This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
In the previous study in this series I related how the Lord had lead me personally into a ministry of dealing with evil spirits or demons and many of the lessons that I’ve learned personally from this ministry. At the close of that study I pointed out four results which I could trace in my own life from becoming involved in this ministry. First of all, I proved afresh the accuracy and reliability of the scriptures. Secondly, I gained a new understanding of my own personal need of watchfulness and holiness. Thirdly, I gained a new understanding of the cross and what Christ accomplished there. And fourthly, I have been able to help thousands of people who previously I could not have helped.
In this study I want to take up the theme “How Jesus Dealt With Demons.” Let me say, first of all, that I use the words demons and evil spirits interchangeably. In a later study I propose to take some time to describe the nature of demons and how the various phrases are used. But I am for the time being just using them interchangeably. By way of introduction to this present study I would like to read from Mark 1:21–39. I’ll read in the King James Version but in the last verse I want to give you also Phillips translation. This first chapter of Mark really gives the opening of Jesus’ public preaching ministry.
And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine [or teaching]; for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this: For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits and they do obey him. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee. And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also; for therefore came I forth. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.
Let me say, first of all, that the translations “devils” is unfortunate and should never have been used. The word is demons. The word devil is used as a single title of Satan himself and is never correctly used of evil spirits. The correct phrases to use are evil spirits or demons.
Now I’d like to read out the translation of Phillips of Mark 1:39 which you’ll find there on your outline. This gripped me when I read it one day because it brought out certain points that I feel are so important. Phillips version of that verse is as follows:
So he continued preaching in their synagogues and expelling evil spirits throughout the whole of Galilee.
First of all, I like the word “continued” which is a translation of the Greek continuous past tense and is correct in its significance. In other words, this was a normal part of the ministry of Jesus. It was not something that happened occasionally, it was not something exceptional; it was his normal practice throughout his public ministry.
Secondly, we notice that his expelling evil spirits—expelling is the word which Phillips uses and it’s an excellent one—was directly associated with his preaching ministry. It was not separated in a corner but it was part of the public ministry. Together with his preaching he also regularly expelled or cast out evil spirits and he regularly did this in the public place of worship, the synagogue. And he did it throughout the whole of Galilee. If you would take time to read that sentence two or three times it would give you a very different picture of the ministry of Jesus than that that most Christians have. Everywhere he went he went into every public place of worship. He preached and he regularly cast out evil spirits.
Now I would like to point out some things that are of particular significance in considering the ministry of Jesus in relation to evil spirits. Let us notice, first of all, what is said there in Mark 1:27 and 28 after this first incident with the man with the unclean spirit in the synagogue it says:
And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.
I have said there in the outline—and I might just as well read what I said because I think it’s as good as I can do it. The way that Jesus dealt with demons was the most original and striking feature of his whole ministry. He also performed miracles of healing, provision, control over the forces of nature, raising the dead, and so on. We can all think of miracles of Jesus that came out of these various headings. Miracles of healing; miracles of provision such as the feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000; control over the forces of nature as when he quieted the storm, when he walked on the waters; and raising the dead. But all these miracles that I have listed had occurred previously in the ministry of Old Testament believers such as Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Elisha. Moses and Joshua controlled the elements in various different ways and different times. Elijah and Elisha both raised the dead, both healed the sick and all these men, with the possible exception of Joshua, performed miracles of provision.
So, though this was very evident in the ministry of Jesus and outstanding and many times dramatic, it was not the most outstanding or the most dramatic feature of his ministry. The thing that he did which had never been done before in the scriptural record was the way he treated demons. His speaking to them and commanding them and causing them to obey him and leave people was what gripped the imagination of the people of his day instantly and caused his reputation to spread more rapidly than anything else that he did.
The people of the Old Testament were familiar with the existence of evil spirits. They are referred to in those scriptures that I have given there—we do not need to turn there—Leviticus 17:7, Deuteronomy 32:17, Psalm 106:36–37. In each case the King James Version uses the word “devils” but the correct word should be demons. Furthermore, the people of Jesus’ day recognized the reality of demons, and practiced some form of exorcism. Let me give you two examples of that in Matthew 12:27 Jesus answers the charge made by the Pharisees that it was through being in league with Beelzebub the prince of the demons that he was able to cast out demons. He said in Matthew 12:27:
And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.
So he made it clear that there were amongst the Jewish people those that attempted exorcism or the casting out of demons. Again this is stated even more clearly in Acts 19:13–14, where we read about unbelieving Jews, that is, Jews who were not believers in Jesus, who attempted exorcism in the name of Jesus with consequences that were disastrous for themselves.
Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
So those passages prove that the people of Jesus’ day recognized the reality of demons or evil spirits and practiced certain forms of exorcism, exorcism being a polite word for casting out evil spirits. I say polite because it’s used in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic or Anglican or Episcopal church and it sounds to some people more religious and respectable. But actually, it’s just another way of saying he drove out or cast out or expelled evil spirits.
But the way in which Jesus did it was entirely new, they had never seen anything like that before and they reacted with astonishment. “What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits and they do obey him? As we already read in Mark 1:28, “Immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.” This was the thing that immediately set people talking. It’s comical to think that 19 centuries later when people see the same thing they say the same thing, “What new doctrine is this?” It immediately sets people’s tongues talking. That means human nature hasn’t changed the least bit!
Jesus had one very illuminating thing to say about this in Matthew 12:28. Without going into the context of this he said to the people of his day who were challenging this ministry:
But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Just two verses higher up, verse 26 says:
And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
Notice that Jesus said clearly Satan has a kingdom. Furthermore, he’s the ruler of an undivided kingdom, everything in his kingdom is subject to the will of Satan. “But,” he said, “if I come amongst you manifesting my authority and causing these evil spirits to come out of people, then know that the kingdom of God is come unto you.” In other words, in this particular ministry more than in any other there is the clear open clash between the two spiritual kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. You see, in the Old Testament, essentially these kingdoms were there but to some measure submerged below the surface. It was the ministry of Jesus, and particularly this ministry of casting out evil spirits, that brought the reality of each of these two kingdoms right out into the open. People saw that Satan was real, that he had demons under his control. They saw that the power of God was real and that the power of God was greater than the power of Satan. This was one of the absolutely new impacts produced by the ministry of Jesus, it was the bringing out of these two kingdoms and the clash between them right into the open where everybody could see it. And also, putting Satan to an open manifest defeat.
Let’s continue to observe the other points in the ministry of Jesus under the form of the outline that you have. Point number two, turn back for a moment to Mark 1 which is the starting point for much of what I want to say. Verses 24 and 25, there in that incident in the synagogue it says there was man with an unclean spirit and he cried out. The voice came out of the man but it was not the man who was speaking, it was very clear. What was said was this: “Let us alone.” The one that was speaking was speaking not only on behalf of himself but on behalf of a group. “What have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us?” Immediately they saw in Jesus their potential destroyer. Do you notice how it switches from singular to plural and back again which is a familiar feature of this type of utterance? “I know thee, who thou art, the Holy One of God.” You see, the evil spirit knew Jesus immediately. No one else in that synagogue had yet realized who he was but the evil spirit immediately identified him. Here is a different kind of perception, a different kind of knowledge. We’re not on the natural plane, we’re on a spiritual plane, a supernatural plane and we have a direct clash between Jesus and not the man in whom the spirit was but the spirit that was in the man.
I have sometimes said that in an ordinary church service today what they’d have done is put the man out of the synagogue for disturbing the service. But what Jesus did was put the demon out of the man and leave the man in the synagogue.
Notice that there was a conversation, direct conversation, exchange of question and answer between Jesus and the evil spirits. They spoke to him and he spoke to them. Again, in Mark 3:11–12 we find another example of this.
Unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him...
It was the people that fell down to the outward eye but the scripture says it was the spirits that fell down. Of course, they couldn’t fall down without the people falling down but it was not really the people falling down, it was the spirits falling down in the presence of the power and authority of Jesus Christ. And it says:
...they cried out, saying, Thou art the Son of God.
Notice they always knew instantly who he was and he straightly charged them that they should not make him known. He would not accept the testimony of Satan’s agents to his identity. He would not accept their testimony though they gave it.
Then the dramatic incident in Mark 5, the conversation between Jesus and the man who was usually called the Gadarene demoniac, the demoniac from Gadarenes. We’ll read there verses 6–13.
But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshiped him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For he [Jesus] said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
Notice Jesus did not speak to the man, he spoke to the spirit in the man and the spirit in the man answered. Not the man because the man was not afraid of being tormented by Jesus but it was the spirit that was afraid of being tormented. Verse 9:
And he asked him, What is thy name?
Jesus asked the spirit what is thy name.
And he answered, My name is Legion, for we are many.
Notice again the transition from singular to plural and back again which is very, very typical.
Now, a legion in the Roman army consisted of approximately 6,000 men. We don’t necessarily have to maintain that there were 6,000 evil spirits in the one man though personally to me it is possible to believe that. But at least the rest of the story shows that there were enough evil spirits to drive 2,000 pigs immediately down into the lake. I never read this story without marveling at how much of Satanic power a human being is able to cope with and somehow remain standing upright. To me, it’s a miracle. I have seen cases that are not unlike this and dealt with them. Verse 10:
He [the evil spirit] besought him [Jesus] that he would not send them away out of the country.
Fantastic but that’s where they felt at home, that’s where they wanted to be. And “besought him much” indicates that there was more than one word said. In other words, there was a conversation lasting at least a little time.
Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the demons besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine, and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.
We see here that Jesus dealt with these evil spirits as persons, he spoke to them as persons, they answered him as persons. There was a conversation between them and eventually he gave them leave to do what they besought him to do which was to enter into the swine. People often ask why do you think that he allowed them to go into the swine? Was it because he was opposed to pig keeping—which, of course, was not permitted to Orthodox Jews. Personally, I don’t believe that Jesus was so much interested in defending the Orthodox observance of the law of Moses. My personal opinion—and it is only an opinion—is that Jesus allowed those evil spirits to go into the swine because then they went out without destroying the man. Had they gone out totally unwillingly, I question whether that man could have survived what he would have had to go through physically. So, it was for the sake of the man that Jesus gave them a way out that they were willing to accept.
However, having said this I just want to emphasize that I do not believe there’s any pattern in scripture for holding lengthy conversations with evil spirits and it’s a dangerous practice. I would warn anybody against it because it eventually will lead to more or less consulting them. And that, in a certain sense, degenerates into witchcraft or the same as seeking through a medium. We have to be very, very much on our guard that we do not overstep the limits of prudence and wisdom and that everything we do we don’t do for the sake of a morbid fascination with this form of supernatural experience but for the sake of helping those that need help.
We’ll move on to the third point in our outline, Mark 1:26. You notice that we go back to Mark 1 most of the time. This is again the incident of the man in the synagogue at Capernaum.
And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.
Notice there was a very powerful physical reaction. The unclean spirit tore the man. Having seen this happen many, many times to it pictures a person’s body being shaken and you can almost with the inward eye see the tentacles being released from the inward man. I’ve often said to the spirits, “Come out with all your roots.” Sometimes you almost have to loose all the roots out where they’re holding on to the inner being of that person. It is a very agonizing and powerful struggle and there was also a loud cry. He cried with a loud voice.
Some people say how could it be if Jesus was Lord of all that he tolerated this? I’ll just have to point out this is the way it was. Demons deliberately defy God, they’re never going to make peace with God. They know they’re beyond the realm of God’s reconciliation. They know they’re going to hell but they’ll fight until they get there. They’ll never submit. And there’s one thing they never will acknowledge. They’ll call him the Son of God, they’ll call him the Holy One of God but they’ll never call him Lord because Satan will not permit them to call anybody lord but Satan.
Notice other places where there were strong physical reactions. We’ve already read Mark 3:11. Unclean spirits fell down before him. This is not a comical subject but sometimes extremely comical things happen. I was preaching in a church in Houston at the end of a Bible study that had nothing to do with demons. I don’t know what I said, I said something about the sufferings of Christ, I don’t know. A woman came up to me and I looked at her and knew there was something strange about her. She was trying to point out something to me and she was stabbing her finger at me in the air and saying, “But the sufferings of Christ...” She said it about three times and I said, “Sister, you have a religious demon.” She slid to the floor in a sitting position at my feet. I was talking to an unconverted man in a rather high social position so I thought better ignore this incident and carry on as if it didn’t happen. I went on talking and the woman went outside to the book table and two friends of mine were selling my books outside and somebody said the spirit of grief. When this word was said this woman that had slipped to my feet inside let out a most blood curdling shriek and slipped to the floor and they spent the next two and a half hours dealing with this woman in the vestibule of the church. So much so that at one point a policeman came in and said, “Is there anything wrong?” They said, “No, it’s quite all right.” He said, “I wish there was something I could do.” They said, “This is not where you can help.” He went out again apologetically.
But when I think about the unclean spirits falling down before him, see? You could read that in a nice Elizabethan King James version and it wouldn’t mean anything to you. But when you really picture it happening it vividly you’ll understand it’s a little bit unusual, it slightly upsets the average run of the normal service whether it be a synagogue or a church.
In Mark 9:20 we find a further description of physical manifestations. This is what is normally called the epileptic boy whose father brought him to Jesus. It says:
They brought him [the boy] unto him [Jesus]: and when he [the spirit] saw him [Jesus], straightway the spirit tore him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
In other words, he was writhing on the ground and froth was coming out of his mouth. Then it says in verse 26 and 27 of the same boy when he was delivered:
And the spirit cried, and rent [or tore] him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
This also I have seen happen several times when a person after deliverance looks exactly like a dead body. And a person walking in without knowing what had happened would certainly have said what these people said, “He is dead.”
But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.
We might turn out of the ministry of Jesus into the ministry of the church in Acts 8 for a moment just to notice that these manifestations continued on in the church. It says about the preaching of Philip in Samaria, Acts 8:6–7:
And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them...
There were many unclean spirits and they came out shrieking, roaring, groaning but making a very loud noise.
Brother Don Basham and I were in a deliverance service once not so very long ago and there was a very dear Pentecostal brother there whom I very much love but he wasn’t familiar with this type of thing and he very much disapproved of what went on when we were ministering deliverance. Later on he said to us, “Where in the New Testament do you ever see a service like that?” My good brother Don Basham said very quietly, “Acts 8:7 is a pretty vivid description.” You know, afterwards I wanted to say—but I didn’t say it—to this good brother who was what you would call an Orthodox Pentecostal, “Where in the New Testament do you ever see anything remotely approaching the Sunday evening gospel service which we all take for granted?” I’ll challenge anybody to look through the New Testament and find anything even like it because you can’t do it, it isn’t there.
Much of what we consider normal and orthodox really has nothing in the New Testament to support it. And much of what’s supported by the New Testament appears to us abnormal and extraordinary because we’re so far removed from New Testament patterns and New Testament standards. The fact is that when Jesus ministered deliverance to people with evil spirits there were frequently violent noisy and, I would say, disturbing manifestations. Jesus did not stop them, he didn’t stop because of them, he didn’t seek to maintain religious decorum and order; he was concerned with helping the people that needed help.
I have been through a good deal of this in personal experience. There have been places where people have been more concerned to keep the carpet clean than to get the evil spirits out of people. This is a kind of religious decorum which becomes an idol.
Now we’ll go on to point four and we’ll go back again to Mark 1 just for our initial text. Mark 1:25–26:
And Jesus rebuked him [the evil spirit], saying, Hold thy peace...
In the Greek it’s very strong, be muzzled.
...and come out of him.
Interestingly enough, Jesus used exactly the same word to the wind and the waves on the sea. He said, “Be muzzled.” A very, very strong word. If you were to use slightly slangy language you’d say, “Shut up.” It’s very forceful, be muzzled, come out of him.
And when the unclean spirit had torn him, he cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.
Jesus only told the spirit to come out of the man, he didn’t tell the spirit where to go. Many, many times, I can’t tell you how many times people say to me, “Why don’t you send them to the pit?” Or, “Why don’t you send them to hell?” I’ve heard of people, incredible though it may seem, who send the evil spirits up to Jesus to be purified in the fire of his love. As far as I’m concerned, that is just plain nonsense but it sounds nice to some religious people. The truth of the matter is Jesus never consigned spirits to hell, to the pit, to the abyss or any such place. He left them free to roam around, and in the case of the Gadarene demoniac he indicated that they were perfectly at liberty to enter into the bodies of the swine.
Let’s look at a few other examples. Luke 8, we’ve already read the account in Mark but let’s look in Luke because it gives us a slightly clearer picture. Luke 8:31–33.
And they besought him...
This is the evil spirits in the Gadarene demoniac.
... that he would not command them to go out into the deep.
The word in Greek is abyss. It’s the same word that in Revelation 20 is translated the bottomless pit but it’s actually the word abyss. They knew there was an abyss, they didn’t want to go there and Jesus didn’t make them go there.
And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would allow them to enter into them. And he allowed them.
And they went out of the man and entered into the swine, we know the rest of the story. Notice that he did not command them to go to the pit.
Revelation 20, I think we understand the reason why. Revelation 20:2–3 speaks about a time when there comes down an angel from heaven having the key of the abyss called in the King James Version the bottomless pit. It says in verse 2:
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up...
There was a time when Satan was to be confined to the abyss and he is to stay there a thousand years. That was entirely the end of Satan, he had one more brief escapade before God finally dealt with him forever. Verse 10 is the end of Satan and it says:
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire, and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Notice the word tormented. This is what the demons were afraid of when Jesus came. “Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” You’ll find that question is asked there in Matthew 8:29, let’s turn to that scripture for a moment. This is part of the conversation between Jesus and the two men from Gergesenes and it’s the spirits that are speaking, not the man.
Behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
They knew and Jesus knew there was a time in God’s program when they would be cast in and would be tormented. But they knew that the time hadn’t come and Jesus didn’t argue. You see, he was in submission to his Father’s will and his Father’s program. It is not possible, I believe, for you and me to do better than Jesus did. As far as I’m concerned, he was perfect. His ministry could be multiplied in quantity but it cannot be improved in quality. If Jesus didn’t cast them into the pit, I’m not even going to try.
Mind you, there was a situation where I got angry with a particular stubborn demon that wouldn’t come out of a woman and I said, “If you don’t come out I’m going to send you to hell.” I don’t think I premeditated or planned that and I stuck to it. I really cannot say that I know exactly what happened but when that demon went out, the last thing it said was, “Oh, it’s so dark, it’s so dark, it’s so dark,” in a very, gloomy, mournful voice. I have a kind of idea that that time I prevailed. But that is certainly the exception, it is not the normal practice.
We will go on to the fifth point and turning back again to Mark 1 just for a starting point. We see that this first incident occurred when Jesus was teaching in the synagogue. I’ve already read but I’ll read once again Phillips version of Mark 1:39.
So he continued preaching in their synagogues and expelling evil spirits throughout the whole of Galilee.
I’ll read there what I’ve put against the outline, point five. Jesus combined the casting out of demons with his normal ministry of preaching and teaching in the public place of worship. This was nothing like the atmosphere of a psychiatrist’s consulting room or couch. I would think at least 20 people have said to me at different times, “Brother Prince, it’s all right to cast out demons but don’t do it in public.” I’ll tell you, there’s a good deal of pressure along that particular line. Especially when this ministry first developed, very influential people who could open or close certain doors of ministry approached me along this line. I said to myself I’ll think it over before I make a decision. If I’m doing the wrong thing I want to be teachable and I want to adjust. But, this led me specifically to examine the ministry of Jesus and the more I examined it the more I saw that Jesus regularly did it in public. It was not like a psychiatrist taking people into a concealed or closed room, lying them down on a couch and listening to all their problems hour by hour. It was not that type of atmosphere, it was not that type of procedure.
On another occasion in a certain place where I regularly ministered I started a particular night, Friday night, for a deliverance service. We saw many, many people delivered. After awhile it dried up and I didn’t have any liberty from God to go on with that. When I sought the Lord about it, as I understood it, the Lord showed me that he did not want it put off in a corner as something that had to be done under cover, that it was part of the total ministry of the gospel and it was nothing to be ashamed of and that it should be done just as openly as healing or the baptism in the Holy Spirit or any other aspect of the full gospel ministry. As far as I’m concerned, that is so clearly established in scripture that I do not intend to depart from it. If I have to choose between offending God or offending man, in the last resort I’d rather offend man and have God on my side. I’ve discovered God is faithful.
Let us look also at what Jesus said in Luke 13:32. This was fairly near the close of his earthly ministry. The Pharisees came to him and warned him and they were hypocritical about their warning, “Get away, because Herod’s planning to kill you.” Jesus refused to yield to this motivation of fear.
And he said unto them, Go ye and tell that fox [Herod], Behold, I cast out demons, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
I have to go on doing what God sent me to do. What did God send me to do? Cast out demons, heal the sick and I’m going to do it till my ministry ends. He began that way, he continued that way and he ended that way.
I was talking to the editor of a well known Christian journal—which I will not mention by name—because he asked me to do an article on this subject about three years ago. I had several meetings with him because he wanted to be sure that what I said was acceptable and I was talking to him about the ministry of Jesus in this respect. He is a very respected figure in the Fundamentalist world and I said, “I suppose, actually, if you look at the account in the gospels, Jesus must have spent at least a quarter of his time casting evil spirits out of people.” He said, “That’s an underestimate.” Really, it is. Probably he did this more than any other single aspect of his ministry. Where did they all come from? Well, that’s not exactly our business but I’ll tell you one thing, there are just as many in the world today as there were in the day of Jesus. They haven’t diminished. And just as many people need deliverance today as needed it in the time of Jesus.
We go onto point six. Turning to Luke 4:40–41.
Now when the sun was setting...
Why when the sun was setting? Because it was the sabbath and until sunset they weren’t allowed to carry people around.
When the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. And demons also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God.
Notice that he laid his hands on every one of them individually and evil spirits came out of many of them. Many people will tell you that you should never lay hands on someone who has an evil spirit. I don’t want to in any way offend anybody but that is simply a Pentecostal tradition. It’s one of the things that have been passed down amongst Pentecostal people without ever being analyzed in the light of scripture. Here we have a clear pattern of Jesus. He laid his hands on every one of them and unclean spirits came out of many of them.
This is a parallel passage to Matthew 8:16 where it says he cast out the spirits with his word. Some people say he didn’t lay his hands on them. But Luke 4 says he laid his hands on them as well as casting out the spirits with his word.
We look also in Matthew 8:14–15.
When Jesus had come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her...
Notice he touched her hand first and then the fever left her. You look in the parallel passage describing the same incident in Luke 4:38–39, it says:
And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever and it left her...
I’ve heard many preachers say, “You see, because it was an evil spirit he rebuked it but he didn’t touch her.” But if you look at Matthew’s gospel you’ll see that first he put his hand on her, then the fever left her. So, again this is the careless reading of scripture.
We could look also in Luke 13 for another clear example of this. Luke 13:11–13.
And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
Notice that she had a physical condition which we would call curvature of the spine. She could not straighten her spine out and the scripture says specifically it was due to an evil spirit of infirmity.
And when Jesus saw her he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her; and immediately she was made straight...
Notice that he ministered deliverance to her physically by laying hands on her and the scripture says she had an evil spirit. This theory that you must never lay hands on people who have evil spirits is not supported by scripture. It is, in fact, a tradition.
However, I want to emphasize that laying hands on generally is a thing that should only be done with great caution. 1Timothy 5:22, we just look at those words for a moment. The apostle Paul said:
Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins.. .
This is primarily in reference to ordaining elders but the principle applies for every purpose of laying on of hands. It is extremely dangerous to do it unless you do it with caution and you know what you’re doing. Because, you could become partaker of something evil that’s in another person.
I experienced that once. When I was newly saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit there was an American soldier in Cairo and I was in a prayer group with him and he was sobbing all the time. Every time he prayed he sobbed. I felt so sorry for that man I went over and laid my hands on him and do you know what happened to me? For about two weeks every time I prayed I sobbed. Then I shook this thing off and got rid of it but I realized later that something that was in him had transferred itself to me because I’d laid hands on him rashly without knowing what I was doing. I want to urge you never lay hands rashly on anybody.
And, never let anybody lay hands rashly on you. That’s the other side of the story. Several times people have said to me, “Brother Prince, I would like to lay hands on you.” I would say, “I’m sorry but I don’t feel like that’s the Lord’s leading.” Because, it’s a two way business. These emotional scenes in Pentecostal churches where people are seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit and about half a dozen people lay hands on them ’till the person disappears below a sea of hands in my opinion is 101 percent unscriptural and very foolish.
We’ll go on to the seventh point. This is very important. Again notice in Mark 1 that the man was in the synagogue, the man who needed deliverance. He was under the ministry of Jesus, he was submitting to teaching when deliverance came to him. I do not find that Jesus ever ran after anybody and sought to deliver them unless they would submit themselves to his ministry. The other clear example is in Mark 5:6. This Gadarene demoniac who was naked couldn’t be bound with chains. When he saw Jesus he did one thing, about the only thing he could do. It says:
When he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshiped him.
He fell at his feet, he submitted himself to the authority of Jesus. The demons in him fought but his will was to submit to Jesus. Normally speaking, there is no scriptural precedent and it is totally in vain to seek to minister deliverance to people who will not submit themselves to the ministry of the word and the authority of Jesus Christ. There may be occasional exceptions but on the whole, the pattern is that the person needing deliverance must submit to the ministry of the word and to the authority of the person who is ministering deliverance to them.
For instance, I have discovered in my own experience if people do not have confidence in me I absolutely cannot help them. I may desire to help them but if they have any kind of attitude of reserve or suspicion or, in many cases, resentment, I’m unable to minister help to them. It’s a comical thing how often when a person comes into a meeting needing deliverance the demon in them will turn them in absolutely unreasonable resentment against the preacher. This has happened so many times. I tell people when I’m preaching, “There could be many reasons for you to resent me and some of them might be very strong reasons. But if you feel an unreasoning resentment for me that’s not based on anything I’ve said or done, then bear in mind that’s the demon in you and he doesn’t want you to come to me for help. That’s his way of keeping you from me.” But those people have to resist that thing and come and submit themselves to my ministry or whoever it may be who is ministering deliverance. It is not scriptural to run after people trying to deliver them before they are willing to submit to the ministry that will bring deliverance to them.
The eighth point is the case of a child. Let’s look at this scripture for a moment, this is dramatic. Mark 9:22–23. The father of the epileptic boy has come to Jesus. Verse 21:
And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
That’s significant because I’ve discovered that most serious cases of demon problems arise in childhood and sometimes it’s necessary to find out when they started in order to bring healing and deliverance. But we don’t go into the details here. The father said:
Ofttimes it [the demon] hath cast him in to the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
Notice “if thou canst do any thing” and notice the immediate answer of Jesus.
If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
What was he asked to believe for? His own deliverance? No. The deliverance of his son. Here’s a scriptural principle that we don’t have time to establish in this study. Parents are obligated to have faith for their children. I can take you right through scripture and show you this from beginning to end of scripture. God said to Noah, “Thee have I found righteous. Before me come thou and all thy house.” And right on through scripture. It’s the privilege and it’s the responsibility of parents not merely to educate their children, not merely to feed them and clothe them, not merely to train them in spiritual things but the supreme responsibility is to exercise faith for them. As far as I’m able to find in scripture, Jesus never ministered to a child unless at least one parent exercised faith on behalf of that child.
I’ve learned this by my mistakes because many times somebody will drag an unruly, rebellious kid forward and say, “Brother Prince, this boy has a demon, pray for him.” I’d start to pray and the results are negligible. I don’t do that now. I always say two things. “Where’s the parent. If the parent isn’t here, is there anybody that accepts the responsibility of the parent for this child not just for five minutes in a deliverance service but for life?” And secondly, I’ve always found and never yet have I found an exception, a problem child, problem parent. People come to me now get warned beforehand that that’s what I’m going to say. I have never yet found it wrong. Jesus knew what he was doing. If, for instance, a child has problems of resentment, rebellion, hatred and the parents are not there, they’re not involved, they’re not concerned, even if you could get that child delivered, if it goes back to that atmosphere the demons will be in it again within a week. See, there’s a problem of relationships. God has made parents responsible for their children and he does not go against his own principles.
Look at the other case in Mark 7:25–30.
For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek [a Gentile], a Syrophonician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the demon out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled, for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.
In other words, “Lady, you’re just a dog, you don’t have any claims.” Oh, what an answer. She said:
Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.
Oh, what an answer! Oh, how I respect that woman! “It’s true, Lord, I’m just a dog but I don’t need a loaf. All I need is a crumb. A crumb will get the demon out of my daughter.”
And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.
See, one parent can exercise faith but without the faith of one parent you will not find anywhere in the gospels Jesus ministered to a child. It isn’t scriptural, it doesn’t work. God knows what he’s doing.
The ninth point in your outline. Matthew 8:16, Mark 1:39. We don’t really need to look at these scriptures but notice Matthew 8:16 for a moment.
When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with demons...
Why when the even was come? Because it was the sabbath and they were religious Orthodox Jews, they were not allowed to go any distance nor carry any burdens on the sabbath. So they waited ’till the sunset, the sabbath was finished and they came to him.
Mark 1:39 says:
He preached in all their synagogues.
The majority of the people to whom Jesus ministered were what we would call Orthodox religious Jews. As Orthodox Jews, by the law of Moses they were forbidden ever to practice idolatry or to practice any form of magic or sorcery or witchcraft. I have heard preachers say, “Oh, sure, you get evil spirits amongst the heathen where they practice witchcraft and where they worship idols. But, of course, in a civilized country—” It always happens to be a civilized country where the preacher is whether America, Denmark or England. It’s a funny thing. People in England can easily believe there are demons in America, they have no problem about that. Believe me, that wouldn’t surprise them. But demons in England, that’s another matter. And the people in Denmark can believe in demons in England but not in Denmark because in Denmark they’re so civilized. But, I want to point out to you that these people were forbidden on pain of death ever to practice idolatry or witchcraft. Furthermore, they were not criminals, they were not lunatics, they could walk the streets of Galilee, they could till their farms, they could fish the seas, they could keep their stores, they could maintain a more or less normal existence and yet Jesus cast demons out of them by the thousands. See what a false picture we have that if a person needs deliverance from evil spirits he must be either a criminal or a lunatic or way off or an idol worshiper or a person that’s practices the worship of Satan or something like that. This is not true. Admittedly, those people will invariably need deliverance but there are millions and millions and millions or apparently normal, decent, respectable people who need deliverance from evil spirits just as there were in the days of Jesus, so there are today.
Estimating how many people need deliverance is a dangerous thing but I would say within the professing Christian church at least as many people need deliverance from evil spirits as need healing from sickness. That’s about 80 percent. If you go to the average congregation and check how many people are whole from the crown of their heads to the soul of their feet, if you find 20 percent it’s an unusually healthy congregation. In my personal judgment at least as many people in the same congregation need deliverance from evil spirits as need physical healing from sickness. If anything, more. That’s my personal estimate based on experience.
But, I had something that rather bolstered my opinion of my estimates because I’ve been going around saying for some months, “In my opinion, about 80 percent of people have legs of unequal length.” The other day a brother sent me a cutting from the United Press which says in Britain the doctors estimate 77 percent of people have legs of unequal length. I’m only 3 percent out in my estimate! I don’t believe I’m any more out in my estimate of how many people need deliverance from evil spirits.
You see, the thing is this whole business has been shrouded in darkness, fear and superstition so that if you even start to talk about demons people back off and say, “Oh, I don’t want to listen to that.” If there ever was a lady that was delivered from a demon, all the rest of the people say, “Oh, you see that woman? Brother Prince cast three demons out of her. Stand clear because she might be dangerous, it might be catching.” It’s a totally foolish attitude about this whole thing.
Now let’s go on to the next point which is point ten. Again, we’ll look at the reference to the Gadarene demoniac in Mark 5:18–20. Incidentally, we could read verse 17. It says about the people in that area:
They began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.
Have you ever noticed that? He’d made on poor maniac completely whole and they say, “Please go off, we don’t want you here.” Why did they do that? Were they afraid because they’d lost 2,000 swine? I don’t believe it. Some people say they lost all their pigs. I don’t believe that was it. Do you know what? It was just too remote from their normal way of living, they couldn’t stand being brought face to face with this reality. They said, “No matter whether it’s true or false, we just don’t want to look into it. Please, do it somewhere else.” It says in verse 18:
When he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. However Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him; and all men did marvel.
Notice that there was nothing to be hushed up about the fact that this man had been delivered from these demons. Jesus said, “Go and tell everybody, make sure all your friends get to know.” When he healed a leper he sometimes said, “Now, don’t go and tell anybody.” Again, what I’m fighting is this attitude that demons are something to be ashamed of. I have seen scores and scores of people physically manifested deliverance from demons that would be afraid to go and tell their religious friends they ever had an evil spirit—even after deliverance.
Now, I also tell you it’s very dangerous. I actually know of cases of people who were delivered, set free and then were ashamed to say that they needed deliverance. Do you know what happened? They were back where they started. It served them right. If you say, “I didn’t need deliverance,” then God says, “All right, I’ll put you back where you were before. If you didn’t need it, you haven’t got it.” God is perfectly entitled to do that.
The truth of the matter is that we need to bring this thing right out into the open, tell it the way it is, show it out of scripture and dissipate the superstition, the fear, the ignorance and the social stigma that’s associated with it. God is busy doing it. I’ll tell you people, most of you are in the upper age bracket, if our generation won’t do it, the next generation will. That’s one thing I’ll tell you. Because, the young people of the world are sick of religious respectability. Their motto is tell it the way it is. That’s a challenge to a preacher. Praise the Lord.
Let’s look in Luke 8:1–3.
And it came to pass afterward, that he [Jesus] went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God; and the twelve were with him, and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
Have you ever asked yourself who supported Jesus? People assume somehow that money came. But do you know where it came from? Partly from the people, the women, that had been delivered of evil spirits. They were not ashamed of it. You can look at your leisure, we will not turn there, Mark 16:9, the first witness of his resurrection was Mary Magdalene out of whom he had cast seven demons. That was her testimony, that was the way she was known throughout the church.
Finally, let me point this out and the scriptures are given. I don’t know whether we have time to look at them. Jesus never sent anybody out to preach the gospel without commissioning them to cast out demons. Matthew 10:1:
And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
As ye go preach...Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons...
That’s your business. Luke 10:17, he sent 70 out later on with the same message. They returned and their first comment was, “Lord, even the demons have to obey us through your name.”
Mark 3:14–15, he called twelve that they should be with him, and that they should cast out evil spirits—the first thing on the list for them to learn.
Mark 6:12–13. He sent out the twelve and it says they anointed many sick with oil and cast out many devils.
In Mark 16:15–18 he gave them their final commission. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.... these signs shall follow them that believe...” Sign number one, “in my name they shall cast out demons.” It is not scriptural according to the New Testament pattern to go out to preach the gospel unless you’re willing to face demons and in the name of Jesus to drive them out.