THE WORLD IS OBSESSED WITH THE OCCULT
Warning… This message contains scary stuff and is not recommended for younger viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.
We live in a world obsessed by the occult and evil. The fascination with horror movies, haunted houses and Halloween are just expressions of this obsession people have with Satan and evil. We don’t understand the demonic world, and death remains a mystery, but all around the world cultures have festivals devoted to death and evil… Trying to ward them off mostly.
So today I want to demystify the spiritual world to some degree. Last week we looked at angels, the good guys on God’s side, and this week, as Darth Vader said, you cannot escape the dark side Luke.
WHAT ARE DEMONS?
Demons are spiritual beings who are enemies of God. They have limited power, but can afflict man, not only with disease, but also with control. Their purpose is to serve their master, Satan, and to rob, kill and destroy, to disrupt, tempt and draw people away from God.
In the Bible they are called evil or unclean spirits in the Bible, or devil, the Greek word DIABLOS, from which we get the English diabolical, means slanderer and false accuser.
Revelation 12:10 (ESV Strong’s)
for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.
In general, anything you can apply to Satan you can also apply to his henchmen.
WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?
The Word angel or angels is used 297 times in Scripture, but only 12 times it refers to wicked, evil or rebellious angels. But that’s who they are!
Luke 10:18 (ESV Strong’s)
“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
Satan was once an angel, a created being as we saw last week, in fact he is called a cherub in Ezekiel 28:19, guarding the Garden of Eden. He was beautiful, intelligent and powerful, but he was also proud, and that was his downfall. He set up a rebellion against God, and was cast out of heaven to earth, which he made his dominion.
Revelation 12:9 (ESV Strong’s)
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
Revelation 12:4 (ESV Strong’s)
His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth.
Satan, when his rebellion caused God to throw him out of heaven, took 1/3 of the angels with him, and these became what we call demons… Fallen angels.
WHERE THE HELL ARE DEMONS GOING?
The destiny of Satan and his demons is already settled. I often say, if the enemy tries to remind you of your past, try reminding him of his future…
2 Peter 2:4 (ESV Strong’s)
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;
Revelation 20:10 (ESV Strong’s)
the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Demons, along with their master, are ultimately destined for judgement and hell…
Jude 1:6 (ESV Strong’s)
And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—
As are the souls of men and women who do not accept Jesus suffer the same fate
Matthew 25:41 (ESV Strong’s)
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
We love to be popular, we love to preach that God loves you, and will forgive you. But we also need to realise that God is holy and just, and that if you reject Christ you will suffer for eternity in hell!
Hell is real, and it is a place where God is not, and everything about God is not there too. Happiness, friendship, joy, comfort, peace, blessing, light, love… That’s what heaven is about, but hell is the opposite. It’s isolation, darkness
Jude 1:13 (ESV Strong’s)
wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.
ISN’T THERE A POWER STRUGGLE?
So Satan and his demons are destined for hell, but are not there yet. Yes, there is a kind of power struggle, but only under the ultimate control of God Himself. Popular movies and TV will suggest that it’s good and evil, ying and yang, a fight that is poised and finely balanced, that it could go either way. Even Christian writers like Frank Peretti, for the sake of drama and literary tension, hint at the same. That’s how you write a good book, and they are good fiction books, super reads, but that’s not what the Bible teaches.
We need to get this bit right. Demons can only have as much control as we humans give them. Paul’s writes this about Jesus Christ…
Colossians 2:15 (ESV Strong’s)
He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Romans 8:35,37 (ESV Strong’s)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Here’s the analogy I use about this present darkness. The allies won world war 2 in Europe, and they knew they would win once they invaded Normandy. But over nearly a year they had to keep fighting. Assured of winning, but mopping up a stubborn resistance which fought to the bitter end.
Right now the devil and his legions might seem powerful, but he is a defeated foe, defeated by Jesus at Calvary. Your sin, your guilt, your shame was defeated there when Christ bore our sins on that cursed tree. But even a defeated enemy cornered can strike out a bitter blow, so we must be wary.
Listen to this and get excited…
Ephesians 6:10-13 (ESV Strong’s)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
TWO WAYS THE ENEMY WINS
The devil cannot win the war, but he might carry a battle or two, especially if we give him the scope and opportunity to do so. How do we do this?
There are many ways, including compromising, sinning, neglecting prayer and the Bible, and not fellowshipping, disunity.. There is strength in numbers as we stand in unity.
But there are two keys ways you play into the enemy’s hands.
- If you don’t believe Satan and demons exist. They can do whatever they want and you are blind to their schemes.
- If you are obsessed with demons. Many Christians are like this, blaming every little thing in demons and constantly trying to cast them out. Often times demons do nothing, it’s our sin, our foolish decisions, or something independent of us like sickness that does the damage.
Not everything bad is caused directly by demons. Don’t give them too much credit. Sin is what causes the most suffering in our lives, and we don’t need to cast that stuff out, we need to repent!
James 1:14-15 (ESV Strong’s)
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
So don’t ignore the demonic, and don’t be obsessed by it!
WHAT ARE DEMONS ACTUALLY LIKE?
Demons are disembodied spirits. They are don’t often appear obviously hideous and evil, but usually appear rational and they fool people into trusting them. They masquerade as the spirits of dead loved ones, ghosts, poltergeist.
2 Corinthians 11:14 (ESV Strong’s)
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
The acid test is do they point you to Jesus…
1 John 4:1-3 (ESV Strong’s)
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
I have had demonic contact, and the overwhelming sense is fear. These guys use fear to control, and that’s why we as Christians shouldn’t celebrate Halloween or horror movies.
1 John 4:18 (ESV Strong’s)
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
Demons are for the most part smoke and mirrors, threats and fear, temptation and seduction. But it still takes a decision on our part.
So demons can tempt you to sin, but they can’t make you sin… you ultimately decide to obey Christ or not. They can fill you with fear and dread but you can decide to trust Jesus or not. The devil made me do it is no argument of defence.
WHAT IS THE DEMONIC AGENDA?
Ephesians 2:1-2 (ESV Strong’s)
you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
Demons are trying to accuse us and make us fall. They want us to disobey, and some of us play right into their hands. They want us to live in fear, fear of sin, sickness, loneliness, loss. Jesus describes Satan, and hence his cohorts like this.
John 10:10 (ESV Strong’s)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
They may be defeated, but they are not without power and they have a sting in the tail. Don’t glorify them, don’t get fascinated by them, but don’t trifle with them or overlook the effects they can have. So what can they do?
1. DEMONS LOVE TO CONTROL
Demons can possess a man, controlling the actions of his body and his mind.
Matthew 12:22 (ESV Strong’s)
Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw.
Luke 22:3 (ESV Strong’s)
Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve.
Demon possession can happen, but a pressing question is can a believer be demon possessed? Several verses describe the inability of light to mix with darkness, and I struggle biblically with Christians being possessed.
1 Thessalonians 5:5 (ESV Strong’s)
For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.
If the Holy Spirit lives within you, clearly darkness cannot live in the same space as light. However, a Christian can definitely relinquish control to a demon in their life, especially if they dabble with sin or the occult. Most experts prefer to use the term demonised, which covers possession, oppression and heavy influence.
2. DEMONS LOVE THE LIMELIGHT
Demons love to disrupt anything that God is doing, and they love pointing not to Jesus but to themselves. They love the limelight. Like the demonised girl…
Acts 16:17 (ESV Strong’s)
She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.”
Demons love to manifest at the front of a church meeting. Why? Because they want people to be looking at them.
In northern Sri Lanka I ministered to the Hindu Tamil people, and at our meetings I saw people manifesting. The pastors who deal with this get them away from the front to cast these things out.
3. DEMONS FEED ON FEAR
For a demon, their power is in fear. They love making you afraid, and that’s why horror movies play into their hands.
2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV Strong’s)
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
If you encounter one of these spirits you feel fear, and that terror is nothing to do with God.
4. DEMONS LOVE DECEPTION
2 Corinthians 4:4 (ESV Strong’s)
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Demons love to deceive, love to blind our eyes. And they do it to unbelievers, so they can’t see the gospel and be saved, but even to believers. Satan had been a deceiver since the Garden. Our defence has to be the armour of God. Our greatest ally is staying close to the Lord, and the truth of His Word.
John 8:44 (ESV Strong’s)
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
It’s apparent the there is specialisation in the demon world. One of the sneakiest spirits is a religious Spirit, and we see it at times in the church. In many churches we have seen it active, when people are legalistic and value their opinion over unity an serving, causing disunity and factions, there is often a spirit behind it directing traffic.
5. DEMONS LOVE TO KILL, STEAL AND DESTROY
Luke 22:31-32 (ESV Strong’s)
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
The enemy and his angels want to sift you like wheat. He wants to mess up the good things God is doing in your life.
He doesn’t want to bless you, he wants to destroy you and if he can’t, he wants to blunt your effect on this world for Christ. They will use any means to disrupt your growth in God. Read the Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis.
John 10:10 (ESV Strong’s)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
HOW SHOULD WE DEAL WITH DEMONIC ACTIVITY?
I am not going o go into details on how to cast demons out. I don’t interviews them, I just order them out in Jesus’ name.
1. STAY ALERT
1 Peter 5:8 (ESV Strong’s)
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
We are too complacent. Stay awake and alert, not obsessed, but aware.
2. RECOGNISE DEMONIC ACTIVITY
Don’t blame the devil for everything! Most of what you and others face is sin. You can’t cast sin out, you need confess it and let the blood of Jesus cleanse you…
1 John 1:8-9 (ESV Strong’s)
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
3. STAY CLOSE TO GOD
Your best defence against demonic activity directed your way is to stay close to God. Not chasing, talking to them, naming them or casting them out, stay close
James 4:7-8 (ESV Strong’s)
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
4. PRAY AND PUT ON THE ARMOUR OF GOD
We are in a spiritual battle, and the Bible gives us a spiritual defence…
Ephesians 6:11-12 (ESV Strong’s)
Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
5. RECOGNISE YOUR POSITION AND AUTHORITY IN CHRIST
Colossians 1:13 (ESV Strong’s)
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
We are free from the wiles of the evil one, if we choose to be. Our prayer has power over the kingdom of darkness if we choose to pray. Jesus said,
John 15:5 (ESV Strong’s)
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
You have to abide in Christ, and if you do, you have nothing to fear.
Acts 19:15 (ESV Strong’s)
But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognise, but who are you?”
6. USE SCRIPTURE AGAINST THEM
Jesus used Scripture against the enemy and so should we. In Ephesians 6 we read that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Not just reading the Bible, we need to memorise it but also obey it, placing it in our hearts to use against the enemy and his demons.
Luke 4:8 (ESV Strong’s)
And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
7. DON’T FRATERNISE WITH THE ENEMY
1 Corinthians 10:20-21 (ESV Strong’s)
I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.
Many Christians flirt with the devil. They allow habitual sin in their lives. They watch horror and ghost movies, they mindlessly celebrate Halloween, it’s just a bit of fun, right? STOP FRATERNISING WITH THE ENEMY!
1 Peter 2:11 (ESV Strong’s)
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
8. DO NOT FEAR THEM
So many Christians live in fear of the demonic, but we must not be deceived by the devil. My Bible says,
1 John 4:4 (ESV Strong’s)
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
PRAY AND STAY
It’s time to pray together and stay together!
I don’t have time to talk about casting out demons, how they bring 7 of their mates if you don’t fill the void with he Holy Spirit. In this church, if we encounter the demonic we pray, our team prays not just me. And we do it in private, not at the front.
The thing is, faith and prayer are the best tools we have to fight the battle. At the end of the armour of God it says this…
Ephesians 6:17-18 (ESV Strong’s)
take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance.
You fight demons by praying and using Scripture. And not just a shopping list of requests, praying in the Spirit, in the power of the Spirit. Remember, the disciples couldn’t cast our a demon, and after Jesus did it, He calls us to serious prayer.
Mark 9:28-29 (ESV Strong’s)
his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
The take home message from all this is simple. Demons exist, they have power and create mischief and havoc if we let them. But don’t fear them, because he who is in us is greater, don’t pursue them, because they love it when you are obsessed with them, and if you encounter them, take authority in the name of Jesus and stand against them.
But the smart move is to stand together. Stay locked into church and join your faith shields with others. Jesus said,
Matthew 16:19 (ESV Strong’s)
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
If you think you have encountered demonic activity, pray, take authority but please, do it together. Don’t try and stand alone.