Summary: Do demons exist? And if they do, what do we know about them and how can we deal with them?
Years ago, we had a popular preacher in our brotherhood named Ben Alexander. Ben had once been a Spiritualist Medium who held seances where he’d talk with the dead. Then he became a Christian, and spent much of his life explaining that a lot of seances he’d been part of (he said) were fake… but there were others that were quite real. He explained that the “spirit world is real” a place of dark spirits (demons), and these DARK SPIRITS were nothing to be messed with.
That’s what the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy was saying: There IS a real place of dark spirits where God’s people must not go. Don’t go messing with this: “There shall not be found among you anyone… who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD.…”
Notice the activities God condemned: Divination, telling fortunes, interpreting omens (things like palm reading, horoscopes, tarot cards, & Ouija boards). And God condemned Mediums, and inquiring of the dead (that’s what happens with Seances, psychics, etc.).
God makes no comment about whether or not these things are real - He just says DON’T DO THAT! Don’t go there! Why not? Because these are dark places… where dark spirits roam. Don’t do that! Don’t go there! Whoever does these things is an ABOMINATION to the LORD. God hates it!!!! These are places that demons roam. As Ben Alexander said: “The Spirit World is Real.”
And activities like those condemned in Deuteronomy are NOT safe entertainment.
ILLUS: I had a relative who thought she could trap me on this topic of demons. She really didn’t believe the Bible and she thought she could get me into an argument on this topic that I couldn’t possibly win. She asked me if I believed… in demons. Now I’d read about demons and demon possession in Scripture but I’d never been around anyone who’d been demon possessed, and I was pretty sure I’d never seen a demon and wouldn’t even know one even if I DID see it. (Although there were a few people in the last couple of churches that might have… but no, that’s a topic for another day).
So, I couldn’t answer her question with first-hand information. Instead, this what I told her: “Well, I believe in angels, and the Bible says that demons are fallen angels. So, ‘YES’ I believe in demons.” That’s the best I had, but it did shut down the conversation.
Now the real question is: WHAT do I believe about demons? Well, first – I believe they exist. And 2nd – I believe that demons are Satan’s associates, minions, helpers. What that means is… demons have the same kind of power that Satan has. They are powerful beings and we shouldn’t take them lightly, but we don’t really have to fear them because - as God says - we don’t really have to fear Satan either.
I John 4:4 says “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you (Jesus) is greater than he who is in the world (Satan).” In fact, we’re told “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and THE EVIL ONE DOES NOT TOUCH HIM.” (I John 5:18) In other words: Satan can’t control the lives of dedicated Christians, because Jesus is greater than Satan. And because of that, Satan cannot touch us when we walk closely with Christ.
Now that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be careful when it comes to Satan, and to his minions, the demons. In 1 Peter 5:8 we read “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” i.e. don’t mess with him. Don’t take him lightly.
Even GOD’S angels were careful when dealing with Satan and his power. Jude verse 9 tells us “When the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.’”
Michael was an archangel - one of the most powerful beings God created, and even Michael was careful not to take on Satan by himself. Notice he said to Satan… “The LORD rebuke you.”
So IF I were ever to be confronted by demonic activity, I wouldn’t be afraid, but I would NOT presume to have any power over them. Only God has power over demons: “the Lord rebuke you.”
Now, we’re NOT going to focus this morning on demonic possession. Most of us wouldn’t know what it looked like even if we saw it. Besides, for all the press that demonic possession gets… and for all the books and movies that are done about it, that doesn’t seem to be where Satan focuses his attention.