Subject: Another Coffee Break: Deliver Us From Evil, Part 1
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Deliver Us From Evil, Part 1
It is coming up on 50 years since I was first introduced to the ministry of Deliverance by Derek Prince. In those 50 years, what I have learned and what I have seen has opened my eyes to a realm of Jesus’ ministry that is still greatly misunderstood in many parts of the body of Christ.
Because of what we have seen unfolding in the past few months and years, it is clear that we are in the midst of a battle Royal with the Enemy. He has been losing ground, and is doing everything in his power to fight against what God is doing in the earth today. He has opposed (and continues to oppose) any and all believers whose very existence threatens his domain. He knows that his days are numbered and that he is on the losing side.
In the coming weeks, I would like to take you through a renewed understanding and revelation of this realm — a realm that encompassed fully one-third of Jesus ministry as recorded in the Gospels.
This past week, I woke up at 4:30 in the morning coming out of a vision that was as vivid as any vision I’ve ever had. I shared it with Neville and he agreed that it is a perfect description of what has been taking place. He also had a confirming word from Bobby Connor that fit with what the Lord has been saying to us.
In this vision, we were in an open field. Our staff and leaders in the body of Christ were running around, trying to avoid a bunch of vultures who were swooping down and pecking at them. Each time a vulture reached a person, he would pick bits of flesh out of that person and drop them in the field. This happened again and again and again. The field was littered with bits of human flesh and the people were rapidly becoming bloody messes.
I saw a gigantic vulture appear — seemingly out of nowhere. In my spirit, I knew that what I was seeing was a picture of spiritual warfare. The vultures were demons, attacking God’s people, and especially those who were at the forefront of what God is doing now. The gigantic vulture was none other than Satan, himself, who was there to direct the vultures and finish the destruction of God’s people.
Laying on the ground in front of me was a very large rock, perhaps 15 inches across, 8 inches wide and six inches deep. The Lord spoke to me and said, “Pick up that rock and bring the big vulture down.”
My first instinct was that it was way too heavy for me to pick up and throw. A sudden surge of strength flowed through me in that instant. I picked the rock and hurled it at the giant vulture, striking it just below the head on the neck and upper body. The vulture came crashing to the ground.
It lay there flopping its wings in an attempt to get back up. Again I received the instruction of the Lord, “Crush the vulture’s head with the rock.” I picked up the rock again and brought it down on the vulture’s head again and again and again until I knew it was crushed. Then I stomped on the head of that vulture, declaring victory.
Suddenly, all the bits of flesh that had been scattered over the field began to fly through the air and come back to the people from whom they had come. In short order, everyone was whole again! It was a very clear picture of what is being required of us in these days. That rock was a picture of Christ Jesus. We use Him to crush the head of Satan, the vulture who is trying to pick us apart and destroy our effectiveness — if not us as individuals. He is also trying to divide and conquer the unity that exists between those of us who are working together.
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
A few years ago, I met with a group of perhaps eight or ten pastors over lunch to discuss what is a really contentious topic still in many parts of the body of Christ: deliverance. You understand that this topic is only contentious for those folks who’ve adopted the mindset and doctrine that Christians can’t be afflicted with evil spirits.
The doctrine really does come out of the mis-interpretation of the word, daimonizomai, and its usage in the KJV as “being possessed” by demons. Possession conveys the wrong idea entirely. Possession connotes ownership. People aren’t “owned” by demons, any more than they are “owned” by the Holy Spirit.
When we invite Jesus Christ into our lives, He takes up “his abode” with us. If we continue to yield to the leading and guidance He provides through the Holy Spirit, we have the opportunity and authority to become totally free in every aspect of our lives. Once a person has begun the process of salvation, deliverance, healing, walking in health and prosperity, it is somewhat like the kid who throws a big rock in a pond. You have a big splash, but then there are the ripples that seemingly continue outward for a long time thereafter.
Deliverance is like that. Your initial experience of being set free from unclean spirits may be dramatic, but there are the ripples – the ongoing revelations that come by the Holy Spirit – that continue on for months, and sometimes years.
Demons, unclean spirits, evil spirits – no matter how you refer to them – can only create impulses; they can lead you through the pleasures of your flesh, they can create thoughts in your mind, and they can drive you through fear, through doubt or through unbelief to commit certain acts or take certain actions that lead you into sin, or take you away from the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Evil spirits operate in two ways: internally – through thoughts implanted in your mind, and externally – by creating a set of circumstances or “supernatural” manifestations that generate fear, doubt and unbelief.
The eight or ten pastors that met with me that day over lunch knew, and confessed to me, that Christians could be afflicted and tormented by evil spirits. Nevertheless, they had adopted – for the sake of convenience and political expediency within their churches – the anti-deliverance doctrine.
I took them to task over their arrogant expediency, and quoted to them from Jeremiah’s lament and prophecy:
Jeremiah 8:11-12: “For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.”
I rebuked these pastors for telling their folks that they were free when many of them were still being tormented. They were saying to the people, “It’s just your flesh. You need to discipline your flesh and bring it under subjection.”
So what’s wrong with an answer like that? Nothing. Except that it doesn’t go far enough. It stops short. You cannot bring unclean spirits under subjection. You don’t discipline evil spirits. You kick them out!
In the months that followed, three of those men fell “among them that fall” – they fell into sin themselves. All three were removed from their places of ministry. One was indicted by a federal grand jury and wound up in prison.
Of the remaining pastors, one began to suffer ill health and turned his senior pastorate over to his son – who also happened to be among that group of pastors. The son, when he took over the pastorate, later called me and acknowledged that they had been wrong. He asked me out to lunch, and made it clear that I would be welcome to come and share and teach in their church any time.
Another of the pastors present that day at the luncheon began to repent of his anti-deliverance stance when the fall began for the three who were later removed from their ministries. I was pleased to sit in his church one Sunday and hear him openly repent for having taught error. He began to call people to acknowledge their need for deliverance and respond to the authority available in Christ Jesus.
The sixth man in that group was stricken with Parkinson’s Disease. Although he acknowledged to me privately that he knew I had spoken the truth, he refused to acknowledge it publicly and died two years later. It was a real loss to me because he had been a dear friend and brother in the Lord whose ministry I had otherwise greatly appreciated.
The other pastors moved on, and I never heard how their ministries prospered or failed. It was a graphic picture I’ve never forgotten.
This is something that the Lord Jesus Christ takes very seriously. You cannot pretend that folks are free, tell them they are free, and withhold the deliverance from them or the understanding that deliverance is necessary to deal with certain issues in their spiritual lives, and not suffer the consequences. The responsibilities that accompany spiritual leadership are great.
Jesus paid the complete price for our freedom on the Cross. He took back the authority that had been given Satan and made it available to all believers. Everything that Satan stole from us – everything! – was now available to those who would seize it.
Jesus put it like this.
Matthew 11:12: “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force.”
When an individual is called by the Lord, anointed for leadership, and equipped by the Holy Spirit to teach and to lead folks into a relationship with Jesus Christ, and then that individual knowingly avoids teaching and sharing truths that will set folks free from bondage, he or she effectively leaves Jesus hanging on the Cross instead of presenting Him as the resurrected and risen Christ who has taken the final authority over death and all that Satan seeks to do to retain his control of the human race.
Wheww! That was a mouthful! Let me put it another way.
Jesus’ death and resurrection proved that there is no enemy man cannot subdue when that subduing takes place utilizing the power and authority He has given. To cheat folks out of that authority is unconscionable.
One of the worst fables being taught by those who seek to make Salvation a once-and-for-all event, presupposing that once a person is a Christian, it is impossible for Satan to afflict them, is the idea that evil or unclean spirits cannot remain in the presence of the Lord.
That flies in the face of Job, Chapter 1, where Satan presents himself before the Lord and God asks him if he has considered his righteous servant, Job. It becomes an event in which Satan repeatedly tests Job and returns to stand before God to continue his arguments, “Yeah, but if you do this, Job will turn on you…”
Consider for a moment, each and every event where Jesus ministered deliverance. The individuals who were under the influence and/or being afflicted by the evil spirits did not flee from His presence. Not one of the evil spirits fled from the individuals until they were ordered to do so by the Lord, and in a couple of cases we have examples of them arguing with Him over having to depart.
In each case Jesus held firm. The unclean spirits recognized His authority over them and finally departed at His command.
But they didn’t leave until they were commanded to. There is not one single case of an evil spirit leaving as soon as Jesus was present.
It makes a nice, religious doctrine for folks to believe that once they have Christ in their lives, no unclean spirit can remain, but there isn’t one shred of evidence in Scripture to support such a doctrine.
What is truth is that individuals who allow these spirits to remain in their lives after they have accepted Jesus Christ and made Him the Lord of their lives will suffer raging spiritual battles in their lives. Sadly, too many Christians seem to be unaware of the fact that He has given them the authority to deal with the situation. They do not have to remain in the midst of these struggles.
History is replete with the stories of some of the most influential Christians, saints of God and profound leaders in the body of Christ who have lived their lives with certain aspects of their character under the torment of evil spirits.
Martin Luther, one of the most incredible leaders of the Reformation, and a man responsible for beginning the process of leading Christians out of the Dark Ages, was tormented by a spirit of racism. It hounded him to the day of his death, and he never recognized that Christ had given him the authority to be free of his hatred of the Jews.
John Bunyan, who wrote one of the all-time classics of Christian literature, The Pilgrim’s Progress, was tormented by a spirit that drove him to demand everything at half price. You may laugh at that and think it is something of little consequence, but he was never free to the day of his death. Because of his continuous demands on people to sell him whatever he wanted at half-price, his testimony was compromised, and people had difficulty seeing the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in him. Was he a Christian at the time of his death? Certainly.
Just because folks are tormented and do battle in certain areas of their lives with unclean and evil spirits does not in any way alter the fact that they have committed their lives to Christ and seek to walk with Him in a love-relationship. It simply means they have not taken advantage of the authority available in Christ Jesus to kick out the tormentors.
It was the prophet Hosea that prophesied the following:
Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
This is where we have to leave it for today. We have lots of territory to cover in this series, and we will spend a number of weeks getting through all of it.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER