and Paul also mentions stealing and evil speech in Ephesians 4:28,29.

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus whom we have not preached or if ye receive another spirit which ye have not received….. (II Corinthians 11:4)  Corinthian believers had already received the Holy Spirit and Paul speaks of the possibility of their receiving another or demon spirit.

Sincerity is no protection for one can be sincerely wrong.  Those snared in cults such as Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Moonies, Krishna and other New Age traps may be more sincere than true Christians.  However, this does not rescue them from heretical errors.  Neither will baptism in the Holy Spirit block the reception of demon spirits if the doors are open…

Bibliography

1.  Demons at Work in the World Today  by Donald R. Jacobs, © 1972 by Herald Press, Scottsdale PA, 15683.  Reprinted by permission, p. 38.
2.  Demons in the World Today,  by Merrill F. Unger, © 1971 by Tyndale House Pub., Wheaton IL, 60187. Reprinted by permission, p. 113.
3.  Ibid., p. 117.
4.  Angels of Light  by Hobart Freeman, © 1969 by Logos International, Plainfield, NJ 07060. Reprinted by permission.  pp.73,74.
5.  Expelling Demons by Derek Prince, © by Derek Prince Publications, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Reprinted by permission, p. 4.
6.  Freeman, op. cit., p.75.
7.  Alliance Witness  by V. Raymond Edmond, April 26, 1967, Vol. 102, #9, p.22.
8.  Are Demons For Real?  by Robert Peterson, © 1968 by Overseas Missionary Fellowship, Moody Press, Chicago IL.  Reprinted by permission, p. 98.
9.  Can a Christian Have a Demon?  by Don Basham, © 1971 by Whitaker Books, Monroeville PA. Reprinted by permission,  p. 51.
John 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

The following is an excerpt from “Christians Can and Do Have Demons, Booklet #38″ by Pastor Win Worley. Copyright © 1990 by Win Worley, Reprinted 1993. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including storage and retrieval system, without securing permission in writing from the publisher, WRW Publications, PO BOX 9309, Highland, IN 46322.

If you’d like to obtain your own copy of not only this, but other materials authored by Win Worley, please contact WRW Publications at www.wrwpublications.com

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