Summary: This lesson is an Introduction of a scriptural study of how Jesus destroys the works of the devil. What are demons doing in the Bible and in the world today? Let’s let the word of God tell us and teach us.
Putting Satan in His Place
In Matthew, Mark and Luke, one of the earliest signs of Jesus’ authority and identity was demonstrated when he drove out demons or evil spirits. Today’s lesson is a continuation of our series on how Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.
I’m sure all of you who were here remember the lesson from two weeks ago. Right? It was about Jesus being tempted by Satan. Remember? If nothing else, what you probably do remember is the video clip at the end of the lesson about Jesus casting the Legion of demons into the pigs. Ahhhh… Now it’s all coming back, right? Good!
It is interesting to me that many modern Christians have not quite known what to do with all the demon exorcisms in the gospels. This is especially true of those who have written since the protestant reformation. People of the modern scientific enlightened period have decided, much like the Sadducees of Jesus’ day that there are no ghosts or witches or demons in the real world today. With many people today, everything can be explained by means of science and reason, so ghosts, goblins and demons do not exist. But what does the Bible say?
Many modern biblical scholars have relegated demon possession to the early days of Christian history before the Bible cannon was completed, in the days of miracles and wonders and signs. We who believe in Jesus Christ and take the Bible seriously believe that the miracles recorded in scripture did indeed happen as historical events. On the other hand many Christians are just as sure that so called “demon possession” do not occur today, at least not as we see dealt with by Jesus and the apostles. Certainly the 12 apostles, plus Paul have now past on and all on whom they bestowed the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit have also died.
1 Corinthians 13 speaks of a time when gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge will cease or be done away. Is demon possession a thing of the past? Are Satan and his minions bound so that they cannot do that to people today? These questions need to be answered with scripture, not science or modern philosophy. Our understanding must be based on the Word of God, not the teachings or preconceptions of men.
If Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, is demon possession one of the things Jesus brought to an end in the Bible days? Let’s study the Bible and see what it tells us about these things.
Before we look at Jesus’ power over Satan and demons in the gospels, we will do a little introduction. Turn with me to 2 Old Testament scriptures as we begin looking at background for this. These are the only times the word demon occurs in the Old Testament.
Deuteronomy 32: 15 Jeshurun grew fat and kicked;
filled with food, he became heavy and sleek.
He abandoned the God who made him
and rejected the Rock his Savior.
16 They made him jealous with their foreign gods
and angered him with their detestable idols.
17 They sacrificed to demons, which are not God—
gods they had not known,
gods that recently appeared,
gods your fathers did not fear.
18 You deserted the Rock, who fathered you;
you forgot the God who gave you birth.
Notice verse 17. What did they sacrifice to as they worshipped idols? It was demons.
Psalms 106: 34 They did not destroy the peoples
as the LORD had commanded them,
35 but they mingled with the nations
and adopted their customs.
36 They worshiped their idols,
which became a snare to them.
37 They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to demons.
38 They shed innocent blood,
the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
and the land was desecrated by their blood.
39 They defiled themselves by what they did;
by their deeds they prostituted themselves.
Notice verse 37. What did they sacrifice their sons and daughters to as they worshipped the idols of the nations around them? It was demons.
These two passages from the Old Testament are the background for Paul’s teaching in the New Testament about the dangers to the Corinthian Christians concerning idolatry and participation with the sacrifices to idols in their day.
Look at 1 Corinthians 10: 14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.