Cameron Buettel Preaches in Hungington Beach

July 20, 2013 7:19 pm

 

Currently Reading:

The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon

by Steven J. Lawson

Category: Biography / Christian Ministry

Reformation Trust, 2012

 

 

 

 

While I was at Hungington Beach last week, I also filmed a brief segment of my friend Cameron Buettel open air preaching after Ray Comfort finished his presentation:

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Ray Comfort preaches at Hungington Beach

July 16, 2013 8:52 pm

 

Currently Reading:

Created in God’s Image

by Anthony A. Hoekema

Category: Theology

Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1986

 

 

 

 

On Saturday, I went to Hungington Beach, CA to watch Ray Comfort open air preach. There are probably a few dozen of these videos on YouTube already, but I decided to feature my own:

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How Demons Attack Believers

July 8, 2013 7:25 pm

 

Currently Reading:

The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation

by Bruce DeMarest

Category: Soteriology / Theology

Crossway, 1997

 

 

 

 

Here is a short research paper I wrote for Theology II, answering a topic concerning angelology/demonology. It is the topic of How Demons Attack Believers. If you are Christian, then I hope this can help you in your battle against sin, the world, and Satan’s attacks, and continue in pursuit of holiness, righteousness, and the cause of the Great Commission. If you are not a Christian, then do seriously consider this message, examining the state of the world’s condition now and seeing how Scripture speaks about the sin, evil, and suffering that currently exists, as well as the hope that exists in Christ alone: 

 

HOW DEMONS ATTACK BELIEVERS

Some people, influenced by a naturalistic worldview, do not believe in the existence of demons, no less the existence of elect angels. Some believe that the presence and work of demons were only characteristic of the apostolic period. If one identifies with the amillennialist view of eschatology, the idea is that demons are currently bound up with Satan and will remain in that condition until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. However, all these views do not correlate with what the Bible teaches about the existence, work, and presence of demons in the world. Demons do exist and their presence and work is prevalent amongst humanity today, with both believers and unbelievers. Though not visible to the human eye, demons are working in the invisible realm to influence and attack people, and Scripture gives many examples concerning how demons worked and will work in the lives of both believers and unbelievers until they are finally cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20). The demons attack believers by thwarting evangelism and spiritual growth, but Christians are properly equipped to defend themselves against demonic attack through the Word of God.

Before analyzing the specific work of demons on believers, it is imperative to first discuss how demons generally work in the world of unbelievers. Demons’ relationship to unbelievers has an inescapable influence on Christians, since Christians live in the world inhabited by unbelievers and ruled by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4). Demons are actively involved in the world’s system to promote rebellion against God.

First, demons work in individuals. According to Ephesians 2:1-2, people who are under the power of sin and disobedience are held captive to the work of Satan, whom demons serve to carry out his evil purposes. Demons cause men to be entrapped to the satanic philosophy of lawlessness. Fallen angels promote the satisfaction of fleshly desires, sensual pleasures, pride, hatred, and materialism, all of which characterize the world system influenced by Satan (John 16:11, 1 John 2:16). In other words, demons entice people to walk in sin and to be enslaved in those passions so as to resist the grace of God (1 Timothy 4:1-8). The most heinous of these sinful patterns is rebellion against God, which 1 Samuel 15:23 equates with the sin of witchcraft. Rebellion started with the first man, Adam, in Genesis 3 and is prevalent today in the unbelieving world, and will come to a climax during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 16:14) and the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:11-15). Demons cause men to become so entrenched in rebellion that even in the face of the wrath of God through demons, they do not repent of their evil works or of worshipping demons.[1]

Demons also distort people’s philosophies and worldview. Demons encourage all thought patterns and false religions which are intended to keep unbelievers from the saving knowledge of the gospel. One of the most powerful ways that demons keep men enslaved to darkness and separation from the true living God is through primitive religions of magic, superstition, and worship of evil spirits.[2] This subsequently leads to idolatry, which is essentially Satan worship in disguise. Demons work fervently to promote idolatry in men because demons would receive the worship, as evidenced by passages such as Leviticus 17:7, Deuteronomy 32:17, and 1 Corinthians 10:20-21. Idolatry is considered the pinnacle of demon worship.[3] False religions spurred by demons also include the twisting of Scripture which leads to cults in Christendom. Perversion of the scriptural and orthodox view of the Person of Christ, the gospel message, and the essence of the Christian life leads to divisions within the body of Christ and can only be attributed to the work of demons to cause men to rebel against God and lead them astray from the truth. This is why the Apostle John states in 1 John 4:1-4 to test the spirits to see whether they be from God or Satan. The only cure to divisions and cults instigated by demons is sound biblicalism.[4]

The most dangerous of demonic influence is that they cause people to reject the saving grace of God. Because demons are incapable of repentance or of saving themselves, they do not understand grace, nor do they want men to understand or see their need for it. That is why their primary task is to influence people to think lightly or negatively of God’s grace and to twist Scripture’s teaching on God’s saving grace, distracting men to lies instead.[5] The first recorded incident of this demonic influence is the account of Cain, who refused to offer the appropriate sacrifice. Instead, Cain offered, through his own wisdom and works, the fruit of the fields, which God immediately rejected. Even in the church age, demons work actively to blind the minds of the unsaved and keep them from seeing God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Demons cause men to depart from the truth of grace by promoting doctrines of works righteousness (1 Timothy 4:1-8), pluralism (Colossians 2:18-23), and licentious living (2 Peter 2:1-2). All such philosophies prove to be anti-God and do not lead to any saving knowledge of God.

Demons do not attack humans by merely influencing their moral behavior, but also harm them directly in physical and emotional ways. Demons can at times, through God’s sovereign will, control nature to afflict men, which the book of Job portrays vividly in verses 1:12 and 2:7. Demons also may cause physical ailments and injuries to the body, such as dumbness (Matthew 9:32-33), blindness (Matthew 12:22), seizures (Matthew 17:15-18), convulsions (Mark 9:20), insanity (Luke 8:27-29), suicidal tendencies (Mark 9:22), and injuring oneself (Mark 5:5). This is not to say that all sicknesses and diseases are caused by demons, but certain biblical passages show that there are times when demons can be a partial or full contributing factor to a person’s physical and emotional torment. Whatever the case, the main agenda and desire of demons are not to preserve humans or relate to them in any beneficial sense, but to destroy them in whatever way possible, even using a future opportunity to directly slaughter people during the Tribulation (Revelation 9:14-19).[6]

While demons work to harm the unbelieving world, they have a particular agenda to attack the saints of God (Christians). Some of this damage include the influences that Christians absorb in the course of demons relating to the unbelieving world in general (as discussed in the previous paragraphs), but demons work in other specific ways in the lives of those who are saved in Christ.

The first arena of attack against God’s people is the individual Christian. Demons, under the guidance of their master Satan, work to discourage and defeat the saints in their individual and corporate life. They wage war against the Spirit within the saints, tempting them to give into sinful ways and to abandon the call of being a witness for Christ in an unbelieving world. That is why the Apostle Paul teaches Christians that their “struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). The first area of demonic influence in a Christian’s life is causing him, like unbelievers, to live a life of unrepentant, habitual sin. The Old Testament speaks of demonic influence in David’s decision to number the troops in 1 Chronicles 21:1-8, and the New Testament gives many examples of demons’ work in a Christian’s life (Ephesians 2:2-3, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). Theologian Wayne Grudem points out that “not all sin is caused by Satan or demons, nor is the major influence or cause of sin demonic activity, but demonic activity is probably a factor in almost all sin and almost all destructive activity that opposes the work of God in the world today.”[7] This is why sin gives some measure of foothold for demonic influence in a Christian’s life.

The second arena of attack against God’s people is against the corporate church. Since the main purpose of the church is to glorify God, extend the gospel, and edify herself in God’s truth (Matthew 28:18-20, Ephesians 4:7-11), demons seek to hinder and destroy the body of Christ. They desire to frustrate the church’s mission in the world and its worship of God. The first area of demonic influence on the church is that demons work to create divisions in the body. Ephesians 4:4-6 speaks about the importance of unity in the bond of peace, which is why demons would seek to divide and defeat the unified efforts in the church. Demons cause doctrinal divisions and practical divisions.[8] Doctrinal divisions range from minor quibbles and peripheral issues to dangerous heresies that depart from the core doctrines of the Christian faith. Passages such as 1 Timothy 4:3-4 and 2 Peter 2:1-2 speak of the dangers of such “Christian” teaching which in reality speak of another religion. Practical divisions are splits that are caused not by teaching errors, but by personal conflicts and interests. Jealousy, selfish ambitions, and arrogance bring about such divisions, which are fueled by one’s undisciplined and uncontrolled sinful desires (Galatians 5:19-21, 26). Such conflicts create antipathy toward a sinning brother and differences of opinion as to his treatment (2 Corinthians 2:5-11).

Finally, the gospel ministry of evangelism and outreach is what demons seek to counter and to hide from unbelievers. Jesus speaks of Satan snatching away the seed of the gospel message in the Parable of the Sowers in Matthew 13:4, and the Apostle Paul teaches that demons blind the unbelieving minds to the gospel truth (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). In creating misunderstandings among the lost and influencing civil, cultural, and societal efforts to suppress and resist the gospel message (2 Corinthians 4:3), the church stumbles in its mission. This inevitably leads to the persecution of and attack on the church by the unbelieving world. Passages such as John 16:1-3 and Revelation 2:8-10 speak of “believers of God” who think that they are honoring God in their disposal of Christians, but Scripture speaks of such men as caught in deception and subject to demonic agenda. During the church age, the church will be insulted, hated, and persecuted against because of their gospel stance (Matthew 5:10, John 15:18), and much of it is rooted in demonic workings (1 Thessalonians 2:17-18).

In light of this realization, what is the expected response of the church? God does call Christians to respond to the workings of demons, commanding resistance to them and firm allegiance to Him alone (James 4:7). Humans cannot stand against the power and intelligence of angelic forces, though they are fallen, which is why God equips Christians in the battle against demonic influence and attack. God has given Christians everything they need for spiritual warfare against the dark forces of this world. The Bible teaches several main ways that a Christian is to stand guard against the workings of the devil.

The first way is to be absolutely surrendered to God. A person has to be saved in Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit so as to prevent the severest form of demonization.[9] Even if someone has been born again in the Spirit, he can still be oppressed and assaulted by demonic influence if he falls passively to sin, which is why allegiance and obedience to God is of necessity. As Dickason states, “We cannot have victory over the greatest of all rebels if we ourselves are rebels.”[10] The degree to which Christians submit to and obey God is an indication of how well Christians can resist demons and the measure of the devil’s fleeing.

The second way to stand guard against the workings of demons is to put on the armor of God. Ephesians 6:14-17 describes the putting on of the armor as having “girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The armor of God is symbolic of the Christian’s need to abide in truth (as opposed to falsehood), righteousness (as opposed to lawlessness), the gospel (as opposed to false religion), faith (as opposed to doubt), salvation (as opposed to being alienated from God), and the Bible (as opposed to human wisdom, experience, or other religious works). The sword of the Spirit, or the God’s Word, is the climax of the armor sequence because it is the only necessary weapon to combat demonic schemes. It is infinitely more powerful than any of Satan or his demon’s weapons, used to fend off Satan’s attacks and offensively help destroy the enemy’s strategies.[11] The six listed pieces of the spiritual armor are pieces which God supplies and equips His children to resist and overcome demonic assaults.

The third way to fend off the deeds of demons is to be grounded in the gospel and evangelistic work. Passages such as Luke 4:41 and Acts 8:7 show what happens when the gospel is preached in conviction and power: demons came out from people and flee. The Apostle Paul even states in Acts 26:18 that the purpose of gospel preaching is to save men from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, which unbelievers find when they turn to Christ in repentance and faith. Gospel proclamation, of course, must always be rooted in dependence and submission to the Spirit, who alone grants the wisdom and the power to overcome the challenges posed by fallen angels in the mission field (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). Effective prayer in relation to the preaching of the gospel will subsequently and always lead to a genuine triumph over the power of the enemy, which is a normal part of the work of Christ in building up His kingdom.[12] Because of this, the church should always rejoice in Christ’s victory and the resources they have in Him.

Some other important principles for the battlefield against the enemy involve developing proper attitudes and actions for effective spiritual warfare. They include having a good and accurate concept of God (Exodus 23:3,4), developing a strong devotional life that is rooted in Scripture reading, daily worship, and daily prayer that enhances obedience and growth (1 Peter 1:22-2:3), developing discernment between good and evil (2 Corinthians 10:3-5), developing control of thoughts and emotions that are righteous and holy (Philippians 4:8), developing Christian love, fellowship, and accountability (1 Corinthians 12-13), and developing a genuine hatred of sin (1 John 2:15-17).[13] All these characteristics combine to make a disciplined soldier of God who properly responds to the workings of demons and is victorious in the end.

In conclusion, demons have a clear agenda in how they influence both Christians and non-Christians in this fallen world. Their work is nothing but destructive, both physically and spiritually, for everyone they come across. However, people are not totally helpless in the face of adversity. When sinners are re-birthed in the Spirit and find salvation in Christ, they are purposed for a life of Christlikeness (Ephesians 2:10). In the process, they will be equipped to withstand demonic forces and fight against their influences. It is not a matter of if the demons will attack, but when and how they will do it. Therefore, it is not an option, but a command that we put on the armor of God. We equip ourselves to not only fend off the influences of Satan in our own lives, but also in the lives of others and the world so that the mission of the church may progress with power. And that mission is to preach the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15) and present all men perfect in Christ (Colossians 1:28).

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Dickason, C. Fred Dickason. Angels: Elect & Evil. 2nd ed.Chicago,Ill.: Moody Press, 1995.

_____________. Demon Possession and the Christian.Wheaton,Ill.: Crossway, 1987.

Grudem, Wayne Grudem. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids,MI: Zondervan, 1994.

MacArthur, John, ed. The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible Updated Edition.Nashville,TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006.

Unger, Merrill F. Biblical Demonology.Wheaton,Ill: Scripture Press, 1957.

_____________. Demons in the World Today: A Study of Occultism in the Light of God’s Word.Carol Stream,IL: Tyndale House Publishing, 1973.




[1] C. Fred Dickason, Angels: Elect & Evil, 2nd ed. (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 1995), 183.

[2] Merrill F. Unger, Demons in the World Today: A Study of Occultism in the Light of God’s Word (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishing, 1973), 150.

[3] Merrill F. Unger, Biblical Demonology (Wheaton, Ill: Scripture Press, 1957), 30.

[4] Merrill, Demons in the World Today, 168-178.

[5] Dickason, Angels, 184.

[6] Ibid., 187.

[7] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 422.

[8] Dickason, Angels, 190.

[9] C. Fred Dickason, Demon Possession and the Christian (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 1987), 37.

[10] Dickason, Angels, 237.

[11] John MacArthur, ed., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible Updated Edition (Nashville,TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006), 1784.

[12] Grudem, Systematic Theology, 433.

[13] Dickason, Angels, 241-242.