Before we answer, let’s ask ourselves, when is the last time we have seen a demon cast out of someone?
If we encounter someone who is truly possessed of an evil spirit, what do we do and how do we go about it?
Years ago, casting out devils was a common thing in our services. During the days of tent revivals and smaller churches, it seemed that almost every time we came together for a service, Satan would present himself in some manner.
I well remember as a young boy seeing this occur, watching grown men and even women trashing about on the ground, foaming at the mouth, tossing benches and such with great strength, even pulling up great tufts of weeds etc that one normally could not do with bare hands.
Several grown and hefty men could not restrain such a person. It was truly awesome to see the saints of God gather around such people and command the evil spirit to depart and see that individual delivered and rise in peace and gratitude.
It was truly a moving experience and all the church rejoiced.
There was a time when we almost joked about the presence of the enemy. There were comments made like, “the devil is the first one to get to church and he always sits on the front row!”
We knew without doubt that not everyone who claimed the Holy Ghost truly had it and that there were always those who hindered the service and the work of God.
We just knew that. The scriptures said so and our elders had all seen those who caused division and those who did not practice what they preached, the ministry included.
It was not a judgmental attitude, it was just reality backed up by the written Word.
Everyone knew when the devil decided to upset the service and act out through someone.
The children would be gathered away from the event, sheltered toward the back so they might be protected from this evil spirit.
Also, those who were not prayed up knew very well that they should also stand back.
From experience, our people knew that an evil spirit that was cast out was immediately looking for another body to possess and it could leave one person and enter another.
I need some of you elders my age and older to back me up on this so that younger folk will know this is truth.
I actually saw an event one night in a service my parents were visiting that I’ve never forgotten.
This supposedly backslid young woman came to the altar and shortly afterward began to manifest possession of an evil spirit.
The pastor, his wife and some others drew close while everyone else drew back. The demon was cast out of this woman and moments later the pastor’s wife began to choke and turn blue in the face.
The saints standing by had to turn to her and cast this evil spirit out of her. Needless to say, there was much talk about this strange event for days afterward.
The truth came out that this ministers wife was indeed a long tongue gossiper who had caused great damage to the church and the ministry. I saw this myself and I always remember it.
I once heard a young girl speak with the voice of an older man and saw her delivered and set free that very night. The power of God was awesome among us.
Our people were not afraid of evil spirits. They knew the same power resided in them that the Apostles and Jesus Christ himself had.
They knew well the scripture, “These signs shall follow them that believe, in my Name shall ye cast out devils.”
It went right along with speaking in other tongues and laying hands on the sick. We can quote this Word well, but today I often wonder just how many signs are truly following our experience.
It made sense to even the average believer that if Satan had no problem appearing before before God himself to continually accuse the brethren then he certainly didn’t mind attending some of our services.
We should ask ourselves why we seldom see the enemy present himself in our meetings or why so few possessed people ever come to us for deliverance.
To assume that there are not truly people who are possessed of evil spirits today is foolish. It is also foolish to think we have become so spiritual that the enemy doesn’t visit us anymore in the places we meet.
One thing you can be assured of, he’s there or one of his many cohorts. The problem seems to be ‘detection.’
Could it be that we have become so weak that no one among us can sense the presence of the evil one, no one knows where he is or what he’s up to. Why is this?
We have to go back to the Gifts of the Spirit and realize how weak we are without them operating in our churches and among our people.
Anyone with Discerning of Spirits can detect the presence of the devil in anyone.
Through the Spirit, they can also read the evil hearts of those who are actually binding the service and causing harm and division.
It stands to reason that this is why many have sought to suppress these gifts. They are afraid of being detected, that the truth of their relationship with the Spirit and their earthly, selfish desires might be manifested before all.
Casting out devils is usually not a pretty picture and maybe that’s another reason we steer away from it.
We might get our hands dirty or someone might notice that we are one of those who backs up when real power is needed.
We also need to revisit the scriptures about the works of the flesh. Idolatry, strife, jealousy, disputes, dissensions, factions, envy, hatred and wrath are all works of the Flesh.
Often times Satan and his forces get credit for things that have nothing to do with them. However, the enemy and his foul spirits can operate freely among such works if not restrained.
It is a fact that some people who call themselves saints of God are simply mean and hateful people with a nasty attitude.
One will find that you cannot cast out these things from those people. That person must rid themselves of such things on their own.
But you can bind their human spirit and forbid them to cause harm and division. People are sitting in so-called “Apostolic Services” binding up everything the Spirit wants to do and no one seems to know where it is coming from or who’s causing the problem.
This idea that fakes and false brethren are not among us was put there by these very same people and the devil works off of it.
Facing up to those who do not practice what they preach, is now considered judging.
Many of those very same folk have cried ‘decently and in order’ until they have smothered out all opposition to confronting those operating in the flesh, claiming to be anointed.
There can be evil an spirit related to the works of the flesh, but one with the Gifts knows they will present themselves in a different manner and can be dealt with in authority and can no longer do as they wish in God’s house or among his people.
What hurts me so much today is that seldom do people who are possessed come to our services or gatherings in hopes of being delivered and set free.
Our apathy today has caused us to assume that many who are possessed do not want deliverance.
The man called Legion came to the feet of Jesus. He wanted the help of the Master and he got it.
Can you imagine what would have happened if Jesus was not interested in delivering him? The poor man would have remained among the tombs and the mountains, crying day and night, cutting himself with stones.
Some years back at a Fellowship Meeting, a new Home Mission pastor and wife brought a young teenage girl with them who had been seeking the Holy Ghost at their new work.
The house was packed. Somehow during the service the young lady began to present symptoms of demonic possession. She began screaming and fighting with those next to her.
The service stopped and many of the ministers gathered around her and attempted to cast out the devil.
I was a much younger person and somewhat new to the ministry and I thought the older ministers would handle it. Nothing worked.
One of the older ministers even tried to lay his Bible on her thinking that would cast this spirit out. The girl just kept on screaming and fighting everyone.
Finally the couple who brought her made everyone back off and leave the girl alone. They said these people were only terrifying her more, and they were.
The couple departed the service early and the poor girl with them left that service the same way she came, no deliverance and no peace. It was very sad.
I’m sure others besides myself wondered what happened. No one talked about it openly afterward and I guess some assumed she did not want deliverance.
I don’t believe that. I believe there was a lack of Power.
If I recall, sectional elections were coming up and church politics was astir. The derision among the ministers was actually palpable.
I was there, and I knew what was going on. Some might say that perhaps that demon was one that could only be cast out by prayer and fasting.
If so, then one must consider that there was a building full of ministers, their wives and a ton of saints and none of us had been fasting and praying enough to deliver this poor girl, to drive Satan from her life and from the sanctuary.
Where are we Pentecostals?
We claim to be Apostolic and yet most of us do less today than ever before. People are counting on us to show them how this Power truly operates and instead we hand them a program, an entertainment or a watered down version of something that has little or no power.
Just when did those “signs” stop following most of us. What was it that caused us to stop reaching forward for everything that was available to us through the Acts of the Apostles and through the precious blood and name of Jesus Christ and become complacent and satisfied; like we are blinded or asleep.
There are many voices and none of them are without significance. I know personally that the mental hospitals are full of people who hear voices, they actually do and no one can help them.
I wonder how we would feel if we were locked up in such a place, delirious and tormented, and we knew that there were people who claimed to have the ability to cast out those things that torment them, to heal them and set them free, and nobody ever came.
I believe we pass possessed people every day on the street who are so lost, confused and out of their right mind but we go our way, leaving them alone, keeping to ourselves the very thing that would heal them and give them a new life.
Many of us do indeed cast the enemy out of our homes and lives on a daily basis.
May I say in all humility that there is seldom one single day or night that I do not plead the Blood of Jesus Christ over my room, the house I live in, the car I drive and even all those around me.
I remind the enemy that I know those signs and I have the right and authority to put him down the road.
Continually, I plead that same Blood of the Lamb over my body, mind and spirit.
I want to be sure that the voice I hear is the voice of the Spirit and not the evil one or my own flesh giving directions.
I want to see what the Spirit sees and to do so I must forever be trying the spirits to see if they be of God.
I absolutely do not want to move in my own flesh or be deceived by a spirit I’m not watching out for.
These last days reveal that Satan is indeed going about as a roaring lion, eating up people and walking all over those who say they possess the Spirit of the Almighty.
It’s past time for us to reclaim our identity and authority and loose our families, our brothers and sisters in the LORD and rise as one to do the work He wants done in this late hour.
It’s high time we shake ourselves and use the tools that were given to us to loose the fetters of those who need and want deliverance.
“These signs shall follow them that believe……..” Do you believe? If you do, then we must see those Signs!
First published, January 4, 2012
~ Robert Blackburn