Monday, May 16, 2011

Will Having Knowledge and Power Over Demons Insure Your Salvation?

Grace will bring a man to heaven without working miracles, but working miracles will never bring a man to heaven without grace, (Matthew Henry).

     There is a strong movement emerging from the Christian community that deals with the study of the paranormal, including much focus on the Nephilim. For those who are not aware, researchers and writers about the Nephilim claim they are the spirit gods that emanated from the intermingling of fallen angels and human woman.
     Books on the topic abound and ever increasingly so have taken over the main focus of Christianity, where the topic (as interesting and provocative it may be) is now center fold where the subject of Christ and His grace, mercy and loving-kindness has taken a back seat. The true Christian warriors of today are those who bring to the Christian Marketplace material and information about the Nephilim and how we should deal with this rather enticing subject matter.  
     Many of the provocateurs of this increasing phenomenon are blowing the clarion that the Nephilim have returned and actually live among us, and that this knowledge should become the central focus of the Christian journey as we see the return of our Lord Jesus Christ become a one-day closer reality, promoted primarily by self-appointed prophets of God who are making predictions about the imminent return of Christ based on CNN reports that focus primarily on the state of Israel and the blazing political inferno in the Middle East. The fires of inner-religious wars have been started and are being stoked by the three major religions in the world, Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
     These provocateurs claim these signs are (as it was in the days of Noah) are strong indicators that Jesus should leave Heaven any moment (in secret no less) to Rapture His Disciples from earth to Heaven to avoid a seven year apocalyptic period of Great Tribulation that will occur before Jesus Christ returns to rule and reign on earth for 1000 years, before returning back to Heaven again with the so-called Christian Church.
     OK! We won’t deal here with the supposed Seven Years of Hell that the world and those who are supposedly left behind will experience, but we will deal with the issue of what the topic of the paranormal (and the ability to cast out demons) truly represents.
     At the outset, I will agree to a certain extent that the Nephilim could be demonic agents that have been planted on earth from the very beginning of time, whose primary mission was to destroy the genetic line (the seed of) Adam from producing the person we now know as Jesus Christ. This was Satan’s mission from the outset especially after God cursed him in the Garden of Eden for tempting Eve and Adam to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This disobedience caused the fall of man.
     But God knew He would redeem His creation by virtue of the sacrifice of His own son to pay for mankind’s sin. Therefore, when He told His adversary that, I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel, Satan knew well and good that seed would become Jesus Christ. Satan failed! Christ was born, died on the cross, paid for the sins of mankind, was resurrected, ascended to Heaven and will return to gather His believers to spend eternity with Him in the soon to descend city of New Jerusalem, which will be His headquarters on earth forever!  
    Those in the know, primarily those writers of these provocative books about demons, UFO’s Nephilim, et al, genuinely believe that demons are behind the entire paranormal phenomenon we have been exposed to from the very beginning. They have written tittilating books about the origins of the great Pyramid of Giza, Stonehenge, Atlantis, the Devil’s Triangle, UFO’s and every unexplainable anomaly mankind has experienced throughout its history. They also present strong evidence that a secretive cabal of scientists (mostly guided and inspired by Satan himself) is into some genetic-bending projects to create their own version of humanity. Many of them claim that these demonic agents are actually living amongst us today and are still cohabiting with woman and propagating hybrid wolves in sheep's clothing to infiltrate even the Christian church! Who truly knows? I will say; howver, that the way some Christians behave at various religious services throughout the world, this could very well be true!
     This theoretical knowledge is all well and good, and much of it is being produced by those who proclaim they are Christians and genuinely believe they are doing God’s work through their efforts. Obviously, we have had preachers and evangelists for years who have practiced the esoteric fine art of casting out demons; and many of these still do so and believe they have the power from God to do this. Albeit those who practice this form of religious ministry, in front of a throng of idolizing worshippers, have become a laughing stock to the majority in the secular community, and many among believers as well. Only God truly knows if they genuinely have this power; but, for the most part, many in Christendom will swear they do! Most certainly (as we are told in Ephesians 6:12) Christians are engaged in war with principalities and evil spirts in high places.

     My question is this: Where in the Bible does it say that these so-called religious works (bringing forth evidence that Satan is still alive and working to destroy humanity) are to be the focus of God’s mission for His disciples? Did not God tell us in James 1:26-27 what true religion is all about?
 26If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
 27Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

     Yet, these folks would rather delve into a glamour-glory arena that appears to be promoting Satan and his works more than what Christ did on the cross? They angrily defend their work and attack anyone who brings this matter to their attention. 
     There are many disciples of Christ who recognize what God wants them to do, even though it will not bring them the fame or notoriety, or the praise that one affords to those who specialize in what they consider the work of the Lord. Helping orphans, widows, the infirm, aliens, downtrodden, homeless and the lost does not gain too much attention from parishioners in churches throughout the country, in media or even on the Internet, nowadays.
     But those in this esoterically tittilating arena, many who invoke the name of Jesus in their prophecies, and believe they have the power to deliver the flock from diabolic spirits, and those who profess to have healing powers to cure the ill, believe theirs is genuine ministry that God will bless in the end!
     But, what did Jesus tell those disciples who dabble with demons when He was still on earth? Let’s read first from Luke 10:17-23:
 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
 18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
 21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
   22 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him, (Luke 10:17-2).
     In these verse Jesus did not address this activity specifically by telling them that it was the wrong thing to do, but he responded with a higher principle, which is to not to rejoice that the spirits submit to them, but that their names are written in Heaven.
     However, in another group of scripture (Matthew 7:21-23), it appears that many who have become involved with prophesy, casting out of demons and performing miracles, actually failed to do His bidding. As He addresses His disciples, He actually makes a bold distinction between what are true and what are false disciples:
    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers, (Matthew 7:21-23).
     It appears from this group of scripture that Jesus is specifically addressing His disciples (not any secular folk), those who actually believe they are doing God’s work! 
     Will I go as far as to judge those who dabble in this so-called Christian ministry?
     Am I afraid to make that call?
     Mine is not to judge but to bring forth God’s word so that others can view exactly what God had to say about this matter. I will, however, bring forth a commentary that was made many, many years ago by a revered man of God, who made a profound and susinct observation about this specific matter.
     Matthew Henry in his examination of Matthew 7:21-23, stated thus:
     We have here the conclusion of this long and excellent sermon, the scope of which is to show the indispensable necessity of obedience to the commands of Christ; this is designed to clench the nail, that it might fix in a sure place: he speaks this to his disciples, that sat at his feet whenever he preached, and followed him wherever he went. Had he sought his own praise among men, he would have said, that was enough; but the religion he came to establish is in power, not in word only (1 Co. 4:20), and therefore something more is necessary.
     I. He shows, by a plain remonstrance, that an outward profession of religion, however remarkable, will not bring us to heaven, unless there be a correspondent conversation, v. 21–23. All judgment is committed to our Lord Jesus; the keys are put into his hand; he has power to prescribe new terms of life and death, and to judge men according to them: now this is a solemn declaration pursuant to that power. Observe here,
     1. Christ’s law laid down, v. 21. Not every one that saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, into the kingdom of grace and glory. It is an answer to that question, Ps. 15:1. Who shall sojourn in thy tabernacle?—the church militant; and who shall dwell in thy holy hill?—the church triumphant. Christ here shows, (1.) That it will not suffice to say, Lord, Lord; in word and tongue to own Christ for our Master, and to make addresses to him, and professions of him accordingly: in prayer to God, in discourse with men, we must call Christ, Lord, Lord; we say well, for so he is (Jn. 13:13); but can we imagine that this is enough to bring us to heaven, that such a piece of formality as this should be so recompensed, or that he who knows and requires the heart should be so put off with shows for substance? Compliments among men are pieces of civility that are returned with compliments, but they are never paid as real services; and can they then be of an account with Christ?
     There may be a seeming importunity in prayer, Lord, Lord: but if inward impressions be not answerable to outward expressions, we are but as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. This is not to take us off from saying, Lord, Lord; from praying, and being earnest in prayer, from professing Christ’s name, and being bold in professing it, but from resting in these, in the form of godliness, without the power.  (2.) That it is necessary to our happiness that we do the will of Christ, which is indeed the will of his Father in heaven. The will of God, as Christ’s Father, is his will in the gospel, for there he is made known, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: and in him our Father. Now this is his will, that we believe in Christ, that we repent of sin, that we live a holy life, that we love one another. This is his will, even our sanctification. If we comply not with the will of God, we mock Christ in calling him Lord, as those did who put on him a gorgeous robe, and said, Hail, King of the Jews. Saying and doing are two things, often parted in conversation of men: he that said, I go, sir, stirred never a step (ch. 21:30); but these two things God has joined in his command, and let no man that puts them asunder think to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
     2. The hypocrite’s plea against the strictness of this law, offering other things in lieu of obedience, v. 22. The plea is supposed to be in that day, that great day, when every man shall appear in his own colours; when the secrets of all hearts shall be manifest, and among the rest, the secret pretences with which sinners now support their vain hopes. Christ knows the strength of their cause, and it is but weakness; what they now harbour in their bosoms, they will then produce in arrest of judgment to stay the doom, but is will be in vain. They put in their plea with great importunity, Lord, Lord; and with great confidence, appealing to Christ concerning it; Lord, does thou not know, (1.) That we have prophesied in thy name? Yes, it may be so; Balaam and Caiaphas were overruled to prophesy, and Saul was against his will among the prophets, yet that did not save them. These prophesied in his name, but he did not send them; they only made use of his name to serve a turn. Note, A man may be a preacher, may have gifts for the ministry, and an external call to it, and perhaps some success in it, and yet be a wicked man; may help others to heaven, and yet come short himself.
     (2.) That in thy name we have cast out devils? That may be too; Judas cast out devils, and yet was a son of perdition. Origen says, that in his time so prevalent was the name of Christ to cast out devils, that sometimes it availed when named by wicked Christians. A man might cast devils out of others, and yet have a devil, nay, be a devil himself.
     (3.) That in thy name we have done many wonderful works. There may be a faith of miracles, where there is no justifying faith; none of that faith which works by love and obedience. Gifts of tongues and healing would recommend men to the world, but it is real holiness or sanctification that is accepted of God. Grace and love are a more excellent way than removing mountains, or speaking with the tongues of men and of angels, 1 Co. 13:1, 2. Grace will bring a man to heaven without working miracles, but working miracles will never bring a man to heaven without grace.
     Observe, That which their heart was upon, in doing these works, and which they confided in, was the wonderfulness of them. Simon Magus wondered at the miracles (Acts 8:13), and therefore would give any money for power to do the like.
     Observe, They had not many good works to plead: they could not pretend to have done many gracious works of piety and charity; one such would have passed better in their account than many wonderful works, which availed not at all, while they persisted in disobedience. Miracles have now ceased, and with them this plea; but do not carnal hearts still encourage themselves in their groundless hopes, with the like vain supports? They think they shall go to heaven, because they have been of good repute among professors of religion, have kept fasts, and given alms, and have been preferred in the church; as if this would atone for their reigning pride, worldliness, and sensuality; and want of love to God and man. Bethel is their confidence (Jer. 48:13), they are haughty because of the holy mountain (Zep. 3:11); and boast that they are the temple of the Lord, Jer. 7:4. Let us take heed of resting in external privileges and performances, lest we deceive ourselves, and perish eternally, as multitudes do, with a lie in our right hand.
     3. The rejection of this plea as frivolous. The same that is the Law-Maker (v. 21) is here the Judge according to that law (v. 23), and he will overrule the plea, will overrule it publicly; he will profess to them with all possible solemnity, as sentence is passed by the Judge, I never knew you, and therefore depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
     Observe, (1.) Why, and upon what ground, he rejects them and their plea—because they were workers for iniquity. Note, It is possible for men to have a great name for piety, and yet to be workers of iniquity; and those that are so will receive the greater damnation. Secret haunts of sin, kept under the cloak of a visible profession, will be the ruin of the hypocrites.
     Living in known sin nullifies men’s pretensions, be they ever so specious. (2.) How it is expressed; I never knew you; "I never owned you as my servants, no, not when you prophesied in my name, when you were in the height of your profession, and were most extolled.’’ This intimates, that if he had ever known them, as the Lord knows them that are his, had ever owned them and loved them as his, he would have known them, and owned them, and loved them, to the end; but he never did know them, for he always knew them to be hypocrites, and rotten at heart, as he did Judas; therefore, says he, depart from me.
     Has Christ need of such guests? When he came in the flesh, he called sinners to him (ch. 9:13), but when he shall come again in glory, he will drive sinners from him. They that would not come to him to be saved, must depart from him to be damned. To depart from Christ is the very hell of hell; it is the foundation of all the misery of the damned, to be cut off from all hope of benefit from Christ and he mediation. Those that go no further in Christ’s service than a bare profession, he does not accept, nor will he own them in the great day. See from what a height of hope men may fall into the depth of misery! How they may go to hell, by the gates of heaven! This should be an awakening word to all Christians.
     If a preacher, one that cast out devils, and wrought miracles, be disowned of Christ for working iniquity; what will become of us, if we be found such? And if we be such, we shall certainly be found such. At God’s bar, a profession of religion will not bear out any man in the practice and indulgence of sin; therefore let everyone that names the name of Christ, depart from all iniquity! (Matthew Henry Commentary on Matthew 7:21-23).
     Having read this great wisdom from a classical theologian such as Matthew Henry, the question begs to be asked again: Will our having power over (and or the knowledge of) demons insure our salvation?
      What do you think?

For information about the author's two books, please click on The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation. To access his web sites and blogs, please click on Joe Ortiz.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate the Matthew Henry comment on Matthew 7 which instructs that all who name the name of Christ should "depart from all iniquity." Although I don't want to seem to be judging, that passage brought to mind the hi-jinx that California preacher and radio personality Harold Camping has been coming up with lately that the whole world has heard about: his prediction that Christ will return on May 21 - just five days from today! Even though the Bible says we cannot know the day or hour of Christ's return! So you know as well as I that Camping is a false prophet and that the Lord is never pleased with false prophets. And anything that displeases the Lord and is false is iniquity. Matthew Henry would freak out if he could come back to earth and see all the iniquity in the earth today. In five more days we will all see Camping's rapture date-setting fizzle - but it will be anything but a laughing matter! Lord bless you Brother Joe. Sandra