Craig Groeschel - Miracles of Deliverance
So is anybody else wondering if the little piggy made it or not? I'm just curious. You're all like, come on piggy, you can make it! Hey, before we dive into this week's message, I want to take a moment and pause, and give every single one of you the chance to join with me, in celebrating and worshiping our good God that on this weekend at 29 locations and nine different states, we are celebrating the faithfulness and obedience of eighteen hundred and fifty eight people being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We give praise to God.
I want you to feel this, can you imagine? I say it all the time, we are not praying for a move of God, we're living right in the middle of one, almost two thousand people coming forward and saying, my life has been changed by the power and the glory of Jesus, in fact, every single one of those numbers, they have a name, they have a story, congratulations to every single one of you. One is Debra in Wellington, Florida, who met Christ and discovered Life.Church while in recovery. Debra congratulations on being addiction-free, and serving Jesus faithfully at Life.Church in Wellington, Florida.
Lisa in Stillwater, Oklahoma, we celebrate with you after 30 plus years of being an atheist, you have met the one true God. We congratulate you on your baptism. And in Life.Church in South Oklahoma City, we hurt with you for your family tragedy, but we thank you that God brings good sometimes down to that which is bad. The whole Chavez family being baptized together, we worship God for all of you, for all this happening, and I don't ever want us to take it for granted, the way that God is moving here. I'm telling you if you know someone's not a follower of Christ, bring them here, bring them here. The Spirit of God is working in a massive, massive way.
Today, we're starting a brand new message series, it's called, When Pigs Fly. How many of you ever heard that phrase before, when pigs fly? If you don't know what that phrase means, it's kind of a sarcastic phrase that people use when something is likely not going to happen. It's likely not going to happen. For example, I've got a friend who hasn't asked a girl out in seven years and he said, I'm thinking about asking this girl out. An appropriate response would be, when pigs fly. It's probably not gonna happen. I'm just trying to motivate him. It's all for my single lady friends, we got to get our bros moving in the name of Jesus, just saying, working with ya. If my kids come to you, if any of my kids say, my dad is gonna let us have another cat. Just say when pigs fly, or bless your heart, either one of those work, in that setting.
When pigs fly. I would argue today that, the word miracle is losing some of its power. Some people today would say I believe we have a miracle-working God, God does miracles, but He probably won't do it for me. God did miracles long ago, but it probably won't ever happen to me. I think the word miracle's losing some power today when it's used, it's often wrongly used. For example someone might say, I went to the mall on a Saturday and the parking spots were all full, and I came to the mall and there was parking spot up close, it is a miracle! That is not a miracle! What happened is a lady left Dillard's at the exact right time, and got in her car when you were pulling up, that is not a miracle. What is a miracle? A miracle is when God in heaven, intervenes on Earth. It's when an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever present God intervenes in your life, that is a miracle, and I believe we still have a miracle-working God.
If you pull in to the mall, and every spot is taken with cars and they all part when you pull up, that is a miracle when our God intervenes, and all of our churches I'm curious, how many of you there's something in your life right now, where you would love to see God intervene on your behalf, or on behalf of somebody you love, anybody? This is what we're gonna talk about for the next four weeks. We're gonna talk about miracles. We are celebrating eighteen hundred and fifty eight miracles, changed lives by the grace in Jesus. Outside of the changed life, every miracle you see in the Bible will fall into one of four categories, and that's what we're gonna talk about in the upcoming weeks.
Let me show you the different types of miracles. Next week we're gonna talk about miracle of healing. If you need physical healing, if you know someone who does, we're going to pray for miracles and we're gonna look at why God does these, why God sometimes doesn't, we're gonna talk about miracles of healing. We're gonna talk about miracles of protection. How God divinely protects people. We're gonna talk about miracles of provision. You're hurting financially and God miraculously provides. Today we're gonna talk about perhaps the least talked about type of miracle. Some would say it's the most creepy type of miracle, we're gonna talk about miracles of deliverance. When God does miracles over the forces and the powers of darkness. When God does miracles, His power over demonic forces.
Now, some of you, very likely right now might say, this is gonna get weird, and I'm not even sure I believe in demons or the forces of darkness. I like what someone said, someone said this, that the greatest trick the devil ever played, was to convince the world that he does not exist. One of the greatest lies that our spiritual enemy tells us, is that he is not a force fighting against the kingdom of God and the kingdom of His truth. In fact, I wanna look at scripture to build a foundation today from the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:12, and this is what Paul says, we need to remember that we are not in a, Christianity is not a playground, Christianity is a battleground that the natural world that we see is not all there is. There's not just a natural world, there's also a spiritual world and Paul tells us this clearly when he says, for we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies.
In other words your mean boss, your annoying mother-in-law, or the person who argues with you on Facebook, they are not your real enemy! We have a spiritual enemy he says, they're not flesh-and-blood enemies, but we battle against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world and against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in heavenly places. We're doing battle against the forces of darkness, demonic forces. You may say, well what is a demon? A lot of people believe that a demon is the spirit of the dead, in other words, my uncle Ben, he was a hell raiser and now he's dead, he's a demon! No, your uncle's not a demon. Demon is not the spirit of the dead. The place, in case you wanna do a little research on your own, that most theologians bring and understanding of demons from would be the Old Testament, Isaiah 14 and in the New Testament, Revelation 12. Isaiah 14, you see, Lucifer, which is another name for the devil, Lucifer makes the five I will statements.
Essentially to summarize, he says, I will be like God, I will ascend to the highest place, five different times he says, I will be like God. God says there is no one like me, and so God cast Lucifer, a worshiping creature who becomes competitive with God, out of heaven, and then Lucifer takes with him one third of the angels, according to Isaiah 14 and Revelation 12, most Bible scholars would say, that demons are the fallen angels that left heaven with Lucifer whenever God cast Lucifer out. So, what do we know about demons? There's one devil, there's many demons. What an angel is to God, a demon is to the devil. Demons do the work of our spiritual enemy in dark realms trying to take people away from the kingdom of God. That's a lot to think about.
If you're gonna ask me where do we get it wrong often days kind of in the church world when it comes to the forces of darkness? I think we make two mistakes depending on where you're from, you likely fall into one or two of these categories. The two biggest mistakes in my opinion, when it comes to demons is, first of all, we over-emphasize demonic influence. In some church cultures, we over-emphasize demonic influence, in other words, there's a demon under every rock! My phone fell off the thing 'cause the demon knocked it off. You can't blame every problem, I'm broke 'cause of the devil! No, you're broke because you bought three outfits, a pair of shoes, have an iPhone, too expensive of a car, and you went to the beach for spring break, that's why you're broke. You can't blame every problem on the devil, you can't. Contrary to what you may want to tell yourself, the devil did not make you eat the whole thing. That's your fault.
In some places, we over-emphasize demonic influence, blaming everything on the devil. In other cultures I would argue that we under-emphasize demonic influence. We under-emphasize demonic influence. In other words, while not every problem is caused by the devil, I would also argue that more problems than most realize, are caused by the forces of darkness. What do demons do? If we want to understand how God miraculously works over the power of darkness, what are the roles of demons? What do demons do? Let me give you three thoughts, they'll do more, but these are the three main categories. First of all, demons tempt you to sin. Demons tempt you away from the will of God to sin in life. In fact, when Paul was talking to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2, he talked about a group of people and said, that one day they're gonna come to their senses and they're gonna escape from the trap of the devil. The devil tries to set up tempting traps to take you away from God and he said they'll escape from that trap of the devil who has taken them captive to do his will.
What will the demons do in some form or fashion? They'll communicate to you, they'll convince you of their lies, they'll whisper to you, go ahead, you deserve it! Watch it! Touch it! Smoke it! I don't know if they really talk that way. But that's kind of the way, you know, you deserve it! Go ahead, go ahead, shoot it, take it! Whatever it is and what they'll do is, they'll minimize sin on the front side. Hey everybody does it, it's not that big a deal! It's nobody's business to tell you how to live! It's your life, you're not hurting anybody, you can do this! And then when you do sin, they no longer minimize it, then they maximize it. God will never love you! God could never use you! You've ruined your life! What do they do? In some form or fashion they communicate and tempt you as the devil lays traps and demons try to take you away from serving God. They also will try to distract you from God's will. They'll try to distract you.
Paul again told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4, he said the Spirit, God's Spirit clearly says, that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Some of you would know somebody like this. Unfortunately some of you might be somebody like this. There was a time when you were walking with God, but then deceiving spirits led you away from the purity of the gospel into all sorts of other false doctrines. For example, it's really kind of common today. Hey, it really doesn't matter what you believe. All roads lead to God. I mean you can kind of take what works for you, you might take a little bit of Buddhism, and you might take a little bit of Christianity, and you might take a little bit of New Age, and you kinda put it, a little bit of witchcraft if you want to, just kind of put it in there together and mix it up, because it doesn't really matter what you believe, as long as you're sincere, and suddenly someone who maybe had a pure faith, they're distracted and they're taken away by demonic voices and things that are taunt by demons.
What else do demons do? They're gonna tempt you, they're gonna lure you, and finally demons inflict suffering. Demons inflict suffering. There's a tragically sad story about a father and a son and the son is physically afflicted by demonic forces. You find it in Matthew's gospel, Matthew 17, starting in verse 15. The dad who's hurting for his son cries out, Lord have mercy on my son! He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. What did Jesus say? Jesus said, hey, bring the boy here to me, and then what did Jesus do? What Jesus does is a miracle, a miracle over darkness. Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and the boy was healed at that moment. The demon was inflicting suffering at the word of Jesus, in a moment, miraculously the boy was delivered from his suffering.
What do we know about Jesus, why He came? We know that Jesus came to give life, and life more abundantly. We know that Jesus came to set the captors free. We know that Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. We know that Jesus came not for those who are healthy, but He came for the sick. Jesus did not come for the self-proclaimed righteous, but Jesus came for the sinners. He came to set people free. What is Satan's mission? It's very clear in John's gospel, chapter 10, his mission is to steal, to kill, and to destroy. That's what the prince of darkness is all about. What does he want to do? Satan will try to inflict injury or pain. Demons they may influence depression, they may influence suicidal thoughts, they may influence feelings of desperation. They want to destroy your marriage, they want to ruin your testimony, they want to wreck your finances, steal your joys, or obliterate your health. Demons want to crush your children.
It's not a game, it's not a little red guy with little horns and a little pitchfork, a little tail that goes around like cartoon. This is the forces of darkness that hate God and the kingdom of light and his mission through every demonic spirit is to hurt what matters to the heart of God. And nothing matters more to God than you. What do we do? You creeped out yet? I've never seen everybody so quiet. What do we do, if we recognize that we're in a spiritual battle? Should we be afraid? Do we need to be on guard? Let me give you one big thought, and this is for those of you that are in Christ. This is for those of you who have been transformed by the grace of Jesus. This is for eighteen hundred and fifty eight people today that are new in Christ. If you are in Christ, if you've been chained, if you are filled with His Spirit, if you are in Christ, you need to understand, that you have miraculous authority over darkness in the name of Jesus.
I'm gonna say it again Pastor Chris because I'm just believing that there's somebody here, that may feel the weight and the strength of what this says. If you in Christ, you have miraculous authority over darkness, in the name of Jesus. As we fight in the battle, we need to understand that we are not fighting with our power but we are fighting with the power of Christ. In fact, Matthew 10:1 tells us how we tap into that power. He says this, Jesus called his disciples to Him, and what did Jesus give them? Jesus gave them, somebody help me, Jesus gave them, authority, say it again, what did He give 'em? Jesus gave them authority to drive out impure spirits, demonic spirits, and to heal every disease and every sickness. Jesus gave them authority to use His power.
Let me unpack this. Imagine for a moment if you will that I am a police officer. Imagine I'm a police officer standing in the middle of the road, and imagine an 18-wheeler is coming my way. If I as a police officer tell the 18-wheeler to stop, do I have the physical power to make that vehicle stop? The answer is no, I don't have the power. The driver has the power to make me a smudge mark in the middle of a highway, right? What do I have? Jesus said I give you authority. What I do not have is my own power, but what I have is a little badge that says I have authority. If this driver is coming and I'm a police officer, I can say stop and even though I don't have the power, I have the authority and if he does not obey the authority, there is a higher power, you see what I'm saying? To which he must answer. Even though in my own life, I don't have the power to defeat darkness, I have the authority to declare the name that is above every name, the name who has all power, over all darkness, the name of Jesus. If you are in Christ, you have authority over all darkness in the name of Jesus.
Let me unpack it this way. The first time I ever came across something that was obviously very spiritual was when I was a very young believer. Since then I've seen countless instances, you may say, Craig why would you see more than me? Truthfully I'm not exposed to more than you, I may just have eyes to see because everyday I wake up and think spiritual things more because of my role, not because I'm special but because I'm trained to see it. If you have eyes to see, you may see you're in a spiritual battle often. The first time I ever saw it, I was a brand new Christian maybe 20 years of age. I was in a bible study in college, probably 15 or so people were in the study. We had a pastor there and we were having a prayer time. I was praying, in my mind, not out loud, and another guy was praying out loud. I was sitting next to a guy I'll call Russ, it's not his real name. It was Russ' first time and Russ was acting strange. He seemed uncomfortable.
So I was just praying for him in my mind, not out loud. About 20 seconds, maybe 30 seconds into it, Russ who's holding my hand, leans over, I never prayed out loud, looked at me and said, stop praying for me. I was like, wow, that has never happened before. The other guy keeps praying and so obviously I'm still praying in my mind, now I'm really praying. Yet I'm not praying out loud for Russ. The second time, Russ leans over and says, I told you to stop praying for me. This is weird. Another guy's still praying out loud so now, I'm obviously not doing what he said, I'm still praying like crazy, and Russ stopped everybody and said, all of y'all stop praying for me now and he yelled it out.
The pastor guy there, his name is Danny Chambers, he walked across the room, very calmly, and just put his hands on Russ and said, come out of him in the name of Jesus. What happened next took maybe 20 seconds. It looked similar what you see on TV shows, there's a little bit of yelling, a little bit of shaking, and then things went calm and Russ honestly didn't know what had just happened to him, and he was different just like this. What had happened? There was a person, who understood the authority they had, to use the name of Jesus over a force of darkness, and simply took authority over it and said, in the name of Jesus, that's enough, and it was finished. If you are in Christ, what I hope you'll understand, is that you have authority in the name of Jesus over darkness. Who do we serve? We serve a miraculous working God, who gives you authority over darkness.
Let's be honest. It sounds kind of weird, and it's so difficult to remember, why? Because we're just trying to get through the day. I gotta pay the bills, I gotta get the dishes done, I gotta get to work and deal with all the things I got going on, and I'm trying not to kill my kids, they're like drunk squirrels everywhere, and they're holding me hostage in my own house. I'm just trying to get through the day. And what I often don't recognize, is that there's a force of darkness trying to inflict division between me and my wife. There's forces of darkness trying to, not just damage, but destroy my kids. Suicidal thoughts, anger, let's cut, on and on. There's forces of darkness that want you dependent on a chemical, or lustful image, to where that you need something else just to get through the day, so you'll be a prisoner to something. Forces of darkness.
What do we do with this when we recognize, that everyday we're in a spiritual battle? I'ma give you a couple thoughts. It will lead us into kind of application. Two things not to assume. First of all, don't assume that every problem is a result of demonic influence, they're not. Sometimes you just did something wrong we're in a painful world, not every problem is a result of demonic influence. At the same time let me encourage you, not to assume that any problem isn't. Don't assume every problem is, and don't assume any problem isn't. Any time you have a problem, you have a battle. You have a temptation, trial, there's a mountain. What I want to encourage you to do is do what's natural. Do what's wise. And pray for the supernatural intervention of a miracle-working God.
Example, my daughter Mandy has been sick for two years. Tomorrow she and her husband James are going to New Mexico to see another specialist. That is smart and that is wise, and we will do what is practical and what is wise. And you better believe that with every bit of faith in me, I will be praying for the supernatural intervention of God. That's what we do, we do what we know to do, and we invoke power that goes beyond what we have. Use this in every area of your life. If you're battling anxiety, and you're having panic attacks, I recommend you go to a great doctor, and you pray in the name, this is about every name, you invite the name of Jesus to help bring healing and freedom. If you've got emotional suffering, distress, someone abused you, someone mistreated you, someone harmed you, I highly recommend you go to a great counselor and let them heal and bring transformation, and pray for any type of deliverance from demonic forces or lives that continue to keep you in bondage.
If you've got a child that's rebelling, be a wise parent, take their phone away, do it, do it, they will live. Watch them change their behavior. Take their phone away, monitor who their friends are, and pray for divine protection against all the spiritual lies that are bombarding your children every single day. Do what's natural, and ask for God's supernatural. Someone is battling with alcohol. Man, 12-step program all day long, and the powers and the forces of spiritual intervention and warfare. For example, when I was preparing this message, this is probably the only time in the history of the church, in the middle of a message, I got physically ill. Physically sick. Bowing down to the porcelain god in the middle of this message. So what did I do? I took a Tums and I prayed for supernatural deliverance in the middle of my prayer. Yesterday they clapped for that which was really exciting, because I'd never been clapped for vomiting and praying. You do what's natural, and you invoke the supernatural power of God.
You'll be prompted. Listen to me, you're gonna be prompted. If you're in Christ, you're a spiritual being. Your spirit is connected to God. Watch for those promptings when you remember, that everything is not physical, that many many things are spiritual. This happened several years ago, Amy and I were doing a pastor's conference in Hawaii, which sounds really fun but we only had literally a few hours off. We'd preach preach preach and then we had from two o'clock in the afternoon on the last day until like a nine o'clock flight on the beach and that was it. We'd never been to Hawaii. We're gonna enjoy this, it's gonna be amazing. Our hotel was a distance from the beach and so about two o'clock we left our room, walked a long distance to the beach, sat down finally and I said Amy, I feel like I'm being prompted to reach out to my friend, Ethan. And she's like, well you need to do it. Like yeah but my phone is back in the room, that's almost half an hour of the way, she said no, if you feel like God's prompting you, you need to do it, I'm like, you're right.
So I mean I track all the way back, get on my phone to call Ethan and I forgot about the time difference. So it might have been three o'clock or so in Hawaii, and it was maybe close to midnight back where he was at the time. And so when I dialed, he picked up and he said, why are you calling now? And I thought oh, I forgot about the time difference. And then he said it again and his voice was shaking, and he said, why now, why at this moment? And I realized that the timing was something very significant. I said, I can't explain it but I just know I was prompted to call you. Well Ethan had recently made some very significant mistakes. I was worried about him. And his voice was shaking and he said, why now, why now, why now? And I said because God wanted me to call you now.
I said, Ethan are you considering hurting yourself? And he said yes, and I said, are you considering taking your life? And he said yes. I said do you have a gun with you right now? And he said yes and he was crying. And I said, do you realize, how much the forces of darkness, want you all alone and isolated, to take you out? And how much God loves you? That I'm sitting on the beach in Hawaii with my wife, and He prompted me to come back and to reach out to you. Do you realize how much God cares for you that He's intimately involved and He knows and He cares at your lowest moment? And he just started crying. We prayed together, I walked him through and said, got him to go and knock and wake the neighbor up, and sleep at the neighbor's house without his gun.
And the good news is Ethan and his wife and his family will be sitting in the same place they do at church on this very weekend because light defeated darkness. Because light defeated darkness. You don't have to be a pastor to hear from God like that, you just have to be a Christian. The Spirit will prompt you, every single one of you, Spirit will prompt you today to reach out to someone at church or to say something to someone at church online. Just follow those promptings. Follow those promptings. When Jesus rose from the dead, what did He do? One of the things that He did was, he defeated darkness. What is darkness? I want you to think about this. What is darkness? Let me tell you what it's not. Darkness is not the opposite of light. So many people think it is. Darkness is not the opposite of light. What is darkness? Darkness is the absence of light. Darkness is the absence of light.
Who is Jesus? One of the metaphors of Jesus is this, He said I am the light of the world. If you are in Christ, the light of Christ dwells within you. John 1:5 says, the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. Any time there is spiritual darkness, and you walk into the room, light walks into the room. And light always defeats darkness. If you are in Christ, you have authority over darkness in the name of Jesus. You take authority, you say it, speak it verbally! I take authority over the forces of darkness, trying to lead my children away, I bind up every demonic force that is attacking my marriage. You do what is natural and you invoke the supernatural power of God, why? For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of this unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, against evil spirits in heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, the belt of truth, the shoes prepared with the gospel of the readiness of peace, so that you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil, then church, after the battle. After the battle, you will not be defeated, He will not still from you but you will be standing firm, why? Because greater is He that is in us, than He that is in the world. Recognize, you are not fighting for victory, you are fighting from victory. If you are in Christ, you have authority, over darkness in the name of Jesus.
So Father we ask today, that you would do miracles. As your church rises up and recognizes, God we're in a spiritual battle, give us faith God, to be light in the middle of darkness.
All of our churches today, those of you who'd say, there may be and it may be spiritual, there's hurt, there's pain, there's challenges, and I want faith to use the authority of the name of Jesus. I believe that His light, I need His power, I need His light, to help overcome some trial or darkness. Would you lift up your hands right now? You need a miracle in this way.
Father, I pray God, that we would have the wisdom to do what we can do. But God we would have the faith to do and ask you what we cannot do, God do miracles, do miracles. God in any sense and any way, where there may be spiritual lies, forces of darkness attacking, we ask that you would bind those up in heavenly places. God protect our minds from spiritual lies. God replace them with truth, we thank you that greater is the risen Christ, that dwells within us, that we have the same power, that raise Christ from the dead inside of those who have been made new. God help us to step into the gift of authority you've given us. Not our power, but the power of your risen son, Jesus. God may we fight, not just naturally, but fight spiritually. The weapons that we fight with are not the weapons of this world. Ours are powerful, spiritual, pulling down spiritual strongholds. Empower us God your church.
As you keep praying, to all of our churches today, there are some of you right now that you don't really know where you stand with God. And let me tell you what's happening in another realm right now. There's a war for you. There's a war for you. You might be drawn to the things of God right now, wow there's something about this. Maybe I should give my life to God, maybe there's more spiritually. And then there's a voice that's gonna say, that's stupid, don't get emotional, that's stupid, why would you do that? Just hey, do your own thing, you're fine. Listen, there's a war going on right now, there's a war. Your enemy is the father of lies. Jesus is the way. He is the truth, He is the life. The truth is not just an idea, the truth is a person.
Jesus said there's no way you come to God except through me. If there was any other way, Jesus wouldn't have to have been perfect and died in our place. He was a lamb of God. His blood slain on a cross, He died in our place, for the forgiveness of our sins and God raised Him from the dead. It's not a temporary sacrifice, it's a permanent sacrifice, for the forgiveness of sins you're being drawn. You have a choice. You can listen to the lies or you can surrender to the truth that all of our churches, those who say, I recognize I'm not walking with God, I don't have His peace. When you call on that name, the name that is above every name, the name of Jesus, God here's your prayer. He forgives your sin, you become completely brand new, you're not a better version of you, the old you is gone, a new you is born spiritually. Everything changes in a moment.
All of our churches, those who say yes, I need His grace, yes I surrender, I turn from my sins. I give my life to Jesus, that's your prayer, lift you hands high now! All over the place lift them up and say, that's my prayer, back over here, right back here, God bless these guys right here as well. Leave 'em will you, leave 'em up? Right back here in this middle section. I want to acknowledge you. Right back over here man, others today and over here on this side, others that way back here, man all four or five of you guys right back here. Praise God for you and here in this middle section, others of you, just acknowledge. This man, right here together on this, man, praise God for you! Church online, you click right below me. Others of you, someone else, you're leaning in, should I do it, am I not? Don't listen to the lie. One, two, three, yes Jesus, I surrender completely to you. All of our churches, would you just pray with those around you?
Heavenly Father, I trust you, with my life. Forgive my sins. Make me new, fill me with your Spirit, so I can walk in faith, walk in victory, living by your power. My life is not own, I give it to you. Thank you for new life, now you have mine, in Jesus name I pray.