Rev Dr Edgar Mayer – Living Grace Lutheran Church, Toowoomba – Date: 21 August 2016
For more sermons and other writings, please check the following homepage: www.livinggracetoowoomba.org
[Preaching alongside Pastor Yonggi Cho’s book “Make Your Faith Work” – Sermon 05.]
Pioneering New Territories
According to Yonggi Cho, prayer is his first priority, and he is telling everyone: “I am convinced that renewal is possible anywhere people dedicate themselves to prayer” (Paul Yonggi Cho with R. Whitney Manzano: Prayer: Key to Revival, Waco, Word Publishing 1984, p7). Prayer is the key and we know that he is right, because the Bible backs him up:
Colossians 4:2-4: Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
Romans 15:30-32: I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favourably received by the Lord’s people there, so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.
But how are we to pray? What kind of prayers move God to open a door for the message of Jesus Christ, and make renewal possible anywhere? I think that Yonggi Cho (in his book that we are studying) is teaching us a most important lesson. Much of prayer is about warfare. And, for Yonggi Cho, (as we have heard on previous Sundays) this is a daily discipline. He is in warfare immediately, every time that he is drawing near to God in prayer.
Paul Yonggi Cho with R. Whitney Manzano: Prayer: Key to Revival, Waco, Word Publishing 1984, p24-24: When you come into contact with God in your time of prayer, the first thing you feel in your heart, as you enter into His divine presence, is a realization of your sin. No one can sense pride in the presence of the holy God. Once you sense your lack of natural qualifications to be in His holy Presence, you will begin to confess your sin and humble yourself before God… Amazingly, as you enter into his Presence, you will be made aware of reactions, attitudes and actions that you may have forgotten … The next very natural reaction to the Presence is to desire to be forgiven for your sin. This is true in my own experience…
Paul Yonggi Cho: Make Your Faith Work, Eastbourne: Kingsway Publications 1985, p9-11: I’ve been in my ministry for twenty-six years, but still I need the Holy Spirit every day to cleanse my life because there are many temptations that creep in…
Also there is the temptation of pride because people treat me like a king. They try to touch me. They swarm around and struggle even to touch my coat. The devil comes and tries to put pride into my heart. If I don’t pray, I can’t see the real situation of my heart because the devil comes and says, ‘This is fine. You are justified in being proud.’
Justified or unjustified, I can really see the reality of the situation only when the Holy Spirit helps me. For this reason, when I pray, the Holy Spirit shines in my heart and I begin to see myself through the eyes of God and then I repent daily. If I don’t go before him asking forgiveness daily, then I cannot keep my position straight before the Lord. I need to pray so I can be delivered from worldliness because worldliness is strong — like a mighty wave. To keep myself in Christ’s likeness I need to repent.
Daily repentance – daily cleansing from temptations and worldliness – was and remains necessary for Yonggi Cho and we are not better than him. If we do not watch ourselves, all of us are prone to drift away from God, slacking off and becoming blind to our needs. Every day – every Sunday in church – we need the Holy Spirit to shine the truth into our hearts and strengthen us against the “mighty wave” of worldliness, which is a life uninformed by God. This kind of warfare does not have to be rough and demeaning. The Holy Spirit is not an army drill sergeant. He is loving and gentle, but he is also holy and convicting.
As Yonggi Cho prays, he is in a daily battle over his personal holiness – overcoming temptations through recognition of the sin, repentance and forgiveness – but then he moves on to pray for his church and – again – he is immediately into warfare, because what he battles with as a man is what most people battle with in the community. For instance, there are the “sins of the lips” – “the habitual sin of criticising others” – which leads to separation and church splits out of pride and lack of love.
Yonggi Cho writes:
Paul Yonggi Cho: Make Your Faith Work, Chapter 1: People ask me, ‘Why should you pray so much?’
I’m praying because I can only receive the light of the Holy Spirit by repenting genuinely through prayer every day. If I don’t pray, I won’t really repent because every day I become contaminated by the world of sin. Because we are all living in a sinful world, we are constantly being contaminated. And so, when I pray, the Holy Spirit comes into my heart and I can see my reality and can genuinely repent of my sins.
Of course, every day I commit many sins of the lips because I hear so much from people and then I’m tempted to join them in criticising others. When I pray in the Holy Spirit, he lights up my heart and rebukes me about some of these situations. I fight the habitual sin of criticising others. I determine over and over again to rid myself completely of this sin, but again and again I fall into that trap. Therefore, I need to get cleansed every day and if I don’t pray, I can’t get myself cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Paul Yonggi Cho: Make Your Faith Work, Eastbourne: Kingsway Publications 1985, p14: I pray because I can break down the opposition of Satan through prayer. Throughout my ministry I have never seen any division in my church. We have a lot of arguments among our ministers and elders. Koreans are much like Latin people. It’s as if we had Latin blood. If you have two Koreans, you have three ideas. Because of this, we have a lot of struggles, but through all these struggles I have never seen any division in my church. That is one reason we are growing so fast.
Every day Satan visits and tries to create an argument and cause division among my people, but I always bind the power of Satan. ‘You power of Satan among the elders,’ I cry, ‘I cast you out in the name of Jesus!’ We have more than 30,000 deacons. If I don’t bind Satan, those 30,000 deacons will have more than 30,000 ideas among themselves. I bind the devils who want to cause disturbance in our ministry and our church.
Paul says, ‘We are wrestling against principalities and the powers of the air.’ That’s not just theory, that’s practical. I have got to fight to bind them. Since I have been binding and praying, we have had many crises, but we have not had any division at all thus far.
For Yonggi Cho, prayer is about warfare – the daily cleansing from sin and temptations (through recognition of sin, repentance and forgiveness) and the daily binding of Satan in the church, especially binding arguments before they cause division.
Surprisingly, there is such heavy emphasis on spiritual warfare before Yonggi Cho even prays for anyone or anything outside of the church. And when he finally does – when he finally targets new mission fields – the warfare experience intensifies. In his book, he shares and talks from a place few people (seem to) know in the Western Church (even though the awareness is rising now). [At least, no one taught me this at the seminary.]
Paul Yonggi Cho: Make Your Faith Work, Eastbourne: Kingsway Publications 1985, p14-17: Wherever we go, we meet the strongholds of the enemy – of Satan. Every town has its own devil. If I wish to establish a church in a certain area, I have to challenge that power first. If I can defeat the devil, then I can build my church.
When I was first pioneering the church in Seoul, I found a shrine built to the devil in that area. They were all worshipping and belonging to the devil. As soon as I tried to establish my church, the priest of the shrine started to challenge me. That’s a life or death struggle, and without conquering that spirit, you can’t free the people. Either you get chased out of town, or you get killed. It’s a very serious matter in Korea.
In the West you are born into a Christian culture, so you don’t often see that kind of situation. In our country they have been heathens for more than 4,000 years and they are under spiritual bondage. In 1958 I tried for more than three months, but I could not win one soul to Jesus Christ because those connected with that priest were always following me and intimidating me. They tried to kill me. My main struggle was to see if l could really conquer the devil or would have to move out of the area. I prayed fervently.
Then their disciples came to me and challenged me. They said, ‘If you truly believe you are to be here, we contest you to pray for a lady who has suffered with paralysis for seven years. If your God can do something for her, we will let you have a church here. Otherwise you are going to move out of this place, or you are going to be killed!’ That was the challenge from the devil.
The whole town was watching me. When I went to see the woman, she was in a most miserable situation, for she was the wife of a farmer and he was an alcoholic. She had been paralysed for years, and in that situation she had given birth to a child. The whole house was dirty and smelly. When I tried to tell her about Jesus, she said, ‘Please, mister, if you can do anything for me, destroy me. If you can do anything, let me die.’
I cleaned all the rooms and cleaned the house. I cooked soup and brought it to her – soup I could not even afford myself. I tried everything, but I could not help her. She was completely paralysed. I became desperate. When I am under pressure, I can pray better. So I fasted and prayed. I really prayed!
One evening I was praying fervently, ‘Oh, God, help me. If you won’t heal that woman, then I shall have to move out of this town. About 10 pm, I fell into a trance while I was praying. During my prayer I began to hear eerie music and I saw a creature with a snake for a body and the head of a beautiful woman. It was standing on its tail dancing to the music. It came toward me and jumped up on me. I grabbed the neck of the snake as it tried again and again to bite me, and I was trembling. I knew 1 was losing the battle. The fight lasted for three hours and I was completely soaked with perspiration. The snake came nearer and nearer to me. I could look right into its eyes I knew it was trying to finish me off.
A voice said in my ear, ‘Say the name of Jesus.’ Without saying the name of the Lord, I was struggling in my human Strength. I tried to say, ‘Jesus,’ but I was so numb with fear that I could not even pronounce his name in my heart I kept repeating, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.’ Suddenly I could read the fear in the eyes of the snake. Then the power came and I said the precious name, ‘Jesus!’
The devil slumped down and I crushed it with my heel. The teeth and the eyes came out. I coiled up the snake and took it to the people for them to see. Satan was conquered!
Then I came out of my trance, but I was completely exhausted. I did not know the meaning of that experience then. But the next morning when I came out of my prayer meeting at my tent church, a big crowd was moving toward the tent. ‘Oh, oh!’ I thought. ‘They’re coming to destroy my church. This is the last of it.’
One woman was at the head of the crowd. I looked at the woman and suddenly recognised her – she was the woman who was paralysed! All the others were following her. She was walking toward me carrying her baby. She said, ‘Thank you, pastor. I really appreciate it that you came to my house at 2 am this morning.’ l said, ‘I did not go to your house at 2 am.’
She said, ‘Oh, pastor, you came, I was suffering terribly and you were in our yard. You shouted to me, “Woman, in the name of Jesus Christ – rise up and walk!” You clearly told me. And so, at 2 am I took up my baby – I could take up my baby! I rose up and was healed! I began to speak in a strange language. I really appreciate you because you loved me so much that you came so early this morning – at 2 am – to announce my healing.’
That was the time I had the victory over the devil in my vision! She was completely healed so the whole town followed her. The people chased out the demonic priest and destroyed the shrine. They gave the area to me and I gave it to a missionary and right now there is a beautiful church – where the devil’s shrine was! That battle was completely won — not by my eloquence, but by prayer.
Before I left that town, we had 600 members and a beautiful sanctuary. It was a tremendous victory – won on my knees. From that, I learned that we had to conquer the power in the air before we could establish a church.
You have different kinds of devils in different areas. I can name them, but you know the situation. Pray and fast and destroy the resistance. Otherwise you cannot build a strong church. If you go into an area to bring revival, you must first contest with Satan who is overpowering the area. When you have conquered Satan, you loose the power to lead souls to Jesus Christ.
Yonggi Cho’s account of healing the paralyzed woman sounds like a wild story – especially the climax when he was fighting a snake with a woman’s head for three hours in a prayerful trance and, during this time, precisely at the moment of breakthrough, announced the healing in an audible voice to the woman who lived and whose house was somewhere else. This is wild, but – according to Yonggi Cho – this is also basic, for any church doing mission work: “Wherever we go, we meet the strongholds of the enemy – of Satan. Every town has its own devil. If I wish to establish a church in a certain area, I have to challenge that power first. If I can defeat the devil, then I can build my church.” “If you go into an area to bring revival, you must first contest with Satan who is overpowering the area. When you have conquered Satan, you loose the power to lead souls to Jesus Christ.” [It was very dramatic to impress this lesson on Yonggi Cho. Cf. Acts 10.]
Have we – in prayer – defeated the devil – the strongholds of the enemy – in Toowoomba, at our work place, in our families? Have we conquered to strongholds of the enemy in our fold, the Lutheran Church of Australia, to see a renewal movement sweep the nation among Lutherans, and others? Do you know that this is what is happening in prayer, and that this is one of the core reasons why we pray? To remove Satan and his overpowering influence over the area which is our mission field.
The Bible confirms that Satan is organized and has stationed demonic princes – territorial spirits – which head up the forces of darkness in clearly marked zones or territories. For instance, when Daniel fasted and prayed for twenty-one days, he was party of a spiritual battle whereby the territorial demon prince of Persia resisted the answer to his prayers:
Daniel 10:13: But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. / Daniel 10:20-21: So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.) [Cf. Ezekiel 28:14; Mark 5:10; Deuteronomy 32:8.]
Every country – including our own (Australia) – lives under certain spiritual conditions, a nation’s culture which has its own unique mix of sin and rebellion against God, which determines the kind of demonic head-spirit in our area and how much power it wields, exploiting the ground that we cede by sinning. The sin of a people pollutes the land, and this has spiritual and physical consequences – Isaiah 24:4-6: “The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the heavens languish with the earth. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt.” [Cf. Numbers 35:33; Ezekiel 36:17; Leviticus 18:27; 2 Chronicles 7:14.]
I give you one more Bible reference where a demonic beast – the reign of a particular demonic prince – works through human kings and the territories under their control.
Revelation 17:3-14: Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw … a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns…
Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the … the beast … which has the seven heads and ten horns. The beast … will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction … The seven heads are seven hills… They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while. The beast … is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.
The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”
What seems to give away the identity of the beast is the reference to “the seven hills”. The beast had seven heads which stood for seven hills. The capital of the Roman Empire – Rome – was the city built on seven hills. My former teacher at the Seminary in Adelaide wrote in his commentary: “You didn’t have to be a genius to work out that the seven-headed beast is Rome” (John Strelan: Where Earth Meets Heaven, Adelaide: Openbook Publishers 1994, p279). Even before Jesus’ birth, Rome was also known as “the Seven Hills”. (In Latin – the language of the Empire – the word is “Septimontium”.) According to this vision then in Revelation 17, the whole Roman empire (at the time) was under the power of a particular demonic prince who expressed himself especially through the human authorities, the kings of the nation.
We know from other Bible references that not everything about the Roman Empire was abominable. The apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome encouraged prayer for all authorities and obedience.
Romans 13:1-7: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong … They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
But the vision of the demonic beast did explain the real source of Roman persecution against Christians. We are in a war.
Yonggi Cho’s story may teach us a few more points on this kind of warfare. Frequently, the battle with the demonic head-spirit(s) in an area leads to a public showdown. In Yonggi Cho’s testimony, the chosen battleground was the paralyzed woman. In the Bible, the ten plagues in Egypt were seen as God’s (comprehensive) judgements on the demonic gods of Egypt.
http://ausprayernet.org.au/teaching/sm_articles1_3.php: We see the account of God sending Moses to call down plagues upon Egypt. Each plague demonstrated the power of the One True God, and the impotency of the gods of Egypt.
1. When the Lord called upon Moses, the first sign He gave to him was his rod. His rod, which turned into a serpent, consumed the serpents that had rods of the magicians of Pharaoh. The serpent was the symbol of royal authority to the Egyptians and was even a part of Pharaoh’s crown. (Exodus 7:9)
2. Hapi was the god of the Nile, and he was powerless as God turned the water into blood. (Exodus 7:17)
3. Think of the mocking of Heka, the female deity with a frog’s head, when God brought forth frogs into the land. (Exodus 8:2)
4. Shu, the god of the air, was not able to stand against God’s plague of flies. (Exodus 8:21)
5. The plague against the cattle was a direct assault also, as the Egyptians worshipped cattle. (Exodus 9:3)
6. In the plague where boils resulted as Moses and Aaron threw ashes from the furnace into the air, God blatantly mocked the gods Sutech and Typhon. Their usual offering was the ashes of sacrificial victims. (Exodus 9:18)
7. As hail fell from the sky, none of the gods of heaven could stop it. (Exodus 9:18)
8. Part of Egypt’s beauty was the Sycamore trees. God sent the locust and they were all devoured. (Exodus 10:4)
9. The plague of darkness showed the impotency of Ra, the sun god. (Exodus 10:21)
10. Listen to the declaration of the Lord as He was about to destroy the first born. "For I will pass through the land of Egypt on this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment; I am the Lord." (Exodus 12:12)
Every time God had Moses speak to Pharaoh, He had him say, “let My people go, that they may serve Me and worship Me”. Remember, the bottom-line for spiritual mapping and warfare is for the saving of souls, in order that all of God’s creation would be able to “serve and worship Him.”
At one time, there was a dramatic showdown between Elijah, the prophet of God, and the priests of Baal on Mt Carmel.
1 Kings 18:20-24: So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
But the people said nothing.
Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”
Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”
And the Bible knows further public battlegrounds:
· A demonized man, whose many demons (“legion”) begged Jesus to remain in this particular area, was set free and consequently spread the good news of Jesus in ten cities:
Mark 5:1-20: They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
· A man crippled from birth was healed by Peter at the temple in Jerusalem, the seat of the religious opposition, and this happened at the time of prayer. Subsequently, everyone in the city knew about the healing and thousands became Christians.
Acts 4:16: … Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable miracle, and we cannot deny it. [Cf. Acts 9:32-35: … All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him (who had been a paralytic for eight years) and turned to the Lord. / Acts 14:8-20: … “The gods have come down to us in human form!” …]
· A sorcerer is struck with blindness by Paul which leads to the conversion and faith of Sergius Paulus, the proconsul of the region.
Acts 13:6-12: They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”
Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
· A slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future was set free which caused an uproar in the entire city.
Acts 16:16-21: Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally, Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
· An idol-maker organizes opposition and stirs up public anger against the preaching of Jesus.
Acts 19:19-29: A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. “After I have been there,” he said, “I must visit Rome also.” He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.
About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”
When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together.
· Jerusalem kills the prophets and opposes Jesus but is destroyed herself.
Luke 13:34: Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. / Luke 19:41-44: As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” [See the book of Revelation.]
[Cf. The testimony of Johann Blumhardt and the deliverance of Gottliebin Dittus which broke the power of the territorial spirit in Moettlingen.]
At Living Grace, we probably had our most public showdown when we did our first Jesus Tent in 2012. Right in the middle of Queens Park, for five days, we had demonic manifestations in the tent, climaxing on Sunday night, the last night, with numerous people showing signs of demons in them (bodies twitching, some weak-willed demonized people being manipulated by witches who knew what they were doing, etc.), devil worshippers fire-twirling and cursing the tent from a ridge about thirty meters away and me preaching inside the tent on 1 John 3:8: “For this purpose the Son of God appeared, to destroy the work of the devil.” At a later tent, a warlock showed up because (as he told a neighbouring pastor) the tent was disturbing their worship in this region. (He was not able to enter the tent because the demons inside of him could not stand the holy presence of God inside the tent.)
Do we like these battlegrounds? They make us a little nervous because they are public (everyone is watching) which means that they require boldness – absolute trust that God is going to come through. How many paralyzed women had Yonggi Cho healed before the public showdown in Seoul? I am certain that his success rate was not 100% but we are not going to yield when the name of Jesus is put on the spot. It is his reputation that is on the line and he will vindicate himself – always (even though in some of the encounters which are quoted above the result was that the Christian missionaries left the area, at least for a time).
How much experience did we have with driving out demons before the Jesus Tent in 2012? Almost none (speaking for myself). But you don’t shrink back from a public showdown – a public power encounter – when you proclaim Jesus and salvation in his name. Don’t be surprised if this happens again – on a citywide or even nationwide scale, or within your own family or work place. Be ready.
There is another lesson from Yonggi Cho’s testimony. In one sense, the battleground is public – the challenge of healing the paralyzed woman was public – but, in another sense, the real battleground is private. The real battle happens in your own home wherever you pray. And there the battle is personal because you get attacked. Yonggi Cho prayed for the woman but the breakthrough came when the territorial spirit (which resisted the healing) attacked him and he fought over the spiritual dominance of this particular region. The snake with a woman’s head tried to bite him again and again, and he was fighting the demonic beast for three hours, completely soaked with perspiration and numb with fear, until he was able to speak the name of Jesus and crush the snake. The battle was inside his home – in his own prayer closet (yet, it was about the whole region) – and there he was being attacked, and (even after he had won the victory) he did not even know that this private battle (with the opposition coming against him personally) won the public battle, and the woman was healed. [Yonggi Cho may not even have targeted the demonic realm in his prayers, but praying for God’s kingdom to come through healing and salvation, the conflict arose.]
Are you up for this? I am not sure whether anyone would want to raise their hand in response. Even Jesus taught us to pray – Matthew 6:13: “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” And Yonggi Cho did also not volunteer for this battle. He simply wanted to plant a church, but the priest of a certain shrine and his disciples followed him and intimidated him, threatened his life and, in the end, threw this public challenge at him. Yonggi Cho was dragged into this kind of warfare kicking and screaming, but what was he to do? Jesus said to go and disciple all nations.
It is also true that some of us are in these kinds of battles more often than others. In this testimony, Yonggi Cho was pioneering the church in a new area, and when you are the first person in a new area (the first person bringing Jesus to your school or work place), where previously Satan ruled with uncontested authority (even though God always sets boundaries and limits evil), you do some of the heavy lifting which others – coming behind you – do not have to do themselves. (They can take on those that have not yet been cleaned out.) When the power of the territorial spirit is dented or broken, everyone is going to enjoy the benefits. [We honour our prayer pioneers whose work is challenging and often hidden.]
This is also why Yonggi Cho is right in making the following observations in his book:
Paul Yonggi Cho: Make Your Faith Work, Eastbourne: Kingsway Publications 1985, p17-20: I know an American by the name of Curry Vaughan who is pastor of Zion Fellowship in Malabar, Florida. He used to be a US Army chaplain in Germany, then he came back to Korea to work with the 8th Army in Seoul. He built the largest chapel outside the US. He was amazed and came to me and asked, ‘Pastor, how come my chapel is packed with soldiers every Sunday? They give their hearts to Jesus Christ. Generals are saved, colonels are saved, privates are saved. I’ve never seen this sort of thing happen in my life. Matter of fact, I am not preaching any specific message. I am just refreshing the old message I had in Germany. It’s as though I brought them canned from there. When I open the can, I refresh and preach the same message.
‘In Germany I had some fruit from the message, but here that same message is like a two-edged sword. People are getting saved. How come? Can you tell me the truth in this situation?’
I said, ‘Well, Col Vaughan, in Germany the Christians are not praying. The power in the air is so powerful that the devil is causing such confusion in the minds of the people that they cannot accept the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Here in Korea, ten million Christians are praying - praying in the early morning on the Prayer Mountain, praying all night on Friday, praying in the cell system. Since we pray so much, the power in the air is broken, and that is the reason the Holy Spirit can really work and the people are not feeling the obsession, the oppression, or even the depression of Satan. They are free from his bondage, and for this reason the Gospel of Jesus Christ is reaching our people.’
That is true! Whenever I pray in Korea, it is so easy to lead souls to Jesus Christ. Author C Peter Wagner planned to come to my church several years ago. I invited him to speak to my people, but he insisted, ‘I am not a pastor or a preacher, so souls will not be saved under my ministry.’
I replied, ‘Peter, this is a different place. You come and preach. You’ll see.’
Peter came. He was sitting on my right side while the service was going on. I looked at him. He was trembling. I asked, ‘Peter, do you have a cold? Are you sick?’ He answered, ‘I don’t know why I am trembling.’ But he was trembling and his face was very red. I was afraid he had high blood pressure and was going to have a stroke or something. Right there - sitting at my side - he was baptised in the Holy Spirit. He stood up and preached like a fiery preacher! I had a hard time interpreting because he was speaking so fast. After he completed his message, he asked for sinners to come forward. More than 300 stood up to be saved!
He said, ‘Throughout all my life in my ministry, the total number of people I have led to salvation is less than 300. In one day I have seen more people saved by the Holy Spirit than all the other days combined because I preached without real anointing before!’
Prayer breaks the power of Satan through the Holy Spirit and it gives us free-working power. For this reason, we should pray very hard. When I go to Japan they have eight million gods. When I try to preach the Gospel, I feel so choked. I feel like dying. I hate myself.
In Japan, if there are fifty people in a church, the minister walks like a big shot. Fifty people is a great accomplishment there. In Japan, if you have 500 people turn out for an evangelistic meeting, that is top-notch. It’s a very hard place! To have real victory there, I have to pray for five hours. Without five hours on my knees in my hotel room, I’d better forget preaching. By praying and travailing, I conquer Satan through Christ, and then I can get through to their hearts. We can only get great crowds in Tokyo through fervent prayer.
When I go to Europe, I always have to pray at least three hours for one sermon because it is also a very difficult place. But when I go to America, I only pray for one hour because America seems to have more of the Holy Spirit than any other place.
Just preaching the message will not bring results. Your message should be backed up with powerful prayer. Your life should be saturated with prayer in such a way that you destroy the opposing power of Satan. We are really wrestling in the spiritual realm and until you have victory in the spiritual realm in your own room, you won’t have victory in your ministry. For this reason, I spend time alone on my knees.
Preaching and ministry yield more results where people are praying and breaking the power of Satan in the region and nation. In Japan, Yonggi Cho feels choked, feels like dying and hates himself, because he comes up against much demonic resistance. There the warfare is more intense than in a country like America (U.S.) where there are many Christians. Pioneering in hostile places is harder than ministering in places where God is welcome and his kingdom is being established, like in this church. [Preaching is different in different churches, depending on what is going on.] [The clash of spiritual kingdoms is about occupying physical territory (nations and also our own homes).]
It would be nice if pioneering became easier over time. Could we not get to a stage where the battle would not take such a big toll on us? Yonggi Cho had a full-on experience – three hours of sweating and wrestling with fear – but he was praying alone at the time. There was no church around him (there had not yet been any converts), and in any battle the odds are shifting when the army is increasing. For this reason, Paul in the Bible enlisted prayer support from other Christians:
Colossians 4:2-4: Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
Romans 15:30-32: I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favourably received by the Lord’s people there, so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.
Here at Living Grace, we have designated prayer groups for ministry backup (groups led by Helen, Carol and Ken, and then many other groups are praying), but – as we are stepping out further and risk pioneering even in other countries (e.g.: Germany, Vietnam) – we are taking on much opposition and we need everyone praying. And it is not only the people on the frontline that are being attacked and that need protection (even though this is where it is particularly heavy), the whole church carries the pioneering efforts and the enemy knows that destroying the church is destroying the ministry. We all need to pull together and our new daily prayer – which we have agreed to try out for one month – is helping us to be on the frontfoot in the battle that we face:
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray this prayer in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ. I bind and bring to no effect all division, discord, disunity, strife, anger, wrath, criticism, condemnation, pride, envy, jealousy, gossip, slander, complaining, lying, false teaching, false gifts, false manifestations, lying signs and wonders, poverty, fear of lack, fear, murmuring spirits, deceiving spirits and spirits of Antichrist. These are all bound in me, my family and church family.
I bind all curses that have been spoken against us. I bind the power of negative words and curses, and I bind and render useless all prayers not inspired by the Holy Spirit.
I bless those who curse me and pray blessings on those who despitefully use me. I confess that I am a child of God, that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I am God’s property.
I confess the Holy Spirit guides and leads me. I do hear God’s voice as Jesus said in John 10:27. I can discern between what is righteous and wicked. I have authority over Satan and demons through Christ. I declare Satan is under my feet. I bind Satan from my family, my mind, my body, my home, my church and my finances.
I confess I am healed and whole, I flourish, I am stable, fruitful, full of peace, patience and love. Whatever I set my hands to shall prosper, for God supplies my every need.
God, I pray for the ministries You have for me to be revealed and matured. Anoint me for all You have called me to do for You. You have opened a door into the Lutheran church, and now is the time to advance forcefully - into all the world, to Lutherans and everyone. I call forth divine appointments, open fields of opportunity, God ordained encounters, ministry opportunities and ministry positions. I will use my life and God given abilities for Your glory and honor, O Lord.
I claim a fence of protection around myself, spouse and children day and night. I ask You, God, in the name of Jesus, to dispatch angels to surround me, my spouse and my children today and to put them throughout my home, cars and properties. I ask that angels protect my home from any intrusion and to protect me and my family from any harmful demonic, physical or mental attacks.
And lastly, I declare by faith that revival is sweeping through me and my family, my church family and nation. I will allow it to bring about the necessary changes in me. I am open to correction, repentance, obedience and brokenness and a deeper walk with God. I deeply desire a more powerful prayer life and a greater intimacy with the Lord and a burden for the lost.
I pray this prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Pastor John Kilpatrick (modified)
More people praying makes the warfare easier, but I have the suspicion that the battle in prayer is never going to be totally free of oppression and struggle. Paul asked the Christians in Rome to “strive together with me” in your prayers and “striving together” is a strong word implying agony and wrestling. The Bible says that Jesus himself was in “agony” as he was praying for victory facing the cross. [Luke 22:44: “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”] Paul was one of the most gifted and powerful apostles, but he was constantly pioneering which never permitted him much respite:
Romans 15:20: It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.
1 Corinthians 4:9-13: For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ … To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.
2 Corinthians 11:23-29: … I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
When Satan moves against us, he can manipulate our mind and emotions and will, and even attack our bodies. (We can see ourselves as failures, feel down and depressed, and don’t want to do anything. We may feel tired and weak. We don’t sleep well. Even Jesus could be affected by Satan in real temptations.) It would be nice simply to shake off all this oppression when it comes on you, but even when you recognize it for what it is (and you learn over time), you cannot always cut it short but have to endure until the victory is won. [So the actual preaching of the Holy Spirit seminar in Germany only took out one weekend from our holidays, but the warfare was considerably longer.] Notice also the word “wrestle” in Ephesians 6:12: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
[D.G.S. Dhinakaran: Gifts of the Holy Spirit, South India: Word of Christ, p268-269: Every time … meetings are arranged in prominent cities, we have to go through the same moments of agony as Jesus went through in the Garden of Gethsemane. In preparation for these meetings, we fast for many days, praying earnestly. Our gracious Lord will come down, and … impart to us … [what] we should preach. Then I will wait at the feet of our Lord for a new anointing [power], and grace to come down upon us and that particular city for demonstrating his power. This is the toughest time; I will shed tears of blood, undergoing the agony of Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane [cf. Luke 22:40-44]. An unbearable burden for the souls in that particular city will acutely surge into my heart.
At these times, in order to keep the people of that city under their continual bondage of sin, the evil spirits, ‘the prince of the power of the air’ (Ephesians 2:2) and the ‘the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places’ (Ephesians 6:12) will appear before me; wrestling with them, I will pray on my knees, with great travail, sweating profusely. The great burden for the souls of the city will make me ‘labour in birth’, as mentioned … in Galatians 4:19.
All of a sudden, our gracious Lord Jesus will appear, and at his sight, the evil spirits would bow down and disappear. Every dark cloud would vanish. My heart would become light again. Then the promise of Jesus will ring out: ‘That place has been given in your hands.’ At that time, a divine anointing will descend on me. I will be filled to overflowing, with an unparalleled faith that all the souls in that place belong to Jesus and not the devil. Only this unwavering faith will give me the authority to preach the Gospel in that place uncompromisingly and rebuke the powers of darkness that have kept the people bound in their bondage…]
Are we ready to step up and embrace the warfare that is ours? As a church, we cannot ask for revival and new people coming to faith without facing the warfare that will be the result of new pioneering efforts. We may prepare ourselves for new public showdowns, personal warfare in our private place of prayer, and victory, as we are not doing this alone but together.
I close by telling you another testimony which illustrates what can happen:
Kris Vallotton: Basic Training for the Supernatural Ways of Royalty, Shippensburg: Destiny Image 2006, p182-185: In the early ‘90s, my family and I started feeling a strong burden for Lewiston, a small town in the mountains of northern California about a half hour from our house. Although this was a community of less than a thousand people, crime, drugs, and immorality were running rampant there. It was the worst town in Trinity County. The Sheriff’s Department was perplexed with how to solve the problem and the older residents were up in arms because criminal activities were growing.
The Lord began to talk to us about becoming the answer for this community. We didn’t really know what to do. The problem seemed huge, and frankly, we were scared of the violent people who were at the heart of the real issues.
We began to walk the town every week praying over houses. The Lord would often tell us what was going on inside certain homes and show us where the strongholds were. We would stand outside those homes and quietly pray for them. Many times we would get prophetic words that would be the answer to the troubles that we could see in the Spirit. We would prophesy that life would come to those “dead bones” in those homes.
We prayed over the city weekly for a year. We prayed after dark so that we would not be conspicuous and stand out as religious freaks. We weren’t doing this to be noticed by man but to be recognized by hell and to be honoured by Heaven. We felt such a burden for these people that it caused us to pray many times in the rain and snow. We never missed a week for a solid year. We were determined to see the kingdom of God destroy the works of the devil in Lewiston.
At the end of the long year of warfare, on a moonless and cold winter night, about fifteen people joined us to walk through the community and pray over the city. We split up in teams of two and prayer-walked the Lewiston subdivision for a couple of hours. Later, we met in the gravel parking lot of an old abandoned gym. The gym lay in front of a large field overgrown with weeds. We held hands and began to pray for the people of the community. Within seconds an incredibly loud, bloodcurdling voice started screaming from the midst of the field. It sounded like the deep voice of a man writhing in pain. It made our skin crawl. The voice echoed through the valley on that dark, eerie night. When we would stop praying the voice would stop but as soon as we would begin praying the screaming would start again. We decided to pray more fervently until it quit for good. A long while passed as we battled that evil spirit over the town and finally the voice lost strength, got very faint and went silent. It was a strange experience, but we knew that we had received a breakthrough that night.
Within a week the Trinity County Probation Department called and asked us if we would like to work with them in Lewiston. They had about 35 teenagers on probation and they were going to teach their parents twice a week for a month. They wanted us to minister to the kids while they were doing parental training with their folks.
We were scared but excited to work with teenagers in Lewiston. The community gave us the abandoned gym to use for free. It was a mess, not having been used for years. It leaked when it rained and it was freezing cold in the winter. We cleaned it up the best we could. The first several months were wild. I broke up four fistfights the first night, wrestling guys to the floor to get them to stop killing each other. We would play basketball and volleyball for an hour and then take a break. During half-time I would share a relevant message with them concerning the things they were going through. Most of my messages gave them tools to deal with life and let them know how valuable they were to God.
They weren’t required to stay in the gym for the message, although most of them did. Little by little we became a big family. We met twice a week over the next five years and loved on those kids. The group grew to more than one hundred. Several drug pushers joined us most nights. We made rules about not selling drugs in or around the gym. It was also against the rules to bring weapons into the gym. After a year or so, they began to have a lot of respect for us and they would keep the rules and even police themselves. If someone new came to the gym and tried to sell drugs, the older kids would go over there and let them know that the gym was off-limits for drug trafficking.
The Sheriff Deputies messed up our youth group for a while because they would come in to the gym and arrest our kids who had warrants. I finally convinced them to arrest them somewhere else and to let us minister to them first.
The community was so touched by what we were doing that they gave us two awards. The Lions Club paid for all the refreshments. Everyone in the county knew what we were doing and were very supportive. That is, of course, except for the religious people. They thought that we should “Bible-bang” the kids and talk to them about their cussing and other obvious outward problems. We were more concerned about their hearts.
Over the next five years the entire town changed. Drug-dealers got saved and most of the kids began respecting themselves and started having moral standards. We taught the teenagers how to deal with conflict so that the fighting stopped and the entire community cleaned up.
If you drive through Lewiston now, you will see a beautiful mountain town nestled in the Trinity Alps. The homes are nice, the yards are well taken care of, the gym is remodelled and there is a great ball park where the overgrown field once was.
There is so much more to this story that it would take the entire book to tell you about it, yet what I learned firsthand through that experience is that we in the Body of Christ have what it takes to see our cities transformed. If we are willing to follow the burden in our hearts and take ownership for our community beyond what is expected, God will give us the strategies and strength to see breakthrough happen.
The Body of Christ is equipped to bring the kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy wherever we go. We have power over the evil prince that keeps people in bondage. We have love that causes people to know they are cared about. We have grace that gives them the power to change. We have mercy that picks them up when they fall. We have courage that stands in the face of violence and brings peace, and we have wisdom that shows people how to live. Most of all, we have an awesome Father who knows how to melt the hearts of His people. We have the answers to the world’s problems and the devil’s devices.
John said, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8), and a few verses later he declared, “As He is, so are we in this world” (4:17b). Let us not stop short of imitating every work of Jesus Himself, for He has all authority in Heaven and on earth and has commissioned us to represent Him in His fullness. He was the One who promised we, His royal family, would do even “greater works than these” (John 14:12).
Much of prayer is about warfare. You don’t have to seek conflict, but when you are pioneering the love of Jesus in a new area and pray blessings over people, there is a battle to be fought and won. In this church, join the fight. Amen.
One day, the disciples of Jesus asked him: “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). And Jesus answered them. He spelled out a model prayer for them which – at its core – is a warfare prayer. Have a look. He said – Matthew 6:9-13: “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven … [Then, it is about daily bread and forgiveness, and finishes on this strong note:] Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”
The whole prayer is about the establishment of God’s rule on earth – the honouring of his name, the coming of his kingdom, government according to his will (on earth the same as in heaven) – and the climax of the prayer at the end leaves us in no doubt about the warfare nature of what we are praying. God’s kingdom is coming – his reign is coming as we all submit to him – but this is not happening without a fight against temptations and the evil one.
Martin Luther paid special attention to the close of Jesus’ prayer and said:
Luther’s Large Catechism, translated by Friedemann Hebart, Adelaide: Lutheran Publishing House 1983, p160: The petition [“deliver us from evil” from the Lord’s Prayer actually means – rightly translated from the Greek of the New Testament – “deliver us from the evil one” and] seems to refer to the devil, as if to compress everything into the one idea that the sum total of all our prayer should be aimed at this main enemy of ours. For he is the one who gets in the way of everything we ask for: God’s name or his honor, God’s kingdom and his will, our daily bread, a clear and happy conscience, and the rest. So right at the end, we sum it all up by saying: ‘Dear Father, help us to be free of all this trouble.’
But, at the same time, this petition also includes all the evil that can happen to us under the devil’s rule: poverty, disgrace, death, and, in short, all the dreadful trouble and heartache which never ends here in the world. Because the devil is not only a liar but also a murderer, he never stops trying to kill us, and takes his anger out on us by doing what he can to get us hurt in accidents, and to do us physical harm. This is how he manages to break many a person’s neck and to drive others insane. Some he drowns, and many he pushes into suicide and many other terrible evils. So there is nothing for us to do on earth but to go on asking for help against this main enemy of ours…
This is important. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them about prayer, Jesus highlighted to them warfare petitions about the establishment of the Father’s kingdom – his reign – which included deliverance from the evil one and his reign. And the Bible confirms everywhere the importance of Jesus’ prayer and the warfare aspect of our whole existence here on earth:
Ephesians 6:12: Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
2 Corinthians 4:4: The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ…
Acts 26:17-18: …I am sending you … to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins…
Ephesians 2:1-10: As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient … But because of his great love for us, God … made us alive in Christ …
Ephesians 4:27: Do not give the devil a foothold. [Do not sin.]
Timothy M. Warner: Dealing with Territorial Demons, in: Territorial Spirits, ed. C. Peter Wagner, Chichester: Sovereign World 1991, p52-53: “I have come to believe that Satan does indeed assign a demon or a corps of demons to every geo-political unit in the world and that they are among the principalities and powers against whom we wrestle.
This concept first came up in the missionary context when I read of a new missionary going into an American Indian village in Canada. A veteran of such ministry told him that he had better be prepared to do battle with the demon of the village on his arrival. The young missionary’s world view and training had not prepared him for such concepts, and they just moved in. It was not long, however, before his wife became ill and had to be flown out. The young man was standing alone in his cabin with his back to the stove to keep warm when he heard an awful noise that seemed to be coming from the stove pipe. Suddenly something jumped on his back; and, although he could not see anything, he was barely able to stagger to a chair to sit down. The ‘thing’ identified itself as the demon of the village, and the battle was joined.
The missionary knew enough to claim his position in Christ, and he said ‘All right Satan, you guardian angel of Borchet, let’s have it out. Jesus Christ sent me here. I might die, but I am not leaving, and with the Lord are the issues of death.’ After thirty minutes of struggle, claiming the legal victory of Calvary and all the while gasping for breath, the demon left as it had come, and the missionary stayed on to carry out his ministry.
How this may relate to many other missionary problems, we simply do not know because it has not even been seen as in the realm of possibility. More recently, however, some other things have called this to our attention. For example, there is a town on the border between Brazil and Uruguay in which the main street is the international border. One side of the street is in Brazil and the other side in Uruguay. Ralph Mahoney of World MAP tells of a missionary who was in this town passing out tracts. On the Uruguay side of the street people were very unresponsive; but when he crossed over to the Brazil side, a person who had refused a tract on the Uruguay side of the street now received the tract and even thanked him profusely for it. His curiosity aroused, he tested several more people and found the same pattern.
Peter Wagner reports that: ‘later as [the missionary] was praying about the incident the words of Jesus came to his mind: No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder the house (Mark 3:27). Could it be that the strong man on the Brazilian side had been bound while the strong man on the Uruguayan side was still exercising power’ (Wagner, 1986, 84).”
Larry Lea: Binding the Strongman, in: Territorial Spirits, ed. C. Peter Wagner, Chichester: Sovereign World 1991, p92-93: “So I went to the church building on Saturday nights to pray especially for the services the next day. Often I met others there, but on one particular Saturday night I was alone. The church auditorium was dark, with only one light on above the baptistery in front.
As I knelt there and cried aloud to the Lord, I broke through into a spiritual dimension that I don’t know how to describe for you. I was in ‘rarified air’ spiritually speaking. When I declared to the North, South, East and West to give up what belongs to the Church on the Rock, I felt a presence in that auditorium that was unlike anything I had ever experienced. And it was not a holy presence.
I was kneeling with my eyes closed, and at that moment when I felt this presence in the room, I looked up and in my spiritual vision I saw a being standing in front of me. He was holding a large silver chain in his hands. I’ll never forget it as long as I live.
My first impulse was to get up and run out of the building. But at the same time, I knew that I was at a moment of truth, a divine intersection. I realized that I was face-to-face with the very power that was holding back the harvest of souls that God wanted to bring into the Church on the Rock.
The being communicated to me these words, ‘Do you really mean it? Are you serious? Are you really going to take your stand?’
Immediately that inner Man within me – the One the Scriptures refer to as ‘greater … than he that is in the world’ – stood up. Before I knew what I was doing, I literally stood to my feet and shouted back at this being, ‘You’re mighty right I mean what I’m saying!’
I stepped toward him and when I did, he stepped back. I knew that I had him on the run. He dropped the chain and disappeared. He was gone.
From that day to this, I have never encountered anything like that again. But in the next twelve months, we saw some thirty-four hundred people walk the aisles of the Church on the Rock getting saved or united with our church. We held no special revivals. We conducted no house-to-house canvasses. We sponsored no special membership drives. It happened solely by the power of God shining through the powers of darkness. The strongman had been bound and the kingdom of God released.”