Many times in the gospels we read summary statements like this:
When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered by the door. So he healed many who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons. But he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. Mark 1:32-34 (NET)
We are ok with the idea of Jesus preaching and teaching – that fits our Western worldview.
But what of healing the sick and taking one more step further, casting out demons?
Often we have no place in either our normal experience or in our concept of reality for such things.
I have found, however, that wherever the Holy Spirit is present, enabling people to move in ministry that truly advances the Kingdom of God, we will find that evil spirits will manifest their presence.
The basis for this connection between demons being driven out and the Kingdom of God is found in Luke 10:8-21.
This is where Jesus commissions his disciples to go out to heal the sick and announce that the Kingdom of God has come.
The disciples came back very excited having found that their commission included having authority over evil spirits.
This authority was necessary because when the Kingdom of God becomes real in healings and people experiencing the grace and power of Jesus, then the demons who are opposed to Jesus are driven into open warfare. Another place where we see this connection between the Kingdom of God advancing and the dealing with demons is in Luke 11:15-20 (NET).
But some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebub, the ruler of demons, he casts out demons.” Others, to test him, began asking for a sign from heaven. But Jesus, realizing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, and a divided household falls. So if Satan too is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? I ask you this because you claim that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. Now if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has already overtaken you. Luke 11:15-20 (NET).
Jesus clearly equates casing out demons by the “finger of God” which is a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, with the advancing of the Kingdom of God.
When I was in Taiwan preaching evangelistic services and many people were coming to salvation, demons would manifest all over the place. That was completely ordinary!
Here in the West when we are engaged in healing ministry, often we will have to engage evil spirits who are blocking the process. In fact it is very common at our events to have the joy of seeing people being set free from evil spirits.
The results are amazing! And wonderful!!
I want to be clear that getting rid of afflicting spirits does not solve the person’s problems; they still have inner wounds to deal with or psychological problems.
But what does happen is that having gotten rid of the evil spirits, the prayer and or therapy becomes more effective. This becomes the ordinary part of ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit and it makes a real difference in the lives of individuals as well as whole congregations.
In our Dunamis teaching, based on the example of Jesus Christ as well as on extensive experience, we have developed a model for a step by step process for first discerning the actual presence of evil spirits, determining why they are able to attach themselves to the person, and then casting them out.
If demons are real and actually engaged in the world today, then there are all sorts of profound implications not just for ministry to individuals but for understanding and dealing with some of the areas of apparently unsolvable human conflict in our world.
Conflicts between nations, the power of drug gangs and corruption, even conflict in our families are issues not to be dealt with just with the tools of human reason, education, dialogue or even military options, there must be included the role of the spiritual tools given to us by Jesus Christ (Ephesian 6: 11-12).
It is the goal of the PRMI Dunamis Project to help Christians grow not just in engagement in healing ministry but in the larger issues of war and peace, of truth and falsehood that are shaping the world today.