Robert Jeffress - What Demons Want To Do To You
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Satan has developed an intricate plot to destroy Christians and overthrow God's kingdom, and he's enlisted a massive army of demons to help carry out his plans. So what exactly is Satan capable of doing? Well today I'm going to explain how demons operate in the world in general, and in your world specifically. My message is titled, "What Demons Want To Do To You," on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
In our last church for, we served, there's a little boy every year, in our Halloween festival, he called it a fall festival. There was this boy in the church every year, he would put on a blue suit, a red tie and would strap an accordion on and had a sign that said, "Guess who"? Nobody had to guess who there, but you know, among the costumes tonight, there'll be some people who will put on a red suit. They'll have horns, they'll have a tail, they'll carry the pitchfork. Others will dress up as Satan's assistants, demons, they'll ring the doorbell. People will open the door and they will laugh. They will laugh just as Satan and his demons are laughing.
You see far from being insulted by such caricatures, Satan, and his demons love those kinds of comic characterizations of themselves. You see Satan and his demons know that as long as you're laughing at them, you can't fear them. And if you don't fear them, then you won't be prepared for their attacks against you. And he has a strategy for doing that. He'll either discourage you from worshiping God. He'll try to distract you from serving God or he will come into your life and will deceive you into disobeying God.
The last week we saw Satan isn't omnipresent. He can't be more than one place at a time, but he don't have to. He has these assistants, these fallen angels who joined him in the rebellion. We call them demons, who work to help Satan carry out that threefold plan against you. And today's message, we're going to discover how it is that Satan's demons, how they operate in the world in general. And most importantly, how they operate in your world in particular.
If you have your Bibles, I want you to turn this morning to Mark 1. Today we're going to discover what the demons want to do to you. Now, there are five ways that demons exercise their authority in the world and in your life. And I want you to jot them down on your outline.
First of all, demons operate through nature. And remember in Ephesians 2:2, Satan is called the prince of the power of the air. That is God has given Satan limited authority over the natural elements in this world. Satan and his demons have authority over wind and rain and hurricanes and tornadoes. They have limited authority over natural phenomenon. And never forget this. Even the demons are God's demons. And by that, I mean, ultimately Satan and his demons are under God's control. Nothing can happen in your life. That has not first of all, passed through the perfect, loving will of God for your life. And even though we don't understand it, God is ultimately in control, but directly, sometimes demons work through nature.
Secondly, demons sometimes manifest themselves through physical illness. Now, to blame every sickness on demons is neither biblical nor logical. The fact is there are other explanations for why we get sick. One reason is because we've inherited defective bodies. Remember Romans 5:12 through Adam, "Through one man sin entered the world and death spread through all man, because all man sinned". We all inherited that sin virus. And because of that, our bodies get sick and eventually die.
Sometimes the reason we get sick is because of poor choices we make. Too many trips to McDonald's, not enough trips to the gymnasium as standing outside like an idiot, breathing in all that debris yesterday, like I did and so forth. I mean, they're natural explanations, addictions to alcohol or nicotine or other things. All of those things are some of the explanations for physical illness, but we shouldn't blame every illness on demonic activity. In fact, the Bible distinguishes between sickness and demon power and control. Look at Mark 1:32-34. This is Mark's account of Jesus healing people. And look what it says in Mark 1:32, "When the evening came after the sun had set, the disciples began ringing to Jesus, all who were ill and those who were demon possessed". And then look at verse 34, "And he healed many who were ill with various diseases and cast out many demons because they knew who he was".
Now, here's the central point. If every sickness had been demon inspired, then Mark would have said, they brought to Jesus, everyone who was demon possessed. And he cast out the demons, but that's not what it says. It distinguishes between those who were sick and those who were under demonic influence. Not every illness is demonically inspired, but some illnesses are.
There's a third way that demons manifest themselves in some people's lives and that is through mental disorders. Mental disorders, now again, it's a mistake to say all mental illness is a result of demonic activity. I mean, the fact is our thoughts, our emotions are a series of chemical and electrical impulses in the brain. And it's possible for those to get out of balance, for those chemical reactions, not to be what they should for the chemical levels, not to be what they should, for the electrical impulses not to respond as they should. And many times those things should be treated with medicine. But it is also true that our thoughts and our emotions are more than just a series of chemical and electrical impulses. The fact is there are external spiritual sources that can have an impact on our thoughts and our emotions.
Let me show you where you find that in the Bible, look at Philippians 4:6-7. Paul is talking about how to protect yourself against anxiety. Are you anxious? Do you worry a lot. What does the Bible say, you ought to do about that? Look at Philippians 4:6-7, Paul said, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus".
Now here's the point. Paul is saying that there is a positive, spiritual exercise we can engage in that can relieve anxiety. And it's called prayer. And stay with me on this, if there is a positive spiritual force that can affect our thinking and our emotions, doesn't it stand to reason that there are also negative spiritual forces in the world that can negatively impact our thoughts and emotions. I'm not suggesting that all or even most mental illness is a demonic influence, but some of it is.
A good illustration of this is found in Luke 8, turn over there for a moment. We looked last week at the story of a man who was controlled by many demons. And remember legion was the chief demon and Jesus cast out the demons and they went into the swine. Now, notice what happened to this man after the demons left him and this man had all the symptoms, he wouldn't wear clothes. He withdrew from society. He had strange voices emanating from his mouth, all symptoms that would have landed him in a psychiatric ward in today's world. But Jesus removed the demons from him and notice his immediate healing verses 35 and 36. "The people went out to see what had happened. And they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they became frightened. And those who had seen it reported to them, how the man who was demon possessed had been made well".
Will you notice that this man's healing did not require years of psychotherapy and drug treatment. Instead his healing was immediate and it was permanent. Now, please hear what I'm saying today. I believe that if you or a loved one is suffering from some type of mental disorder, prolonged depression, schizophrenia, psychosis, those symptoms, you ought to go visit a Christian psychiatrist. You ought to sit down with a man or woman of God who is trained in these areas. It very well may be there is a chemical, there is a medical, a reason for the behavior and the feelings you have. But what I'm also saying is don't negate the possibility that there is a spiritual force at work as well. God made us body, soul and spirit, and we have to treat all of the parts of a man or woman in order to be made whole, God may very well. Use that Christian psychiatrist. He may use that medicine that he allowed to be created to bring healing to you. Just don't separate that from reliance on the power of God directly.
Another way demons sometimes manifest themselves is through a particular kind of mental illness. And that is through suicide. One manifestation of demons that is almost always attributable directly to demons themselves is suicide. In Mark 9 is a story about a young boy who was controlled by an evil spirit. In Mark 9:22 says, "That the evil spirit would throw the boy into the fire and into the water to destroy him".
You see it is our natural inborn tendency to want to protect our bodies. We're all born with that sense of self preservation for anyone to want to destroy his body, that is not natural. That is supra or super natural. It goes beyond natural explanation. It is almost always a demonic force that causes us to want to destroy our lives. Remember in John 8:44, how Jesus characterized Satan. He said, "He is both a liar and a murderer". He didn't combine those two words accidentally. Satan is a liar and a murderer. Don't listen to the lies of the one who hates you the most. Thoughts of suicide come nowhere but from the evil one.
A fifth way that Satan sometimes manifest himself is through other people. Demons actually can influence us through other Christians. We see a great illustration of that in Revelation 18. And the Great Tribulation, demons will actually work through human beings to kill God's people, to launch a tremendous slaughter against God's people. In Revelation, 18:2 and 24, the killing of God's people is attributed to demonic activity. But many times demons don't have to go to such extremes to use other people. Sometimes their use of other people is much more subtle. For example, one things demons want to do is to deceive you into disobeying God. It's not only the deception that demons use other people to accomplish. Sometimes it's discouragement.
Let me ask you this, have you ever had somebody send you an awful email or a letter and you read it and it's so depressed you as you read, or you listen to the attacks against you. It just weighed you down, where you didn't want to do anything. That kind of discouragement comes from the evil one. Our pastor are you saying anytime anybody criticizes us that's demonically inspired? Of course not, Proverbs 13:18 says, "There are some positive things that can come from criticism. Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline. But the one who regards reproof that is correction, will be honored". But whenever criticism comes from God that he uses other people to bring it into our life, it has a positive quality to it.
But hear this, hear me this morning. When somebody comes to you, criticizes you and that criticism is based on lies and it's bathed bitterness, you don't have to wonder the source of that. That's not coming from God. That is demonic activity, trying to discourage you from accomplishing God's purpose in your life. Which raises an interesting question, and that is, pastor are you saying even Christians can be demon possessed? Are you saying Christians can be used by demons to accomplish their purpose in somebody else's life?
Let's look at that term "demon possessed" for just a moment. It may interest you to know that the phrase, "demon possessed," is found nowhere in the New Testament. Nowhere, is that, wait a minute Robert, we just read it in Luke 8 to the man who was possessed by many demons, that's the English translation and the Greek text, the word is simply, they were, the man was demonized. He was demonized. He was under the influence of demons. You see demon possession is not an accurate term for a Christian. Think about what the word possess means. When I say possess, what does that word possess mean? It means to own, doesn't it? If you possess something, you own it. So the real question is, can Christians be owned by demons or by the leader of demon, Satan? And of course the answer is NO. No Christian can be owned by Satan and his demons.
Turn over to Ephesians 1:13-14. Paul gives us a great truth here, will do well to remember. In talking about our possession, Ephesians 1:13-14, "In him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, having also believed you were sealed". Now, underline that word. "You were sealed in him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of his glory".
The moment you trust in Christ as your Savior, you not only receive the forgiveness of your sins. You received the sealing by the Holy Spirit of God. You know what the Holy Spirit is. He is God's stamp of ownership on your life. He gives you his Holy Spirit and the moment you become a Christian, it means you are owned by God. You are property of God. Now something about God, you need to understand God doesn't believe in joint ownership of anything, okay? He doesn't share his possessions with anyone. If God owns it, nobody else can own it.
And the fact that you as a Christian have the Holy Spirit, that you are owned by God means it is absolutely impossible for you to be possessed or owned by Satan and his demons. By the way, think of the other implication of that. It means every person who is not a Christian is possessed by Satan and his demons. Most people don't realize that when you're born into this world, you're not born your own free agent. You are born as a part of Satan's kingdom. He has ownership of every person who is ever born into this world. It's only through Christ that we are rescued from the kingdom of darkness and placed into the kingdom of light.
Can a Christian be demon possessed or owned? Absolutely not, but there's a difference between being demon possessed and demonically influenced. Can a Christian be influenced, controlled by demons? The answer is absolutely. Think about the example of the apostle Peter. Remember Jesus was laying out for the disciples, the plan of Jesus going to Jerusalem, dying and being raised on the third day, like Kelly sang about, and what did Peter say? He said, Lord you don't need to go suffer on the cross. You don't need to die. There's a better way. How did Jesus respond?
Look at Matthew 16:23, "But Jesus turned to Peter and said, get behind me, Satan, you are a stumbling block to me, for you are not setting your mind on God's interests but on man's". Was Jesus saying that Peter was possessed by Satan? No, but he was allowing himself to be controlled by Satan through what he said, through his vocal chords. Now, some people would say, well, pastor that was before Pentecost, that was before the Holy Spirit came to dwell every believer. But today Christians who have been baptized with the Holy Spirit of God, it is impossible for Christians today to be controlled by Satan.
Oh really, think about the example in Acts 4 and 5 of Ananias and Sapphira remember their story. They sold that piece of property. They gave some to the church, but they withheld a portion for themselves. Now the sin was not that they kept some of the money for themselves. There's nothing wrong with that. What was wrong was they made a commitment, a pledge that they were going to give everything and they didn't fulfill that pledge. They kept some of it for themselves. And what was Peter's response when that happened? Look at Acts 5:3, "Peter turned to Ananias and said, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? And to keep back some of the piece of the land".
As you know, the Holy Spirit struck Ananias dead right there in front of the whole church for everybody to see. But will you notice what Peter said? He said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart"? Ananias was a believer. He had been baptized with the Holy Spirit of God, but he was being controlled with Satan. How do you explain that?
Ladies and gentlemen, there's a difference between being baptized with the Holy Spirit of God and being filled by the Holy Spirit of God. Remember 1 Corinthians 12:13, is there, Paul said to the Corinthians, "By one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body". Every true Christian has experienced the baptism with the Holy Spirit of God. But not every Christian has experienced the filling of the Holy Spirit of God.
In Ephesians 5:18, Paul says, "Be filled with the Spirit". That word fill means to control. That's what the filling of the Holy Spirit of God is. It is the filling, the control of the Holy Spirit of God. The moment you become a Christian, listen to this, you receive all of the Holy Spirit. You receive every part of him. There's no more the Holy Spirit for you to receive as Christian, you have all of the Holy Spirit. The question is, is the Holy Spirit have all of you.
And here's the key point about demonic influence, any part of your life that is not being controlled by the Holy Spirit of God is open to being controlled by demons. Can a Christian be demon possessed? Absolutely not, can you as a Christian be demonically controlled or influenced, absolutely. How can you protect yourself against Satan or the deem of demonic influence in your life? And what do you do if you discover that part of your life is under his influence, under his control? Well next time, we're finally going to turn to Ephesians 6 and we're going to begin looking at six simple strategies you can use to defeat Satan's plan to destroy your life.