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33. And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,
34. Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.
35. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.
36. And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! For with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.
37. And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.
I want to talk to you tonight about dealing with demons. I want to just simply look at this passage and this story, because here is the account of Jesus delivering a man from actual demon possession. The man was in the synagogue. I don’t know how often he attended, or how long he had been going or whatever. But one day, something changed about the synagogue atmosphere and program and Jesus was present! And it was enough to disturb the devil. You know, Satan even likes to go to church. Sometimes he can go and just feel very comfortable and never get the least bit upset. But in this case, he must have really got upset. What we see in this story and what I believe is really taught from out of this passage is two facts. First of all, that Jesus Christ has absolute authority over all demonic power. And I believe also what we can learn from this is that you and I in the power of His name and His authority can also overcome the powers of evil that would come against us individually or against us as the church.
So let us look at that tonight because in the first place, I would like for us to notice some of the characteristics of real demon possession. And then in looking at that, we can also see the way that Jesus used in order to deliver the man from the demonic possession.
The first characteristic of demon possession that we can see from this passage is that the demon is always disturbed when his conqueror comes into his presence. There is a fearful uneasiness that comes to the forces of evil when the presence of God is there, when it’s real. There is a kind of condemnation that comes down. There is a kind of authority that holds sway. There is a kind of presence that brings trouble to forces of evil. That’s the reason why, not only in demon possession, but any kind of sin when people come into the presence of God, there is an awesome fear of God that brings conviction upon anybody. It even brings that kind of conviction upon saints of God. I’ve heard people tell of Isaiah and preach and say Isaiah was about backslid and he went to church. No such thing! Here was a great man of God who, when he saw the vision of God, fell down on his face like Ezekiel and others and confessed his unworthiness. That’s what happens when you come into the presence and power and authority of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. You feel like saying like Simon Peter, Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man. You feel like falling on your face and wanting His divine blessing and power to be at work in your own life and heart. This is multiplied many-fold when the power of Satan in the form of demonic activity comes in touch with the authority and power of Jesus Christ. What happens is, there is a disturbance. When Satan goes to church, if anything is going along, he wants to disturb it and tear it all up and get people all in a confused state of mind, and cause distractions and trouble and upset everybody and fill people with fear because the main tactic of Satan is to rule with fear.
I know he is conniving and deceiving and he can be like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But after awhile the wolf is going to bear his fangs and try his scare tactics and he tells all kinds of lies to people and he’ll come and try to talk to you and tell you lies. But his main kind of business is creating a disturbance and troubling people and causing trouble anywhere he goes. And he cried out with a loud voice.
The next characteristic of real demon possession that I see here in this passage is the fact that the evil spirit can speak through the person he possesses. Now, I think we need to distinguish between the attack of Satan and the oppressions that come and the kinds of things that where Satan attacks, there is a lot of difference in that, and possessing a person. Because when he is in control and he is residing within and he controls and he possesses a person, he is literally able to speak through that person’s vocal chords. He knows how to take over. Sometimes the voice is changed. I know Hollywood’s done a pretty good job of displaying this kind of thing in films like ‘The Exorcist’ and others and it seems like the devil is making a heyday in Hollywood these days because they are showing so much of the occult. But we’re talking about reality here, not something that may be portrayed on a screen somewhere. We’re talking about an actual power of evil force that takes over a person’s life and causes them to do things that they would not do if they were in their right mind, so to speak, and literally speak through them.
I think that some of the things that we see, I don’t think that you can explain a Jeffrey Dahmer without knowing that there is Satan worship in his background and that he was bound to be under the control of an unclean spirit. I don’t know of any other way. You can’t explain that psychologically or whatever, I don’t believe. Able to speak…he cried out and said, ‘Let us alone. What are we to do with thee?’ Man, he really started talking and talking to Jesus.
The demon also has a kind of supernatural clairvoyant power so that he can identify and understand and he knows about the identity and power of his conqueror. He is able to recognize the power and the authority that comes through the name of Jesus Christ. Now that means that it takes more than just saying words or saying a formula. The formula of working and casting out devils in the Name of Jesus Christ, that is a wonderful approach, but it takes more than saying the words. It has to be that Satan recognizes the power and the authority of the person who is being used of God. As in the case you remember the story in Acts of the seven sons of Sceva who thought they could just enter in to the deliverance ministry and they would make a big team you know, seven of them, and they would just do all kinds of things. It’s strange, but they knew exactly where to go to find a special candidate that they knew to be full of the devil. They went and found him and they started in on him and they had the formula right, they had the words right: We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches, come out of him. But the evil spirits in that man did not recognize them as being a conqueror with authority and power even though they used the right names and the right formula. But he said, ‘Well, Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you?’ And you know the result of that story. This one man empowered by these demon forces whipped seven men and sent them running off naked and in shame and in absolute failure because they had thought they could just manipulate demonic powers just by using a formula.
But in this case, this unclean, the spirit of an unclean devil said, ‘I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.’ I’m glad to know that the presence of God disturbs the devil. I’m glad to know that the Holy One of God disturbs the power of evil and the forces of evil. I’m glad to know that the infilling of the Holy Spirit disturbs the power of Satan. I’m glad to know that the Word of God can disturb the forces of Hell! Amen!
Another characteristic of demon possession is that the demon tries to gain some control over the conqueror by talking to him and using his name. He wants to get on talking terms and he says, ‘I know you. I know your name. What have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth?’
One of the slickest tricks that Satan has is to try to get you engaged in conversation. If he can get you to start listening to him, and then especially if you start talking back, he’s got you going and headed in the direction of real trouble. I was pastoring the Delta of Mississippi years ago and I had a man who drove a butane gas truck and delivered fuel all over the delta, the farms and farm tractors that ran on butane and all that, and to other places and people who heated and all. One day he said to me ‘I tell you, it looks to me like the devil has been giving me the roughest time. Every morning when I go out and climb in that truck, I look over and it looks like the seat sinks down where he gets in to ride with me.’ I told him, ‘Well, I’ll tell you what, if I were you I wouldn’t give him a ride! Because the Bible says Satan walks to and fro up and down in the earth. So don’t give him a ride. Let him walk.’
He tries to get on good terms, but he’ll ride with you in the car. He’ll come to visit you just before you get ready to come to church if you’re not careful. When he rings up your number, you better learn how to slam the receiver down. When we lived in Louisville, all of a sudden we started getting some obscene telephone calls. If I answered the phone, they just hung up. If one of my girls answered the phone, well they started talking some horrible, terrible kinds of things. I finally told my wife and daughters that if somebody calls on the phone and it’s a man and he doesn’t identify himself and state his business, just hang up. Don’t you despise these people who want to play tricks on you? It’s one of my pet peeves. I shouldn’t be up here unloading them in a message. But these people who call and say ‘You know who this is?’ You feel like saying ‘No, and I don’t care!’ [laughter] Pray for me, saints! Help me, Lord! [laughter] I may have one of those telephone demons knocking on my door here, so pray for me!
There comes a time when you have to cut him off. That’s exactly what Jesus did. The demon is a source of evil speech and he must be muzzled. He must be silenced. The greek word used in this passage literally mean ‘to muzzle’ just like you put a muzzle on a fierce dog to keep him from biting. By the power of God he must be muzzled so he does not speak. That is exactly what Jesus did. He said ‘Hold thy peace.’ And to put that in more country Mississippi terms, that means ‘Shut up!’ Amen.
You see, Jesus had some conversation with Satan during the time of the temptation in the wilderness. They did some talking then. And He listened to Satan say ‘If you’re the Son of God, do this and do that…’ But after He came out of that temptation victorious and full of the Holy Ghost and power and began His ministry, He didn’t carry on conversations with the devil anymore. When they started to speak out, He said ‘Hush! Shut up!’ And He spoke directly to the evil spirit. He didn’t abuse the man. You know, sometimes we want to grab the person and half kill him and beat him and try to cast the devil out. That’s not the way it happens. But the first thing Jesus does is say ‘I’m not listening. You can’t talk in My presence. Just hush.’ I’m glad that there is an authority and a power that comes from God that can quieten the voice of Satan. Sometimes when he rings your number, that’s all you’ve got to tell him is ‘Shut up. I’m not listening to you!’ Amen! Amen! Oh, praise God!
You don’t have to listen. You don’t have to carry on a conversation. You don’t have to hear him talk. His words may sound so soothing. My grandbaby’s got a video she’s seen 847,000 times more or less. I’ve had to see it with her and I’ve had to tell her the story and read the book. It’s called ‘Jungle Book’ and in that picture is first of all the snake that comes slipping up and he’s got this nice little voice. He sees this little boy and says, ‘Ssssay…’ He’s even got the hiss. He starts out so nice and sweet and all the time he’s wrapping himself around that little boy and he’s ready to swallow him. What a nice, juicy meal he will make. Well, the kid has a friend who comes and whacks him on the head and knocks him about half crazy and he falls out of the tree and he runs off. Sometimes, that’s the way Satan does. He comes in so soft. But if you listen carefully, you can almost hear the hiss in his voice. You learn to recognize him when he talks to you and tries to tell you some kind of lie and tries to put some kind of fear in you. What if this happens? What if that happens? The first thing you know, you are imagining things that may never in this world happen because he is disturbing. He has to be told to shut up. That’s the way Jesus did. He would not tolerate the evil speech in His presence.
The demon must come out. He must come out of that place where he is dwelling and Jesus says, ‘Come out of him.’ Oh, hallelujah! I’m glad that when He speaks with such authority that Satan hears and he trembles when he sees that authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. I wish that we in Pentecost could come to the full realization of what it is like for us to march as soldiers of the cross, full of the power of the Holy Ghost standing on the Word of God, covered by the blood and living with the authority of the Name of Jesus Christ and being able to go on the offensive of the power of Satan. Because that is exactly what the Lord Jesus meant when he told the disciples ‘Don’t do anything. Don’t preach. Don’t witness. Don’t go anywhere. But you stay here in Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.’ Because He knew that it was going to take the power of God operating in their lives for them to push back into Satan’s territory.
Thank God there is a power like that operating in the lives of people today in spite of the fact that occultism and Satan worship may be on the rise in this country in ways that would shock us perhaps if we understood it fully. Yet, at the same time, the Holy Ghost is being poured out in an unprecedented form and power and force in these days. There are more people receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost every day now than at any other time in the history of the world, and there is a revival power and glory and miracles of deliverance all around this world. A lot of it is in the Church of God. Thank God for the power of the Holy Ghost and the power of the Word of God! I believe in the authority and power of the Word. I believe in the authority and power of the Holy Ghost. I believe in the divine anointing of God that touches people’s lives and drives the power of sin and Satan away from them and they find deliverance. Praise God! Deliverance through the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. Hallelujah! Oh, praise God!
I feel that Holy presence in this place tonight. Hallelujah! Thank you, Lord. We worship you, Lord. We praise You.
It is customary in casting out devils, that oftentimes, and the Bible describes some of these pictures, oftentimes when the evil spirit is coming out he is so resistant to this until he convulses the person, throws him down, tears them, wretches them, just tries to destroy the house rather than come out of it. In this case, He had thrown him down in the midst. I want you to look at the rest of that verse. Praise God. In verse 35 ‘…he came out of him, and hurt him not.’ Oh, hallelujah!
You know Saddam Hussein sort of had a devilish idea when he saw he couldn’t stay in Kuwait and he left and tried to destroy everything behind him. That’s the way the devil operates. If he can’t stay there in the house, he will destroy it. I’ve seen one or two people who rented houses that felt that way, too. If they got evicted, they felt like destroying the house before they moved on away. That’s the way Satan operates. But there was such a controlling power on this unclean spirit of a devil. That’s the way Luke describes it…unclean spirit of a devil. Such a controlling factor. Even though he threw the man down, he came out and he didn’t hurt him. I want you to notice that Jesus spoke directly in casting out this evil spirit. He spoke directly to the spirit. As I said earlier, He didn’t try to abuse the man, but He had pity and compassion on the man. We don’t know who this man was. It is not described, but he would not have been in the synagogue if he hadn’t been a Jew. He probably had attended that synagogue for no telling how long and nobody ever knew, perhaps, that he was going around with the unclean spirit of a devil in his life. But one day the presence of Christ found him out and he was delivered and set free. That’s what conviction power is all about. Not to show people up, but to get them delivered. You see, if the Lord comes to you in conviction and touches your heart, it is a gesture of His mercy and grace in wanting to set you free. If He comes to you and just speaks a word of condemnation for something in your life, it is not an effort to make you uncomfortable. It is an effort to convict you, yes, but to show you the way out to deliverance.
Oh, I’ve had Him do that to me. Haven’t you? When the condemnation comes, when He speaks to us, you see, there is this thing of warnings in the Scripture for us to not give place to the devil. Some people have done that and when they have started to give place to one little thing well then, the first thing you know it’s another little thing and then it’s a bigger thing. And then the next thing you know Satan feels welcomed to just move right in. It may be a gradual process. But Jesus spoke directly to the evil spirit because He wanted to see that man delivered and set free. And indeed he was. And the people saw it. They saw it in such a way – and that may be the reason why – He allowed him to throw him down, so to speak, so that the people would have a clear cut witness to the delivering power of God. The man was set free and the people were absolutely amazed. They said, ‘What a word is this!’ Please underline that statement. Because it was done with the Word of Jesus Christ. Speaking the Word did it. What a word is this! For with authority and power He commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. He does it with His Word! He just speaks and you better believe that this same Lord, who in the very beginning was used as an instrument in creation and spoke the Words – yes, He has the power to liberate people and set them free. As I mentioned earlier in the beginning, He has the power to come to people who have made a mess out of their lives and change that around so that they make a life out of the mess by His grace. By His power.
There are many cases of deliverance like this in the gospels and we will doubtless look at others in this study of Luke. But I think here is the Biblical pattern of what actual demon possession looks like, but also the pattern of ministry and authority and power in dealing with the demonic. It is through the authority of Christ and His Name, through the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit standing upon the Word, and we too because Jesus has said it, we too can overcome.
I want us to pray in a special way tonight. It may be that Satan is trying to speak to you or to someone you love or he is trying to attack. I hope that somehow this message, this Word from the Lord, would help you to take new boldness and new faith and new strength and stand on the Word of God and in the fear of God. Because when you have the fear of God, you don’t have to fear anything else. I hope you’ll find the courage and the strength to just speak to the problem and the trouble through the Word of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. I want us to pray tonight that God will enable us first of all to resist the devil that he may flee from us and draw nigh to God that He may draw nigh to us. And then where there are those of our loved ones and friends who are being tormented and troubled and worried, that we would really be a hand reaching out to show the compassion and love of Jesus Christ.
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