Exorcism is not deliverance!
In contrast to exorcism which is the process of getting demons and evil forces from hell to leave people, deliverance from evil spirits also deals with prevention and aftercare – that is, keeping them out. Deliverance is to deliver – to set free. Freedom must have long-lasting value. It cannot have any real meaning if it only lasts for a few days, or even less.
Now, this is a good time to remind you that, if you are in Christ, you have nothing to fear from demons and evil forces from hell.
“Listen! I have given you authority so that you can walk on snakes and scorpions and overcome all the power of the Enemy, and nothing will hurt you.” (Luk 10:19)
‘Snakes’ and ‘scorpions’ are symbolical of demons and evil spirits. [But God proved later (in the life of Paul) that this can also be interpreted literally.]
Deliverance from evil spirits; a case study
I was again asked to go minister to a young man who was living alone in an apartment. I went to see him and because I was convinced that I needed prayer support, I made an appointment for a later date. He had some interesting stories to tell though. One of them was that some strangers came to him and bowed in front of him and gave honour to the one inside of him. It was clear that he was strongly bound by the evil forces from hell.
The demons and other evil forces from hell involved in this case exuded a strong aura of fear.
I asked various people to go with me for support. Initially, they were enthusiastic, but a day or two later when I tried to confirm with them, they were scared. This happened time and again. After immense trouble, and even becoming fearful myself, I finally succeeded in obtaining the support of one of my friends. This friend had some experience with the evil forces from hell and a strong faith in Jesus. We even had some prayer backup, but I was still uncomfortable, especially in the light of the wake of fear following me around.
We kept the appointment – ready to confront the evil forces from hell.
The signs of possession were clear. Once again, eye contact with the victim was only possible when I commanded the evil forces from hell in the name of Jesus. There was also that strong feeling of fear about the place. However, when we tried to find the root cause of the possession, we had difficulty making progress as it seems like he was playing the fool with us. Eventually, I discerned a mocking spirit and forbade it to manifest in the name of Jesus.
It came out then that he had even been to a well-known local Christian deliverance specialist without success. Actually, the minister had chased him out for mocking him. Discerning the mocking spirit was the first break-through, but it wasn’t enough. We had to demonstrate our authority over the evil forces from hell.
Whatever we tried we couldn’t make progress. Eventually, in anger, I admonished the possessed person for not resisting the evil forces from hell.
Then a strange thing happened.
He asked to be excused and left for the next room. Even though he was alone in that room, we could hear clearly as he, in no uncertain terms, swore at the demon for not keeping its promises. Even though he used enough expletives to make a sailor blush, he came back after a few minutes and the evil forces from hell were gone.
There was no need for us to exorcise the demons, for after he had dealt with the grounds, they left on their own.
Before this, when we entered his apartment, he was chain-smoking. After this, even while continuing ministering for several hours, he did not touch a cigarette. Also, he could make eye contact again and he was smiling. All that we had to do was to test for any other doors in his life where evil forces from hell could enter and make sure that he was born-again and filled with the Holy Spirit.
The only negative experience from this encounter was an increase in demonic attacks on my own life for a prolonged duration of time afterwards. This forced me to not only to learn more about the evil forces from hell but also to be more vigilant against attacks.
There are no alternatives! If you want to be safe from the evil forces from hell, it is Jesus or nothing, for without Jesus we are nothing
“Remain united to me, and I will remain united to you. A branch cannot bear fruit by itself; it can do so only if it remains in the vine. In the same way you cannot bear fruit unless you
remain in me. “I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me. Those who do not remain in me are thrown out like a branch and dry up; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, where they are burned.” (Joh 15:4-6)
A true born-again believer cannot be “possessed” by Satan in the real sense of the word. Possession by Satan involves control of body, soul, spirit, conduct, and thought. But if a believer continues to practice fleshly sins there comes a time where the practice may move from sin of the flesh to a sin controlled by the evil forces from hell.
True deliverance requires continuous and persistent offensive spiritual warfare against the evil forces from hell
“Run your best in the race of faith, and win eternal life for yourself; for it was to this life that God called you when you firmly professed your faith before many witnesses.” (1Ti 6:12 GNB)
For this, we need to apply all possible offensive strategies against the evil forces from hell
“Timothy, my child, I entrust to you this command, which is in accordance with the words of prophecy spoken in the past about you. Use those words as weapons in order to fight well.” (1Ti 1:18 GNB)
We are to fight this battle purposefully, intelligently and with determination.
“That is why I run straight for the finish line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches.” (1Co 9:26 GNB)
The following are your offensive weapons against the evil forces from hell.
Prayer is a powerful offensive weapon. When you use it for offensive warfare you do not just pray only for your own personal needs and problems. You pray for other people, for leaders, and for nations, pulling down strongholds of Satan and his evil forces from hell.
All Christians are to pray at times, but there is a special calling to intercessory prayer for some people. They wage mighty battles in the unseen realm against the evil forces from hell. Praise and worship are also powerful offensive weapons for bombarding the evil forces from hell.
The sword of the Spirit, the word of God
“So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.” (Eph 6:13 GNB)
We can use the “sword of the Spirit” both defensively and offensively. Defensively, we use the Word of God to defend against the attacks of Satan and his evil forces from hell. Offensively, we use it to claim territory for the Lord through the deliverance of others.
Thinking like Christ
You are to arm yourself with the mindset of Jesus, a mindset to wage warfare on sin and a mind that is not afraid of the evil forces from hell.
“Since Christ suffered physically, you too must strengthen yourselves with the same way of thinking that he had; because whoever suffers physically is no longer involved with sin.” (1Pe 4:1 GNB)
“The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had.” (Php 2:5 GNB)
“The Son of God appeared for this very reason, to destroy what the Devil had done.” (1Jn 3:8 GNB)
You must aggressively arm yourself with the same mental attitude.
Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect. (Rom 12:2 GNB)
The goal of offensive warfare is to destroy the strongholds of the evil forces from hell
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, [2Co 10:4-5 ESV]
The night is far spent, the day is at hand; therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. (Rom 13:12 MKJV)
Binding and Loosing
Christians have the power to bind the evil forces from hell and to loosen the forces of good:
I will give you the keys to God’s kingdom. When you speak judgment here on earth, that judgment will be God’s judgment. When you promise forgiveness here on earth, that forgiveness will be God’s forgiveness.” [Mat 16:19 ERV]
Whenever you bind something, you should also unbind something. For example, if you bind the spirit of lying you should release the spirit of truth to operate in its place. Otherwise, the place of the evil forces from hell will be left empty. They will then be able to return.
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he walks through dry places seeking rest, and finds none. Then he said, I will return into my house from where I came out. And when he has come, he finds it empty, swept, and decorated. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter in and live there. And the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so it also shall be to this evil generation.” (Mat 12:43-45 MKJV)
The blood of Jesus and your testimony
When Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, He delivered us from the dominion of sin. You are free from the power of Satan and his evil forces from hell. His blood secures our access to God and releases us from the bondage of Satan.
“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony. And they did not love their soul until death.” (Rev 12:11 MKJV)
Salvation, healing, and deliverance are all available because of the blood of Jesus. His blood enables you to wage offensive warfare for the souls of men and women. You can now bring deliverance and healing in the name of Jesus. Your power to “overcome” the enemy is because of the “blood of the lamb.”
The word “testimony” means “evidence or record” like that used in a legal case in a court of law. Jesus often commanded people to go and tell others what God had done for them. By giving evidence of the power of God in your life, you are waging offensive spiritual warfare against the evil forces from hell. Your testimony must be based upon the truth of the Word of God.
The Name of Jesus
The name of Jesus is the most powerful offensive weapon in the arsenal of the believer.
“And miraculous signs will follow to those believing these things: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will be well.” (Mar 16:17-18 MKJV)
We don’t use the name of Jesus as a magical phrase to drive out the evil forces from hell. Instead, we use his name to demonstrate that we are operating under his authority. It is like signing a document on behalf of the CEO. It is very powerful when you have his permission, but it will backfire on you if you don’t.
If you don’t know Jesus, you have no right to use his name!
God used Paul to do some very special miracles. Some people carried away handkerchiefs and clothes that Paul had used and put them on those who were sick. The sick people were healed, and evil spirits left them. [Act 19:11-12 ERV]
Some Jews also were traveling around forcing evil spirits out of people. The seven sons of Sceva, one of the leading priests, were doing this. These Jews tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to make the evil spirits go out of people. They all said, “By the same Jesus that Paul talks about, I order you to come out!” But one time an evil spirit said to these Jews, “I know Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit inside him jumped on these Jews. He was much stronger than all of them. He beat them up and tore their clothes off. They all ran away from that house. [Act 19:13-16 ERV]
Unbelievers are defenceless against the attacks of demonic powers. Believers, however, have powerful spiritual weapons and strategies for dealing with these evil forces from hell.
The seventy-two men came back in great joy. “Lord,” they said, “even the demons obeyed us when we gave them a command in your name!” (Luk 10:17 GNB)
In the name of Jesus, we can conquer the evil forces from hell.