Local Church Community (Topic 8)
DISCIPLESHIP – EQUIPING FOR MINISTRY.
(GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT CONT:)
DISCERNING OF SPIRITS:
Discernment of spirits is particularly important among Pentecostal and charismatic Christians because of our emphasis on the operation of all the spiritual gifts within our churches. It becomes necessary then to be able to determine whether the exercise of a spiritual gift (such as prophecy or an interpretation of tongues) comes from the Holy Spirit, an evil spirit, or merely the human spirit , we believe that every Christian is able to judge what is helpful and edifying to the church, however, we also believe that there are those individuals who have been given the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is important to note that the discerning of spirits does not involve the judging of people. The gift of discerning of spirits is necessary in distinguishing demonic possession from mental or physical illness ,this is really important in the actual practice of deliverance.
The gift of discernment is the ability to recognize what is genuine from what is pretence; what is of God from what is not of God. To be able to divide between what is Real/Truth and what is false/counterfeit/heretical and between what is Divine and what is Demonic.
Heb. 4 V 12, I Jn. 4 V 1, Phil. 1 v 9-10
THE GIFT OF FAITH
The spiritual gift of faith is found in the list of the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12. Verse 9 says that some people are given the gift of faith, but the gift is not specifically explained. All believers have been given saving faith by God as the only means of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), but not all believers are given the spiritual gift of faith. Like all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual gift of faith was given for the “common good,” which means the edifying of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7).
The gift of faith may be defined as the special gift whereby the Spirit provides Christians with extraordinary confidence in God’s promises, power, and presence so they can take heroic stands for the future of God’s work in the church. The spiritual gift of faith is exhibited by one with a strong and unshakeable confidence in God, His Word, and His promises. Examples of people with the gift of faith are those listed in Hebrews chapter 11. This chapter, often called “the hall of faith,” describes those whose faith was extraordinary, enabling them to do extraordinary, superhuman things.
As with all spiritual gifts, the gift of faith is given to some Christians who then use it to edify others in the body of Christ. Those with the gift of faith are an inspiration to their fellow believers, exhibiting a simple confidence in God that shows in all they say and do. Extraordinarily faithful people show a humble godliness and reliance on God’s promises, often so much so that they are known to be quietly fearless and zealous. They are so convinced that all obstacles to the gospel and to God’s purposes will be overcome and so confident that God will secure the advancement of His cause, that they will often do far more in the promotion of His kingdom than the most talented and erudite preachers and teachers.
To sum it up, God gives all Christians saving faith. The spiritual gift of faith is given to some, who exhibit extraordinary amounts of faith in their Christian walk and who, by their faith, are a joy and an encouragement to others.
THE GIFTS OF HEALING/PRAYING FOR THE SICK:
Mt.10 V 5-8: Freely you have received, freely give.
The spiritual gift of healing found in 1 Corinthians 12:9 is actually plural in the Greek. Charismata iamaton is literally translated “gifts of healings.” This spiritual gift is closely related to the gifts of faith and miracles. All spiritual gifts are to be exercised in faith, but gifts of healings involve a special measure of it. This gift is interesting in that there is no guarantee that a person will always be able to heal anyone he or she desires. It is subject to the sovereign will of God, as all spiritual gifts are.
The Disciples were given authority to heal and cast out demons, but they were not always successful. This gift is given at various times and places to reveal the God of heaven to the sick and tormented.
The spiritual gift of healing is an intimate one as it reveals the heart and compassion of God. Jesus is the Great Healer and Physician and during His ministry on earth He healed countless people and cast out demons (Matthew 4:23-24; 8:16; 9:35, Mark 1:34). Healings reveal that God is near to His people and He cares about their sufferings. Healings are meant to draw people to God through His Son Jesus Christ. God wants those healed to respond in faith with thanksgiving and love as the leper did in Luke 17:15-19, and as the demon-possessed man did in Mark 5:18-20. By God’s grace, physical healing should lead to spiritual healing (faith in Jesus) and eternal life with Him in heaven.
Those who have this gift are compassionate toward the sick and pray over them regularly. They have great faith and trust that God can and will heal some and are not deterred when it doesn’t happen. They are motivated knowing that God’s revealed power will draw people to faith in Jesus. Their ultimate concern is the spiritual well-being of those being healed and their relationship with Jesus. 1 Corinthians 12:9, 28, 30, James 5:13-16
THE GIFT OF MIRACLES: ( Signs, wonders and miracles )
Definition of a Miracle:
- An intervention in the natural universe by God
- A phenomena that transcends natural laws
- A divine act by which God reveals Himself to people
Some examples of miracles from the Bible are the following:
- Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding of Cana.
- Jesus feeding 5000 people by multiplying 5 loaves of bread and two fish.
- God parting the Red Sea for Moses and the children of Israel.
- Daniel not being eaten by the lions in the lion’s den.
- Peter walking on water.
- Jesus calming the storm
Seems to be more prominent where the Church is suffering persecution or breaking into a new Nation/people group that have never heard the Gospel and where God is intent on advancing the Kingdom so that people will be captivated, take notice and pay some serious attention.
Once again, this Gift is to advance the Gospel. Salvation is the greatest miracle and it’s permanent, all the other signs and wonders are temporary.
Mk.16 V 17 & 18 : Signs that follow Believers.
DELIVERANCE AND CASTING OUT DEMONS:
- 61 V 1 – 7 : He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God.
To comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of despair.
Lk 10 V 10 The enemy has come to kill, steal and destroy but I have come that they may have life and life to overflowing.
When you minister to a person in bondage, you will almost always encounter a variety of elements that are involved in keeping the person bound. There are often unresolved hurts, strongholds, legal grounds and unclean spirits that must be dealt with before the person is able to come into complete healing and restoration in that area of their life. Balanced deliverance ministering usually involves much more than simply casting out demons.
Pre-qualifying your candidate
The first step in this process is determine whether the person is ready and prepared to go through deliverance, and also, to be willing to maintaining their newfound freedom. This is a vital step that saves a lot of time and helps ensure that successful deliverance is obtainable, before we even get started. If you enter into a deliverance session and the person is not prepared, you can waste a lot of unnecessary time trying to work with them. Furthermore, even if you are successful, they may walk out the door and the next day pick up those spirits all over again.
Before a person is prepared to receive deliverance, they must meet the following requirements:
- Are they willing to submit their lives to the Lordship of Christ.If they do are not, then it is very difficult for the demonic legal grounds to be removed, by which the demons are holding onto in their life. How can there be removal of legal grounds without the forgiveness of sins? And how can a person receive forgiveness of sins unless they accept and believe upon Jesus? It is vital that the person be born again before you can effectively minister deliverance to them.
- They must be willing to turn from everything that is ungodly in their lives.If a person enjoys pornography and is unwilling to give it up, then it will be nearly impossible to cast out their spirit of perversion without it coming right back. Even though there is still the temptation, are they willing to let go of it at the same time. Just because a person may find pornography pleasurable, does not mean they are not ready to be delivered. The big question is… are they ready to give it up? They must be willing to break up those legal grounds in order to receive and maintain their freedom from it.
If they choose to hide something from you, it may very well keep you from being able to effectively diagnose the roots to their bondage and deal with it.
Two important areas to understanding when you are working with individuals in the deliverance ministry:
- Strongholdsplay a vital role in a vast array of bondages. Tearing down strongholds is essential as demons rely on them to strength and power in that person’s mind. A stronghold is basically an incorrect thinking pattern that has been burned into the person’s mind. The enemy often works to build these in our minds through continually injecting thoughts into our minds which are not in sync with God’s Word, and therefore gets us to habitually think along those lines. Other strongholds are often formed in our minds as we are raised up in a certain environment, such as a child who feels that all father’s are mean, because he was raised by a cruel and cold father. Strongholds, regardless if they are demonically inspired or naturally learned, they must be torn down through the renewing of our minds according to the Word of God.
- Unresolved hurtsmust be brought out in the open and healed. A person who has been hurt through abuse for example, must recognize their unresolved hurt feelings, and be willing to place them in Jesus’ hands so that He can heal them. Holding on to hurt feelings can hinder the Holy Spirit from being able to effectively minister to that area of their life. They must also realize the provision that God has for their wounds, such as how part of Jesus’ ministry (which is still alive and well today through the work of the Holy Spirit) was to heal the brokenhearted (see Luke 4:18). The individual must allow themself to release the hurt in their heart, and allow the Lord comfort and heal their wounds.
Firstly, Addressing Strongholds:
First of all, what exactly is a stronghold? A stronghold is not demonic (although demons are often found actively trying to build them), but rather an incorrect thinking pattern in our mind. The subject of where strongholds comes from is beyond the scope of this teaching, but let’s try to group the various sources into two categories:
- Natural development based on circumstances and lack of knowledge.An example of this type of stronghold is when a person grows up having a cruel father, then as a result, they view all other fathers the same way. This thinking pattern is often transferred to the way which they perceive their heavenly Father, which is a very destructive stronghold.
- Demonically inspired and developed strongholds.These are usually found along side demonic bondages. What happens is that the person has an unclean spirit which is actively whispering in their thought life (injecting thoughts into their mind), and eventually the person begins to believe what the enemy is telling them. Once a person begins to believe what the enemy is telling them, they begin to imagine it in their mind (vain imagination) and a stronghold is formed.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
We are never told to cast out strongholds, but we are told to tear them down, be transformed by the renewing of our mind and cast down vain imaginations. This is how we deal with strongholds. If the enemy builds them through continually reminding us of his lies, then we need to go in the opposite direction to un-do his web of bondage. We need to start meditating on God’s Word on a daily bases, so that the truth will sink into our minds and begin to change he way we think.
Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Another factor to keep in mind is that if there is a spirit which is actively working to build strongholds in a person’s mind, not only is it important for them to tear down that stronghold(s), but it is equally important to cast out the spirit that is at work here… otherwise, they will spend the rest of their lives waging war against that stronghold as the demon continues to work on them to rebuild it. The minute they give up, the stronghold is quickly rebuild. That is why you really cannot separate the work of casting out demons and tearing down strongholds… they often go hand in hand.
The bottom line is that strongholds are based on incorrect information that has been programmed into our minds, so naturally the cure is to re-program our minds with the truth in God’s Word. Meditating on specific scriptures that come up against the stronghold we are facing is an important step to tearing down that stronghold. We must also make a choice to cast down the vain imaginations that the enemy has planted in our minds, and then accept what God’s Word has to say instead
Secondly, Healing Unresolved Hurts
In this type of ministry, you will encounter individuals who have been wounded or hurt in the past, yet their wounds have never been healed. When we have a physical wound, one of the best things we can do to speed up the healing process is to clean out the wound, then let the air get to it. This same principal is true with emotional wounds; one of the biggest mistakes we can make is to keep a wound from being healed by keeping it to ourselves and hold on to our pain. That is a sure-fire way to prevent healing from taking place. It’s as if we treasure our wound when we hold it close to us and refuse to let it go! Don’t be fooled, it is simply the devil’s trick to keep our wounds from healing. Why? Because a wounded spirit is vulnerable to infection if it does not receive proper healing!
We are never to suppress or even try to forget about our wounds, we are to seek healing for them. Unresolved hurts must be brought out in the open and healing must be received. Jesus is waiting to heal the wounds, but the person must be ready to receive (or allow) that healing to take place. A person who has been hurt through abuse for example, must recognize their unresolved hurt feelings, and be willing to place them in Jesus’ hands so that He can heal them. Holding on to hurt feelings can hinder the Holy Spirit from being able to effectively minister to that area of their life. They must also realize the provision that God has for their emotional healing, such as how part of Jesus’ ministry (which is still alive and well today through the work of the Holy Spirit) was to heal the brokenhearted (see Luke 4:18). The individual must release the hurt in their heart, and allow the Lord to comfort and heal their wounds. God’s Word tells us to cast our cares upon Him, for He cares for us:
1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
God’s Word is also clear that one of the things that Jesus did for us was carry our sorrows, which literally translates to afflictions, meaning grief, pain and sorrow. To be afflicted basically means that you have been injured and have pain, and since the literal translation here also includes grief and sorrow, this is clearly speaking of emotional damage. Just think about it, if Jesus shed His blood just for our physical healing (Isaiah 53:5), would He not also make provision for our emotional healing as well? Of course He did!
Isaiah 53:4, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows (affliction – grief, pain & sorrow): yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”
Throughout the healing process, it is very beneficial for the person receiving emotional healing to seek intimacy with God. If they have a hard time drawing close to God, for example, if they are afraid of Him, then there may be strongholds present that need to be torn down. Many are afraid of God to the point where they are unable to draw near to Him, and this serves as a wall of division to keep them from knowing their Father’s love intimately.
CASTING OUT DEMONS
Casting out demons is a very simple process. It is a matter of knowing and exercising your authority through Christ in faith, and commanding the demons to come out of the person. You may command them by name, or more generally such as, “I command the demonic spirit behind this bondage to come out in Jesus’ name. Jesus cast out demons both by name, and by simply calling out the unclean spirit:
Mark 9:25, “When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.”
Mark 5:8, “For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.”
And then there was a time when a demon was manifesting and Jesus commanded it to come out, without even referring to it as an unclean spirit… Jesus simply talked to it just as one person would talk to another:
Luke 4:33-35, “And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.”
The actual principal of casting out demons is very strait forward. The basic requirement is that you are a Christian, you know the authority you have in Christ over those spirits, and that you are prepared to exercise your authority through faith. It’s that simple!
Demon groupings are also something to keep an eye out for, as in most cases of deliverance there are more than one spirit that must be addressed. For example, a person may have a spirit of anger, but also spirits of hate and rage that are also in that person. Be on guard for the doorkeeper, or the spirit that may have let the other ones in. For example, a person may have been angered one time, which opened them up to a spirit of anger, then that spirit worked the person up to hate somebody (which welcomed a spirit of hate), then the person began to think of how they can get revenge on that person (thus welcoming a spirit of rage). It is important to be on guard for related spirits when doing deliverance. For example, if I found a spirit of murder, I would also keep an eye out for spirits of anger, hate and rage.
After a person has received deliverance and freedom from various bondages in their life, it is important for them to take precautionary steps to ensure that they maintain or hold their freedom. I am not fearful of demons coming back every time we turn around, but it is always a good idea to be on guard in case they try to make an attempt to re-enter.
One of the ways a demon may attempt to re-enter is to re-gain it’s legal grounds in that person’s life. In such as case, the spirit may work at tempting the person to re-open the door to them again, which will allow them to freely take up residence again. This is where the person needs to be firmly rooted and grounded in God’s Word and have a daily relationship with Him so that they will recognize this tactic and be on guard for it. It is important for a person not to receive deliverance only to turn around and go back to the way they were living before (fall right back into their old sins). When this happens, they can basically re-open that door all over again, and you can bet that the demons would love to take advantage of this opportunity to re-enter that person
A practical example…
Let’s say a woman is delivered from a spirit of infirmity, which caused some sort of physical discomfort… then after her deliverance (where she is completely healed), suddenly that pain seems to have come back. While it is possible that she wasn’t truly delivered in the first place, usually the case is that the demon is attempting to make her believe that either it’s simply returned, or that she was never delivered in the first place. Once the person accepts this lie, the demon makes himself to home… all based on the fact that he deceived the person into believing that it just came back on them. So how do we prevent this? First, we educate the person on their authority as a believer, and instruct them to rebuke the demon and command it to depart from them the minute it tries to re-appear. If the legal grounds have been broken, then there’s no need to go back through that process all over again, so now the goal is simply to exercise our authority against it and command it to leave. It’s a shame for a believer to just let the demon back in without standing against it, after all that Jesus went through so that we could be set free and have authority over them!
One important key is to look back at how the demon entered the person in the first place. Was it through emotional wounds or pain? Was it through anger? Then it is important to be on guard for that demon to attempt to tempt them in these same areas again after their deliverance. The demon may setup a circumstance for that person to become angry again, so that their door is re-opened all over again. The demon may try to get the person to think about how so and so abused them, and remind them of the old wound (which was supposed to be given over to Jesus). It is important that we be on guard especially in the areas which originally opened the doors in the first place.
Perhaps one of the most vital things a person can do once they are delivered, is to cultivate a daily relationship with the Holy Spirit, for this will fill up the gap or emptiness that those demons left in them. I also recommend getting the person baptized in the Holy Spirit once they are delivered, which will set them ablaze for Jesus