This week, Chris began a new series called Freedom is Christ. Jesus offers freedom for every believer and yet blind spots can so easily form in our lives that hold us back from all that God has for us. These blind spots come in many forms- negative thinking, heaviness of heart, anxiety and more. Today’s sermon was about being aware of the spiritual realm and learning to battle for our freedom from a place of Christ’s victory.
The Reality of the Spiritual Realm
2 Kings 6:8–17 (ESV)
8 Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” 9 But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.” 10 And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice. 11 And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?” 12 And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” 13 And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” 14 So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city. 15 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
The Bible teaches that we live in a world that has two realms: the natural and the spiritual.
2 Corinthians 4:18 (ESV)
18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Our primary struggle in this life is not actually physical, but spiritual.
Ephesians 6:10–12 (ESV)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
• Spiritual resources available to the church (Eph. 1:3).
• Christ’s authority over evil (Eph. 1:21).
• The church’s being seated together with her risen Lord (2:6).
• The Father’s will to display His wisdom through the church to the confounding of evil powers (3:10).
The Reality of Demons
Mark 5:1–13 (ESV)
1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.
- Demons Exist.
- Demons can influence and oppress people, even believers.
- Jesus has defeated the enemy.
Colossians 2:15 (ESV)
15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The Other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” C.S. Lewis
Mark 3:9–11 (ESV)
9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”
Mark 3:14–15 (ESV)
14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons.
Mark 9:17–29 (ESV)
17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
Luke 10:17–20 (ESV)
17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Can Christians be in bondage to the enemy?
Galatians 5:1 (ESV)
1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Ephesians 4:26–27 (ESV)
26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
Ephesians 4:27 (AMP)
27 And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness].
John 14:30 (ESV)
30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me,
“You can’t disciple a demon, and you can’t cast out the flesh.”
Pastor Jack Hayford
External Freedom & Internal Bondage
“The Israelites fell in the desert because they never really gained inner freedom from the thought and life patterns related to their former bondage in Egypt.” Jack Hayford
1 Corinthians 10:11 (ESV)
11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.
The Victory of Jesus
- All authority has been given to Jesus (Matthew 28:18).
- Jesus has conquered death, hell, and evil (1 Corinthians 15:54-56).
- Jesus now reigns at God’s right hand and will reign forevermore (Acts 2:33).
1 John 4:1–4 (ESV)
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
John 8:36 (ESV)
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
- Prior to this sermon, what was your view of the spiritual realm and its impact on our lives? Did you already believe in demons?
- Are there struggles in your life, mind or heart that you once thought of strictly as physical/personal, but now think of as spiritual? How does that change the way you battle that struggle?
- Are there any areas in your life that you are not living in freedom or want greater freedom? What would living in Jesus’ victory over that area look like for you?
- This week, spend time evaluating your life, heart and mind, asking God to show you areas of bondage in your life?
- Ask God to show you how battle in the spiritual realm for breakthrough and ask a trusted friend to pray with you in that battle.