Today’s Teaching Target is…
Time for Discernment and Engagement - Over Demonic Forces and Evil Opposition
Last week I laid a strong biblical foundation for the unquestionable goodness of God’s Creation and creative purpose.
We can’t move forward in discernment and engagement of demonic and evil forces without acknowledging that God did not create good only to be overtaken by evil.
Within the goodness of God there is no evil.
There is good and there is evil…
But, what God Himself has made good - there can be no evil.
We are just getting started so don’t flatline on me!
Let me explain…
The incarnation (God with us), the crucifixion (forgiveness through sacrifice), and the resurrection (conquering the power of sin and death) of Jesus, not only establishes this as truth; but places Christ in the position as eternal guardian of all that is good…
And for those who call and believe in Him – He will deliver from all evil. Jesus is the mediator of all that is good between us and God. So that when God sees us (even though we have sin)
He only sees what He has made good.
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Because of Jesus, you and I ARE the goodness of God, and we are on “good-terms.”
So, hold on to that good thought and to the good work of the Father in us, as we open up the conversation about discerning and engaging demonic forces and evil opposition.
I want to continue the series It’s Just Time with not only solid biblical instruction on a fairly misunderstood mandate; but I want to also issue a strong spiritual challenge for every believer in Christ, who is part of the community at Reunion and beyond.
I am certain that you are going to clearly see both the instruction and the challenge are birthed and given validation within the words and intent of Jesus.
Luke 13:31 – 32
At that time some Pharisees said to him, “Get away from here if you want to live! Herod Antipas wants to kill you!”
32 Jesus replied, “Go tell that fox that I will keep on casting out demons and healing people today and tomorrow; and the third day I will accomplish my purpose.
I’m telling you the truth, WHOEVER BELIEVES in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
These miraculous signs will accompany THOSE WHO BELIEVE: Believers will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. 18 They will be able to handle snakes with safety (yuck!), and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.
Without oversimplifying or misinterpreting the words of Jesus in these verses…
there are at least three indisputable truths that any believer who humbly stands before God as His righteousness in Christ Jesus - should know and use.
One – We have been given the mandate of Jesus to not only resist the devil and His demonic forces but to defeat those forces that stand in opposition against us.
Two – We have been given the authority of Jesus over the demonic forces and influences in our world. He has power and dominion over all things demonic and evil.
Three – We have been given the assurance of Jesus that demonic forces do not have the power or ability to harm us. We do not need to fear or flee any demonic forces or form of evil.
Clearly, we are not on our own here!
Jesus is with us.
He not only gives us our mission - but He supports the process of discerning and engaging demonic forces and evil opposition as well.
He not only said it was real…
but He gives us real help in the time of trouble.
Our next step is to acknowledge that in spiritual warfare, Christ has wisely put in place certain “rules of engagement.”
This should not be a surprise to anyone who is knowledgeable enough to understand the benefits and protective dynamics of spiritual authority in Christ, and the biblical “chain of command.”
Here are some of those engagement rules we should follow and certainly not ignore or resist.
There is something here for us to learn.
Discernment and Engagement of Demonic Forces and Opposition is not for the arrogant, ignorant, or those who rebel against authority. In this context, Arrogance is Pride – Ignorance is Foolish – Rebellion is as the Sin of Witchcraft.
But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
1 Samuel 15:22-23
What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. 23 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.
Discernment and Engagement of Demonic Forces and Opposition must be supported by a submissive and humbled life of prayer and committed faith.
And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you.
Discernment and Engagement of Demonic Forces and Opposition is not only centered in full belief of the authority and power of the Resurrected Christ, but is also a command response to the active work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer.
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
Ok, we can’t go on and close out this morning without pulling back the curtain on the ideas and principles of submission and surrender in the context of our conversation.
The submission and surrender part of the strategy against demonic forces and evil opposition is so critically important…
To be honest, my heart was so full I didn’t think I could get to it all.
So, I borrowed some insights from the global evangelist and writer Daniel Kolenda, who has a wonderful revelation regarding submission and surrender in spiritual warfare.
Here is how this all connects:
Because of our humanity, you and I may not always walk in perfect victory over sin, self, and the devil, as Jesus did.
But… as God’s children we are called to grow consistently under Christ’s authority.
There must be “no end to the increase of His government” in our daily lives (Isaiah. 9:7).
Jesus’ victory over the forces of darkness cannot merely remain a theological or positional truth.
It must become real and practical.
It must become part of our daily sensory template or spiritual imprint.
We must actually walk in authority over sin and demonic opposition as our Christian character grows into the image of Christ.
And, when there is a discernible or potential conflict with demonic forces and opposition in around ourselves and the people we love, we have assured confidence that IN Christ – we have authority over those forces.
But when we willingly concede to Satan in our own lives, we will find it extremely difficult to take authority over his influence and opposition on someone else’s life or circumstance.
This is both a spiritual and practical matter.
If we concede to something, we agree with it.
This agreement then manifests in our behavior, even if we use our “command and authority” words to declare God’s truth.
Such distance between our words and lives will carry no weight against demonic forces and evil opposition.
It’s important here to understand the distinction we are making.
I am not saying we have authority over demons in our own strength… even when we are good enough or disciplined enough.
Our authority does not come from a stockpile of our good works or strategic acts of self-discipline – our authority is not from our goodness if there is any.
Our authority comes from our submission to God’s authority.
In fact, submission to God contradicts human pride, self-confidence, and religious works.
This is important to hear this morning…
Submission to God allows us to see our deep and desperate need for His grace.
But that kind of humble surrender to God must still happen and must happen in a practical and real way.
So here it is, if we do not push through to submit to God in our life-choices and behaviors, we actually are resisting His authority.
How then can we possess God’s authority while also resisting it?
Without that submission we have no authority to confront demonic forces and evil opposition.
When we submit to God, we receive His authority – YES… which then enables us to release and share with others.
We need to see that our ability to resist Satan and his demonic forces is connected to our submission to God, and for good reason:
All spiritual authority comes from God.
We have no authority over Satan in and of ourselves.
And, in order to release God’s authority, we must first submit to it.
Humble yourselves before God. Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you…
This is a great place to stop, reflect and pray…
By now most relevant Christians are discerning the demonic advancement and the evil agenda that has attached to our current circumstances and socio-political climate. It is polarizing – and truthfully that is how good and evil are supposed to be. We have spent way too much time filling in the gap with gray. It’s Just Time to acknowledge and not ignore… Demonic forces and evil opposition need a nesting place – evil attaches itself to people - places - and things. There is a definite and aggressive movement against Christian ideology, Christian worship, and Christ followers within our great nation. This movement has attached itself to very high-profile cultural institutions popular mediums and global platforms…
Here is something we need to reconcile – those demonic forces and the evil opposition were aggressively active long before the COVID-19 and the flatten the curve protocols. What they have done is use the momentum of the pandemic.
Christians are just finally waking up and do not like what they see.
There is also a strong and growing sense that it is just time to spiritually engage ourselves against a real and present darkness.
So, what does that look for me and everyone I love?
What is that going to look and feel like at my church and in my community of faith moving forward?
Go tell that fox… today and tomorrow I’m going to cast out demons and
pray for the sick. PRAYER
Next week we can open the conversation about spiritual discernment and practical engagement of demonic forces.
Located in Peoria, AZ, we are a non-denominational Christian church. We love God and teach His Truth. We invite you, your family and friends to join us on the faith journey, growing closer to one another, the Christian community of believers at Reunion, and most importantly with God. Read more about the timeless Truth we build our lives and faith in Christ on HERE.
We are conveniently located just off the 101 on 83rd Ave and Cactus Rd. Join us on Sunday mornings, Weds. evenings, and throughout the week at our small groups, meeting in homes around the Valley, including Surprise, Glendale, Peoria, Phoenix, Goodyear, Litchfield, and more. Connect with us on Facebook and YouTube