Summary: A sermon revealing the "spiritual forces of evil" and how to overcome them.
The title of my sermon this morning comes from perhaps the most memorable horror movie of all time. It premiered in 1973 and is due out again September of this year. The movie is entitled simply “The Exorcist.” Although I don’t think I’ve seen this entire movie myself, when I was a teenager I caught parts of it... and the parts that I saw left a lasting impression on me. In the movie, one of the main
characters was a little girl who was possessed by a relentless demon that made it his mission to reak havoc on her and everyone else around her. The demon used it’s supernatural powers to cause many strange things to happen; for instance it would cause the room to become freezing cold, levitate the entire bed, speak in a demonic voice through the girl, throw her body around like a rag doll, and perhaps the most memorable affect of all; spinning her head around 360’.
Now as you can imagine, this is not something you can take a couple of Tylenol for and it will simply go away. I’m afraid her condition was much more serious than that. The girl’s mother tried a
variety of different remedies to cure her daughter, but unfortunately nothing seemed to work. It appeared as if this demon was determined to take up permanent residency inside the body of this helpless child.
That’s when they called in the experts; the Exorcists. If I remember correctly, the demon seemed to enjoy terrorizing the first few priests that were sent to drive him out. But to make a long story short, in the end I think the demon was either destroyed or reluctantly relocated. In any case, the little girl and her family finally had peace once again.
Believe it or not... this movie was supposedly based on a true story. I, myself did not know that until one morning, not too long ago, when the Early Show had as a guest, a priest who was actually
present at the exorcism of the little girl depicted in the film. This priest said that, as graphically violent as the movie was, it was amazingly pretty accurate in it’s portrayal of what really happened. Now, don’t get me wrong; I don’t necessarily believe that this was in reality a true story, nor do I encourage anyone to see this movie, in fact I would strongly urge you not to. But because of it’s widespread popularity and it’s claim to be based on a true story, I believe the mention of it is quite relevant to our message today.
I remember when I was a child and I first heard of demon possession, I tried to convince myself that it was no different than Frankenstein or the Wolfman; totally fake--a figment of someone’s wild
imagination. But years later when I began to really study my bible, I realized to my amazement, that demon possession is quite real and has indeed taken place in the past and what’s more; it continues to happen
even today. Even so, there a very few sermons preached today alerting us to this topic of which is so prominent in the scriptures. And because the most dangerous enemy is the ‘unnoticed’ enemy,. this morning it is my intention to share with you how to identify and overcome these spiritual forces of evil that we call “demons.”
Let’s begin this morning with our featured scripture for today. It’s found in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in 6:10-12.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”(NIV)
Now, in our study this morning, the first thing we need to do is to identify these ‘spiritual forces of evil’ or these ‘demons’ that Paul is talking about. And you don’t have to search too hard to find that Paul himself gives us a clue as to their identity right here in verse 12 by saying that these ”forces of evil” are in ‘heavenly realms’. If you have a King James version it says; ‘high places.’ Now as I studied this passage, neither translation really satisfied me, because based on what I’ve learned from my research, I can’t imagine any kind of evil residing in heaven. So I looked up the Greek word for ‘heavenly realms” which is “epouranios’ which can mean; things that take place in heaven....or things that are of heavenly origin.” This makes much more sense because we all know that the angels which followed Satan into rebellion had in fact a ‘heavenly origin’ and as Hebrews chapter one tells us; angels are ‘spiritual beings.’ So in light of the fact that these beings had to have been created by God and that they obviously had to have fallen, our only possible conclusion is that demons are fallen angels working in one accord with Satan. And because the scriptures tell us that a third of the angels fell from grace and that the number of the remaining “holy” heavenly angels is ‘ten thousand times ten thousand’ then we have to realize that there are on the loose today millions of demons.