Unfortunately, today not many churches are teaching about deliverance. It was a regular and significant part of Jesus’ ministry and the early church.
Today, a big part of the church has lost its position in Christ. Obviously, this is not true for everyone, but in most of my life so far, this is what I've experienced. They know who Jesus is, and what He did for them but haven’t fully grasped the authority and identity they have in Him. This mainly has to do with indoctrination from an early age as people grow up in a specific setting where deliverance is usually not discussed. Even worse, it's taught as dangerous and something to stay away from.
The enemy will always try to plant false stories, and one-time experiences to scare people away from working against his fallen kingdom. We need to compare these things with the Word of God and not let one experience shape our future. The Word of God should dictate and shape our future.
💡 Important: I firmly believe that Christians should not have a deliverance-focused ministry. The goal of believers is to get people to Christ by sharing the gospel. That being said, along that process, deliverance is part of it but never should we make it the centre of attention.
Before we look at our identity and authority in Christ, let’s look at the New Testament timeline and the progression of driving out devils. You will see it went from Jesus to the multitudes.
Jesus drove out demons
First, we have Jesus driving out demons himself. Sometimes, the demon was even a cause of a disability.
Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.Mar 1:34
And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled.Luk 11:14
The 12 drove out demons
After Jesus gave a glimpse into the deliverance ministry, He gave His twelve disciples the same authority to drive out demons.
And when He had called His twelve disciples to [Him], He gave them power [over] unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.Mat 10:1
"Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.Mat 10:8
The 70 drove out demons
After the twelve had successfully driven out demons, Jesus increased this ministry by giving the same authority to 70 other disciples. There is not much written about who these disciples were, but it was a larger group of people who, some also later departed from Jesus.
"And heal the sick there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'Luk 10:9
Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."Luk 10:17
"Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven."Luk 10:19-20
Believers drive out demons
Now we see a significant change. After the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, He gave all his believers the authority to cast out demons.
"He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;Mar 16:16-17
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, [even] to the end of the age." Amen.Mat 28:18-20
In verse 17, we see the signs that should be following believers. This is a confirmation that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ has the authority to cast out demons, and it's not only reserved for pastors, deacons or elders.
There are always going to be religious people who say you can’t do it. They will often use verses like Mat 7:21-23 to bring across their argument. This argument is easily crushed by studying Mat 28:18-20 and the following verses below.
21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'Mat 7:21-23
We have to understand that the above passage is meant to show us that our works, doesn't matter what they are, don't determine our relationship with the Lord. Verse 23 clearly states that he was speaking with people who were practicing lawlessness, meaning they were not even saved to begin with. We can only have a relationship with God if we are in Jesus Christ, His Son. Once we are in Him, we are covered by His precious blood that pleads on our behalf.
Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.Act 19:16
Acts 19:16 is another verse that people love to take out of context. If we read the verses before, we read that these people didn't know Jesus. They were saying “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!”
You wouldn't speak like that if you knew Jesus. They were trying to use the name of the Lord without even knowing Him.
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.1Jo 4:4
If know who you are in Him, no unclean spirit can jump on you. They actually fear you because you have Christ in you.
An Assignment, Not a Gift
Jesus gave His disciples an obvious assignment in Luke 10:19. It was one of the things He told His disciples to do. Later in Mat 28:18-20 He commands them to teach everything they have learned to everyone else (you and me). These apostles now had the foundation they needed to replicate through multiplication. We can now read about this foundation in the Bible; we are also called to build on this foundation and replicate it.
Many believers today confuse the gift of discernment with deliverance. They are two different things. The Holy Spirit, which lives inside of us, gives us the power to drive out demons in the name of Jesus. All authority has been given to Jesus, and he calls us to walk in this authority here on earth to expand His Kingdom.
Your Identity & Authority
This is a big topic, but for the sake of this article, I will only address certain parts to conclude the thoughts of this article.
It’s interesting how there’s not too much spoken about spiritual warfare or deliverance in the epistles. I believe there’s a straightforward reason for this:
The devil is limited. He got defeated on the cross when Jesus took victory over death. This was God’s great master plan that was hidden from the devil before the foundation of the earth.
Now he knows that his last breath is coming and he’s trying to go around LIKE a roaring lion, seeing who he can devour. He isn’t a lion, he is acting LIKE a lion. Lions only roar if they know they can’t get their prey.
Satan is a fallen angel, and so are his servants; they are simply persons with no bodies which you have authority over. Just meditate on these verses 👇
16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;Mar 16:16-17
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, [even] to the end of the age." Amen.Mat 28:18-20
Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.Luk 9:1
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.Eph 2:10
But you [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;1Pe 2:9
But Patrick, this was only for the apostles. We can not do this.
No, actually, we are called to imitate Christ and the apostles in all things because they set the foundation that we need to multiply. Did the demons just leave? Jesus said cast them out!
Imitate me, just as I also [imitate] Christ.1Co 11:1
Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.Phl 3:17
He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.1Jo 2:6
"But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?Luk 6:46
Should You Do It?
Now that you know, you can do it. The question becomes, should you do it? The answer would vary from person to person. Some people feel called to do it, others avoid it, and some are thrown into situations where they have no choice.
The answer here would largely depend on the situation and your own faith in Christ.
Here are some questions that would help answer this question.
- Does the person really have an unclean spirit? There's no point in driving something out that doesn't exist. Sometimes renewing the mind or receiving a better understanding of the gospel is enough.
- Do you know your identity in Christ? If not, your efforts might be in vain.
- Does that person really want to be free? If not, it's better not to cast out the demon.
- Does that person have the support they need after they are delivered? If the house stays clean, with nobody to occupy the house, and no spiritual support for the person to grow, the unclean spirits can come back and put the person into an even worse state.
Like in all things, wisdom is required. There's no one size fits all, but you must understand how deliverance works, what it is and that you have the authority to perform such works.