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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Casting out demons

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20).

In YouTube testimonies I’m hearing more and more of spiritual warfare. Here is one I heard recently, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjL9kQUT_Vg.
The above URL is about fasting and praying in order to cast out a demon that refuses to be cast out simply by the name of Jesus.

I believe this and similar sermons/testimonies are well meaning, but they miss the target. Too much emphasis is placed upon devils and not enough upon the written principles of truth. The extremely practical proverbs say, “As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.” (Prov. 26:2).

Jesus is saying that the curse has a cause. And that cause comes from us, as the Proverbs 26:2 context reveals.

“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.
As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.
The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.
As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.” (Prov. 25:28 -26:9).

Our wretched hearts being the cause of our spiritual problems is not a popular message. But there is the well-known words of Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” We have much difficulty knowing our own hearts. But our hearts are transparent to God on His throne and to His present Spirit.

“Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Heb. 4:13).
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12).

“O LORD, Thou hast searched me, and known me.
Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off.
Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, Thou knowest it altogether.
Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy Presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
For Thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.” (Ps. 139:1-13).

Up front our decision to face our Father’s scourging or not determines our outcome of who possesses us. In the end it will be better to suffer under His strong hand and have Him possess our reins than to evade His heavy guilt and have Satan possess our reins.

When the Father’s final authority of heaven and earth says we are guilty, we are guilty beyond measure. Let us surrender to His destruction of our flesh and trust Him to never overstep His power to convict. And that we are guilty are the first words out of His mouth.

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery are in their ways:
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom. 3:10-18).
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Rom. 3:19).

Only partially is the cause of our troubles the demonic hosts. True, Satan is a real general of real satanic hosts. But, to say that we aren’t a factor in our lack of success against Satan is being self-deceptive. And by not bringing into the equation our need of constant conviction from the principles of God’s word implies that we have no responsibility in delivering our friends’ demonic oppression, or our own. It is a silent denial of biblical truth.

Paul said, “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” (Rom. 7:20,21). But, ultimately he didn’t attribute his problems to sin, but to himself. “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24). Paul wasn’t dodging culpability by saying, “The devil made me do it.” He admitted to his wretchedness. He blamed himself for his body of death.

Isaiah made the same confession, which came from his humiliation and surrender, and which led to his commission as a prophet to the Jews.

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple.
Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
And one cried unto another, and said, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, IS THE LORD OF HOSTS: THE WHOLE EARTH IS FULL OF HIS GLORY.
And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.” (Isa. 6:1-4).

“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isa. 6:5).

“Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” (Isa. 6:6-8).

Now that we have established our responsibility for sin, let’s look in scripture at another aspect of spiritual oppression.

In the days of Paul, when a spreading movement of unconverted, unqualified people, young and old, who in the name of Jesus tried to cast out demons, the youth were met with the same resistance that is described in the YouTube spiritual warfare testimonies. And the young people of that day even faced someone else’s demonic warfare that turned against them.

“Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” (Acts 19:13-16).

The unqualified, unconverted hearts and souls in these unbelieving Jews and in the demon-possessed man caused the curse of demonic oppression. It was the spiritual condition of them all. It was everyone’s resistance to the gospel and to the high standard of the Law of God and the cross of Christ and that enabled the devils to control the Jews, high and low, rich and poor, free and bond, sophisticated and commoner. But it was the faith of Abraham, being restored to the church mixed with the word of God that is the victory over every weakness, every flaw, every ill, which includes satanic oppression and possession.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2Cor. 10:3-6).

The problem is a spiritual one; therefore the solution is also a spiritual one. Perverted imaginations, the exaltation of self, thoughts not trained in obedience to Christ—these are the opportunities for the devils’ spiritual control of even the best member of humanity. Fix the perversions through the instruction in righteousness, and the devils flee.

What we all need, and what the people during Christ’s ministry received, was the powerful conviction of sin. “Jesus did not suppress one word of truth, but He uttered it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He spoke the truth, but always in love. He denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity; but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He wept over Jerusalem, the city He loved, which refused to receive Him, the way, the truth, and the life. They had rejected Him, the Saviour, but He regarded them with pitying tenderness. His life was one of self-denial and thoughtful care for others. Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He ever bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with the tenderest regard to every member of the family of God. In all men He saw fallen souls whom it was His mission to save.” Steps to Christ, p. 12.
  
And many received Him and His Law. “Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law.” (Isa. 42:1-4).

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people.” (Heb. 8:10). “A new heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.” (Eze. 36:26,37).

By a new heart and Spirit, the Law written in that new heart and mind, the kingdom of darkness will find nothing in them to take advantage of. “The Messiah the Prince” (Dan. 9:25) who lived by every word of God said, “the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” (John 14:30). Jesus’ victory over the devil is to be the experience of everyone who inherits the kingdom of God. They will have the fear of God that delivers them from the god of this world. They will receive a love of truth from the word of God that “is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12).

By giving scripture the right sense Jesus, His prophets, and His apostles, spoke the pure, unvarnished truth, and their demonic enemies fell back. It is still as it too often was anciently, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?” (Eze. 34:2). “Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.” (2Chron. 15:3). All through the ages, whenever the people of God left the purity and holiness taught in the laws and statutes given them from heaven, they had no barrier against the forces of Satan and sin. Devil possession became invasive and all-pervasive.

“And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded:
And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with Him; and if ye seek Him, He will be found of you; but if ye forsake Him, He will forsake you.
Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.
But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found of them.
And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries.
And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity.” (2Chron. 15:1-6).

“Through heathenism, Satan had for ages turned men away from God; but he won his great triumph in perverting the faith of Israel. By contemplating and worshiping their own conceptions, the heathen had lost a knowledge of God, and had become more and more corrupt. So it was with Israel. The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin.” Desire of Ages, p. 35.

“Fear God and give glory unto Him” (Rev. 14:6) comprises the hedge of protection from the demonic entities today and that will have full reign in the future when “darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people” (Isa. 60:2). No other power on earth will keep the powers of darkness at bay.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Phil. 4:8). “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (vs. 7). “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:6). This is the antidote to the evil presence of devils in us and in our friends.

The holy, spiritual realm work in the human conscience through holy truth; and the fallen spirit realm in the wicked, seared conscience through unholy error. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Rom. 8:7). This is the only true key to deliverance, and without it everyone falls under the control of sin and Satan’s hosts. Lead people to the Schoolmaster and His great innumerable omnipotent definitions of sin, so that the carnal mind can say, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24).

Unless the Schoolmaster scourges us of sin He cannot bring us to Christ to be justified by faith. Once the self-justifications have ceased, every mouth stopped, and the soul made guilty before the Schoolmaster, then we run to His Son who will never turn away humbled, contrite children. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37). Then lead them to Christ and His equally great mercy in behalf of convicted, humbled, repentant sinners, and sin and Satan cannot abide in them. The justified, redeemed soul is so vigilant against sin that it is too caustic an environment for the strongest demon to dwell in.

“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1Jn. 5:12).
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3).
“As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (John 1:12).
 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36).
“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” (1Jn. 3:8-10).

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1Pet. 1:23).

“When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples murmured at it, He said unto them, Doth this offend you?... It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:61,63).

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