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Casting Out Demons

Up to this point in history, the world has seen the power of God manifest many times. The main example of that power manifested in the Old Testament came as God used Moses to bring the people of Israel out of Egypt. God truly put on a show there! In the New Testament God is putting on a greater show through Jesus. God is using his Son to bring people out from the dominion of the world to His Kingdom. Nobody has seen that kind of power manifest before; nobody has seen demons scare and flying off of people. But God was about to put up another show, this time through the church. In Luke 9:1-2 the Bible tells us, “And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons…” Luke 9:1 (ESV)

The word power here is the Greek word, dunamis “ability, physical or moral, as residing in a person or thing; power in action.”[1] This is where we get the word dynamite.  It is the same word use in Acts 1:8.[2] The word authority here is the Greek word, exousía; meaning, “Permissible, allowed, right, liberty, power to do something.[3] We have the divine power to cast these demons out; but this power goes further, is dynamite and it only operates when you and I take action. We also have the right to cast these demons out. We can’t ignore this; it may make you a little uncomfortable, it may take away a little of your sense of dignity in ministry, you may even be one who experienced a bad deliverance ministry; but you can’t take anything away from the biblical reality of demons and the power and authority we have, from Jesus, to cast them out of people’s lives.

One chapter after that, in Luke 10:17-20, Jesus sent out the 70 disciples. He sent them by two all over the known world. This is the report they gave when they return,

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” Luke 10:17 (ESV)

Compare this report with the report we see in Numbers 13:32-33 when Moses sent out the 10 spies, 

So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. 33 And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” (ESV)

With the exception of Joshua and Caleb these spies gave the people a bad report; they could not believe they could take these giants, even after witnessing the power of God. Even as the 70 disciples were not dealing with physical giants or Nephilim, as discussed before, they were dealing with the same spirits. Demons are the spirits of these Nephilim. Back to Luke 10 Jesus answered and made sure the 70 disciples focus on the right thing. 

18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (ESV)

Jesus made sure that these 70 disciples stayed focus on what is the most important thing of all, the SALVATION of the lost. We can’t be walking around focusing on demons.  Nevertheless, Jesus did not minimize the importance of God’s people walking in the authority to cast out demons, Jesus continued by stating,

21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” 23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” Luke 10:17-23 (ESV)

As I always say, demons should never… ever, be comfortable in the presence of a man or a woman of God. Casting out demons is biblical. When a demon come against us, we have the right to strike back, but only in the name of Jesus. You may ask, what about the principalities or the gods of these nations and regions around the world? I have not one Scripture telling us to rebuke the devil or any rebellious god. What I see is a Scripture that tells us, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (ESV) Any good deliverance ministry starts with 1) our obedience to God and 2) resisting the devil. The result of doing these two things is a devil that will indeed flee from us. But if we are living our lives any kind of way, if we are rebellious against God ourselves, if we are loose in our approach to righteousness, don’t expect any deliverance. 

Because I don’t see any Scripture telling me that I need to rebuke the gods of this world, I simply don’t do it. However, I see plenty of Scripture telling me that Jesus has all authority. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus gives us his last words and the instructions we should focus on,

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)

We must remember that Jesus has all authority now. So, we can pray for God to protect us from the principalities of this world and to protect us from evil as we move forward trusting God to save folks and to anoint us to make disciples as we teach them the ways of the Lord. God is literally taking these nations back and, just as the children of Israel were a part of what God was doing then, we are a part of what God is doing now.

[1] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 2.

[2] But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (ESV)

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

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