Stop Rebuking the Devil

When I was young, there was a local church that promoted the burning of Metallica CD’s to dispose of teenage demons. In recent years, I’ve heard of numerous national conferences dedicated to, “Casting our spirits.” And, I personally have even been invited to special healing events, wherein a spiritualist proposes to walk me room by room through my subconscious memory-bank to wipe out generational demons, territorial demons, and likely yellow, green, and pink demons, if they’re to be found…

Is Satan real? Yes. Are his fallen angels real? Yes. Is this madness necessary? No. Is it biblical? No. The war of worship is not mystical, it’s mental. Satan wants you to live for self. God commands you live for Him. Thus, the war for your worship is one of choice and is fought in your mind.

The War for Worship

In Revelation 12, the apostle John sets the cast of characters involved in the supernatural war.

He portrays a woman (the nation of Israel) as birthing a child (the Messiah, Jesus Christ), when a great red dragon (Satan) having seven heads and ten horns, sweeps away a third of the stars of heaven (demons), to join him in an assault on the newborn child. John goes on to describe a war in heaven between Michael the archangel and Satan, but Satan and his demons are not strong enough, and are thrown down.

Finally, towards the end of the chapter, we see humans mentioned. Just one short sentence about the brethren, John writes, “Salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser (Satan) of our brethren (Humans) has been thrown down, and he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they (Humans) overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony…”

Look closely, and note there are two critical aspects regarding humans in John’s vision. Firstly, the humans are only mentioned briefly and not strutting about attempting to take on a supernatural role. Secondly, they are victorious ONLY because of something done outside of them, literally, “The blood of the Lamb and word of their testimony” – Something done by Christ on the cross, given by Christ at regeneration, and simply trusted on by man.

Thus, the battle scene of heaven clearly shows God conducting His plan through Christ, Satan’s forces battling Michael’s forces, and Christian’s standing victorious not through rebukes, bindings, hedges, or chants, but in the blood of Christ poured over them.

Paul Did Not Fight With Words

The apostle Paul wrote half of the new testament and is largely considered earth’s greatest Ambassador of Christian truth. The Church itself is built largely upon his instructions as supplied by the Holy Spirit, so it helps us to learn from his epistles.

In 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, Paul writes “And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me – to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

This is a fascinating look into Paul’s personal life! The Greek text signifies this thorn as being something very painful, some scholars believe it was Paul’s eyesight, others a demonically possessed follower who screamed at him constantly, and others depression. Nonetheless, it was agony. Yet, notice that Paul does not rebuke the messenger of Satan, bind him, charge him, or even speak to him. He simply prayed to the Lord. Even as an apostle of Christ, Paul didn’t lay claim to some form of, “Name it, claim it healing” or usurp power over the spiritual realm.

And, in 1 Thessalonians 2:17-18 Paul writes, “But we, brethren, having been bereft of you for a short while – in person, not in spirit – were all the more eager with great desire to see your face. For we wanted to come to you – I , Paul, more than once – and yet Satan thwarted us.

This time Paul couldn’t overrule whatever obstacle Satan had placed in the way. This should be humbling to us. If the apostle Paul was unable to remove Satan’s stumbling block, what hubris must we have to attempt better?

The book of Jude sheds some light on how things work in the supernatural realm. Jude 1:9 says, “But Michael the archangel when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

Apparently, after the death of Moses, the netherworld disputed over where the body of Moses should be buried. Because Moses was eventually buried in an unknown grave, so that no man would worship his remains, one can only imagine that Michael won. Yet, notice that even Michael the archangel, the highest ranking official of heaven, when confronted with Lucifer, dared not rebuke him, but instead deferred to Mighty God.

Paul prayed three times that a messenger of Satan be removed. Paul accepted when Satan had thwarted his passage. Jude writes that even Michael the archangel dare not rebuke Satan, but instead turns to God. Therefore, people who rebuke Satan are immature and unaware. You do not rebuke Satan, you ask God to rebuke Satan, and you trust God with the consequences. Satan has been allowed a time of rule on earth and he is tethered only by the almighty God Himself, and you must learn what Paul knew, that your victory does not come in words over Satan, but in presiding under salvation.

I recently spoke to a man who approached me with sincere relief in his eyes. He said, “Tony, for a year now, I’ve been praying against demons right and left. The more I commanded, the more dark it seemed to become. I’ve spent more time whispering away evil than simply being with my heavenly Father. Now, I’m learning that it’s His fight not my own.” My friend’s story perfectly explains Paul’s heart…

Paul Fought With the Mind

In 2 Corinthians 10:5 Paul wrote, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…”

Note, that Paul did not fight on a physical level but on a mental one, not in the closet but in the conscience. Paul did not need special phrases, potions, fillings, and formulas, to ward off the enemy, he simply aligned His mind with Christ and with His word. He walked confident in what had already been given him!

He backs this up further in 1 Timothy 1:18 writing, “This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience…”

Paul tells Timothy to, “Fight the good fight.” How we love that battle cry! Yet, he doesn’t tell him to name demons and chase them away. He simply commands that Timothy, “Keep faith” which means to know his doctrine and keep, “A good conscience” literally know his mind.

Another example is Paul’s famous spiritual warfare passage in Ephesians 6, about which Pastor John MacArthur writes:

In Ephesians 6:11 Paul says, “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” What is our armor? It consists of the belt of truthfulness (not merely knowing the truth, but being committed to it), the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace (confidence that we have made peace with God), the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation (confidence in our security in Christ), and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. None of those hints at any secret technique. Rather, they speak of clear understanding and a solid commitment to biblical truth and holiness.

Clearly, Paul’s arsenal for spiritual warfare wasn’t mystical fillings and cryptica formulas, it was mental weaponry! Even a cursory reading of Ephesians 6 instructs us that Paul used truth, decisions, gospel, conviction, salvation, the word, and prayer, to keep his mind hidden and protected in Christ. And, James, the very brother of Jesus proclaimed, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Friends, this is not a complex battle plan! Be firm in faith, committed to truth, disentangled from the world, and the devil will flee from you!

Conclusion

Yes, Satan is smart. He’s been deceiving people for thousands of years. He is not to be feared but he is to be respected as a notable and antagonistic enemy. His workers know how to destroy you. It will not be by placing a dark figure at your bedside. Instead it will be by placing daily distraction before your eyes. A dark figure in the closet will prompt you cry out, “Jesus!” and the enemy will have lost. Yet, prompting your mind to reflect on fornication, adultery, jealousy, insecurity, hatred, covetousness, pride, or power, and you will be destroyed.

Thus, you must use the Scripture and prayer heartily that your mind may stay obedient in Christ.

Nature understands this. In the rainforest, the tree canopy stretches to the heavens. Meanwhile the tropical floor is covered with bugs, dirt, and decay. The trees that reach the sun survive, those that do not die. Thus, each tree continues to strain for the sun, ignorant of the death that lives at it’s feet. You must do likewise, live high with the Son. And as you do, you’ll pay no mind to the demonic decay far at your feet. Jesus is God. Yet, while tempted by Satan on earth, He used Scripture as His defense. We can do no better than Christ as our example! If God used the Bible, so must we. As Revelation 12 teaches, you have overcome, “In the blood of the Lamb.”

3 thoughts on “Stop Rebuking the Devil

  1. Pastor Tony,

    My brother, Brett Skinner, is part of your congregation and has pointed our family to your blog. I want to personally thank you for the boldness in which you write and proclaim the truth and word of God. I’m currently living in Switzerland with my husband, who is Swiss, and for a long time now he has been involved with the Vineyard Bern as have most of our friends here as well. I, however, was raised Baptist so while we both believe in Jesus Christ and His salvation, on deeper subjects we really are many many maaannnnyyyy miles apart. Most of our friends here are glued to the “overly-spiritual” teaching including those from Bethel Redding, Joel Osteen, and Joyce Meyer (just to name a few) and it seems I’m the only one who speaks against much of it. This is where you come into play. I was spiritually at a breaking point, even starting to feel isolated and crazy until many conversations with my parents and reading your blogs brought me back to truth and reality! Since then I’ve dedicated more time to not only reading the Bible, but truly studying passages to know what they mean. The topics you discuss are literally hitting on every conversation my husband and I have had and your breakdown and theology keep me grounded and assured that I do know my Bible! All of this to simply say thank you!!! I know you come against much criticism for the things you write so I wanted to be one voice expressing deep and sincere appreciation.

    Keep fighting the good fight! Jacque Maegert

  2. Hi Tony, thanks for this fabulous article on the truth about spiritual warfare. You made some great points, including some I had not heard before. I will be sharing your article, I’m sure. I don’t know why people are so incredibly resistant though, to any attempt to reason with them about this subject. I do understand the mindset – but thankfully, the Lord helped me realize that talking to demons was not what he asked of me. It was so freeing to know that God is sovereign over all things, and that nothing touches us but that which God allows, and that we can trust him in it – our focus should be on God – set you mind on things above, where Christ is….and we have a saying concerning your statement “the war for your worship is not mystical it’s mental.”…it is this: ” Only two choices on the shelf; serving God or serving self.” Thanks again and keep up the great work!
    God Bless,
    Betsy

  3. This is great. I was involved in a international deliverence ministry until my eyes were opened. It was a waste of time but I thank God that he showed me the truth and now I can use that wasted time of lesson learning to help others see the very truth you have shared here.
    Thanks

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