Read So Much More: Moving Beyond Kingdom Principles to Kingdom Power Online

Authors: Todd Hudson

Tags: #Religion, #Christian Life, #Spiritual Growth, #book, #ebook

So Much More: Moving Beyond Kingdom Principles to Kingdom Power (8 page)

BOOK: So Much More: Moving Beyond Kingdom Principles to Kingdom Power
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There is absolutely no confusion at all in the minds of the demons as to who Jesus is. They clearly point out that He is Jesus who hails from Nazareth. Everyone else in the room perhaps would have known this as well, but the demons also refer to Him as the Holy One of God, which was something no one else in the room would have been capable of knowing. The demons knew more than anyone else present that day about who Jesus really was. Not only did they know who He was, they knew why He had come. They asked, “Have you come to destroy us?” That really was kind of a rhetorical question. They knew that He was the Holy One of God, whom they had lived with in heaven in eternity past and had known as the Lord of heaven, the Eternal One who existed before the foundations of the world. They also knew that His coming and invading their territory was not a good thing for their kingdom. These demons knew exactly who Jesus was and what He had come to do. They were screaming at the top of their lungs, “Have you come to destroy us?” The answer to their question was yes. He had come to destroy their dominion take back the kingdom. He had come to put an end to their rule and reign. He had come to destroy the works of the devil.

This group of demons were trespassing and victimizing this poor man, and Jesus had come to bring deliverance to him. It was going to be one of the most beautiful, loving, and freeing things this man would ever experience in his life. This man would never be the same the rest of his life because Jesus showed up and delivered him from demons that had been tormenting him. The scripture here says in some translations that this man was “possessed.” That is not the best choice of words because it implies ownership, and that may not necessarily be the case. If we go back to the original language, the word “possessed” does not appear. The Greek word translated “possessed” is actually the word
, which literally means to have a devil, to be exercised by an unclean spirit, to be under the power or influence of one, or to be vexed with a devil.
To be vexed refers to harassment, torment, and troubling from an evil spirit. Many scholars believe a better translation of the word would be the word “demonized” rather than “possessed,” and that would be an important distinction.

Much of the modern language we use to describe demonic activity in the lives of humans is not helpful or biblical. For example, we sometimes debate whether or not Christians can be demonized. Can demons be in, at, or around believers? Nowhere does the Bible tell us that Christians cannot be demonized or have some level of demonic activity coming against them. The most commonly used argument for saying a believer cannot be demonized is a theological argument rather than a biblical argument. The question is usually asked this way: How can Christ and a demon dwell in the same home? The answer to this question might be stated in the form of another question: How can Christ and sin dwell together in the life of a believer? The fact is the Holy Spirit dwells with sin any time He inhabits the heart of a believer. If He can dwell in the heart of a sinful person, could He not dwell with a demonized person?

Let me just mention one example from Scripture that indicates that Christians can be demonized at some level.

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
—1 C

This seems to indicate that sexual sin, including lust, immorality, adultery, and perversion, can open up a door for demonic activity in the life of a believer. Notice Paul instructs that this man be handed over to Satan. Yet he is a believer, a member of the church, and his spirit is going to be saved on the day of the Lord.

There are also several scriptures that warn us as believers against activities that can give demons inroads into our lives. One example: “‘In your anger do not sin.’ Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Eph. 4:26–27). When we carry around unresolved anger and unforgiveness in our hearts, Paul says we open a door for demonic activity in our lives.

The Bible also says that things such as hatred, violence, envy, jealousy, selfish ambition, occult practices, idolatry, and blasphemy can create demonic inroads into the life of a person, even a believer. So we should not be naïve enough to believe that simply because we are believers we are immune from opening a door to the enemy and allowing him access to our lives. Peter was writing to Christians when he said, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). I think it is pretty clear that Christians can be demonized at some level.

The man who encountered Jesus in the synagogue in Mark 1 was clearly demonized. The demons were abusing this man and causing him harm. When Jesus saw that, He was filled with compassion and mercy for the man and wanted him to be free. So He spoke to the demons and took authority by rebuking them and telling them to be quiet (1:25). The English translation doesn’t do the Greek language justice here. The word Jesus used was powerful. The Greek word translated “be quiet” means to muzzle or put to silence, and the word translated “come out” means to go or depart. When you put these together, it might be translated “Stop it!” He was rebuking the demons and demanding that they stop oppressing this man and leave him alone. The clear implication was that they didn’t really have a choice. They knew who Jesus was and they had to listen to Him because He had authority over them. Then Jesus demanded that the evil spirits come out of this man. The evil spirits shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. It was all over in a matter of seconds from the time Jesus spoke until the man was freed from this demonization. Jesus was not an exorcist. Jesus was a demon-expeller. He had the power and authority to drive demons out with a word, and in doing so He is demonstrating for us that the kingdom of God is here.

Notice the reaction of the people. They knew about exorcism. The rabbis of Jesus’ day practiced a type of exorcism. They would recite the sacred name of Yahweh, and they had some success in causing demons to leave. Historians of the day speak of those who practiced rituals, incantations, and spells using things like potions, herbs, rings, or other objects that were thought to have magical qualities to cast out demons. However, all of these things took time and had limited success in exorcising demons.

But there was something different about Jesus. There were no incantations or spells. He spoke orders and demons obeyed. He did it with a word—a command. What we are seeing here is kingdom power. The people recognized the authority Jesus operated under was unique. They had never seen anyone with this kind of authority. In an instant, the secret activity of the enemy was exposed and halted, and Jesus did it all with just a word. In this instance, the demon threw the victim to the ground, shrieked, and left within simply a matter of seconds. It happened instantly, and the people who saw this were astonished. They had never seen anyone operate in this kind of authority before. They had never witnessed anyone with the power and authority to give orders to demons before, and what was even more amazing was that the demons obeyed! They were witnessing Jesus in all His power and authority.

There is another passage that makes this connection between Jesus taking authority over demons and the reintroduction of the kingdom of God.

Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

The religious leaders accused Jesus of driving out demons by demonic power. They said He was working on behalf of Satan’s kingdom. Jesus responded by saying, in effect, “Let’s just think this through rationally. Whether we’re talking about a kingdom, a city, or a household, if it is divided against itself it will not stand.” Jesus is saying it doesn’t make sense to think that He would drive out Satan himself by Satan’s power. What was really going on was a clash of kingdoms. Jesus had come to usher in the kingdom of God and take on the kingdom of Satan, and His authority over demons was proof that this kingdom had come.

This same power has been delegated to us as believers today. Following Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, the enemy was fully and finally defeated. Jesus stood in front of His disciples and declared, “All power and authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18). The implication was that all the power and authority that had been usurped by the enemy in the garden had been taken back by Jesus. Then He told His disciples to go and do what He had been doing. In other words, “I got back all power and authority. It has been given to Me, and I am conferring this power and authority to you.” He wanted them to go fulfill their original assignment—to live in the kingdom of light and take dominion over the earth and destroy the works of the enemy. In transferring this authority to His followers, Jesus was fulfilling His promise when He said to Peter, “I will give you the keys to the kingdom” (Matt. 16:18–19)

Notice that Jesus said He has been given all authority, which means Satan has none. Many believers get all nervous about the devil doing this to us or that to us, but Jesus said all authority had been given to Him. That word
is a very interesting word in the original Greek. It means “all”! Satan does have some power but he has no authority. You might wonder why then does Satan still seem to wreak havoc in the world? There are still many evidences of the fall of mankind—things like sickness, disease, and death—in the world. How does this happen and where does he get his authority? The same way he got it in the garden. He talks to us until we come in agreement with him. When we believe his lies we give authority to the liar. It is time for us as believers to stop giving away the authority that Jesus delegated to us. He gave us back the keys of the kingdom and it’s time for us to step into and walk in the kingdom authority He has delegated to us.

We have already noted that Jesus’ primary assignment was to destroy the works of the devil. But for the first thirty years of Jesus life we have no record of Him doing anything to destroy the works of the devil. It wasn’t until His baptism and filling with Holy Spirit that He became empowered to fulfill this assignment. Then He regularly destroyed the works of the devil by healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead,

Jesus told His followers, “As my Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21,
). In other words, My assignment to destroy the works of the devil is now your assignment to destroy the works of the devil. How were they going to do this? In Acts 1:8 Jesus told the apostles that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them. They would be empowered for this assignment the same way Jesus was empowered for this assignment. In Acts 2, we see that power coming upon them at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out and they began to do what Jesus had done. They healed the sick, raised the dead, and demonstrated the truth that the kingdom was at hand. The assignment has not changed. We, too, are called to destroy the works of the devil. As believers today, we, too, can be filled with the same Holy Spirit and experience the same power and dominion over the enemy that Jesus demonstrated when He destroyed the works of the devil. Just as Jesus was physically incarnate in a human body when he walked on this earth, there is a sense in which He is still incarnate in a body today. The body of Christ exists today. It is just in a different form. Now He is here in the form of the church, and as His body we are both called and empowered to take authority over the enemy the same way He did when He was walking on the earth.

Most of the church has never experienced this in our day. The church today is operating in something less than this same power and authority. Most believers today are not anticipating Jesus moving through us in this kind of power, and most don’t even know that they can have this kind of power. The church today is not operating in all of its kingdom privileges. But our assignment has not changed. We have been delegated authority by the King to live under the rule and reign of God today, in the kingdom today, and to demonstrate that authority by destroying the works of the devil just as Jesus did. We have been called to declare the words that the kingdom is at hand and also do the works that Jesus did that demonstrate the kingdom is at hand. The whole underlying concept of this kingdom teaching is that we have been called not only to teach the message about the kingdom but also to do the ministry that demonstrates the kingdom.

For over twenty years of ministry, I had never witnessed a demon manifest. In fact, I had been told these things no longer exist today. However, as I began to recognize the power and authority that we have been given over the enemy, I began to witness much in the way of demonic activity. I remember my first encounter clearly. One day I was called along with a couple of other pastors on my church staff to go pray at the home of a family in our church. Their teenage son was not sleeping well. He seemed tormented at times, and they asked if we could come pray over their house and their son and anoint the place with oil. As we began to go through the house and pray and ask God to reveal any open doors for the enemy to have a foothold in this home, we noticed that the young man became more and more agitated. His eyes were dark. His face seemed to be scrunched up in a scowl. And he kept making weird, guttural noises. By this time I had come to believe theologically that demonization still occurs today, but I had never experienced it firsthand. I was perceptive enough to know this young man’s behavior was not normal. Something strange was going on with him. I looked the young man in the eye and asked him to say, “Jesus is Lord.” At this he became even more agitated. His eyes rolled back in his head and he said in a deep gruff voice that was definitely not his own, “Nice try.” He then became very physically aggressive. The two pastors that were with me were each about 300 pounds and this boy was probably 180 pounds dripping wet, but they couldn’t hold him down. He kept flailing and fighting and seemed to have a supernatural strength.

BOOK: So Much More: Moving Beyond Kingdom Principles to Kingdom Power
11.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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