Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. As we run our daily race, there's an unseen spirit world running as well. Demons try to subvert the purposes of God in the life of every believer. Our task?
To discern the danger and avoid opening the many doors that can lead us there. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, can a Christian actually be demonically influenced? Well Dave, the obvious answer is yes. I thought that you were going to ask me whether or not a Christian can be demon-possessed.
That becomes a very difficult question to answer because it has to do with definitions. It has to do with nuancing what we mean. But at the same time, Satan is definitely influencing our lives, or at least trying to, and in the lives of some people that influence is great. We're making these messages available to you for the simple reason we believe that you have people in your life who need to hear them, and perhaps you also have missed some of the series. So here's what you can do.
Go to RTWOffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 for a gift of any amount. We'll make these messages available to you in permanent form. Meanwhile, let's listen. Well what's wrong with meditation? We're supposed to meditate.
Yes, we're to meditate in the law of the Lord during the night and during the day. That means we are to have content in our minds. But transcendental meditation, you're supposed to empty your mind, something that is very dangerous for you to do. The same thing happens in psychedelic drugs.
That's why when Marilyn Ferguson wrote her book, she said that drugs and transcendental meditation are the ways into, quote, the transformation of consciousness. You see, the devil has a counterpart for everything that God has. God has the new birth. We are to be born again of the Spirit, and that's our opportunity to be in contact with God. He also has the new birth.
This is his most dazzling deception. It is the ritual that brings about the transformation of consciousness that is found in almost all non-Christian religions. People are in touch with the higher powers, and emptying the mind becomes the way to bring that about.
Oh yes, there may be some good to yoga physically, but combined with religious notions of emptying the mind can be very dangerous. In fact, when I was at the Parliament of World Religions, I just remembered, I said that, I was talking to those who were into transcendental meditation, and I said, you know, of course, that demons sometimes appear. And they said, oh yes, we know that. And surprisingly, they did not argue that, but they said, that's why you need a good guru to take you through those tunnels of evil so that you come out on the other side.
Number three, television programs, movies. We think this is, by the way, the greatest recruitment tool of the occult that one could possibly imagine. Programs like Buffy the Vampire, Charmed, or Practical Magic, they emphasize witchcraft, pantheistic notions, power of levitation, prognostication, powers are used to quote even the score.
I could go into more detail, but that's enough. What about ghosts? Do ghosts exist? You see, what happens is this, when a person lives with demonic spirits, maybe these spirits have inhabited him or controlled him to some extent, the Bible calls these spirits familiar spirits. And the reason they're familiar spirits is because they're familiar with the person to whom they have followed and attached themselves. The person dies, what's going to happen to the spirits? So happens that in my Bible reading today, I read the fifth chapter of Mark this morning where Jesus cast out some spirits and they said, let us go into the pigs.
And Jesus accommodated them because if they don't have a body to inhabit, they sometimes become listless and aimlessly wander around. And we call those ghosts. A number of years ago I was in Calgary in a wonderful, beautiful hotel there. And when I was there, the Calgary Herald ran a story that this hotel in which I was staying was haunted, that certain rooms were haunted.
During that period of time, this was a Baptist group that we were together with. Some of us accepted the opportunity to get a tour of the hotel by a young woman, perhaps 21 or 22 years old. And when we were in the basement, she said, you notice that there are these potted plants on these marble stairs. And she says, no one is allowed to go up the stairs because, she said, a spirit lives on these stairs.
A young woman, when the hotel was first built on her wedding day, tripped down the stairs, hit her head and died at the base of the stairs. And now she keeps showing up, said this young lady. And she said, you can ask the people who work in the kitchen. They see her.
And this is in addition to the two other rooms that are haunted. I didn't know whether or not I should do this. You know, I did it with a smile on my face because you don't want to just hurt people. But I said to her, I said, would you like me to give you a biblical interpretation of ghosts? And she said, sure. I said, I want you to know that the person who shows up in this kitchen is not the young lady. Her soul has gone to wherever, but it's not her. But it's a demon that knew her, who takes her characteristics.
And that's what we're really up against. And this young lady smiled back and she said, well, she said, I like the word ghost better than the word demon. She said, remember Casper, the friendly ghost. Yeah, there are these spirits. There are haunted houses. There are haunted buildings. Same characteristics as demons.
They run in family lines and the whole bit. And what we need to understand is all these ghost stories, you know, that make you scared. But isn't it wonderful that they don't really exist?
They do exist. There is a spirit world out there. What about astrology? Psychic hotline, you know, just call once and we'll tell you your future.
I'll tell you, God hates astrology. Listen to what he says, but evil will come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away and disaster will fall on you for which you cannot atone and destruction about which you do not know will come upon you suddenly stand fast now in your spells and in your many source res with which you have labored from your youth. Perhaps you will be able to profit.
Yeah, there may be some value in them. Perhaps you may cause trembling. You are wearied with your many councils. Let now your astrologers, those who prophesied by the stars, those who predict by the new moon stand up and save you from what is going to come upon you. Behold, they will become like stubble fire burns them. They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. There will be no coal to warm by nor fire to sit before, but disaster is going to come upon you, God says.
Yet we have Christians say, well, you know, I read the horoscope, but I kind of read it for fun and sometimes they're right. Well, after all that, what are we going to do with Harry Potter? I have to tread very carefully here. In a couple of weeks, I'm going to be at a conference on spiritual warfare and one of the sessions is on Harry Potter and it's entitled, should we Harry? To Harry or not to Harry? That is the question. I guess they didn't want to call it to Potter or not to Potter.
That is the question. I have to tell you that I've not read much about Harry Potter, so I'm going to tread very, very carefully at this point. I've read some of the fourth book, which seems to me to be very dark and violent, but because there are such good Christians who disagree with me, there have been some who have begun to read Harry Potter with the intention of debunking him as a cult and then they've decided no, it's possible to use occult terms and occult forms to communicate truth and so many people, I think including Charles Coulson, for example, who says that parents should be involved in the process, but that these books are a good read.
I don't want to misquote him, but I think that early on, at least, that's what he said. So because of the fact that I haven't read much of Harry Potter, you could just say that I've dabbled in Harry Potter. I'm going to let you make up your own mind, but I do want to ask you some questions. Those of you who have read the books, those of you who are into Harry Potter and his sorcery and his wizardry, here's some questions and I think that these questions also will help us distinguish that from, say, C.S. Lewis or Tolkien. Do these books teach absolutes or do they have relativistic notions of good and evil? Just a question. I can't answer this.
I mean, you're the ones who are the experts. You've read it. Secondly, is evil in these books used to produce good?
That to me is huge. Whether or not evil is used to produce good. Here's another question.
Is it possible to break the rules and still be a hero in these books? And could the Harry Potter books be an imaginative bridge to the occult? This past week, I read a quote from a witch who thinks so.
She thinks it's a wonderful entry door into what she's doing. And the question is, and I don't want to prejudice it here, but could it be occultism with a very friendly face? Now, I do need to say that if you're a parent here and your children have read the books or if they're absolutely insisting that they read them and if you don't read them with them, they're going to read them in school anyway, then I suggest that you be very careful and read them with your children and process them with your children and help them both to interpret the books as well as to give the appropriate warnings regarding witchcraft. I think within good homes where you have that, the children will not be necessarily lured into the occult. But I can see that some child reading this thinks to himself, I want the power of Harry.
I want to attend that school of, what is it, Hogwarts or something like that. So I personally want you to be strongly, strongly cautioned. But at the end of the day, it's your decision. Let's get to some principles of discernment very quickly. Principles of discernment. Number one, there are only two sources of spiritual power, folks.
Only two. There's God and good angels and there's Satan and evil angels. There is no neutral power of nature. Many years ago I was on television with a hookup here in Chicago with a witch in Los Angeles and she kept insisting that we witches, we who belong to the Wiccan community, from which we get the word wisdom or based on the word wisdom, she says, we have nothing to do with the devil. We worship ourselves and nature. And to be fair, most witches don't worship the devil directly. They do worship themselves and nature.
But my dear friend, we've already learned. It's possible to worship the devil even if he is not named. Remember, worship yourself and he'll show up.
There are only two sources. There's no somehow earth power that you tap into. It's either God, Christ, the Bible, or some other supernatural power that comes from the other side of the world.
That is the spirit world. Third, even small steps in the wrong direction can lead us into Satan's camp. Even small steps in the wrong direction.
And this is why I just throw out every caution I possibly can about the occult. There is a story about an organization that was hiring truck drivers and they asked a couple of drivers, they said, how close can you get to the edge of the cliff if you were driving a truck? How close would you be able to get? And one guy says, well, I could get within six inches. The other guy says, you know, I think I could do better than that. He said, I think I could do four inches. The other guy said, hey, look, I'm out of this.
I can't play this game. If I were driving a truck, I would stay as far away from the edge of the cliff as I possibly could. And he ended up with the job. I just want you to know, folks, that the issue is not how close can we come to the occult without being afflicted by Satan. That is not the question. The real question should be, how far can we stay away and have nothing to do with what God says is detestable? And he said that because of that, I'm driving out those nations and God will judge us because of the occultism which we find. And by the way, don't ever think that I've covered all of the bases.
There are as many ways to lure people into the occult as there are interests among Americans. Number three, Satan will give you what you want. Listen to this carefully. He'll give you what you want as long as you eventually get what he wants.
I know that that takes a little bit of writing, doesn't it? Satan will give you what you want as long as you eventually get what he wants. Will he heal you? The answer is yes. Of course he'll heal your body if he can.
I mean, that's a small price to pay for your allegiance to wrong doctrine. Will he bless your business because you take a course in miracles? Will he help you lose weight or help you to do this or help you to do that? And the answer is yes. As long as in return he gets this, he gets us to belong to him with, I coined this phrase yesterday evening and I kind of like it.
Is it okay if occasionally I'll like something I'm saying? As long as we are bound to him with addictive allegiance, addictive allegiance. It's not that you're not necessarily you're going to be possessed or, you know, this evil spirit.
No, no, no, no. All that he wants you to do is, listen, if you watch on television, if you watch occultism, the shows that I've mentioned just a moment ago or something, just try afterwards to read your Bible and pray. Just try it and see if you can do it. There are many Christians who can't. And that's all that he wants. I mean, he doesn't have to possess you, though in some instances he might, but that's not. Just as long as you're kept from God, as long as you're not in fellowship with God, as long as you can't pray effectively, effectively, because your life is so filled with the occult and sin that is accumulated.
That's all that he needs is to neutralize Christians. Number four, ignorance is no excuse. You say, well, I didn't know that I shouldn't be playing with these tarot cards or with a Ouija board. I didn't know that. Well, you do now. Let's suppose, for example, you're an Israeli soldier. One Sunday afternoon you're taking a walk in the beautiful sunshine and you go across the Syrian border, but you don't know it because it's not marked. And you get across the Syrian border and some soldiers, some Syrian soldiers, capture you and you say, well, I didn't know that I crossed that border.
I mean, I was just taking a walk on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. I don't care whether you know it or not. You're in deep trouble, deep trouble, and you may not even get back. Satan doesn't say, well, you know, I'm going to give him a pass. He didn't know it. He's not a gentleman.
He's not like that. There are no rules with the devil. Number five, Christ has triumphed over all the powers of the occult.
This message has been more of warning, so I've not stressed the triumph of Christ, but I have to hear. Remember that Satan has no more power than God lets him have, not one whit more than God lets him have. He is not the final power and authority in the universe. It is Christ. King of kings, Lord of lords, God of all gods. And when Jesus died on the cross, he took that serpent and as it were, he took his foot and he crushed the head of the serpent into the pavement.
I think we ought to clap there, don't you think, for Jesus? I like to think of that chess game that was painted, entitled the chess game between a young man and Satan. And the painter painted it in such a way that there was consternation on the face of the young man because the agreement was that whoever lost would become the servant of the winner. And the devil had just moved his queen and declared checkmate in two moves.
But some of you know Paul Morphe, at least you've heard of him, one of the most famous chess players in the world. He visited the painting, which hung in one of America's art galleries. And as he looked at it, he kept saying, now let's see, you can move this, move this, move this, move this. And he stood there and suddenly shouted, young man, there's a move you can make.
Painter had overlooked a move that the young man could make. And I say to those of you today who have occult backgrounds, even some of you who received occult backgrounds because of your family lineage and because of what your parents did, I say to those of you who have been in it either in ignorance or knowingly, there is a move you can make. Christ has triumphed.
What I want you to do is to go home and get on your knees, block out about two hours, preferably in a place where you're very much alone and you're not going to be disturbed. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you all areas of the occult in which you have been involved, either voluntarily or involuntarily and confess each one and renounce them in the presence of God and get rid of their power through the triumph of Jesus and be free. Sometimes freedom can't come without other people praying with you, without other people interceding, but God wants to deliver his people. I've been praying that as this message was preached that people would be delivered. That's how much confidence I have in God's most holy word and the triumph of Jesus. But we live in a thoroughly occultic age and it's not going to get any better.
It's going to get worse. And God says these things are detestable in my sight. Let's not give Satan an inch because for every inch he comes back wanting a foot and a yard and a mile.
He is not going to play by the rules. Let's pray together. Our Father, today we ask in the name of Jesus that you shall bring deliverance to your people, to all who hear this message, whether in this sanctuary, whether on the radio, we receive dozens and dozens of letters from people struggling with Satan because of the occult. Oh Father, grant deliverance we pray and we ask that you might give to your people the total confidence that Jesus has triumphed and bring deliverance we ask in all areas of involvement. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. I want you to know today I preach this message with a very heavy heart and even now as I connect with you I'm reminded of the fact that we are in a tremendous spiritual battle and many of our young people especially are losing that battle.
We're living at a time of occultism, a time when Satan so to speak sneaks up on us and we don't even recognize that we are in demonic territory. I've no doubt that as you've been listening to these messages you've said to yourself I know somebody who needs to hear what is being said. That's why we're making this sermon series available to you.
It's entitled Who Are You to Judge? Learning to Distinguish Between Truths, Have Truths, and Lies. I hope that you have a pen or pencil handy because I'm going to be giving you some info. Meanwhile I want to thank you in advance for helping us.
Thanks to our many partners the Ministry of Running to Win continues to expand because our burden is to get the gospel to as many as possible and to help people as you've heard me say before run successfully all the way to the finish line. Well here's what you can do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337.
Ask for the sermon series Who Are You to Judge? Learning to Distinguish Between Truths, Have Truths, and Lies and we'll make it available to you so that you can play it again and again. Share it with your friends. Share it with your children because we're living in an age of tremendous deception and as I mentioned thank you in advance for helping us. That contact info again rtwoffer.com of course rtwoffer is all one word or call us right now at 1-888-218-9337.
Thanks in advance for your help. You can write to us at Running to Win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, Illinois 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Many who run life's race are tripped up by the conduct of believers around them. Conduct they feel is inappropriate. How should we judge the behavior of others?
Or is it our business to judge it all? Next time don't miss Erwin Lutzer's look at Judging Conduct. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-25 03:33:18 / 2023-05-25 03:42:16 / 9