Living in a Spiritual World

Posted on 03/04/2012 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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King of Kings and Lord of Lords
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How many of you know today that we live in a spiritual world. If our eyes could be opened for just a moment, I think we'd all be shocked and amazed at what we would see.

Ephesians 6:12 says that "wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." And we're going to come back to that passage in just a moment.

Today, I'd like for us to discuss the topic not only of demons, but also of light and darkness in our every day lives. And I'd like for us to explore both what the Bible says about the subject, and what people have observed first hand; and then we'll take a look at what we can do to repel demons while producing a positive atmosphere that brings us light and life.

First of all, let's take a look at the question, "What are demons?" Well, Jude 1:6 (NKJV) says this:

6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;

From this and various other Scriptures speaking of the fall, we can suppose that demons are simply fallen angels. At least that's the most commonly accepted Christian doctrine, and, considering the lack of any clear definition being given in Scripture, is a very reasonable one.

2 Peter 2:4 (NKJV) says that, quote,

4 ...God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;

Of course we think of "hell" as the eternal place of burning and torment. But that's actually a description given to the lake of fire.

The Bible concordance gives the following definition of the word "Hell" used in that verse:

"The name of the subterranean region, doleful and dark, regarded by the ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, where they suffer punishment for their evil deeds; it answers to Gehenna of the Jews."

The truth is that, while most Christians go through their entire lives thinking they know exactly what demons and hell are, the Bible does not spell out the exact details of either; and as is almost always the case when we're not clearly told something, we fill in the blanks with assumptions, often without knowing that's what we're doing, and we accept our conclusions as absolute fact.

But regardless of this fact, we DO know enough about demons to know that they're very evil, potentially very dangerous, and they CAN be dealt with. And while they can be dealt with by people who are not born-again Christians, people who are not filled with the Spirit of God do so at their own risk and without any guaranteed protection from God.

We see an example of this in Acts 19:13-16 (NKJV):

13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches."
14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?"
16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

One thing that's interesting in this particular example is that these Jewish exorcists were actually calling on the name of Jesus. But it seems as though they weren't actually born again nor did they have the Spirit of God. After all, Jesus told us that those who follow Him would cast out demons.

It's also interesting to note that the person who attacked these seven exorcists was NOT posessed by multiple demons, but by only ONE. And yet the power given by that ONE demon was enough to rip off their clothes and send them out wounded. That one man posessed with that one demon beat up seven men and sent them running for their lives.

Now I don't know about you, but when I was younger, I somehow got the idea that, if someone was a powerful man or woman of God, they would need only command the demons to leave in Jesus' name, and the demon would obey almost immediately. But obviously, at least in some cases, demons can be quite attached to their hosts, and they can do a lot of harm to people who don't have or exercise true spiritual authority over them.

Let's consider the story found in Mark chapter five:

Mark 5:5-13 (NASB)

1 They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes.
2 When (Jesus) got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him,
3 and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain;
4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
5 Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones.

6 Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him;
7 and shouting with a loud voice, he said, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!"
8 For He had been saying to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!"

9 And He was asking him, "What is your name?" And he said to Him, "My name is Legion; for we are many."

10 And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country.
11 Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain.
12 The demons implored Him, saying, "Send us into the swine so that we may enter them."
13 Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.

Notice that in verse eight, we see that Jesus "had been saying to him," "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" Even though He was God in human flesh, and even though in Him "dwelled the fullness of the Godhead bodily," Jesus did not merely say "come out" once, but this says He had BEEN SAYING to him, "come out of the man." Those demons were so attached to the man, that they were resisting even the Son of God.

And then in verse ten, we see that they were begging Jesus not to send them out of the country. So they were not attached only to the man, but also to the area itself.

And then when Jesus sent them into the herd of swine, they all ran down the hill and drowned in the sea. Strangely enough, we don't see any mention of their entering anyone else.

That's even more interesting when we consider Matthew 12:43, in which Jesus says this: "Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it."

It's been said that "waterless" refers to an absense of the "water of life", or the Holy Spirit, that is inside of a believer. But this says that while the spirit passes through waterless places, it doesn't find any rest.

So the point here is not that the demon can rest only in places where there is no water, but that the demon passes through only "waterless" places.

And this is where personal observation comes in. I've heard first hand accounts of people's personal experiences and observations concerning evil spirits and "waterless places." One man described his own experience in which, in a desperate effort to help a demon-posessed boy, he told the spirit to come into him instead.

Well, it did, and it almost killed him. He also related that, by some "unknown guidance," he found himself wandering around in the outback, and collapsed on top of a hidden, under-ground stream of water. He didn't know it was there, and in the outback, such a thing is rare, to say the least. But by spending untold hours over the running water, he was able to come to his senses and rid himself of the evil spirit.

Have you ever been out somewhere in the presence of evil, or stress, or some other atmosphere in which you feel as though something undesirable is trying to attach itself to you, and you've gone home and gotten in the shower? After a long time under the water, you feel a lot better.

People who suffer from depression have been known to frequently spend long amounts of time in the shower, perhaps hours at a time. They do that because they feel a little bit of relief, even if it lasts for only a short time.

Well, it seems as though there's something about evil spirits and clean running water. Should it come as any surprise that demons can be affected by the elements God has put in place?

So if you've been surrounded by evil, or if you feel as though something bad has been trying to attach itself to you, get in the shower and sing praises to God.

Now it's important to realize that water itself isn't an anti-demonic substance. Consider the following passage, found in Mark 9:21-22 (NKJV)

21 So (Jesus) asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood.
22 And often (the demon) has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us."

The deaf and dumb spirit that had possesed this young boy threw him into the water, trying to drown him. So don't count on a shower or a swim in a river to break the activities of an evil spirit; those are simply some things that have been shown to help in many cases.

But however particular demon managed to gain access to this boy, it was deeply rooted in him, and he was totally posessed.

And the power and authority of the word of Jesus set that little boy free.

Let's read the rest of this story.

Mark 9:21-22, 23-29 (NKJV)

21 So (Jesus) asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood.
22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us."

23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."

24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"

25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: "Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!"
26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, "He is dead."
27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.

28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?"

29 So He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting."

So we see another element to the successful deliverance of this boy: Prayer and Fasting. You see, even though Jesus was fully God, He was also fully man. Just like you and me, Jesus had to pray. He had to deny His flesh. He had to spend time with God. He had to listen for the Father's voice and choose to obey. He had to fast. He had to "get in tune" spiritually.

Jesus did NOT say, "This kind can come out only by either fasting and prayer, or by the voice of the Son of God." Instead, He mentioned only fasting and prayer.

Do you want to increase your level of authority over the attacks of the enemy? Then spend time every day in prayer, and set aside time to fast and pray.

Have you ever noticed that flies and roaches tend to be attracted to certain types of environments? Of course they can both show up pretty much anywhere. But places that are unclean or disorderly tend to be their preference.

Well, while flies and roaches are pests we can see, there are lots of pests which we can NOT see with our physical eyes.

These include not only evil spirits, but also those things which are not necessarily fallen angels.

2nd Timothy 1:7 tells us that "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

And I don't believe this is talking about a demon. After all, that would be obvious. God doesn't give us ANY kind of demon. Demons are spirits which have gone AGAINST God's directions. Instead, this is referring to an atmosphere -- something that can be caused by any number of things, and can hang around like a thick fog that simply won't go away.

These types of non-angelic and non-demonic spirits can be either good or bad, and they are attracted to and collect around things which are of their own nature.

For example, if you want to attract spirits of confusion, negativity, poverty, and other things that will drag you down, let your living and working space get cluttered and dirty. And just wait and see how long it takes for the atmosphere to get dark and heavy. Those "spirits" will drain your motivation, your energy, and your excitement for life.

Of course the answer should be obvious -- clean up the mess! And I'm talking to myself here too. Put things in order. Throw away things you don't need. Release your attachments to clutter and garbage, and throw it out. Make everything bright, clean, orderly, and cheerful. And make a strong, unwavering commitment to keep it that way. And your atmosphere will change.

It's interesting to note here that while some people seem to automatically keep things orderly and clean, other people find it seemingly impossible to keep things that way. If this is the case for you, then there's something inside of you that you need to track down and address.

And I promise you, it will NOT want to go. Whether or not it's demonic, it seems to have a mind of its own, and it's probably deeply rooted inside of your thoughts, feelings, and mental programs.

Try watching your thoughts and feelings for awhile. Take note of how many of them bring you down, compared with how many of them build you up and give you positive motivation and energy. Then start weeding out the ones that are keeping you down, keeping you unmotivated, keeping you expecting bad instead of good, and keeping you from letting go of the past, the way things have always been, and walking into a new, bright future.

If you really want to break free from something, whether it is a demon, a spirit, or a pattern, get angry with it. Rise up in the Spirit of the Lord, and speak to it with authority. Break its power. Renounce its presence in your life. Command it to release you and to leave. And then speak good things into that place instead.

And as you clean up your thoughts, feelings, and physical surroundings, you will start attracting spirits of life, light, and success. And your life WILL start to change.

Of course physical mess isn't the only disorder in your life that will attract bad spirits or even demons. Just try holding on to sin, and see where THAT gets you. If you want to give permission to spirits and demons to control parts of your life, just keep disobeying God in things related to those areas.

By obeying the serpent instead of the word of God, Adam gave the entire creation over to the curse of sin. And by obeying your fleshly desires and the temptations of the enemy instead of the word of God, we give satan and his demons and dark spirits power over those parts of our lives.

And breaking their hold on our lives requires some spiritual house cleaning.

First of all, spend some time in prayer, and perhaps in fasting. Ask God to reveal the inner mess to you. And then take whatever action is necessary to clean it out for good.

If at all possible, prepare for this time of seeking by de-cluttering your physical surroundings. If you're not willing to do that much, then you're probably not going to get anywhere at all with your spiritual de-cluttering. Start with what you can make yourself do, and go from there.

Let's wrap up today by taking another look at the first passage we read today.

Ephesians 6:10-18 (KMV)

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, so you may be able to stand against the deceitful trickery of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 For this reason, put on the whole armor of God, so you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being attentive to this, with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Yes, our battle ultimately is with spirits and demons. And the most important part of our battle is to make sure we put on the whole armor of God.

Lord willing, we'll talk more about this subject in the near future, perhaps in the few weeks of come. But in the meanwhile, I encourage you to read this passage prayerfully, asking God to reveal His word to you.

Very basically speaking, this passage tells us that:

1. We need to seek out and hold firmly to the truth.

2. We need to live lives of righteousness.

3. We need to be well-prepared to share the Gospel of peace.

4. We need to increase our faith, and use that faith to quench the attacks of the enemy.

5. We need to protect our minds with salvation.

6. We need to be filled with the word of God, and speak it into our lives and situations.

7. We need to live a life of prayer.