Deliverance from Evil

Reading Time: 8 Minutes

Jesus taught us to pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6.13). It makes sense that his mission would involve setting people free from evil and evil powers.

Jesus’ ministry of healing and deliverance fulfilled what the prophet Isaiah described as the work of the Messiah.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn . . .”
(Isaiah 61.1-2)

The same Spirit who was on Jesus is within us. Like Jesus, we will share the good news with other people. We will be one beggar telling another beggar where the bread is.

The activity of the Spirit will enable us to bind up the brokenhearted and help comfort those who mourn.

The Holy Spirit will work with us to open the prison doors of people who are captives to evil. I love the saying, “the way Jesus defeats his enemies is by making them his friends.” As we cooperate with the Holy Spirit, we will be used to deliver people from evil by helping them become Jesus’ friends.

Deliverance from Evil Powers

Place yourself with the story of Matthew, once again. Let’s see how Jesus used his authority and power over evil forces. Here’s what Matthew wrote,

“And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?’

“Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. 31 And the demons begged him, saying, ‘If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.’

“And he said to them, ‘Go.’ So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters.

“The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region” (Matthew 8.28-34).

Who is in control here?

We have seen the effect of Jesus authority. The effective reach of his power conquered illness and calmed the storms of life. His words created movement and health in a paralyzed servant’s life.

In addition, Jesus’ authoritative word is powerful over evil. All he had to say is, “Go,” and demons set two men free from their power. Without a doubt, this is a powerful demonstration of the “deliver us from evil” request in the Lord’s Prayer.

Jesus declared that the kingdom of God has arrived on earth (Matthew 4.17). The effective reach of God’s power is available and demons must flee.

How do we align ourselves with Jesus’ deliverance ministry?

Let’s not forget that we are reading the Gospel of Matthew to see how we can best align our lives with the actions and teachings of Jesus. What is the best way to conform ourselves to Jesus’ actions in this passage?

I have heard people say that they felt controlled by evil spirits, while they were living distant from God. One man told me that while he was cooking meth, it looked like there was a demon in the mixture of cooking chemicals. We often hear people speak of getting free from their “demons,” whether they are actual evil spirits or a way of speaking about harmful behavior.

Among the majority of people I have met, most get free the moment they surrender their lives to the leadership and direction of Jesus. This squares with the understanding I have received from a very seasoned veteran of spiritual warfare. He told me that 99% of victory over demonic forces involves abiding in Christ. If you are struggling with your “demons,” work at abiding in a closer relationship to Jesus Christ.

What about people who believe that they need to be delivered from the influenced of an evil spirit or a demon? I have had both good and bad experiences in this area. In the good experience a mature minister gently set a person free from demonic influence. That was a powerful and gracious experience.

In the bad experience, I trusted the education level and supposed credibility of a minister, only to find that more harm was done than good. As I evaluate that experience, I believe he tried a “one size fits all” approach that ended up being spiritual malpractice.

Here is my caution about deliverance from demons. Use the basic tool that God has given to us. Tell people the story of how you met Jesus and invite them to turn from their old ways to faith in Jesus.

Be very cautious about so-called deliverance ministers. Get excellent counsel from trusted sources before engaging the services of such practitioners.

A Missed Opportunity

Not all of Jesus’ miracles were received well. The people from the town “begged Jesus to leave their region” (verse 34). When Jesus comes on the scene, change happens. The two men were probably thrilled beyond belief over getting free from demonic influences that had wrecked their lives. The farmers who lost their pigs in the sea were probably not as happy.

Not everyone welcomes the change that Jesus brings. They are so consumed by self-interest that they reject the Savior of the world. As we read the Gospel of Matthew, the rejection of Jesus by the crowd will increase until they place him on a cross. This attitude of the Jesus-rejectors remains today.

Let’s Get Started

Once again, imagine yourself to be part of the crowd who witnessed the events of Matthew 8.

Are you like some people in the crowd who are content to hear the amazing message of the Sermon on the Mount or other words of Jesus? You heard a great sermon, but you still haven’t done much with what Jesus said.

Possibly, you can’t wait to get back among your friends to tell about a leper getting clean. Maybe, you want to gossip about what Jesus said about the Gentile centurion.

If you imagined yourself to be one of the pig farmers, can you understand why they were angry over losing so much of their livelyhood. You might be happy that the demonized men got cured, but you want someone to understand what it cost you.

On the other hand, imagine how it would feel to be freed from the oppressive forces of the demons. Now, that you are free, you can return to your home, to family and friends.

Dr. Henry Blakaby’s saying, “You can’t go where Jesus is and stay where you are,” was certainly true of his close followers. They traveled with him the exhilarating moments of healing and the scary experiences of the storm and demons. They would soon learn that they were not to be observers but participants.

Many church members feel that they have fulfilled their religious duty if they sing a few songs and listen to a sermon. Our study of Matthew indicates that God wants us to be participants in his ministry. We can begin the process of aligning our lives with Jesus by reading the Bible and talking to Jesus about what we read.

As we return to Isaiah 61, let’s read it and pray it. The goal is to open our lives, so we can join Jesus and further the reach of his love and healing power in the lives of people.

Isaiah 61

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;

Dear Jesus, I recognize that the Holy Spirit came on you in a way that is unique to who you are. Still, your Spirit is upon me, too. Please use me to bring the good news of your love to people around me. (If you have someone for whom you are praying, please mention their name to the Lord.)

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Dear Jesus, just as this was your mission, it is my mission, too. I want the direction of your Spirit today. Please show me a brokenhearted person or a captive who needs to be free. Please give me courage and power to join you in your work. I depend on you for the right direction for this person.

“To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn . . .”

Dear Jesus, may your Spirit help me to proclaim your desire to show favor to people. Please give me a way of speaking and living that shows your joyful favor for all. There are some may have a hard time hearing a joyful message. I yield to the leadership of your Spirit, so I can know who needs a message of comfort and who needs a message of joy.

5 Comments

  1. When I think about evil and our world, I’m reminded that without Christ we, as people, are evil. We are selfish. We think we know everything. And we ruin our own lives. So as I think about Jesus delivering me from evil, then I have to ask him to deliver me from me. From my choices. From my best thinking. To make me more like him delivers me from evil. More of You, Jesus. Less of me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you God for delivering me from me and allowing me to realign with your will, even moment to moment. Bless you Bob for your faithfulness to help the captives in their quest for freedom from evil.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Makes me think of Bill W. Being noted for saying that we are not brothers in our righteousness but our defects and trying to over come them. I help you with yours and you help me with mine by helping me to keep focused on the Lord and the right action.. and not the sin. My experience when I stopped living in the solution and not the problem the problem disappeared!

    Liked by 1 person

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