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Satan, Lucifer, demons, demon possession, and exorcism.

Posession

Postby icecold » Sat May 02, 2015 9:09 pm

Can Christians be possessed by demons? I never really got clarity on this
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Re: Posession

Postby jimwalton » Sun May 03, 2015 3:00 pm

Hey, great question. As far as the Bible teaches, Christians can't be possessed by demons, but that doesn't mean that demons don't have some influence in their lives and circumstances. In Job and the Gospels we learn that sometimes sicknesses as well as mental disorders are the result of demonic activity. I would never claim that all sickness or all mental disorders are demonic, but it is at least one of the ways that demons mess around with us. In 1 Cor. 5.5 and 1 Tim. 1.20, Christians are being "handed over to Satan," but those are all different things than possession. Demons can also tempt Christians into areas of moral impurity.

Demons can be responsible for the false teaching that comes out of some Christians (1 Tim. 4.1ff.). That's why John teaches us to test the spirits (1 Jn. 4.1).

We know that Satan and his demons can lie, tempt, harass, hinder, sift, plague, harden hearts, blind the mind, and "devour", but I'm not aware that the Bible says anywhere that demons can possess Christians. The "whisper in the ear" or the temptation of the mind/soul are different from a demonic spirit being taking up residence in one's being.

But we have to make a distinction. In Mark 1.23, 24 & 5.7 we read about people who were demon possessed acknowledging that they knew who Jesus was and said it out loud. That's different, though, than being a Christian and being possessed. This was a case of a nonbeliever being possessed by a demon who knew very well what Jesus' true identity was.

Merrill Unger, in his book Demons in the World Today (p. 116), claims that "it is possible for a believer to experience severe demon influence or obsession if he persistently yields to demonic temptation and sin. But most Christians would hesitate to say that a believer can become demon possessed." Missionaries testify that in some foreign countries, "new believers who were delivered from demon possession have been known to become repossessed when they return to their old idols. The testimonies of numerous missionaries in pagan areas support this evidence."
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Re: Posession

Postby icecold » Sun May 03, 2015 10:03 pm

How specifically can we test the spirits?
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Re: Posession

Postby jimwalton » Mon May 04, 2015 8:40 am

Jonathan Edwards has said it so well, I might as well just tell you what he said:

1. It exalts the True Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of men. (2-3)
a. Leads people closer to Christ
b. Teaches them He is the Son of God
c. He is the only Savior
d. Gives them high and more honorable thoughts of Christ
e. Inclines their affections more to Him
2. It opposes Satan’s interests (4-5)
a. Against sin, corruptions and worldly lusts
b. Lessens people’s esteem of the pleasures, profits, and honors of the world. Whatever turns their hearts from an eager pursuit after these things.
c. Whatever engages them in a due concern about eternity
d. Whatever causes them earnestly to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness
e. Whatever convinces them of the dreadfulness of sin, the guilt it brings, and the misery to which it exposes
3. It points people to the Scriptures (6)
a. They have a greater regard for the Word
b. They are established more in the truth and divinity of God’s Word
4. It elevates truth (6)
a. Whatever operates as a spirit of truth
5. It results in Love for God and others (8)
a. Brings them to high and exalting thoughts of God and his glorious goodness
b. Works in them an admiring sense of the excellency of Christ
c. Making Christ precious to the soul
d. Drawing the heart to be motivated to the free love of God and the wonderful dying of Christ for our sins. Cf. v. 19.
e. That which makes the soul long after God and Christ, desiring his presence and communion.
f. That which quells contentions among men, giving a spirit of peace and good will, exciting acts of outward kindness.
g. That which earnest desires the salvation of souls
h. That which arouses love for all the children of God and followers of Christ
i. That which yields humility in the heart (9-11, 19; cf. also 1 Cor. 13.4-5)

So you see, what Edwards is saying is that we consume the Word of God for its truth, stay constant in prayer, and use our Spirit-led ability of spiritual discernment to evaluate the teachings we hear and evaluate their truth or falseness. That's how we test the spirits. John is saying the God and Satan manifest themselves in human behavior and also in true or false teachings. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (Jn. 16.11; 14.17), while the Prince of this world is the father of lies (1 Jn. 4.6; Jn. 8.44). By the Holy Spirit's nudgings, He can guide us into all truth (Jn. 16.13).
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