It is more than appropriate at this time of year that we proclaim the supremacy of Christ over the devil. Films abound in the Halloween season that trumpets a great falsehood. God and the devil are supposedly locked in a mortal battle for the Universe. In many films God is not even able to hold His own against lower ranked devils! It all began with The Exorcist where a Priest is helpless before a demon. Several films later satan became even more menacing and irresistible in The Devil’s Advocate. In The Exorcism of Emily Rose, God is so limited in His witness that He is forced to leave a girl demon possessed to help prove His existence. Now the devil is a CEO in the sitcom Reaper.If the world has overstated the Devil’s power then the church is guilty of being ignorant of His devices! Both of these conditions are caused by the devil’s crusade against the Bible. Oh how the Devil hates the Bible. The Holy Scriptures show Him for the wrecked and ruined being that he is. The Word of God records his defeat on the Cross and his impending doom in the Lake of Fire. No wonder he has moved men through the ages to blast the pages of the Bible and ban it whenever possible! Not only did lucifer manipulate the world to reject the Bible, he has also fooled believers into downgrading its authority. Many Charismatics rely too heavily on personal experiences for guidance. Many go by feelings, impressions, and prophetic words for guidance the way the world uses horoscopes and the Ouija board.
I came to understand the supremacy of Christ over Satan because I wanted to win souls. Winning souls to Christ means everything to me. The reason that I beg for signs and wonders is because they help win souls. The reason that I preach direct truth is because it gives the lost soul the greatest chance to see their real condition. The reason I believe so strongly in prayer is because it pierces the darkness and leaves the sinner helpless before God.
Jesus sat the twelve down and gave them special authority which included the power to cast out devils. This power eluded me for much of my early ministry. Then one day I was on the San JoseStateUniversity campus preaching in Morris Daley Auditorium to hundreds of students. There was a lot of buzzing going on. Skeptics, hecklers and radical left agitators were there to disrupt my preaching.
What happened next was beyond unexpected. A man about 20 years of age burst into the crowded hall. He was screaming as if he were burning alive. He ran to the front and something threw him to the floor and he began to writhe like a snake and foam at the mouth.
My first reaction was terror and complete helplessness. The audience’s reaction was amazing. Though some of them were stone atheists they feared that they had just entered the realm of the supernatural. This was no seizure or mental condition; this was the face of evil!
The Holy Spirit rose within me. I knew it was He who had enveloped me in such serene confidence and clear direction. I obeyed immediately. I was not to yell or cause a scene. I was to merely kneel beside this tortured soul and whisper the words that God had ordered; “Come out of him and never return.” He became lifeless. We sat him up and I asked him if he would receive Jesus and be healed of his possession. Now childlike tears of repentance replaced the screams of hell. He stood and declared his salvation before the stunned audience.
I knew better than to try and preach. If you could morph all of the greatest preachers who ever lived into just one masterful oration it would not have had the impact for Christ of that young man’s deliverance! I opened the altars and there was an astounding harvest of souls.
It was out of this experience that God convicted me of something that changed the very course of my ministry. God said, “Don’t just win souls; make disciples!” Now I had the key! How could I expect a killer gang member, a crack addict or a prostitute to say a prayer and just go back to their wretched environment with no power? From now on we had to cast out demons and then make sure they are baptized into the Holy Spirit!
In 1989 I went to the Cow Palace Arena in San Francisco armed with this added weapon. I called on my good friends Vinnie and Nancy Longo to oversee a special ministry. They came all the way from the New York area. We would rent an adjacent hall and lead the demonically possessed into this hall and see them delivered. I chose Vinnie and Nancy because they had the true gift of faith. They know the Word of God and they minister in love and balance.
The results were stunning. The management of the hall must have known the urgency of what was happening to these precious souls because they often allowed us to stay in that hall until 3 AM!
Today there is something going on that would be hilarious if it were not also so pathetic. Modern Charismatic churches that no longer have a place for the supernatural refer demonic cases to psychiatrists who then refer them to on fire churches that pray for deliverance.
What is the accurate picture of satan? What threat does he actually pose to God? Let me put it this way, an amoeba has a better chance to survive on the surface of our sun than the devil does in an attack on God.
Here are two examples of the supremacy of Christ that stand out to me in Scripture: Luke 8:26-28 says, “Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Highest God? I beg You, do not torment me!”
Notice how they ran to Jesus begging for mercy the moment that Jesus stepped upon their shore. This was unconditional surrender! Now let us consider how many demons were in this man. Donald Grey Barnhouse said, “At Gadera the Lord confronted the poor man who was possessed by the powers of Satan. He called upon the evil force to declare itself by name and the evil spirit answered, ‘My name is Legion: for we are many.’ If we may put any stress on the meaning of the name it is highly significant to note that in the time of Augustus a Roman legion counted 6,100 foot soldiers and 726 horsemen.” Though they were many, these imps were so powerless that they offered no resistance to the Christ!
Now lets look at another example of supremacy: Revelation 20:1 “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the devil and satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished.” Here we have an angel of such low rank that we are not even given his name and yet he possesses the power to hammerlock, cuff and imprison Lucifer!
When satan fell he was stripped of all power but one; He was left with the power of illusion. It was in the Garden of Eden after Adam left Eve alone that satan first plied His remaining skill on Humanity. If he had real power there would be no need to seduce man. If he had physical authority he would not need to lie. He was there to gain the power that God gave to man and to hold the object of God’s love as a hostage.
When the serpent made His pitch to the woman it included the three greatest lies that mankind has ever been told. These lies have echoed in history and is the basis for every false spiritual ideology including Humanism, New Age, occult, witchcraft, Satanism and Eastern Mysticism.
Let look at this first conversation between satan and mankind. Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.”
Here in all of its decadent glory are the three lies that spawned every false religion and ideology.
A. God is trying to deprive you so go your own way. The snake said, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Eve passed this test by reminding the devil of every other fruit that was legal. However the seed of doubt was planted and she felt deprived. Throughout the ages man’s right to have everything and the lie that God seeks to deprive us has fueled rebellion. The promise of the serpent was freedom but it delivered slavery.
B. If you eat this it will give you power. We cannot number the many false religions that fall into this category. Here we see the lie that a physical act can bring power. Crystals, magic wands, special diets, chants, talisman, chicken bones and garlic all fit into the system that holds that if you do something physical it will give you power. The only means for power that man ever had was to submit and obey God. The word of God says in Galatians 4:1 “Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.” Man was never deprived he was merely in training. When the right time comes God gives us more than we can ever imagine! New Age cannot go through proper channels, mystics and witches cannot wait, they cannot bear doing it God’s way. Small wonder that the Word says “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.”
C. You will become a god. Satan said, “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God.” Scientology says this! Hinduism says this! Darwin says this! This explains so much. In the great society of spiritual pursuit this explains why Christianity and Judaism are outcasts! We are punished for believing that we are not to become God but the children of God and worship Him alone!
No mention of satan’s defeat can leave out the Cross! Paul said of Jesus on the Cross, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them.” Paul also teaches us that if Satan grasped what the Cross was going to do to Him, He never would have crucified Jesus!
In my book I am the Christian the Devil warned you about I wrote this, “lucifer has merely been allowed to exist. He is deceived by design and obligated to have of his acts ultimately recoil back onto him.
How can I prove this to you? Simply ask yourself, what single event of all time has been most devastating to the Prince of Darkness? It is the Resurrection of Christ, of course! This universal detonation of Glory which saved man and brought unspeakable gifts of grace and righteousness would not have been possible without a death first.
Beelzebub committed a massive blunder in killing the Christ yet, he has access to all of the Old Testament prophecies. He even eavesdropped on Jesus as He taught His disciples about His death, burial, and Easter miracle. None of this helped the devil restrain His disastrous impulses.”
I Corinthians 2:8 says “which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Satan knew but He didn’t know! God gave Him a mental illness beyond amnesia that would allow God to pull the strings until the Devil’s use is complete! Then comes his worst nightmare! Revelation 20:10 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Even though He sees you reading this He is helpless to stop its benefit to your life. He is screaming to you what the Wizard of Oz screamed to Dorothy…“Ignore the man behind the curtain!” As Barnhouse said of Satan, “he is limited to lying about his prestige and position, thus exhibiting the ragged tatters on the lining of his pride.” Hallelujah to the Christ who reigns forevermore!