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DECISIONISM AND DEMONOLOGY

by Dr. Robert Hymers

A sermon preached on Friday Evening, January 27, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child” (Luke 9:42).


Spurgeon said, “This child possessed with an evil spirit, is a most fitting emblem [type or example] of every ungodly and unconverted man” (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Comer’s Conflict With Satan,” The New Park Street Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1981 reprint, volume II, p. 369). Although you may not be possessed with demons, you are certainly influenced greatly by them if you are unconverted. This is made very plain by the Apostle Paul.

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ…should shine unto them” (II Corinthians 4:3-4).

Again, the Bible tells us that Satan is “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). These two verses show that Satan blinds the unbeliever’s mind, and that Satan “works” in the unconverted person’s heart.

Thus every unconverted person is pictured, more or less, by this young man, of whom it was said, in the first part of our text,

“And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him…” (Luke 9:42).

I saw a vivid illustration of this at Billy Graham’s final Southern California Crusade, at the Rose Bowl in November, 2004. During the invitation a young man began to scream, “Jesus have mercy on me! Jesus have mercy on me!” He yelled this at the top of his lungs. Billy Graham stood quietly at the pulpit and calmed the crowd, while armed guards dragged the young man away. He continued to scream, “Jesus, have mercy on me.” I knew that this man was under demonic influence, but instead of being ministered to, he was whisked away from the Rose Bowl by armed guards. Then the quiet invitation continued, with thousands of people pouring down the aisles, talking and laughing as they “went forward.” I could not but think that they were virtually all as blinded and “worked upon” by Satan as the young man who made that outburst, for I saw no outward signs or tokens on the faces of those “coming forward” that they had any conviction of sin or true evangelistic repentance. The whole crowd that “went forward” appeared to me to be under as much demonic influence as the young man who was dragged out by those guards.

One who is familiar with the ministry of Jesus Christ, I think, should instantly have seen a great paradox between the ministry of Christ, as given in our text, and the ministry of Billy Graham at the Rose Bowl. Christ did not throw the boy out, but healed him. Christ did not allow thousands of thoughtlessly laughing people to “come forward” and proclaim themselves “saved.” He dealt with each person who responded in a serious way, until they came under deep conviction, and were then loosed from the chains of the Devil. Billy Graham failed to follow Christ on both grounds in my thinking. I very seriously doubt that anyone was loosed from the Devil’s power in Dr. Graham’s well-orchestrated meeting that night. One who has read about the preaching of Whitefield, Wesley and Edwards, during the First Great Awakening, will instantly be aware that Graham was wrong, both in the way he treated this man, and in the way he invited unconcerned people to “come forward.”

And here, I should point out a stinging rebuke to these modern methods by the famed Old School evangelist Dr. Asahel Nettleton. Dr. Nettleton said,

I have often been struck with [the thought] that nothing was heard of the danger of spurious [false] conversions. For months together, the thought never seemed to be glanced at, that there was any such thing as a satanic influence in the form of religion. Such a character as an enthusiastic hypocrite, or a self-deceived person, seemed never to be dreamed of (Asahel Nettleton, D.D., quoted by Bennet Tyler and Andrew Bonar, The Life and Labours of Asahel Nettleton, Banner of Truth Trust, 1975 reprint, pp. 367-368).

Now back to our text.

“And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him…” (Luke 9:42).

As Spurgeon said, “This child possessed with an evil spirit, is a most fitting emblem of every ungodly and unconverted man…Our subject this [evening] will be the well known fact, that coming sinners, when they approach the Saviour, are often thrown down by Satan, and torn, so that they suffer exceedingly in their minds, and are [nearly] ready to give up in despair” (ibid.). Let us consider this in detail.

I. First, what the Devil does.

As the child was coming to Christ, the Devil threw him down and tore him. This illustrates what Satan does with most sinners. As they feebly attempt to come to Christ, he throws them down and tears them, to keep them from Christ. I will point out some of the ways the Devil does this evil work in the hearts and minds of those who are trying to come to Christ.

First, the devil may tear you and throw you down by telling you that you are not one of the elect. He may say, “It doesn’t matter that you are struggling and striving. If you are not one of the elect, all of your praying and seeking will not do you any good.” He may ask, “How can a wretched sinner like you hope to be among the elect? You deserve to be damned, and you know it. How can you hope that God will choose you to be one of the elect?” But these thoughts are easily overcome by reading the Bible. The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). There is no mystery to this. If you believe in Jesus, you will be one of the elect. The Bible says,

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

You are told to believe in Jesus. When you believe in Him you are one of the elect, no matter how sinful you feel. But if you refuse to believe in Him you “shall be damned.”

Second, the Devil may tear you and throw you down by reminding you of your depravity. He may say, “See what a depraved person you are. See how you have sinned against God. Look at your heart. How can it ever be washed clean? It is impossible for you to ever be forgiven. You have gone too far astray. Your heart is so desperately wicked that you cannot be saved.” Have you ever been torn and thrown down with such thoughts? If you have, it is because the Devil has twisted and misrepresented in your mind the doctrine of depravity. Again, you must remember what the Bible says, and not listen to the warped reasoning of Satan. The Bible clearly says,

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”
     (I Timothy 1:15).

Are you a sinner? Then Christ came to save you, even you! Christ Jesus came “to save sinners.” So, if you are a depraved sinner, He came to save you! Again, the Bible says,

“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”
     (I John 1:7).

The moment you come to Jesus, He will say,

“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

The Blood of Christ blots out all sin from the one who believes in Him.

The Devil is throwing you down and tearing you with thoughts of your depravity - but if you will trust Jesus, all depravity and sin is blotted out forever by the Blood of Christ. The Devil is throwing you down and tearing you with this thought to keep you from coming to Christ. For Satan knows full well that the moment you come to Christ you will be healed from all depravity and sinful acts, for

“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”
     (I John 1:7).

The Devil knows that verse by heart. And he knows it is true. That’s why he wants you to forget it. Satan, above all others, hates that old hymn, which says so truthfully,

There is a fountain filled with blood
   Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood,
   Lose all their guilty stains.
(“There Is a Fountain” by William Cowper, 1731-1800).

Do you believe that hymn? Then flee to Christ and you will be cleansed from all sin by His precious Blood tonight!

II. Second, how this is different from the work of the Holy Spirit.

Please stand and read the text aloud. Luke 9:42.

“And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father” (Luke 9:42).

You may be seated.

It should be clear from the text that there is a difference between the work of the Devil and the work of God’s Spirit when a person is attempting to come to Jesus. And here is the difference, plain and simple. True, the Holy Spirit warns you that you may fall short and not be one of the elect. But He does this in order to urge you to flee to Christ! The Devil does the opposite. Satan reminds you of election to throw you down and tear you, and keep you from Christ. Do you see the difference? It seems so clear to me. I hope I can make you see it.

True, the Holy Spirit reminds you of your sin and depravity. But He reproves

“the world of sin…because they believe not on me”
     (John 16:8-9).

The Devil reminds you of your sin to throw you down, and tear you, and keep you from Jesus. But the Holy Spirit convinces you of sin so you will come to Jesus, believe in Him and be saved by Him! The Devil does it to keep you from Christ. The Spirit of God does it to bring you to Christ! I hope this is clear. I don’t know how to make it plainer.

“And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father” (Luke 9:42).

Although Ephesians 6:12 is given to Christians, it shows the spiritual battle of another world, even in connection with salvation.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”
     (Ephesians 6:12).

Commenting on the verse, Dr. McGee said,

There is a demonic world around us and it is manifesting itself at this present hour…There are spiritual forces working in the world, evil forces working against the church…Don’t try to pooh-pooh these things. It is happening…there is a spiritual enemy (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, volume V, Thomas Nelson, 1983, p. 279).

No wonder your mind is so confused! Last night I read the testimony of a young man who was converted in our church in 2004. He said,

Dr. Hymers…told me that “all the fitness he requireth is to see your need of Him” (Joseph Hart). I sure did see the need for Jesus at this time. [But] I was also constantly thinking to myself that there is “no way out.” As I knelt down to pray, an even greater rush of thoughts flowed through my mind, which I now know to be the Devil himself trying to keep me from trusting Jesus. I then trusted Jesus. Somehow these thoughts were suppressed and I leaped to Jesus. By simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His sin-abolishing Blood I was saved… Jesus drowns my sins in His precious Blood!

“And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child” (Luke 9:42).

As I knelt down to pray, an even greater rush of thoughts flowed through my mind, which I now know to be the Devil himself trying to keep me from trusting Jesus…Then…I leaped to Jesus. By simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His sin-abolishing Blood I was saved…Jesus drowns my sins in His precious Blood!

I wonder if that may be your happy experience tonight. I wonder if you may be ready to come to Jesus and be saved.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon: Luke 9:37-43.


THE OUTLINE OF

DECISIONISM AND DEMONOLOGY

by Dr. Robert Hymers


“And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child” (Luke 9:42).

(II Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 2:2)

I.   First, what the Devil does, Acts 16:31; Mark 16:16;
I Timothy 1:15; I John 1:7; Isaiah 43:25.

II.  Second, how this is different from the work of the Holy Spirit,
John 16:8-9; Ephesians 6:12.