Power over Satan and demons
No one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. – Mark 3:27
The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. – 1 John 3:8
We at Salt and Light Ministries extend our condolence to the family of the 90-year-old woman, Akua Denteh, who was accused of witchcraft and lynched at Kafaba in the East Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region. The act was barbaric and totally ungodly.
Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan, to establish God’s kingdom and to free us, all of humankind, from Satan’s power. One of the main themes in Mark’s Gospel is Jesus’ constant aim to defeat Satan and his demonic powers.
In Mark 3:27, Jesus puts into action the principle behind this spiritual conflict with Satan and his powers in His use of phrases like “tying up the strong man” (Satan) and “robbing his house” (setting free those who are slaves to Satan or “possessed” by demonic powers and reclaiming their lives for God’s kingdom).
Jesus overcomes the enemy by driving out the demons or evil spirits. “Driving out” or “casting out” means that Jesus is exercising His authority to force demonic powers to give up control of people whose lives and bodies have been in Satan’s control. Jesus did this to illustrate that evil spirits have no right to use human bodies as their abode.
SATAN AND DEMONS
Satan was once a great angel created perfect and good. He was appointed to serve directly around God’s throne in heaven. Yet before the world began, he became filled with pride and rebelled against God.
As a result, he became God’s primary enemy and an enemy to all humanity as well. “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. – Ezekiel 28:12-15.
We must, however, keep in mind that Satan is not equal with God; he is a created being and his power must yield to the superior power of God.
God is Omnipresent (Everywhere at the same time), Omnipotent (All-powerful) and Omniscient (All-knowing). But Satan has none of these characteristics; therefore, most of his activity is assigned to demons.
In his rebellion against God, Satan misled a multitude of lesser angels who, after their “fall” from heaven, could likely be identified as demons or evil spirits. Satan and many of these lesser angels were exiled to the earth and the atmosphere around it. This is where they do their evil work, as God allows. Because of this constant presence of evil and its influence, all of humankind must choose whether to follow God or to follow evil.
1. As a result of humanity’s sin and rebellion against God, the New Testament describes the world as estranged (alienated, separated) from God and seized by Satan, who now exercises a great deal of authority on the earth.
2. Demons are spirit beings that have personality and intelligence. As members of Satan’s kingdom, they are part of a highly organised empire of evil that has authority over “the kingdom of the air”. As agents for carrying out Satan’s purposes, demons are enemies of God and humans. Demon spirits are totally evil, filled with hate and under Satan’s authority. In order to overcome the schemes and temptations of Satan and his demonic forces, Christians must wage continual spiritual warfare against them.
3. The many accounts in the Bible, make it clear that it is common for demons to dwell in the bodies of some people who do not have a personal relationship with God. The evil spirits make slaves of the individuals they “possess”. They use the possessed individuals’ voice to speak and can influence them toward evil, immorality and destruction.
4. Demons can cause physical diseases and illness in the human body. This does not mean, however, that all sickness and disease are the result of evil spirits.
5. Demons are the real power behind the “gods” and “idols” of false religions. This means that worshipping false gods is basically the same as worshipping demons.
6. Those involved in spiritism (the attempt to communicate with the dead) and sorcery (the supposed use of magic) are dealing with evil spirits. Such activity can easily lead to a person coming under demonic control.
7. Evil spirits will be especially active in the end times, leading people to take part in the occult (witchcraft and satanism), sexual immorality, violence, cruelty and mass deception. They will attack and attempt to discredit God’s Word, steering people away from correct teaching and truth. The fullest display of demonic activity will be through the antichrist and his followers.
JESUS AND DEMONS
1) The New Testament frequently describes individuals who are suffering from Satan’s oppression and influence due to evil spirits that take up residence in their bodies and gain control of their lives. Throughout the Gospels (the narrative accounts of the “good news” and the true story of Jesus Christ), Jesus shows His power and authority to free people from this spiritual slavery. The Gospel of Mark, describes many times in which Jesus comes in contact with and stands against demons with the power of God: “That evening after sunset, the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.” – Mark 1:32-34.
“Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. – Mark 1:23-26.
2) In His miracles, Jesus often attacks the power of Satan and demonic forces. Jesus states clearly that one of His purposes in coming to earth was to destroy the works of Satan and to set free those the devil holds as slaves.
3) One way Jesus binds and destroys Satan’s power is by driving out demons (by His authority forcing them to leave the person’s body and give up control of the individual’s life). But he paid the penalty for our sin. This victory shattered the power of Satan’s kingdom and restored the power of God’s kingdom in people’s lives. Jesus’ work and personal sacrifice made Satan’s defeat certain and gained God’s victory over him.
4) Hell, the place of eternal punishment, torment and separation from God, has been prepared by God for the devil and his demons. “Then He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’.” – Matthew 25:41
BELIEVERS AND DEMONS
1.God’s Word teaches that because God’s Holy Spirit lives within each true follower of Christ, a Christian cannot be demon-possessed. God’s Spirit and demons can never live in the same body. Demons may, however, influence the thoughts, emotions and actions of Christians who fail to follow and respond to the leading of the Spirit.
2. Jesus promised His followers that they would have authority over the power of Satan and demons. As we confront them, we must rely on Jesus and use His authority to break the power that demonic forces want to force upon us and others. This means we must wage intense spiritual warfare through the power of the Holy Spirit. The power of God is the only source that frees us from the power and influence of the devil’s darkness and brings us into God’s spiritual light with victory.
3. According to the parable in Mark 3:27 – “In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house.”, spiritual conflict against Satan and his demonic forces involves three stages of spiritual battle:
a) Declare war against Satan according to God’s purpose.
b) Enter Satan’s territory (any area of life where he has a “strong hold” or has strongly forced his evil control), then attack and overpower him through prayer and God’s Word. By doing this, God will destroy the devil’s weapons of deception and temptation.
c) Take what the devil possesses. This means helping to liberate those who have been enslaved by Satan’s power and helping to restore them to God so that they may receive forgiveness and new life through faith in Christ.
4.As we boldly embrace the authority and power of God, we should take the following steps in our spiritual battle:
a) Recognise that we are not in a conflict against flesh and blood (human persons, powers and purposes). Rather, we are fighting against spiritual forces and powers of evil.
b) Remain deeply committed to God’s truth and to living by the standards of His Word.
c) Have faith that Satan’s power can be broken in any specific area where he might have control. We must also realise that God has given Christ’s followers powerful spiritual weapons for the destruction of Satan’s strongholds.
d) Boldly proclaim the message of Christ and His kingdom (His highest power, authority, purposes and way of life) through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
e) Challenge Satan and his power directly by relying completely on Jesus and taking authority in his name, using God’s Word, praying in the Spirit, fasting and driving out demons.
f) Praying particularly that the Holy Spirit would work in the consciences of people who are spiritually lost (who have not accepted forgiveness from Christ and do not have a personal relationship with God). Only the Holy Spirit can truly convince them of healing, prophecy, tongues, miracles, signs and wonders.
It cannot be emphasised enough that we must be in a right relationship with God and fully equipped to do spiritual battle by spending time in prayer and God’s Word. We must have a deep understanding of God and His Word, and we must be actively growing in all spiritual areas of our Christian life. Doing this is important because we are no match for Satan’s powers on our own. Christ’s followers must pray constantly and remain spiritually alert, relying on God’s strength and resources to recognise and conquer Satan’s evil schemes and to maintain a strong faith. They must also rely on God so that when they do come face to face with demonic powers, they will be able to fearlessly exercise Jesus’ authority over them.
This article is culled from the FIRE BIBLE: Global Study Edition.
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