EXERCISING AUTHORITY OVER DEMONS

BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO

Casting out demons, devils, or evil spirits is a major part of New Testament ministry. This is because as it was in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, so it is today. There are still demons possessing or afflicting people with one negative spiritual condition or the other, conditions that are not natural.

Some health conditions are demonic in nature. Thus, medical help will be ineffective. Unless the demons responsible for such conditions are cast out, their victims will not be released. Demons can also influence someone’s behaviour; and unless the demons are cast out, no amount of moral instructions will change the victim. Therefore, Christians must not be ignorant about demonic operations.

Believers are to exercise authority over demons because Jesus, before He departed this earth, gave us authority to do so. He gave us authority to cast out devils. “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues” (Mark 16:15-17 NKJV).

Therefore, casting out demons is part of the full gospel and it is not an assignment for just pastors but for all believers, for Christians. That does not mean that believers should go about looking for demons or go to the extreme of casting out demons from anyone they see or anything. Some engage in excesses like casting out demons from the food they prepare personally instead of giving thanks and blessing it!

Why you, as a Christian, should cast out demons

1.Because Jesus cast out demons and you will not be a good follower if you don’t. Throughout the gospels, we read how Jesus cast out demons. In Matthew 8:16, the Bible says, “When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick” (NKJV). Did you see that? Jesus cast out demons with just a word. I like that. That means He didn’t struggle to get rid of them.

The book of Matthew records another instance of Jesus casting out demons. Matthew 9:32-33 says, “As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, ‘It was never seen like this in Israel!’” (NKJV).

Unfortunately, the reaction of the Pharisees was contrary to that of the people.  The Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the ruler of the demons (verse 34). What a slanderous accusation!

A similar accusation made against Jesus when he healed a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute is recorded in Matthew 12:22. Whereas the multitudes were amazed and exclaimed saying, “Could this be the Son of David?” the Pharisees said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons” (verses 23-24 NKJV). We have a similar account in Luke 11:14-15. Jesus’ reply to the accusation is well captured in verses 17-21: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (NKJV).

In the country of the Gadarene, Jesus cast out demons. The account is recorded in Luke 8:26-39, Matthew 8:28- 34, and Mark 5:1-20. Whereas Luke and Mark record that one demon-possessed man was delivered (the man possessed by legion – many demons), Matthew records that they were two that were possessed by demons and Jesus cast out the demons out of them into the herd of swine. The most important information is not the number of persons possessed by demons, but that demons obeyed Jesus and ran out of their human habitation.

The Bible also tells us that Jesus cast out seven demons out of Mary Magdalene and she became one of His followers. She was the first to see the risen Lord(Mark 16:9). The Bible records other instances that Jesus cast out demons. You’ll find these in Mark1:24:25, 34, 39. Jesus never spared demons; wherever He saw them, He cast them out. It was His major concern because demons wrecked havocs in peoples’ lives – they are responsible for many sicknesses and afflictions. That has not changed.

When one Pharisees, apparently not out of sincerity, warned Him to flee because Herod wanted to kill him, Jesus replied, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’ Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem” (Luke 13:32-33 NKJV). Jesus went about doing good, including casting out devils, for God was with Him (Acts 10:38).

As disciples of Jesus, believers are to walk in the Master’s footsteps by casting demons out of their victims, thereby delivering them from their evil work. As we have seen from the Bible, it is not a mandate given to pastors or persons occupying certain ecclesiastical positions, but every believer’s mandate (Mark 16:17).

2. Because Jesus has given you authority to do so. You just read that a short while ago in Mark 16:15-17. It will therefore amount to disobedience not to do so. Demons are under you because you’re seated with Christ who is seated far above principalities and powers (Ephesians 1:19-21).

Ephesians 2:6 says God has raised us, believers, up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Therefore, we have authority to cast out devils because we are above them and Christ has given us authority over them to cast them out.

3. Jesus empowered the twelve disciples to cast out demons and has, the same way, empowered believers today. Mark 3:14-15 says, “Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons” (NKJV).  Matthew 10:1 and Luke 9:1 record a similar thing.

Not only did Jesus empower the twelve disciples, but He also sent them out, as part of their training, to exercise the authority He had given them. And they cast out demons according to the empowerment they had received. “And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits… And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them” (Mark 6:7, 13 NKJV).

Verse 8 of Matthew 10 states that one of the things Jesus commanded the twelve disciples to do when He sent them out was to cast out demons adding, “Freely you have received, freely give” (NKJV). Every believer today is empowered to cast out demons just as the disciples in the day of Jesus were.

4. Jesus has sent out believers today just as He sent out seventy disciples then. The difference between the twelve disciples and the seventy disciples on one hand and the followers of Jesus today, on the other hand, is that they obeyed the command they received from Jesus to cast out demons. Nevertheless, many believers today are not walking in obedience to the command to cast out demons. Many believe that casting out demons is for some deliverance ministers or pastors. This could be because of ignorance or fear.

Luke 10:1says, “After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go” (NKJV). Did they go or stay back?  Verse 17 gives us the answer: “Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name’” (NKJV). They came back with the testimony that demons obeyed them – demons bowed before them, surrendered to them. If they never cast them out, they would never have known that they would obey them. If demons obeyed them, demons will obey you, too, if you cast them out, if you exercise your authority over them.

Philippians 2:10-11 says that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Only once did we read that the disciples couldn’t cast out demons while they were still in training under Jesus, and he told them why they couldn’t (Matthew 17:14-21, Mark 9:14-29).  Jesus pointed out to them that it was their lack of faith which, from what he said, they needed prayer and fasting to build up. He helped them to cast out that demon and it left. “Then Jesus answered and said, ‘O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.’ And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.  However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting’” (Matthew 17: 17-21 NKJV). However, after that incident, there is no other record of the inability of the disciples to cast out demons.

5. The early church cast out demons. That means after Jesus’ ascension, the disciples and the early church obeyed the command of Jesus to cast out demons. That means casting out demons didn’t end with the ministry of Jesus on earth. Every Bible-based ministry today is a continuation of the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, and believers should be bold to cast out demons as occasions demand.

While Philip was in Samaria preaching Christ, the Bible says, “And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.  For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed” (Acts 8:6-8 NKJV).

Remember that Phillip was not even among the twelve disciples. He was just one of the seven deacons, appointed in Acts 6:5, to serve tables – administer the food programme for the needy believers. Chosen alongside Stephen, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, Phillip the table-server became Phillip the Evangelist. Under his ministration, demons came out – that was an anointed ministration. That’s how it should be in a New Testament ministry.

Also, Paul was not one of the twelve disciples, but he cast out demons. In fact, he cast out a demon from a demon-possessed girl and that action landed him in prison! That was at Philippi. “Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, ‘These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.’ And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities” (Acts 16:16-19 NKJV).

Although Paul and Silas were imprisoned, two powerful testimonies came out of this incident – the supernatural opening of the prison doors as they were praying and singing hymns and the eventual salvation of the jailer and his household. Everything worked together for good.

If the early church cast out demons, why shouldn’t the church today? Why should your Christianity be different?

What do you need to cast out demons?

1. You must submit yourself to the authority of Jesus. That means you must be born again and be obedient to His word and live a life of holiness. Does Jesus know you? Have you surrendered your life to him? Have you come under His authority? If you haven’t, you’ll be a name-dropper and demons know those who are dropping the name of Jesus but have no personal relationship with Him. There is an example of this in Acts 19. “A team of Jews who were traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus. The incantation they used was this: ‘I command you by Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!’  Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. But when they tried it on a man possessed by an evil spirit, the spirit replied, ‘I know Jesus, and I know Paul. But who are you?’ And he leaped on them and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and badly injured” (Acts 19:13-16 NLT).

In the book of Zechariah, Joshua the high priest was standing before the angel of the LORD and Satan was at the angel’s right hand, accusing the high priest of many things, apparently his sins. Zechariah 3:3-4 says, “Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’ And turning to Jeshua he said, ‘See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes’” (NLT). The LORD’s intervention saved the high priest as shown in verse 2: “And the LORD said to Satan, ‘I, the LORD, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from a fire’” (NLT).

Satan will always seek to accuse any child of God that is playing with sin. Although Jesus is ever there to defend the believer because He has paid for his sin with His blood on the cross of Calvary,  such a sinning Christian may not have the confidence to command the devil. Put off a filthy garment that can make the devil bring accusations against you. “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:8-10 NKJV).

If you’re a disobedient child of God, demons will not obey you. They know you’re disobedient and living in sin.  For instance, why will demons obey you when you’re violating the word of God that says forgive? You’re unforgiving and you’re commanding demons to go; they know you’re out of order, you’re not under authority. Jesus said, “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too” (Mark 11:25-26 NLT). Unforgiveness hinders prayer. Demons don’t obey disobedient children of God. You cannot be walking in disobedience to Jesus and be using the authority of his name. No.

That centurion told Jesus, “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (Matthew 8:9 NKJV). Even Jesus the Son of God marveled at the deep understanding of this military officer who wasn’t even a Jew.  Verse 10 says, “When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’” (NKJV).

2. Faith. Unbelief can’t cast out demons. That was what Jesus told his disciples. Did you remember? Let me repeat that Scripture: “Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:19-21 NKJV). You need faith to cast out demons. Prayer and fasting build faith. (Please note that some Bible translations don’t include verse 21). Nonetheless, the point has been well made – without faith, no man shall be able to cast out demons. So ensure you build your faith.  That verse 21says this one does not go except by prayer and fasting.

Exercise faith in Jesus and the Word of God when you’re casting out demons. Don’t be double-minded; a double-minded person cannot receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-8).  Don’t be afraid. Have faith in the authority Jesus has given you and believe that demons will obey you as they obeyed the twelve disciples, the 70 disciples, and other disciples in the early church and are obeying other believers today.  “Have faith in God. I assure you that you can say to this mountain, ‘May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,’ and your command will be obeyed. All that’s required is that you really believe and do not doubt in your heart.  Listen to me! You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it” (Mark 11:22-24 NLT).

Don’t entertain a doubt that the demons won’t obey you when you command them to go out. It is not about you; it is about the one whose authority you’re exercising – Jesus Christ, the one who has all power on earth and in heaven.

3. Command them in the name of Jesus, the name that is above every name. Don’t beg demons; command them to leave in the name of Jesus. The devil will always remember that name – Jesus who defeated and humiliated him. “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15 NKJV).

Conclusion: Be part of the body of believers globally who are still exercising their faith and casting out demons. Demos are under your authority. As long as you bow to the authority of Jesus, living in obedience to him, demons have no option than to submit to the name of Jesus in your mouth.

Don’t allow demons in your life, in your home, or in the lives of others. Preach the gospel to those around you and cast out demons from any of them possessed by demons. Proclaim liberty, freedom to those who have been held captives by demons – set them free in the name of Jesus. May you come back with testimonies in Jesus’ name.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947
Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
cedarministryng@gmail.com
Website: www.cedarministry.org