TEXT: Matthew 8:14-17
14 And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.
15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.
16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:
17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
Over the last few messages, we have examined the reality of demon possession in the Bible. Although many today, including in the church, are hesitant to raise the issue of demon possession even in many of the dark and diabolical deeds that we hear about on a recurring basis in the news. However, that perception may be changing.
A recent article in The Guardian profiled Dr. Richard Gallagher, a psychiatrist and professor who says that he has had a front row seat to cases of demonic possession. He has written a book about his experiences titled, “Demonic Foes: A Psychiatrist Investigates Demonic Possession in the Modern United States.” He said, “There are many other psychiatrists and mental health care professionals who do what I do who seem hesitant to speak out. But I have had so much experience that I am willing to speak out. I feel an obligation to speak out.” One of the experiences he describes was of a young woman who very plainly told him that she worshipped Satan and was sent to “keep an eye on” a particular preacher and was able to describe what that preacher was doing at any given time. He describes her going into trances where another voice would speak from her body and she would not remember anything that was said. She (or the demons in her) also exhibited a “psychic” ability that drove the professor’s cats into a rage even though they lived miles apart.
Demon possession is real. The Bible says so, and there is evidence, even in our modern era, that backs that up. Our passage for today tells us what Jesus did when people brought demon-possessed individuals to Him. He cast them out with a word, demonstrating His complete and utter authority over the demonic realm — and demonstrating the fact that we do not need to be afraid of the devil and his hosts.
Let’s take a closer look at what it means to ‘cast out’ a demon from a person’s life according to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of the Bible: “The people were amazed that Jesus simply commanded the demons and they obeyed, as they were used to seeing elaborate exorcism rituals that were not always successful. The term most commonly used of the expulsion of demons in the New Testament is ‘cast out.’ In classical and Old Testament usage it had the sense of forcibly driving out an enemy. In the New Testament, it is typically used of a physical removal. Demons were cast out by the spirit of God, and this was done by verbal command rather than the elaborate rituals of the exorcists. Jesus’ authority to cast out demons was given to the Twelve and others, who cast them out in Jesus’ name. The disciples were successful in casting out demons, but needed a reminder to keep their priorities straight. With the young boy, however, they were unsuccessful because of lack of prayer and fasting.
“There are several primary words employed in the Gospels to describe Jesus’ healing ministry among the demonized. He released the woman bound by demons for eighteen years. He saved the Ge-ra-sene demoniac. He ‘healed’ many, a word used of healing the sick (lame, blind, mute, maimed, deaf) as well as the demonized and even of satanic healing. Its use implied that the restoration of demoniacs was on the same level of ministry as other types of healing, all of which showed Christ’s mastery over Satan and sin. Jesus also healed many who had evil spirits including the Canaanite woman’s daughter.
“The failure of non-Christian exorcists in the book of Acts shows that in these encounters authority is the underlying issue. Interestingly, the term ‘exorcism’ is not used of Jesus’ ministry. An exorcism implies a particular ritual, and Jesus, as well as the early church, relied on authority rather than ritual. It is not surprising, then, that nowhere in the New Testament is a Christian ritual for exorcism seen.”
As Christians, our warfare against the demonic realm rests not in ritual or so-called “power encounters,” but in our faith and trust in Jesus Christ because He has the power — authority — over the demonic realm. He casts out demons with a word.
Thomas Troeger wrote:
“Silence! Frenzied, unclean spirit,”
cried God’s healing, holy One.
“Cased your ranting! Flesh can’t bear it.
Flee as night before the sun.”
A Christ’s voice the demon trembled,
fro its victim madly rushed,
while the crowd that was assembled
stood in wonder, stunned and hushed.
Lord, the demons still are thriving
in the grey cells of the mind:
Tyrant voices shrill and driving,
twisted thoughts that grip and bind,
Doubts that stir the heart to panic,
fears distorting reason’s sight,
Guilt that makes our loving frantic,
drams that cloud the soul with fright.
Silence, Lord, the unclean spirit,
in our mind and in our heart.
Speak your word that,
when we hear it,
all our demons shall depart.
Clear our thought and calm our feeling,
still the fractured, warring soul.
By the power of your healing
make us faithful, true, and whole.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.