Robert Jeffress - The World Of Demons
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Satan is not an omnipresent being, though sometimes it might feel that way. Temptation seems to lurk around every corner, waiting to lure us away from God. So how does the devil manage this massive operation? Well today, I'll reveal the truth about the army of demons that Satan has at his disposal, and what they're capable of doing to you. My message is titled, "The World Of Demons," on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
Have you ever felt an inexplicable weight of oppression upon your shoulders? No matter how hard you try to shake that feeling of depression, you couldn't do it, it just remained there. Have you ever been in an argument with another person in which the tempers flared hotter, the words became more vindictive than the situation called for? It was almost like a third-party was in the room, egging on the conversation and conflict beyond reasonable boundaries. Have you ever been having one of those really productive days where you were checking everything off your to-do list, when suddenly out of nowhere, this fear seized your mind. And no matter how much you tried to rid yourself of that fear, it just paralyzed you with inactivity? Have you ever been in a situation where temptation just came out of nowhere into your life? And if you didn't know better, you would think God himself brought that temptation because it was so perfectly suited to meet the need, the hunger you had at that very moment.
If your answer is yes to any of those situations, then you have come face-to-face with the world of demons. I know that sounds over the top. Aren't those things more attributable to the weaknesses that we carry within us? We saw last time in James 1:14, the temptation equation. We saw how temptation comes into our life. Remember James says, each one of us is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Yes, it does start within us. But remember that second word, we're not only carried away, but we're enticed. That's a fishing word in Greek. It means to be hooked. You see, there is a fisherman on the outside who knows exactly what bait, what temptation to dangle in front of you, and exactly when to do it.
The Bible says, be on the alert, be of sober spirit, for your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But remember, Satan is not God's equal. He's not omniscient, that is, he's not all knowing. He's not omnipotent, all powerful. He's not omnipresent. That means, he cannot be in more than one place at the same time. He doesn't have to be. Because you see, he has a whole army of demonic helpers. We call them demons, who are there to assist him in carrying out his deceitful and destructive plan for your life. And today, we're going to begin a short mini seminary course, in what the Bible has to say about demons, and specifically how they affect your life.
Now let's first of all, talk about the whole idea of the existence of demons. You mention the word demons, and people get a smile on their face sometimes. As if demons were nothing more than our less than admirable impulses in life. Let's turn to Ephesians 6, and look at the reality of demons. Ephesians 6, this is the seminal passage in the New Testament on spiritual warfare. Look at verses 11 and 12, Paul says, "Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil". Satan has a scheme, a blueprint to destroy your life. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but it is against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places".
Our primary opponent is not what we see, it's what we don't see. It's those invisible but very real rulers, powers, and forces. Notice the plurality of those words. It's not just Satan, but it is those who work with him, the demonic influences. And it only seems appropriate that if we're going to be successful in winning these unseen battles we all face everyday, then we ought to learn as much about demons as we can. We ought to gather as much intelligence as humanly possible. Fortunately, the Bible has given us a lot of information about demons. Let's look at the reference to demons in the Bible.
Did you know in the Old Testament, there are only two references to demons? And they all have to do with false gods. Listen to Deuteronomy 32:17. Moses writes: and they sacrificed to demons who were not God, to gods whom they have not known, new gods who came lately, whom your fathers did not dread. Moses was writing about the Israelites when they came into this new land of Canaan. He said, when they came into Canaan, there were all of these false gods, Baal, Asherah, Moloch, these other false gods, and when the Israelites started worshiping these false gods, notice whom they were really worshiping? They thought they were sacrificing to these false gods, God says they were actually sacrificing to demons.
Note this, and we're going to talk about it more in a moment, behind every false unreal god in the world today, there is a very real demonic power. Demons are ultimately the force behind every false religion in the world today. Look at Psalm 106:37 and 38. Again it says, "They," talking about the Israelites, "Even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, and shed innocent blood, and the blood of their sons and their daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood".
May I say today, when we bow down to worship the false god of human freedom, we worship that god through the murder of unborn children abortion. We are committing the same sin, as those pagan Israelites. Abortion is nothing but murder, and it is the murder of children to demons. That is what is behind the whole pro-abortion movement in the world today. That's the Old Testament.
Secondly, look at demons in the New Testament. There are over a hundred references to demons in the New Testament. Look at the mention of demons in James 2:19. James said, "You believe that God is one. You do well: the demons also believe, and shudder". James was writing to a group of Jewish Christians. If James were writing to our church today, mainly gentile Christians, we have some Jewish Christians, but mainly gentile Christians, he would say, "You believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? You believe that he died on the cross for the sins of the world? You believe that he rose again from the dead on the third day? Congratulations! The demons believe all of those things. The demons believe those things more than you and I do. Because they were there, they witnessed it first hand".
If you don't hear another truth, I have to say to you this morning, hear this. Believing the right facts about Jesus Christ will not get you to heaven. It's coming to that point in your life when you're so broken about your sin and failure before God, that you bow down in desperation and say, "God, I cannot save myself. I am trusting in, clinging to, believing, that Jesus died for my sins. And I'm resting, trusting in him and him alone for my salvation". That is how a person is saved. And that's something the demons have never done.
Demons were mentioned in the first book written in the New Testament, they're also mentioned in the last book of the New Testament. Revelation 16:13-14, John says: and I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon, that is Satan, and out of the mouth of the beast, the anti-Christ, and out of the mouth of the false prophets, three unclean spirits like frogs: and they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God Almighty.
The Bible is filled with revelation about demons that we need to understand. It shouldn't surprise you, however, that the greatest number of references to demons occur in the Gospels, during the life of Jesus Christ. They were more active in the world during the time of Christ, than any other time in human history. And when you stop and think about it, you can understand why that is. When Jesus Christ, the Son of God, invaded planet earth, he was coming for one reason, to reclaim this world from the grip of Satan, to deliver it back to God. That's why he came and died on the cross, to break the curse, the stranglehold that Satan has on this world. And so when Jesus came, it so incited the demons and the devil that they worked overtime to stop that plan from being fulfilled. The fact that Jesus interacted with demons, he cast them out, he talked to them, showed that they are very real.
Now let's look at what the Bible says about the personality of demons. Demons are more than just forces or concepts, they are real beings. You know, to be a being, to be something alive, you have to have intelligence, you have to have emotions, you have to have a will. Demons have all of these things. Look at Luke 8:27-28, turn there for just a moment. Luke 8:27-28, and then we're going to skip down the chapter in verses 32 and 33. These verses represent one of the most famous encounters Jesus had with demons. And we're going to see the personality of demons, demonstrated here.
Luke says: and when Jesus had come out onto the land, he was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons: and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. And seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before him, and said in a loud voice, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus, son of the most God? I beg you, do not torment me". Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain: and the demons implored him to permit them to enter the swine. And he gave them permission. And the demons came out from the man and they entered the swine: and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
This morning, instead of talking about this man who was possessed with many demons, instead, let's look at what this passage teaches us about demons themselves. First of all, demons possess intelligence. That is, they are aware of what's going on around them. When they saw Jesus, they shouted out, Jesus, son of the Most High, please get away from us. Isn't it interesting that demons know more about Jesus Christ than many liberal seminary professors today? Some of the greatest professions of faith about Jesus Christ, came from demonic clips in the New Testament. The demons knew exactly who he was. He was the son of the Most High. Demons possess intelligence. Secondly, demons experience emotions. That is, in this case, they had great fear about being cast into the abyss, the place of confinement for demons. They felt emotions.
Now, that pew in which you're sitting right now, it feels absolutely nothing. If it had intelligence, knew what was going on, if they could feel what was happening to it, you know, it probably be yelling, "Get off me," right now, okay? But it can't do that because it's an inanimate object. On the other hand, demons not only possess intelligence, they have emotions. Thirdly, demons have a will. You know what, this pew you're sitting in right now isn't making plans about what it's going to do tomorrow morning, okay? It has no will, it has no agenda. But demons have a will, they have a plan, they have a purpose.
The demons say to Jesus, "Jesus, please do not cast us into the abyss. We do not want that". And then they creatively offered an alternative. They say, "Instead, put us into the swine". And when Jesus agrees, they cast, or they submit themselves to the will of God. They have a will. And fourthly demons have names. Just like we have a name, each demon has a name as well. In fact, the chief demon in verse 30, is described as being named, legion, a military term referring to 6.000 soldiers.
Now again, you have to come to your own conclusion about who Jesus is. Jesus interacted with demons here and now. Either he was a liar, he made the whole thing up, there were no demons here, he was just trying to deceive his followers. Or he was a lunatic, he should be in a straight jacket, because he was talking to beings that really didn't exist. If he's not a liar, if he's not a lunatic, than the only other conclusion is that he is the Lord of all. He is the Son of God. And the fact that he interacted with demons and said that they were real, means that they are real forces in your life, in my life. Where do demons come from? Well there are all kinds of ideas about where demons came from. But I think the most logical explanation for demons is that they were one-time angels who joined Lucifer in his rebellion against God.
Now you say, why do you say apparently? Well the reason is, there is really no explicit scripture that tells us that Satan, when he fell, was joined by a group of angels. Did you know that? There is no verse in the Bible that says, when Satan fell from heaven, that a group of angels joined him in that rebellion. Now some of you are saying, Robert, we've got you there. We can point to a passage in scripture that teaches that. You must have forgotten what you taught us in Revelation 12:9. I want you to turn there for a moment, to Revelation 12:9. The writer of Revelation says: and the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world, he was thrown down to earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
Now many people think that's referring to something that happened in the past. But as you know, from the context of Revelation, this is something that is still future, that is yet to happen. This isn't referring to Lucifer's original fall. The context of Revelation 12 is the Great Tribulation time that is still to come. And John tells us that halfway through that 7-year period, after the first three and a half years, there is going to be a war in heaven, in which Satan is cast out of heaven down to earth, when he begins an unprecedented time of attack against God's people, Israel, and against Christians. So this is something that is yet to happen. So then, if this casting out is still yet to come, where did demons come from, and why do we get the idea that they're fallen angels, if no Bible verse teaches that? Because of the way the Bible interchanges the words angels and demons.
Notice in Revelation 12:9, it refers to Satan and his angels, who will one day be cast down from heaven. But in Matthew 12:24, look at what Matthew says: but when the pharisees heard this, they said, "This man casts out demons only by beelzebul, the ruler of demons". In other words, the Bible uses angels and demons interchangeably. A good way to remember it is this way, not all angels are demons, but all demons were at one time, angels. Demons are fallen angels that worked to help Satan fulfill his purpose. And what is that purpose that Satan has and his demons?
Let's look at the work of demons, number five. That Satan uses them to accomplish on his behalf. You know we said that Satan has a goal for unbelievers. What he wants to do with non-Christians, and some of you are not yet Christians this morning, he wants to blind you and bind you, so that you cannot accept the Gospel of Christ. What Satan would love to do with his demons, is to lure people away from the true God, to a false God. Or he would like to get people to want to know the true God, but lead them to him in a false way. And that is the work of demons.
I want you to turn over to Galatians 1:8. Some very sobering words. Galatians 1:8, Paul was preaching to the Christians at Galatia who were being led astray by false doctrine. And look at what Paul says: but even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a Gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, let that person be accursed! He said, Galatians, if anybody preaches to you a Gospel that is apart from faith alone in Jesus Christ, even if an angel from heaven announces to you a doctrine that is different from the Christian Gospel, let that person be accursed. The Bible says Satan can appear as an angel, a messenger of light. And that's why we are not to be confused. Any religion that denies that salvation is exclusively through the Lord Jesus Christ, is a false demonic religion that is used by the evil one to lure people away from the true God. And we have to be clear in saying that.
Now, listen to me this morning. Everybody watching on television, listen to this. It's not just religions in the third world that are instruments of demons, to lure people away from the truth. Many, many religions in our country today, that have long respected histories attached to them, are false religions. Let me say this morning as clearly as I can. If you are trusting in Christ, plus anything else, for your salvation, you are being deceived by demons. If you believe what the Word of God says, only the Gospel message that teaches salvation is through Christ alone, is the kind of Gospel that can save you.
Pastor, aren't you being overly harsh? No more so than the apostle John. Remember what he wrote in 1 John 4:1 to 3? "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you will 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 that Jesus is not from God, this is the spirit of the anti-Christ, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world".
Anything religion, I don't care what its title, I don't care what its history, anything religious system that refuses to confess that Jesus is the unique Son of God, that he died for the sins of the world, and that it is only by faith in him and him alone that we are saved, it is a part of Satan's deception, to bind and blind unbelievers, so that they cannot receive the truth. That's what Satan's goal, that's what the demons goal is, with unbelievers. But their plan isn't limited to non-Christians. Demons also have a desire for your life, and for my life.