Monday, January 29, 2018

By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.

or the past 20 years I have had the privilege of counselling people who have either written, called or approached me personally regarding family situations, personal problems, or crises with which they were deeply engrossed. 
     Often times people will call me, muttering on the other end of the line, "Why did I do it, what makes me drink; I've got to pull myself together, I'm losing my mind".  They often end by saying, "I hadn't planned to do it, Pastor.  What went wrong"?  Or they might say, "The devil made me do it, yes the devil made me do it"!
      A number of years ago a Hollywood comedian got a lot of laughs out of his supposedly funny quip, "The devil made me do it". That doesn't seem so funny anymore, after the movies that have stirred millions, like Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist and The Omen.
   The Boston Strangler, Son of Sam, Hillside Strangler, Charles Manson and the Sharon Tate murders, together with the sadistic deeds of homosexual murderer John W. Gacey, who raped and murdered little boys, shows the devil's ability to make people do his evil bidding!
    The Bible states: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them REPENTANCE to the acknowledging of the truth.
    “And that they may recover themselves out of the SNARE of the Devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Tim. 2:24-26)
     Some time ago a Protestant denomination spent in excess of a million dollars to investigate and research the topic of demons and other related matters.  After a year of studies they concluded that there is no devil. 
      They reasoned: "If they preached that there is a personal devil, people might become disturbed emotionally.  It is therefore, better to do away with the doctrine that there is a personal devil".
                     GREATER IS JESUS WITHIN US!
      Beloved, the answer is found in God's Word, which declares that Satan is indeed alive and doing evil things in people’s lives. He is the enemy of God and man.  This, however, does not disturb the children of God because the Bible says, "…Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world". (1 John 4:4); "Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you". (James 4:7);
    “Be sober, be diligent; because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom Resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (1 Peter 5: 8)
     These verses of Scripture give a great deal of comfort to me and to millions of Christians all across the world, because as we serve the Lord and have Christ within our hearts, not only will the devil not disturb us but we can disturb him!  He has absolutely no power over us when we have our faith in Christ, for the Bible says, "Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy:  and nothing shall by any means hurt you". (Luke 10:19)
   The Bible states that if we submit ourselves unto God through the precious BLOOD of Jesus Christ and resist the Evil One, he will FLEE from us!  As the demons were afraid of Jesus and fled when he commanded them to go, they must also obey us when we speak with faith and authority in the name of JESUS. 
    The demons screamed out, "Let us alone, what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth?  Art thou come to destroy us?  I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God". (Mark 1:24)  And again the Bible CONFIRMS that the demons cried out, "Art thou come hither to torment us before our time"?  (Matt. 8: 29)
    You may say, "But that was Jesus"! How about a Spirit-filled deacon by the name of Philip who went down to Samaria and preached Christ to them.  The Bible says that Philip had such a great revival that the entire city came to hear him preach. 
     Multitudes of Samaritans believed when they saw God’s power in action: "For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them:  and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed". (Acts 8:7)
    The power of demons was broken, destroyed, and surrendered to the commands of God’s servant who was filled with the Holy Ghost.  No wonder Philip had such power over the devil.  Jesus had promised, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devil". (Mark 16:17)
     The Scripture reports that a fortune teller troubled Paul and Silas in the city of Philippi for several days.  After the spirit of divination was discerned by St. Paul and cast out of the girl, she was unable to tell any more fortunes.  Paul and Silas were cast into jail and shackled in the dungeon, but God sent an earthquake to set them free.   As a result, the Philippian jailer and his entire family were converted to Christ.
   "And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:  The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 
     “And this did she many days.  But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.  And he came out the same hour." (Acts 16:16-18)
          The Scripture says, "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul.  So that from his body were brought unto the sick, handkerchiefs and aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them". (Acts 19:11-12) 
     When some exorcists heard of the mighty power of God in the life of St. Paul as he preached and cast out demons in the name of Jesus, seven sons of a certain religious man called Sceva tried to do the same.  Read what happened: 
    "Then certain of the vagabond Jews, Exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus Whom Paul preacheth.  And there were seven sons of on Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.  And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know:  but who are ye? 
     “And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.  And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified." (Acts 19:13-17)
   The evil spirit within this possessed man cried out to the seven sons of Sceva, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye"?  The original Greek actually reads:  "Jesus I know, and Paul I am beginning to know".  Word had spread through the devil's kingdom, and demons everywhere were beginning to know Paul.  They knew Jesus and they were beginning to know Paul, but who were these seven sons of Sceva?  They had no faith in God; they had no standing of righteousness, and the devil would not obey them.
    "And when He (Jesus) had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease". (Matt. 10:1) 
    The Scripture states that not only do we have power against unclean spirits, but we also have authority over them. (Mark 6:7)
          Our Lord Jesus gave His power to cast out devils to the apostles.  "As ye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils:  freely ye have received, freely give". (Matt. 10:7-8)  The Bible says, "And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them". (Mark 6:13)
     "After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come." (Luke 10:1)  The Bible states that they returned with great joy, and said, "Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name." (Luke 10:17) 
      Jesus answered, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven". (Luke 10:18). He said, "I was there when the devil was defeated; I saw him cast out of heaven; I saw him fall as lightning to the earth.  I saw his power broken and his works destroyed". 
    We have power over the devil.  We have power over and against him.  The Bible declares that we have power over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall hurt us! (Luke 10:19) 
     When Jesus spoke to the devil, he had to obey Him.  Demons screamed out in terror when Jesus came near.  The devils trembled and feared and obeyed the command of the Master.  The Bible says, "As He is, so are we in this world". (1 John 4:17).  We have His power today! 
     The Scripture tells us, "Now are we the sons of God". (1 John 3:2a)  We are children of God, heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ:  "And if children, then heirs; heirs of god, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together." (Rom. 8:17)
          No wonder Jesus said, "He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father." (John 14:12)  Yes, my beloved friend, you and I as Christians have power over the devil and against the devil to bind him, to cast him out and to destroy his works!
     The Bible says, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power; Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him". (Acts 10:38).  Jesus said, "The thief (Satan) cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly". (John 10:10) 
    No wonder St. John said, "…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil". (1 John 3:8)
     The hated enemy of God and enemy of man is the devil, Satan himself.  God has given His children power over all the power of the enemy.  The Scripture says, "There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh unto thy dwelling". 
    The Bible says, "…and nothing shall by any means hurt you". (Luke 10:19). Jesus said, "That wicked one cometh and hath nothing in Me.” (John 14:30)  St. Paul said, "Sin shall not have dominion over you".  Jesus Christ said, "But, ye shall receive power over all the power of the enemy."(Acts 1:8). Jesus has given us power against unclean spirits to cast them out! (Luke 10: 17)
     Satan has NO power over us; to put diseases upon us, make us fearful, harm or injure us.  A thousand times NO!!! God’s Word says, "…but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him NOT.” (1 John 5:18); “Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you". (James 4:7);
   Jesus said, "…I have overcome the world". (John 16:33).  St. Paul declared, "Nay, in all things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us". (Rom. 8:37)  The great Apostle said, "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me". (Phil. 4:13) 
     God’s Word says, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. 
      “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 8:35-39)
           The Bible confirms the devil's total defeat: "At the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." (Phil. 2:10-11)  Praise God.     
     St. Peter said, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour". (1 Peter 5:8)  He is indeed our adversary!  The Scripture tells of a man planting good seed in a field, and in the morning tares had sprung up among the wheat.  The farmer said, "An enemy hath done this". (Matt. 13:28)
     Yes, my beloved friend, the devil is your enemy.  He works through the flesh, through the world and through his own evil emissaries, the demons.  Satan is highly organized; he is out to defeat the purposes of God even though he knows he has no chance of succeeding, for he has been eternally defeated! 
      On Calvary's cross Jesus cried, "It is finished".  That means that the work of salvation, the work that Christ had been called to do by His Father, to redeem lost mankind has been completed and from the cross Jesus cried to the Father, "Into Thine hands I commend My spirit". (Luke 23: 46)
     Three days and three nights later, God raised Jesus Christ from the dead for our justification, and forever sealed the doom of the devil in the lake of fire. (Acts 2:31-32; 3:14-15; 4:1, 10; Rom. 1:4)
     The Bible states that the battle we are fighting is not carnal, it is not a natural, ordinary battle, but it is a spiritual one.  We have weapons and we have power with God over the devil:  "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" (2 Cor. 10:4,5)
      We have power over the devil (Luke 10:19) for we are ambassadors of the kingdom of God. (2 Cor. 5:20)  We are servants of the living God; (Rom. 6:22) we are sons and daughters of God; (2 Cor. 6:18) heirs and joint-heirs with Christ. (Rom. 8:17)  We are bone of Jesus' bone and flesh of His flesh; (Eph. 5:30) our bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost, (1 Cor. 6:19) and we are members of the body of Christ. (1 Cor. 12:27).  Hallelujah!
     Satan is highly organized.  The Scripture tells us in the book of Daniel that there are princes among the demons who work against God's children and against God's will.  
     "Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel:  for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
    “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days:  but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia." (Dan. 10:12-13)
      I personally believe that Satan is so highly organized that he has great generals, captains, lieutenants and others in his diabolical army, whose duty it is to harass, tempt, condemn, seduce, deceive, destroy, steal, kill and murder God's children and try to thwart the purposes of God and do harm to His kingdom.
     The Bible says, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus". (Phil. 2:5)  We can have the mind of Christ!  The Bible says, "Let the Word of God dwell in you richly". (Col. 3:16)  Jesus is the Living Word and the Bible is the written word.  When we read the Bible and let the Word of God dwell within us, Christ dwells within us.  Of course when we are saved Christ is formed within us.  
     The Bible says, "…If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His". (Rom. 8:9)  When we receive the Blessed Holy Ghost Baptism, God the Holy Ghost comes in and lives within us.  Jesus said, "He is with you and He shall be in you".  The Bible says, "They were all filled with the Holy Ghost". (Acts 2:4)
      Even though the devil is highly organized and he is out to destroy us, and even though he is constantly trying to afflict, depress and torment, we can drive him out, for the Bible says, "Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you". 
    When you draw nigh to God and God draws nigh to you, you have power over the devil.  The Bible says, "If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him..." (1 John 3:21-22)
     The Scripture tells us, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit". (Rom. 8:1) 
    Sin is what destroys the confidence we have in God.  Sin is a faith destroyer.  Sin destroys our confidence in God and in ourselves and allows the devil to slip in with his evil, devious, wicked and sinister devices to harass us, stop us, or destroy us.  We have power over him.
     The Bible says, "They overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony". (Rev. 12:11)  We can stop him, for the Bible says, "When the enemy, (the devil is our enemy) shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of God shall lift up a standard against him".  (Is. 59:19)
  The standard that the Holy Spirit lifts up stops the devil and he can proceed only so far; he can go no further. The Scripture states that the devil murmured and complained, saying, "You have put a hedge around Job; you've got a hedge around him".  (Job 1:10)
    That's true, God has placed a hedge around His people, and I believe that when the devil comes in like a flood to destroy, kill and murder, the Spirit of God puts up a standard to stop him, and we are surrounded by the blessed power of the Lord. 
    We are covered with His blood and filled with His SpiritThe Word of God is within our mouth; we have the name of Jesus to drive him out, the angels protect us and we have brothers and sisters in Christ who pray for us and stand with us.
    Yes indeed, when the enemy, the devil, shall come in like a flood to devastate and destroy, the Spirit of God will lift up a standard against him and stop him! The devil is like a dog on a leash!
     We find in the case of Job, if God hadn't allowed the devil to attack Job, Satan couldn't have touched him.  God gave the devil permission to touch Job's cattle, and his body, but not his life. (Job 2:6). And Satan had to leave the presence of God to smite Job with sore boils.
      The Bible states that we are to remember the patience of Job and the end of the Lord.  The Scripture declare that Job was sick for approximately six months to a year, and then God healed him and he lived for 140 years more, and never had another boil as far as the Scripture records.
    God gave him twice as much as he had before the devil afflicted him.  Many people laugh and speak about Job's boils and say that Christians have to suffer, but the Bible speaks about the "patience of Job" and it also speaks about "the end of the Lord".  The end of the Lord was blessing, prosperity, healing, health, joy, peace and power over the devil.
      St. Paul spoke to Timothy and said, "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind". (2 Tim. 1:7)  Evidently, Timothy was afraid and St. Paul writing to his son in the faith said, "You don't have to be afraid, Timothy, God hasn't given us a spirit of fear". 
     Fear is a devil, fear is a spirit and fear hath torment. The Bible says, "…perfect love casts out fear". (1 John 4:18)  Fear is an evil spirit.  God has not given us any evil spirits; He has given us power over evil spirits.
     God has not given us a spirit of fear, but God has given us a spirit of power:  power over fear:  power over sin:  power over the devil:  power over sickness:  power over disease and even power over death, which is the last enemy!
     St. Paul wrote, "...that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands". (2 Tim. 1:6)  Again he said, "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner:  but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God". (2 Tim. 1:8)
       Evidently Timothy had become ashamed of St. Paul and he was afraid of persecution; afraid that he would also be persecuted.  He had a spirit of fear, and Paul said, "You don't need to be afraid; God didn't give you that; the devil put that on you.  God has given you power, love and a sound mind".  Hallelujah! 
    To the Ephesians St. Paul write, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 
     “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
     “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
     “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds:  that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." (Eph. 6:10-20)
    Satan is organized and he has power, but God has all power.  The Liar has wisdom, but God has all wisdom.  The Deceiver has strength, but God has all strength.  The eternally doomed Despot has many demons working for him, but God has far more angels than he has demons.  The Adversary has many sinners in his camp, but God has multiplied millions of Christians across the world who are filled with the Holy Spirit!
      Always remember that one man with God's power is a majority. Every day the Christian Church is winning more and more of the Satan’s slaves for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! We are winning and are constantly at our Master’s business of proclaiming the GOOD NEWS, that there is hope for the hopeless, peace for the troubled, healing for the sick, deliverance for the oppressed and Eternal Life for all who call upon His Nane in earnestness and faith!
     Jesus Christ said, "Behold, I give unto you power over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you".  The Bible says that one day an angel will come from heaven and bind Satan.  It won't take ten thousand angels; it won't take a hundred angels; it will take one angel to bind the devil and cast him into the pits of hell forever.  Hallelujah!
      “And I saw an angel come down from Heaven, having the key of the Bottomless Pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him…and cast him into the Bottomless Pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more… And the devil that deceived them was cast into the Lake of Fire, where the Beast and the False Prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Rev. 20:1-3, 10).  Praise God!  Amen.
    NOTE: The above message was carried in the ‘Cry of His Coming’ Canada’s Revival Magazine, 1983.