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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - Can a Christian be Possessed by Demons?

Derek Prince - Can a Christian be Possessed by Demons?

Derek Prince - Can a Christian be Possessed by Demons?

The theme of this and the following session will be Basics of Deliverance. The subtitle is: "All You Ever Wanted to Know About Demons But Were Afraid to Ask". In these two sessions I'm going to seek to achieve a well nigh impossible task to cover in two hours every main aspect of this ministry. Of course, not in detail, but in outline. I believe it's appropriate that we begin by considering this aspect of the ministry of Jesus. And I'd like to turn to Mark chapter 1. I have said many times, as far as I'm concerned I have no ambition to improve on the ministry of Jesus. Some people, I think, feel that it could be done better today. That's not my attitude. When He began His public ministry the thing that struck people the most was His way of dealing with evil spirits. And it's worthy of note that this was one miracle of Jesus which had never previously been recorded in the Old Testament.

Almost all His other miracles - healing, provision of food, control of nature had already been recorded in the Old Testament. But there's no Old Testament record of driving out evil spirits. And the people who witnessed it were immediately gripped by it and became excited about it. Here's the first account in a synagogue in Capernaum. It says in verse 23 of Mark 1: Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. The Greek says: in an unclean spirit which is not translatable into English. I think perhaps the best contemporary English would be under the influence of an unclean spirit. There are three phrases that are used interchangeably: Demons, evil spirits and unclean spirits. It also talks about specific types of spirits such as the spirit of infirmity or a spirit of fear. And there was a man in their synagogue under the influence of an unclean spirit. And he cried out.

Notice, the ‘he’ is not the man, it's the spirit. saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God. Notice that the evil spirits instantly identify who Jesus was. It took His disciples maybe more than a year to begin to realize who He really was. They knew instantly. They feared Him. Also notice the combination of ‘we’ and ‘I’ which is very typical. When Jesus spoke to the man in Gadara He said: What is your name singular? And he said: My name is Legion, for we are many. This combination of ‘I’ and ‘we’ is very characteristic of demons. Verse 25: But Jesus rebuked him saying: Be quiet and come out of him. The Greek says literally: Be muzzled, come out of him. And when the unclean had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice he came out of him. There were very dramatic physical manifestations. It was not the kind of behavior that was normal in the synagogue.

Somebody once said to me, in most churches what they would have done was put the man out of the church. But Jesus put the demon out of the man, you understand. And He left the man in the synagogue. Then we read the next verse: Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves: What is this? What new doctrine is this? Or: What is this, a new doctrine? With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him. And immediately his fame or his reputation spread throughout all the region around Galilee. That is so ture. The situation hasn't changed. If you begin to get manifestations of evil spirits and deal with them the reputation will go all around immediately. It's a thing that still tremendously impresses people when they witness it.

The thing that I want to emphasize there is Jesus did not deal with the man He dealt with the spirit in the man. Another person in that man. And there's no indication that the man had behaved but normally before. It was the presence of Jesus with the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon Him that brought out the unseen presence of the demon in the man. Now, the same day later on in this chapter in verse 32-34 we read a further development of His ministry. Now at evening, when the sun had set, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. Let me say once and for all I do not like the translation demon-possessed. The Greek word is daimonizomai. If I were to write it in English letters it would be something like this. Where daimon is the root and comes from the noun demon.

So izomai is the passive: to be demonized. That would be the best translation: to be demonized. This translation, demon-possessed, has unfortunately obscured the issue for millions of people because they say: How can a Christian be possessed by the devil? My answer is a true Christian cannot be possessed by the devil. A true Christian is possessed by Jesus. However, in many true Christians, there are some areas where they are demonized, where they are afflicted and affected by demons. Areas in their lives and character where they are not themselves fully in control. And they are demonized, but not possessed by Satan. If we could just clear away that one obstacle of translation we would be a lot further to seeing reality.
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