Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Why are people not casting out demons today like they did in biblical times?

 

Casting out demons was and still is considered a sign gift. The doctrine of spiritual gifts is derived through textual criticism of scripture in the original languages as it is interpreted within the context of the whole of scripture.

 

Spiritual gifts are identified as:

a. Pneumatidos – 1 Cor 12:11 “spiritual things” not natural talents.

b. Charisma – grace gift (1 Cor 12:4) received through grace given to all believers.

c. Special ability of service in the body of Christ (Mt 25:14-28), given to all believers (1 Cor 12:7, 11; 1 Pet 4:10), according to God’s will (1 Cor 12:18, 28; Eph 4:11; Rm 12:6), to be used within and for the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27; 14:12; 1 Pet 4:10).

 

There is a further distinction between spiritual gifts as sign gifts verses abiding gifts. A sign gift is a supernatural gift given by God to someone to confirm a message or a messenger. The abiding gifts are granted to believers upon salvation through the Holy Spirit for the purpose of building up the church.

 

1) Sign Gifts

a) Tongues (1 Cor. 14:22; Mk 16:17).

b) Healing (Mk 16:17; Acts 4:16; 5:12; 16).

c) Exorcism or casting out demons (Mk 16:17; Mt 10:8; Acts 16:16-18).

d) Ability to raise the dead (Mt 10:8; Acts 8:36-42; 20:7- 12).

e) Prophet – Giving revelation & foretelling (future) 2 Pet 1:21.

2) Abiding Gifts

a. Apostle – 12 apostles with sign gifts or root sense of “one sent” (Acts 14:4)

b. Prophet – forthtelling (proclaims truth already given/known) (Heb. 2:1)

c. Evangelist – proclaim the gospel all should do the work (2 Tim 4:5) some have the special gift.

d. Pastor/Teacher – grammatically connected (2 Tim 4:2- 3; 4:12-13)

 

There are three different doctrinal views on whether the gifts are for today:  all the gifts exist today, none exist today or some exist today. I have studied all views and I have found the arguments for the cessation of gifts to be insufficient. So today I align myself with the belief that all of the gifts exist today. But this begs the question: Why is exorcism so rare today if this is true?  To that I answer with another question, “Who says it wasn’t rare during biblical times as well?” Not all gifts were manifested by all believers, not 2000 years ago and not now.

 

The point is also made that sign gifts were more prevalent during a time when the message of Christ was being affirmed by God through the apostles. That is not to say that God does not act through miraculous wonders and signs today to affirm the gospel message, but it is recognized that relatively few practice the sign gifts today. Are demons still being cast out in the name of Christ? Many Christians testify that they have witnessed this to be true. Some churches teach and practice deliverance from demonic activity today all over the world. It is possible that advancement in our understanding of physiological illnesses has reduced the frequency of believers to attribute biological or mental illnesses to demonic activity, but that does not negate the actuality of demonic activity today. On the other hand, not all illnesses can be attributed to spiritual influences, not 2000 years ago and not now.

 

That being said, however, sudden and complete healings routinely dumbfound physicians who cannot claim credit nor explain what seems miraculous. God still delivers today. He is still a God of healing and He is still a God of miracles. Our understanding of how He works is still in process, but He remains the same – yesterday, today and forever. Perhaps the deficient practice of sign gifts is a result of the church’s neglect in training believers. I encourage you to explore this issue for yourself rather than trusting every teaching or tradition without examination.

I went to the bank to withdraw $1000 from my account yesterday. I filled out the withdrawal slip and handed it to the cashier. She pecked on the computer a while and then told me that I only had $852.47 in the account. Now, we are living in a culture that says truth is relative. So she cannot really know what is really in the account. My truth is just as valid as hers. So I said, “Well that may be true for you, but not for me. Give me my $1000.”  

 

So now I have to find another bank. Apparently bankers do not like dealing with people who are out of touch with reality.

 

Is truth relative? Many people insist there are no absolutes. What do you think?

 

To explore this question of truth, perhaps I should discuss three possible sides of the issue:
1) Is truth absolute?
2) Is truth knowable?
3) Is truth exclusive?

 

Truth is absolute. Truth has been described as “telling it like it is.” If something is true, it is true for all people everywhere at all times because truth corresponds to its object. To deny absolute truth is self-defeating.

 

Truth is knowable. Truth about reality is knowable. To deny truth is knowable implies knowledge of the truth which is, once again, self-defeating.

 

Truth is exclusive. If “A” is true, then “not A” is false. Truth is not dependent on our feelings or preferences. If something is true, it is true whether we like it or not.

 


It follows then that all religions cannot be true because they teach opposites. While many religions have true beliefs, the religions themselves cannot all be true because they are mutually exclusive teaching opposites.

 

 

 

 

We know there is a moral law because:

1.                          absolutes are undeniable. Absolute moral truth is best known by our reactions not our actions.

2.                          we cant know injustice unless we know justice. You can’t know what is wrong unless you know what is right. The reason we know whether a map of Australia is accurate or true is because we have an absolute standard (the country of Australia) by which to measure.

3.                          real moral disagreements imply an objective moral standard. We can debate map A verses map B of Australia, because we have a real unchanging standard to compare them. Without a real unchanging standard of good the difference between Mother Theresa and Hitler is nothing more than a matter of opinion.

4.                          we would not make excuses for doing wrong if there was no moral law. What is the point?

5.                          we wouldn’t know the world was getting worse or better if there was no moral law. Secular humanist love to tell us that the world is so much worse because of religion. How do they know what worse is if they deny a standard of good?

6.                          there would be no human rights without the moral law. There would be no way to judge the Nazis, Saddam Hussein, or other war criminals without a standard beyond government or international law.

 

What would you say to a friend who claimed that the Christian God doesn’t exist because there’s too much evil in the world?

One approach is to respond with a question, “How do you know what evil is?” Some say we learn right and wrong from our parents. Really? So when your son took a toy from your toddler, you had a lesson on property rights before she screamed in protest? And you taught your son how to lie before he came up with an excuse as to why he wasn’t violating these moral laws. We have a conscience so we instinctively know the moral law, we do not need to be taught these things.

We know there is a moral law because moral absolutes exist. Morality is not relative, if it were your morality would be right, mine would be right, there would be no standard by which to judge one behavior to be objectionable and another to be valued. The difference between Hitler and Mother Theresa would only be a matter of opinion. In order for you to judge one behavior right and another wrong a moral absolute standard must exist. If a conscience or moral law exists, then a moral law provider, someone outside of the prescribed standard must exist. Christians call this moral law provider God.

While God did not make evil He did allow evil to exist. When He created the heavens and the earth He declared it all to be good. Part of the goodness was giving some of His creatures free will. Because forced love is not love anymore than forced obedience is willful obedience. We are not robots, we have a choice to love or hate, to obey or rebel.

The evil you see in the world is the result of people living in opposition to the moral standard they know they ought to obey. We all violate the moral law to some degree bringing judgment upon ourselves. Because God is good and just, He must judge law breakers. But Christ paid our fine and took our punishment providing forgiveness and a way to become righteous, free from our transgression. Christianity is the only world religion that provides a Savior, that is Jesus.

This is a Call to Arms for mothers everywhere.  Satan’s time is short and he has declared war on your family.  He is successfully enticing Christian mothers all over the world to sin.  One thing is evident:  Godly mothers do ungodly things.  Oh, you already knew that?  Are you living evidence of that fact?  You bear the image of a Holy and Righteous God making you the target of an merciless and ferocious enemy, hell-bent on destroying you and all that you hold dear.  But Mom, it is you who are called to be the defender of your domain!  What hope do you have? What hope does your family have against this prowling lion? 

 

Feeling singled out? That is what the enemy would want you to believe, but you do not suffer alone.  1 Pet 5:9 says your sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same type of suffering.  There is a strange comfort in cooperative oppression.  Other moms struggle with anger, a vicious tongue, and secret sins that we do not dare utter.  You never speak of the sins committed in your most hideous and ugliest moments, keeping them secret even from the Lord–or so you convince yourself.  My dear sister, that silence holds you captive.

 

In Rev. 12:11 John says the Saints overcame Satan by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony. That is good news and bad news for us. The good news is that Satan cannot do anything about the blood.  You are living post-resurrection.  You are a receiver of grace, no longer an object of wrath and judgment – signed and sealed by the Lamb of God.  Just as God demonstrated at the first Passover, the blood of the lamb has been painted on the doorposts of your soul and neither Satan nor his demons can enter in.  You are a dwelling of the Holy Spirit.  The bad news is that although our adversary cannot control you from within, but he can and does try to control you through your circumstances.  Since he is defeated by the blood, the only strategy he has left is to influence your word, your testimony.  So you lose your temper, you react; you lash out and punish the people you love for making you angry.  Sometimes there is not a hint of love on your tongue — only the poison of sin.  Is that your testimony? Dear one, this is not a testimony that overcomes.

 

When was the last time you were really honest with yourself about your life, your lifestyle. When was the last time you took a really hard look at yourself, a moral inventory if you will? Most of us avoid such an uncomforatble introspection, some tragically live with a lifelong avoidance of the truth. But you and I need to face the truth before our holy God if we want to render the enemy defenseless. Don’t hide, don’t deceive, but bare your soul before God.

 

When Arnold Schwarzenegger was accused of sexual misconduct during the election for the Governor of CA, he did not take his queues from Clinton.  We can all picture the past president wagging his finger at the camera and adamantly stating, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”  And the ramifications of his sin went far beyond Bill and Monica, casting our entire nation into a cesspool of international shame.  No, Arnold quickly called a press conference and in his Arnold way, confessed and apologized.  And the other party threw their clipboards and election war plans to the ground in disgust.  He left them with no ammunition. I am not defending Arnold or his alleged behavior.  The point is this: you need to confess to the One holding you accountable and leave your enemy standing speechless dropping his war plan in the dust.

 

The guilt and shame of your failures, of your humanness is a triumph of an enemy whose greatest prize is the fall of a godly mother.  You are the white tiger he wants hanging on his wall.  Why?  Because if he can get to you, who is left protecting your children?

 

Today spend 15 minutes alone in prayer.  Write a letter to God.  Tell him about your darkest secret sins, your hateful thoughts, your frustrations, your anger, and your cruel fantasies.  Be honest with God.  He can take it.  He has big shoulders. 

 

Father God, you know all and see all.  There is nothing in me that is hidden from you.  I confess my failures to you.  It is against you that I have sinned and it is to you I need to be restored.  I love you, Lord God.  I lay my list of hidden sins before you.  I am broken before you and I need your healing power.  I need your power to work in me.  Place a guard upon my lips that I may not sin against you.  Strengthen my faith. Help me with my unbelief!  I am a woman after your own heart and my deepest desire is to please you.  I praise you Father for your mercy and grace.  Thank you for your forgiveness.  Because of your great mercy upon me, I can extend that same mercy to my husband and children.  Grant me an extra measure of patience and your holy discernment.  I believe you for the promises you have spoken to me.  I am your humble servant; use me according to your purpose.  Amen

 

 

Now tear up the letter into a million pieces and throw it away.  Did you hear that?  It is the enemy’s war plan dropping to the floor.

 

“as far as the east is from the west,

so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”  Ps 103:12