Freedom from Demonic Religion
This is the teaching I gave at the Cornerstone Church on Sunday, April 22.
FREEDOM FROM DEMONIC RELIGION
Part 3 of Free Indeed. Colossians 2:6-23
Peter Foxwell. The Cornerstone Church. April 22, 2018.
INTRODUCTION: LIGHT AND DARKNESS DON'T MIX
Today, in town, at the Convention Center, there's a psychic fair going on. One of the participants has this on her website: "As a child I “knew” things. It wasn’t until I took classes in my 20’s that I learned to control the spirits."
I'm not here to criticize anyone, but I do want to ask, "What spirits are those?" The Bible teaches us that there is an invisible spiritual realm - a dominion of darkness - a Kingdom of evil, demonic, spirits. Anyone who claims to be in touch with spirits - as a medium or channeler or psychic - is under the influence of demonic spirits (see Deuteronomy 18:9-14; Acts 16:16-18 and see appendix).
Here's why I bring this up, there are people who claim to be Christians, who think nothing of going to a session with a psychic or a palm reader. That's what the Bible calls mixing light with darkness. You can't mix two opposite Kingdoms like that.
This is why the apostle Paul wrote Colossians. False teachers were in the church trying to get them to mix their Christian faith with a little bit of old covenant Judaism, and a pinch of mysticism, and a dose of gnosticism - see 2:6-23. And Paul tells them, "Watch out! You're off track. This isn't from God."
As your pastor, I am always watching out for your faith. I don't want you to get carried away by demonic deception. I want you to steer well clear of demonic religion.
Is demonic religion a real thing?
DEMONIC RELIGION IS REAL
I didn't come up with the idea of demonic religion. The apostle Paul did. He wrote to the Christians in Corinth, a city with temples for Egyptian, Roman, and Greek gods: Aphrodite, Apollo, Poseidon, Hermes, Venus-Fortuna, Isis, Demeter etc. He wrote:
1 Corinthians 10:20. "The sacrifices of pagans (GK - ethne, Gentiles, peoples, nations) are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons."
I'm wondering, did any of these folks know they were in bondage to demons? I doubt it. They had no idea. But they were.
Demonic religion is real and Paul was worried that it had wormed its way into the church in Colossae. So, in 2:8, he writes, "See to it that no one takes you captive." He's saying, "Don't go back into demonic religion."
How can we know we're on track with God and not captive to demonic religion?
Let me show you three tests:
TEST ONE: THE ORIGINS TEST
This asks: where did the belief come from? We've always got to ask, "Did this idea come from God or someone else. We're bombarded by ideas:
Look at verse 8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy (that's intellectual religion - some deep thinker invented it), which depends on human tradition (that's cultural religion - it's just what everyone has believed - for ever, it seems) and the elemental spiritual forces of this world (that's elemental religion - if you asked a kid how to connect to god, this would be their religion) rather than on Christ."
Now look at verse 18: "Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen (mystical, visions, 'spiritual experiences'); they are puffed up (proud, arrogant) with idle notions (empty-headed) by their unspiritual mind (godless, human=centered)."
So, when you're confronted by a teaching, wherever it comes from (church, TV, family, friends, Internet), ask yourself: is this teaching from Jesus Christ? All other teaching is like sinking sand; an inadequate foundation for life. In fact, it may be an open door to demon deception.
Jesus is the living Word of God (John 1:1). He is God, the ultimate, final, Word by which all things were made and are sustained (Hebrews 1:1-3). Heaven and earth will pass away, but the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ will stand forever. (Mark 13:31)
The simplest way to know that a teaching is from Jesus is to check it against the clear teaching in the Bible. How does it measure up against the written Word? If it isn't in full agreement with the Bible that, then don't buy into it, no matter how spiritual it seems. Take a look at Deuteronomy 18:9-1 for a helpful insight into what God thinks about psychics and mediums and those who talk to the dead.
TEST TWO: THE WORSHIP TEST
You can tell where a belief comes from by asking yourself, "Does this bring worship to God alone or something else?"
Verse 18: "Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you."
The only angel that wants to be worshipped is Satan - an archangel who tried to overthrow God (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28).
Don't put your trust in psychics and mediums. Don't worship their "powers" because they are channels for demons.
Definitely don't go down the path of so much teaching in churches, a path that leads to self-worship and exaltation. Unfortunately, what passes for Christian teaching in some circles is actually based on the demonic lie of self-adoration. Avoid it!
Our worship belongs to Jesus Christ alone because he is the one, true God:
Verses 9-10: "In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority." (See also Colossians 1:15-19)
Is Jesus an angel? Is he only a highly spiritual man? No! What is he? God in flesh, truly God, the fullness of God in a body. Nicene Creed: "Light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made; of the same essence as the Father."
Jesus made the angels and he rules over them, including the devil and his demonic princes - the powers and authorities - in the unseen kingdom of darkness.
TEST THREE: THE POWER TEST
I think one reason people turn to psychics and spirits is to find spiritual reality. And they find it. But it is a negative, dark, and dangerous spiritual reality. It makes them captive to demonic spirits.
Bottom line: that kind of spiritual experience provides no beneficial supernatural power. It cannot produce the new life that is found only in Christ; it cannot make us godly, cannot change our hearts, cannot give us victory over sins:
Verse 23: "Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."
Look what we have in Christ ...
He is our spiritual reality, spiritual freedom, spiritual life - supernatural life that really changes us from within. He is the power from God. Verse 17: "The reality (substance - the real deal) is found in Christ."
Jesus brings us into ALL that God wants for us. He is the total benefit package, the ultimate source of spiritual life. If you've got Christ, you're got it all. Verse 10: In Christ, you have been brought to fullness.
At the cross, he cancelled our sin-debt, he forgave all our sins - see verses 13-14.
Jesus sets us free from demonic oppression: Verse 15: "Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."
Triumphant Roman generals rode through the city in a chariot ahead of the army. Behind them, in chains, they dragged the defeated generals and soldiers to show their total victory. At the cross, Jesus conquered Satan and his demonic soldiers.
The triumph of Jesus over the dark, demonic, world is total. He has disarmed them - stripped them of their weapons: power, lies, accusations against us. He is over them.
CONCLUSION: CHANGE YOUR RELIGION NOW!
Demons are real. Demonic religion is real. Demon possession and oppression are real. But Jesus can set you free. At his name, the demons run and hide.
Does your religion or spiritual journey or your personal philosophy, whatever, lead you to the living, reigning, Christ? Does it restore you to God; cleanse you from your sins; change your heart; make you whole; and free you from demonic oppression? Does it get you off the endless, exhausting, treadmill of do this, don't do that?
If it does not, I have to tell you, you're on the wrong track. It's time to lose your religion so you can turn to Christ alone; to God and his love; to all that he wants to give you.
The demons will resist you now. Don't let them win.
This brief prayer can put into words what might be on your heart:
"God, I thank you for Jesus. I don't know everything, but I do believe that Jesus is the fullness of God in a body; that everything you want for me is found in Jesus; that he is my new life, my forgiveness, and my victory over the demon world. I receive him now by faith. Please rescue me and bring me into your Kingdom forever. Thank you. Amen."