Deliverance is possibly one of the most neglected and important doctrines of the church. Jesus, as our example spent much of His ministry casting out demons. We can read many scriptures about this, for example: Luke 4:40-41 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with various diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, You are Christ the Son of God. Jesus is our example, and what was important to Him should be important to us.” Jesus said to His disciples in John 20:21 “As the Father sent Me I send you.”
Deliverance was also an important part of the ministry of the early church in the book of Acts. For example, we read in Acts 5:16 “There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed everyone.” Deliverance from demons and the healing of the sick often work hand in hand. In fact, if we want to heal the sick, we must be prepared to cast out demons.
If deliverance was important in the life of Jesus and in the ministry of the early church, then deliverance should be an important emphasis in the church today. Furthermore, Jesus told His disciples in Mark 16:17, “They that believe in Me shall cast out demons. Many try to avoid this responsibility because it does take effort and sacrifice to deliver people from demons. Deliverance can also be un-dignified and an embarrassment to many church groups who want to maintain their dignity. However, the ministry of deliverance is good news to many who are bound and tormented by demons. If we ignore this important ministry, we rob many people of the freedom that Jesus purchased for them on the cross. In this study we will give a brief summary of this very important ministry.
What are demons? Demons are personalities without a body that have a desire to occupy a human or animal body to express their desires. They form part of Satan’s fallen kingdom together with fallen angels. Demons have a personality, and therefore they have the ability to think, have emotions and make decisions. For example, we read in Matthew 8:31 “So the devils besought him, saying, if thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.” They were able to think and ask Jesus a question. Jesus said this in Matthew 12:43-44. “When the unclean spirit is 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 whence I came out…” Therefore, demons have the ability to make decisions, they have a will. We read in James 2:19 that the “devils also believe, and tremble.” Therefore, they have feelings and emotions.
Usually our problems have two sources, the flesh or demons or a combination of the two. Usually if the negative condition still exists after we have repented of our sins and denied the flesh, we can then suspect the operation of demons.
To answer a very important question. “Can a Christian have a demon?” The answer is twofold. Legally we cannot have a demon because of our position in Christ. The same applies to sickness. Can a Christian be sick? The answer is legally no, because Jesus carried all our sickness on the cross. (Matthew 8:17) However we are well aware that there are many Christians who are sick! The same is true with deliverance. There are many Christians that need deliverance from demons! In fact, it would be foolish to cast demons out of those who are not committed to Jesus because they do not have the spiritual recourses to keep their deliverance. In my life, I have literally seen hundreds of Christians delivered from demons.
Some may argue, “How can Jesus and a demon live in the same body?” We could in the same way ask the question, “How can we have the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit and sickness live in us at the same time?” To explain this, we know that man consists of spirit, soul and body. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) When we are Born Again, it is our human spirit that is Born Again and that is where Jesus by the Holy Spirit dwells. We read in 1 Corinthians 6:17 “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” Demons cannot occupy our born again spirits! Therefore, just as sickness and sin can dwell in our souls or body, demons can also live there. Demons can occupy and control our souls, our minds, wills and emotions as well as our physical bodies.
Furthermore, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11:4, “Did you receive another spirit…” This was written to Christians and implies that they could have received another spirit, which is not the Holy Spirit. The next question people may ask, “where do the demons live, are they on us or in us?” This is an irrelevant question because our main concern should be to get rid of the demons. In the Bible the correct translation for the word demon possessed is the word demonized. This refers to a person with a demon or with demons!
How do demons enter people?
- Family background and generational curses. We have discussed this point in detail in the study, “From curses to blessings.” Many curses can open the door to demons, especially if our ancestors have been involved in the occult.
- Pressures from early childhood. If the parents have abused a child or neglected a child, it can open to demons of hatred, sexual perversion, rejection, etc. Children are very vulnerable and can easily become demonized through negative childhood experiences.
- Emotional shock or continual negative emotional pressure. This can come through an accident, watching a bad movie or being subject to continual criticism and accusation. This can often open the door to spirits of fear and depression.
- Illegal sexual relationships. There can be a transfer of demons through sexual intercourse which is outside of marriage from one partner to another. We read 1 Corinthians 6:16, “What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, he says, shall be one flesh.” Therefore, if one fornicates with a prostitute, they can open themselves up to innumerable demons, which can lead to terrible torment and bondage later on in their lives. A sexual relationship in a marriage relationship has God’s divine protection, even if one of the sexual partners is demonized. We read in Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honorable…” Demons therefore cannot transfer from one marriage partner to another.
- Sinful acts and habits. This includes smoking, drinking, anger, pornography, lust, etc. Continual sin can open up to a demon. For example, a person who takes one puff of a cigarette will not open up to a spirit of nicotine, but if he continues to smoke, he will become addicted and a demon will enter. The same is true with pornography, alcohol and drugs.
- Occult. The word “occult” means to “hide.” Demons hide behind occult practices. Occult has two branches; the first branch is divination which is providing information through supernatural means such as spiritualism, fortunetelling etc. We have an example in Acts 16:16-22 with Paul and the demonized girl. The second branch is sorcery. This where demons influence our physical senses. For example, drug addiction, rock music and various occult practices.
- False religions: Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses etc. That is why it is so difficult to argue with those involved in false religions because the demons blind their understanding. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” If one listens to error over and over, he will eventually believe the error and open up to a spirit of error.
- Witchcraft. This is the religion of fallen mankind. It usually requires an object of sacrifice and worshippers. Witchcraft can be identified by control and manipulation. For example, when one person controls another person. Another manifestation of the spirit of witchcraft is rebellion and stubbornness. We read in 1 Samuel 15:23, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”
Demons can be recognized as follows:
- Negative emotions. This applies especially to the demon of rejection. Rejection has two sides: Passive side (self pity, loneliness, depression and suicide) and aggressive side (anger, hatred, rebellion, witchcraft and murder).
- Negative thoughts. (unbelief, forgetfulness, confusion, etc)
- The tongue. (Lying, swearing, exaggeration and criticism)
- Sexual perversion. (Uncontrolled sexual appetites, masturbation, pornography, homosexuality, lesbianism and fornication.)
- Compulsions. (Eating, drinking, smoking, drugs, pornography.)
- Sicknesses. There are many scriptures that link sickness to demons. For example, we read about a dumb spirit in Mark 9:17, a blind spirit in Luke 7:21 and a spirit of infirmity in Luke 13:11-12. A spirit of infirmity can attack the spine, demons can cause deafness, blindness and dumbness. Physical injury can open the door to a spirit of epilepsy. Asthma can be caused by spirit of fear. Arthritis can be caused by spirit of bitterness. Cancer can be caused by spirit of death. There are other demonic manifestations such as tiredness, weakness, sickness, pain, stumbling. Please note that not all sickness is caused by demons. Healing the body and deliverance sometimes work together.
How to receive our deliverance:
- We must personally affirm our faith in Christ and our position as a follower of Jesus must be clear. It is often useful for the person receiving deliverance to confess Christ publically (Romans 10:9.” that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” In the following verse we read, “Confession is made to salvation.” the word salvation can also mean deliverance, healing and freedom. I once prayed for a woman was severely demonized. When she affirmed her faith in Christ publicly, the demons left immediately.
- We must be humble enough to realize we need deliverance. In 1 Peter 5:5-6 we read that God gives grace to the humble. Derek Prince said, that people will have to chose between their dignity and deliverance and that deliverance is for the desperate. He used to tell people that were not to waste his time until they were desperate enough for deliverance.
- We must confess and repent of any known sin. We read in 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.) Repentance breaks the legal hold of demons.
- The importance of forgiveness. Jesus gave this parable in Matthew 18:34-35. “And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers (demons) until he should pay all that was due to him. So, My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” In my own experience I have noticed that forgiveness is the most important key to deliverance. If people do not forgive, the demons will not leave.
- We must break with all occult and false religions. We read in Acts 19:19-20. “Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. …So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.” I once heard the testimony of a pastor who bought his wife a jar of perfume from South America. He did know about the demonic origin of the perfume. When his wife used the perfume, she became controlled by a spirit of lust and adultery. When she washed herself, and stopped using the perfume, the bondage was broken and she was from from these demons.
- We must break all curses. We have covered this in the study, from “Curses to blessings.”
- We must then expel the demons. We can personally command the demons to leave or get others to pray for us. We can also confess the word of God and renew our minds with the word of God to weaken the influence of the demons. Some demons will eventually leave. The Bible says in James 4:7, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” I knew a man who was struggling with a spirit of lust. I told him to resist this spirit and fill his mind with the word of God. When I saw him a few months later he told me that he was free. Once a demon or demons have been identified in a person and they would use their authority in Christ and command the demons to go, the demons usually leave easily.
- Finally, we must deepen our commitment to Jesus. We must not just leave our house clean and empty, but fill it with the Holy Spirit and the word of God. (Luke 11:24-26)
How to keep our deliverance:
- Regularly read the Bible. The Bible says in 1 John 2:14, “I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.”
- We must put on the garment of praise. We read in Isaiah 61:3, that God has given us a ”garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”
- We must be committed to a local church. We need the fellowship of others to help us and pray for us. There is a supernatural protection that comes on us when we are committed to a local church.
- Develop positive relationships. We need to have relationships with those who can encourage and inspire us and avoid critical and destructive relationships.
- Put on armor of God. Especially the armor of telling others about Jesus. (Ephesians 6)
Final advice to those who want to move in the ministry of deliverance
- It is not necessary to shout at demons. They respond to authority and not to noise.
- We must not let demons distract us with screaming and excessive manifestations. Jesus often told the demons to be quiet and come out.
- We must encourage the person that we are praying for to exercise their own faith and authority.
- We must avoid people that waste our time and want attention all the time. Therefore, some people that are so focused on their problems that they will wear us out with all their problems and needs. We must have boundaries. I know of a man who died young because he was so worn out casting demons out of people.
- We must be motivated by love and not treat the person like the demon. The person we are praying for is not the demon. He is a son or a daughter of the living God whom God loves with all His heart.
Deliverance should be an important ministry in the Church, for Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and to set captives free. Amen