Demonic Activity In The World Today

Title: Demonic Activity in the World Today
Text: Luke 11:24, Matthew 4:1-3, 10-11, Luke 5:1
Time: October 28th, 2014

 
We’re in the Halloween season this year and unfortunately we have to be reminded again and again about the demonic world. It’s particularly bad this year because retail stores have figured out that they could turn a somewhat amusing holiday, Halloween, into a full-blown season through the use of pumping up the sale of products, costumes, candy and decorations. I’ve noticed over the last few years that more and more Halloween decorations are appearing in the stores and also consequently in the neighborhood, in yards and on houses. Halloween used to be a kind of fun day, but today it’s an entire season of occult symbols all over the place in public. We shouldn’t be happy to see this development because whether people know it or not, it introduces them to the world of the occult, which is the realm of Satan. Now most people don’t take the devil so serious today but that’s because they are truly ignorant of his reality. If people really understood the dangers of the occult and the demonic spiritual world, they wouldn’t decorate their homes or decorate themselves with occult symbols. There is also the question of mental health. What are the effects of promoting the scary, the frightening, and nightmare-like images among children? I don’t hear much discussion or talk about this concern. If we can believe the mental health statistics, we’ve never had so many people on psychiatric drugs as today. People suffer from depression in record numbers. Anxiety is a major mental health problem. And on and on the list could go. All the while, we give the Halloween season a free pass in culture, with its awful dreadful images, outright gruesome figures, and demonic inspired sights and sounds. It isn’t any wonder that mental health problems are multiplying. As they say in the computer field, GIGI – garbage in, garbage out. If we pump devilish images into our minds, we’ll get devilish results in our lives. To be honest, if I were a parent, I wouldn’t allow my child to participate in devilish activities and decorate the yard or house with the symbols of the devil. As Christians we know from the Bible that demons are real, and we also know that they can cause great harm to individuals. The reality of Satan and his demons is nothing to play with, even during Halloween. So while we’re on the subject, I’d like to go over again just a few areas that demons are active in the world today; or you might say, the major ways they show themselves to be active. First, there is demonic activity in the form of infestation. They can dwell in certain places or specific locations, such as a house or area. Second, there is demonic oppression, which is where a demon or demons attack an individual or individuals. People can come under mild to severe demonic attack, which is called oppression. And finally, third, there is the reality of demon possession where a demon or demons actually take over control of a person’s mind and body. Thankfully, this last case is not common, but it’s always a danger that must be recognized. So let me review these three basic forms of demonic activity.

First, there’s demonic infestation. Luke 11:24, “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, if finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.” It’s hard to say exactly the purposes and motives of demons, but we have the reference from Jesus as to the purpose of Satan, “The thief (the devil) comes to steal, kill and destroy,” John 10:10. So we can imagine that the ultimate goal of the devil and demons is to possess an individual in order to steal, kill and destroy. We see this actually happening today as we hear reports of school shootings where youngsters actually do kill and destroy in murderous rampages. No doubt demonic possession plays a factor in these situations. But we have to conclude from observations that it’s hard for demons to actually possess people, so they aim for lesser influence such as oppression and infestation. Oppression is a very common activity of demons, but infestation may be even more common, although we might not recognize it as such. Infestation is where a demon or demons haunt a building or location. Or to put it in street language, it’s where demons like to “hang out” for some reason or another. We’ve all heard of the proverbial “haunted house.” Well, there’s truth to it. There really are some houses that are haunted. It can happen. We’ve also heard about graveyards being haunted. Well, again, there are no doubt graveyards that are haunted. How many or which ones we can only guess. There have been movies from Hollywood made about haunted houses, for example, the Amityville Horror, and while mostly fiction, there is still the element of truth present. There are reasons why demons frequent certain places more than others, although it’s often difficult to figure out demon logic. Now what do we do if we suspect that some place is infested with demons? It depends on the place. If it’s a place we come into contact with we should take steps to deal with it, but if it’s some place, some abandoned building out in the middle of nowhere, why go looking for trouble? If a demon or demons are haunting some place there will be signs of their presence ranging from mild to severe. People report strange smells, sounds or sights. The place should be prayed over, scripture quoted and if need be a pastor or priest called in to help also. Usually this will rid the place of demons, although it may take longer in tougher cases. We don’t have to fear or even surrender to demons. We can deal with them if we find them infesting some place. Prayer is usually the best solution. If your prayers aren’t enough, then recruit the help of others in order to rid the place of demons.

Second, there’s demonic oppression. Matthew 4:1-3, 10-11, “The Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty night, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’. . . Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” Here’s the familiar account of the temptation of Jesus, but what we don’t realize is that this is a good example of demonic oppression by the devil himself. In infestation, a place is inhabited by demons. With oppression, demons are attempting to influence an individual negatively by direct attack. In the account, Satan was trying to get Jesus to abandon his role as Lord and Savior. He was attempting to get Jesus to settle for a lesser mission of worldly power or position. Now in this case Satan himself spoke to Jesus directly, but in most cases of demonic oppression the demons speak to the victim mentally or spiritually, or attack the person physically, materially, economically and so forth. In other words, demons attack a person through any possible means in order to discourage or destroy that individual. I suspect that most suicides are the result of demonic oppression – demons speaking to someone through their thoughts and emotions, communicating to them they should end their life, that all is hopeless. But demonic oppression doesn’t have to be psychological or emotional, it can also be physical. Demons can cause sickness on occasion. We remember the case of the woman in the New Testament who was so crippled that the Bible describes her as someone “whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years,” Luke 13:16. That’s physical oppression. But there’s mental oppression, financial oppression, marital oppression, and many other types of demonic oppression. The goal of the demons is the same – to steal, kill and destroy, it’s just the degree of attack is greater than infestation and not as bad as full-blown possession. In the temptation account the weapon Jesus used against demonic oppression was the Word of God; he quoted the Bible. And so we should use this also, in addition to prayer and other spiritual disciplines. We should pray to God for deliverance from demonic oppression whenever we feel we’re under it. We should also find Bible passages that apply to our situation and stand on these promises of deliverance. In addition, we should continue to attend worship services on Sunday, and any prayer meetings and Bible studies we find helpful. The worse thing we can do is isolate ourselves and try to deal with our oppression alone. We need God and also other Christians to help us. Demonic oppression can be dealt with successfully if we apply the resources God gives us. We don’t have to live under a cloud of demonic oppression. There are solutions.

Third, there’s demonic possession. Luke 5:1, “They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. . . . When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me.’ For Jesus had said to him, ‘Come out of this man, you evil spirit.’ Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ and he said, ‘My name is Legion, for we are many.’” Here’s a situation of full-blown possession. This poor fellow had gotten himself possessed by demons through some means, and now he was encountering Jesus. Thankfully, authentic cases of demonic possession are rare, or at least we think they are rare. Possession involves the control, partially or fully, of a person’s mind, emotions and body. In other words, the person is no longer in charge of his own life; demons are in control. Demons can, when they possess this degree of control, speak through the person’s vocal chords. They can act through the person’s body. They can influence the world to the degree the person they are possessing has influence. As we can imagine, this is a very dangerous situation. For example, what would happen if the President of the United States – or for that matter, any leader of a nation with nuclear weapons – what would happen if they became possessed of demons? They could, in theory, launch a weapon that could destroy millions of lives. Let us pray that never happens. But even on a lesser scale, demon possession is a serious matter. Simple prayer and Bible verses might not be enough. We might have to call in a mature and experienced Christian leader who knows what to do in such cases. In the Roman Catholic church, this is the Exorcist. In Protestant churches it’s usually a pastor or Bible teacher who knows what they are doing. Whether Catholic Exorcist or Protestant pastor whoever is attempting to remove a demon from a possessed person is basically doing the same thing – they are coming against the demon with the authority of Jesus Christ and commanding it to leave. Now the actual process of expulsing a demon may take time, depending on the particular situation and the cooperation of the person possessed. It may take a few minutes or a few hours. In extreme cases, it might take days or weeks depending on how severe the possession is. If the person possessed truly wants set free, they can be set free. However, if for whatever reasons the possessed person isn’t willing to do whatever it takes to make the demon leave there is the possibility that it will stay. The active cooperation of the person is required in most cases.

I hope we don’t ever have to encounter a truly demon possessed person, because it isn’t a pretty sight. The demon’s goal is the total destruction of the person and as many other people as possible. Being around a possessed person is usually a bad experience in and of itself. Being the possessed person has got to be a living hell. That’s why we need to do everything within our powers before there is any demonic infestation or oppression or possession to keep demons at a distance. During this Halloween season, don’t play around with occult or demonic images and symbols. It may seem fun and games, but it isn’t. The Bible doesn’t treat demonic activity as funny. God doesn’t think witches – real occult and spiritistic practitioners – as fun and games. Neither should we. Our culture falls for demonic images and symbols because it is ignorant and foolish. We don’t have to follow society in this trend towards expanding Halloween into a season rather than just a day. For that matter, we could just as well do without the day of Halloween. Now I can understand that a day for kids to dress up in appropriate costumes and gather candy can be a fun time. If we keep it to simply a fun time with no occult connection, yes, it can be harmless fun. The problem is that our culture has already expanded Halloween into a full-blown season complete with demonic and occult symbols and images. Under these modern circumstances it’s questionable whether even the day of Halloween can be salvaged as a fun kid activity. There might come a time in the future, if that time hasn’t already arrived, when parents just conclude that there are better ways for kids to have fun, and it’s just best to do away with all participation in Halloween altogether. If the modern secular trend of pushing and promoting the occult continues and increases in the coming years I suspect the Christian parents may pull the plug on Halloween completely. I know for myself as a pastor, I will continue to speak out and warn people about the occult influence of Halloween, and urge them to beware and be careful about getting caught up in it. We’ve got enough to worry about keeping the devil and demons away during the normal course of a lifetime; we don’t need to be inviting their activity and presence during a season called Halloween. Demonic activity isn’t fun and games, and it should be treated as such. Anything that trivializes it or takes it lightly or casually is bad. Through Jesus Christ we have power over the devil and demons, but let’s pray that we won’t have to fight these kinds of battles too often in life.

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