Friday, 2 March 2018

Freedom from Divination

Speaker: Mike Connell
God promises to direct our steps, as we trust Him and listen to His voice. Many people, fearful about the future, pay money to a fortune-teller to receive information (divination). They prostitute themselves with evil spirits - they pay money for information and receive a spirit into their body. Lev 20:6 warns of the dangers of this. We are not made for evil spirits. If you have opened your life up, you can be set free - like the girl in Acts 16:16

Transcription 11 of 12 – Freedom from Divination

I want you to open your Bible with me and we’re going to go into John chapter 9. Thank you again musicians, you are amazing: just play for hours and hours. We must give them a clap and appreciate them. Wonderful.

Ok. We’re going to pick up in the sheepy passage where we were the other day. We’re going to pick up in John chapter 10. We’re going to pick it up at verse 27 and 28. Now, when we were looking in this passage, we saw that Jesus represented Himself as the shepherd, and people are like sheep. So I hope a number of you heard that, and now I’m going to just take up this next part of it.

Jesus said in verse 27: “My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me. And I give to them eternal life, they shall never perish neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand.”

So notice what Jesus says – 3 things. “My sheep know my voice. They know my voice.” One thing I found when we had a pet sheep, it quickly recognised my voice. Something unique about sheep is they can recognise the voice. So what Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice.” He says: “And I know them.” Notice what He’s saying here about relationship. He says: “I know them, and they follow me.”

Everyone is following something in life. You’re either following the fashion, following the crowd, following the TV, following the media. People are following something. We often don’t even realise it, that there can be pressures on our life that cause us to follow. We tend to want to be with the crowd, just like sheep, they like their social, they like to be together.

Notice what Jesus said: “My sheep can hear my voice.” In other words, He said – if we’re following Christ, one of the keys of following the Lord is the ability to hear His voice. Now, there are many voices in the world, many voices pressing on you, wanting your attention, wanting your money, wanting your heart. Many many voices. God has designed us that we live out of relationship with Him. We are spiritual beings, we have a part of us which is spiritual. We need God to fill that.

So in the absence of that, we’ll find something else. We can listen to the voice of people, or we can be listening to the voice of evil spirits. If you’ve been listening to the voice of people or evil spirits, God wants you today to listen to His voice, and to respond to His voice. He makes a promise that if we follow Him, we won’t live in darkness, we’ll have life, His life in us.

So Jesus extends an invitation to every person to follow Him, to make a decision at some point in their life: that we’ll stop being led by sin, stop being led by the crowd, stop being led by demonic spirits, we’ll make a decision to follow Him. Jesus says: “Follow Me. Whoever follows Me won’t be in darkness, but they’ll have the light of eternal life.”

In many people today, there is a darkness in their life – a darkness of bitterness and hatred; a darkness of anger and unforgiveness; a darkness of sin of all kinds. The Bible says God’s kingdom is a kingdom of light. The kingdom of the devil is the kingdom of darkness. So, Jesus makes this promise – if we follow Him, our lives will become full of light, we begin to shine, we begin to look different, speak different, live different. He says: You won’t walk in darkness.

In other words, God says, as you walk with Him, as you follow His leading, the Spirit of God will help you address and get rid of the darkness in your life. The darkness of hurts and angers, of grief and bitterness and disappointment.

We have to make a decision of who will lead us. People are looking for direction. Unfortunately, we often look in the wrong place. We’re going to look in a story in the Bible of a particular woman and she was being led or spoken to; she was listening to voices. She wasn’t listening to the voice of God, she was listening to the voice of an evil spirit. We’re going to find as we see this story, that many people paid her money to tell their future. So let’s have a look at the story: it’s found in Acts chapter 16 verse 16.

“Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divi nation met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.”

So Paul was in the city of Philippi, and Philippi was a very famous city. There was a region in Philippi, the region called Putho. There was what’s called an oracle there. It was the centre of fortune-telling. They worshipped the god Apollo, who’s the god of fine arts: music and public speaking, and drama. In legend, he’d conquered a serpent there, a python. So they worshipped this python and it was the centre of divination or fortune-telling.

People would come from all over the world: people are wanting to conduct new business, people wanting to get into some kind of career; people in government. Wherever people had to make decisions, they would come to have their fortune told, and they would pay money. They would pay money to the person, and we’d call that person a ‘psychic’. So, the whole city was full of psychics, and they had one major psychic there.

There was a spirit of fortune-telling or divination sat over the whole region. It was like this oppressive spirit, this demonic power rested over the region. So, there was a lot of fortune-telling going on, much spiritual activity, and like a heaviness over the whole area. People would pay their money, and the psychic would talk to them, the psychic would speak to them about their future, about their life and their future.
But the Bible says of this woman – that she had a spirit wrapped around her. It was in the shape of a python. You couldn’t see the spirit, but it was in the form of a snake, a big python wrapped around her. It’s head was right up by her ear, and it was a demonic spirit, it would speak into her life. She could hear its voice speaking. She would hear a voice from the spirit world speaking to her, and it would talk and give her information. While she had that spirit, it would give her information she couldn’t know any other way.

Divination is reaching into the spirit world to obtain knowledge and information from evil spirits rather than God. God has created us for relationship with Him. God is a Spirit and He’s made us spiritual beings, and God wants to talk to us. The Bible says He has a plan for your life, He has purposes for your life, and He wants to direct your life.

Notice what Jesus said: “I’m the good shepherd. My sheep hear my voice.” That means God talks with us. He says – “They follow me. They follow my leading or direction.” He says: “I lead them into good places.” But there is another voice. The voice of demonic spirits; and the Bible tells us in this story, that the woman made a lot of money from people who wanted to know about their future.

Does the devil know about your future? No he does not. Only the one who created you can see ahead and know what your life is for. Only the one who created you can know your purpose. Only the one who created you fully understands you. So God’s desire is that we would connect with Him and that we would receive revelation or guidance from Him.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 3, it says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don’t lean on your understanding. In all your ways be intimate with Him, and He will direct your paths.” So, many places God promises to direct us and guide us. Now, people are fearful for their future. They wonder – “What will happen to me? Will I be successful? Will I prosper? Will I get married or have relationships? Will I get money?” These are questions everyone has.

God wants us to join to Him, and live a life of trust, of faith, learning to walk with Him day by day. He doesn’t tell us everything about our life, but He encourages us in a journey with Him, a journey of trust: listening to his voice, and also listening to our heart – what God has written in our heart. So if you begin to walk with God, you’ll be guided by your heart and by the word of God, and by the Spirit of God and you will prosper.
So notice what it says – it says in the verse I read, it talks about trusting the Lord with all your heart, and He will direct your way. So our relationship with God is one of trust. It has to do with the heart – trusting God with your heart, with your life; and not trying to figure it all out or work it all out. God has got your life figured out – He wants us to learn to trust Him, listen to our own heart, and make plans for our future: believing He will walk with us and bless our plan. The promise of God is to direct us. So one of the greatest things that you can do is to become connected to God and learn to hear His voice.

Now, if we don’t have a God who loves us leading us, we’re left rather frightened and uncertain about our future. If I know God is a good shepherd who loves me, who believes in me, who’s created me, has a wonderful plan for me, I can trust my life to follow Him. When I learn that Jesus died on the cross for me, I can trust my life to follow Him because someone who loved me enough to die for me, is someone I can trust.

But if I don’t trust God, then I’m left alone in life, and I’m frightened about my future. Some of you are frightened about your future – you feel anxious, insecure, fearful about what will happen. Of course, when you look in the news media, it fills you with more fear: tsunamis and earthquakes, nuclear meltdowns, terrorism and war. The media is full of bad news. People become fearful, and so in this day, people would turn to the fortune-tellers; and this girl as a psychic, earned a lot of money. People would come and they would pay her money. Did the demon know their future? Not at all.

Evil spirits have limited knowledge and limited power. They don’t know your future, but they do know what you’ve been doing. They observe you so they know what’s happening in your life. It’s like a demonic internet. Type up your name, google you – wow, all the information, woah, yeah. All the other demons get on board – “yeah, we’ve been watching, we know this person. Yeah, we know that person. Know their father, mother, grandfather, grandmother. We know the whole family line – we’ve been watching them a long time. We’ve been having a lot of fun messing them up.”
Jesus said that devils come only to steal, kill and destroy. “So, what do you want to know?” And they tell the demon, and the demon whispers in her ear – “This is what about this person.” So, this lady, she’ll go “Ohh”. She’s not that smart, you know. She’s only listening – listening to a devil. “Oh”; and still to say something. The person will say – “That’s true! Very true. Wow this must be right. So what’s my future?” “Oh, I’m glad you asked. Pay some more money.” Ok, they got the money, “Ok, now I tell.”

The demon doesn’t know your future. It just would lay out a path. If you agree with it, then the demon can start to work in your life to gain control. Now, listen what it says in the Old Testament – I want to show you something, something you may not have seen before. It’s in the book of Leviticus – chapter 20 verse 6. It says: “The person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute themselves with them, I will set my face against that person and cut him off from my people.” So, God is warning people about the dangers of engaging with evil spirits.

A medium is a person that an evil spirit works through to speak to people. A psychic is a person who a demon speaks to them, and they talk to you about your life. So, divination then, involves reaching out into the spirit world to make connection with evil spirits, and ask them to give you direction.

There are many ways or many forms this takes. A common one teenagers often play, is they put letters or words on a table in a circle and they put a glass, and they put their fingers on the glass. “Ooh, who is out there. Oh, speak to me. Oh, tell me this question. Wow.” What they don’t realise, is you are connecting with an evil spirit. There is someone out there; there are lots of things out there. But the Bible says, if I want to come to God, Jesus said – “I am the way, I am the truth, no one comes to God but by me.” So when you reach out to the spirit world with any kind of these methods of fortune-telling, you contact evil spirits.

Notice what it says in here – I want you to have a look. “The person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, prostitutes himself with them.” Now, I want you think about this. Just think about this. If you think about what a prostitute is: a prostitute is a person who gives their body in exchange for money. So, a trade takes place. Person receives money, and they give over their body. The person that they receive the money from, uses their body.

Now, what the Bible is saying, is that when you get involved in divination, you are acting like a prostitute. You are receiving information, but you’re giving the demon a right to your body. You receive information, like the prostitute receives the money, and you receive the spirit into your body, like the prostitute opens her life to the man. So the Bible uses certain language, it says: “Don’t prostitute yourself with evil spirits.” Don’t be defiled by evil spirits because it will cut you off from connection with God.

This is an immense source of grief to God. He has designed you, He has a plan for your life, He loves you, He wants to help you, He wants to walk with you, He wants to come into your life, and for you to turn away from and turn instead to His enemies – evil spirits – and open your life and let the spirit come in, in exchange for what? Little bit of information.

You know what would happen with these people that would come to these things? They become addicted. They can’t make any decisions now unless they keep going back. They have to keep going back: pay more money, receive more information, pay more money, receive more information. When it doesn’t work out, they go back again. So their lives become controlled by the evil spirit. Whenever you get involved in divination, you enter agreement with an evil spirit and you give it right of access to your life. Then, you have many problems. You have many many problems.

Now, there are many kinds of different operations people get involved in. The media today are so full of these things – Harry Potter movies, many other different kind of movies; and they glamorise divination. They glamorise magic and sorcery. They make it to look really interesting. But what they never tell you is this, they will never tell you this – what is the source of the power. If there is real spiritual power, there is a real spiritual source. In the kingdom of God, the source of power is always the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ is honoured. In the kingdom of the devil, the source is an evil spirit, but you never know what it comes from, and you never really know that.

Some of you have been experimenting with divination. It seemed like it was harmless – “Well, everyone else is doing it. why don’t we, let’s do this eh?” So people sometimes do this in school, sometimes in their homes, sometimes on the weekend; and there’s a fascination that comes. Did you realise, serpents, the python, when it rears up, looks at the animal, often the animals become paralysed. They become fascinated, they cannot seem to move away from the gaze of the serpent.

When you get involved with evil spirits, there is a fascination because the power is real. There’s an attraction, there’s a spiritual draw; but you are opening your life to increase the bondage of spirits in your life. Some of you, your families have been involved in fortune-telling. This has allowed that kind of spirit to come into your life as well.

Some of you, your families have been involved with sorcery or magic, all kinds and forms of that – reaching out for spiritual power. Idolatry is one form of that. When people are involved in idolatry, they make a sacrifice, they make an exchange – they give the idol something in return for something. What are they getting in return? They’re getting an evil spirit. It’s the same kind of thing – it’s a prostituting.
We are not made for evil spirits. Our life is not made to be demonised. We are made for the loving spirit of God to be in us. God’s desire is His spirit flows out of our heart like a wonderful river. But when we’re involved in idolatry or in divination, fortune-telling of any kind, or in sorcery, magic, when we open our life to those things, we are opening our life to an evil spirit and then the trouble starts; and it’s progressive trouble.

When people are involved in these things, they often have nightmares, they have struggles spiritually, there can be heaviness and depression, they have premonitions, sometimes they have things begin to move in their rooms, or they hear voices speaking to them, they can’t shut the voices out. Sometimes people are tormented at night with nightmares, horrendous nightmares. Or they’re tormented, they wake up and like someone’s trying to kill them. Or they feel themselves being sexually molested but no one is there. Once evil spirits have a doorway, they will seek to increase the bondage. They seek to advance their hold. They seek to bring total defeat in your life. Jesus said: the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came to give us life.

Let’s go back and have a look at the story again. Let’s look back now, and we read in Acts chapter 16. In Acts 16, we find the girl with the spirit of divination, and it says: “She cried out, she was following Paul and crying out saying – these men are servants of the most high God, who proclaimed to us the way of salvation.” Now what she was saying was absolutely true. A lot of people wouldn’t know that. They’d just see another couple of people. But what she was saying was real. So, these spirits do have knowledge.

When Jesus confronted people with evil spirits, they would cry out, they knew who He was. So evil spirits recognised Jesus, and they recognise those who follow Him. They know who you are.

I can remember I was in Bali and we were driving past this park and I saw some people there and some snakes. I stopped to go and talk and find out what’s going on. New Zealand’s wonderful, we have no snakes. No snakes. Very good. So, you want snakes, you have to stay here. So I haven’t see snakes very close up, so I went over to have a look. They had a big mat on the ground and these people are handling these snakes. Very scary stuff. I think I stay away, I don’t get too close to the snakes.

So I’m standing just watching, and then someone said – I think they’re sorcerers from Borneo. I said: “Oh, interesting.” Then one of them came up to me, and I thought, “Oh this is interesting, what’s going to happen?” See, people who operate demonic spirits, recognise servants of God. How did they recognise me? Because when you follow Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live in you. God’s spirit dwells in you. You are marked by the spirit of God. You literally radiate light. Maybe no one can see it, but it’s evident in the fruit in your life, and in the spirit world, they can recognise these things. I’ll give you a couple of stories on this.

Anyway, one of these guys came up, and he spoke to me. This is what he said. Now, he’s never met me, I’ve never spoken to him, and this is what he said: “Please don’t pray against us to stop us. We’re just here to earn some money. We don’t want to hurt anyone.” Now, what would cause him to say a thing like that? The spirits that were working with them recognised the servant of God and responded by appealing to me not to stop them. In other words, they recognised I had the power to stop it. Jesus said – “I give you authority over serpents and scorpions and all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall in any way harm you.”
So, in the spirit world, they recognise who you are. See, we look at people, we just see people. We can’t see if they’ve got demonic spirits wrapped around them. We can’t see those things unless God shows it to us. We can’t even see who are the Christians, except often you can see the fruit of it in their life. But from the spirit world, they see exactly who you are and what you’re like. They know you and recognise you.

I was in a meeting in Taiwan not so long ago, September last year, and there were many people. There was a great move of the Spirit, there was joy and laughter, a lot of things happening. I felt God speak to me to begin to move in deliverance. So we had an alter call, and then God began to move in many many people were delivered, just like here. I had my youngest daughter with me, and this is what she said.

She said: “Because it was such a powerful meeting, I was having an encounter with the Lord.” She said: “I realise deliverance is taking place. I said: “Lord, show me what’s happening.”” And she said: “I thought I would just get a mental picture, it’s what I normally get.” The Lord said: “Turn around, face the people.” She said: “I don’t want to do that. My eyes, my mascara is running.” The Lord said: “Turn around, face the people. “ And He said: “Now open your eyes.” So she said: “I stood and I looked and opened my eyes.” And she said: “I got a shock. I could see with my eyes open, all of the people.” But she said: “I could see, imposed on it all, the spiritual world.”

In other words, she could see into the two worlds at the same time. You can only do this is God has opened your eyes to see these things. I said: “What did you see?” She said: “Well, I could see the demons.” I said: “What were they like?” And she said: “They were terrified. I could see them all in the meeting, and they were all terrified. They were full of fear and terror.”

I said: “What were they doing?” She said: “They were holding on to people and they were trying to keep hold on people.” I said: “Where were they holding them?” She said: “Well, some of them had their hands over their eyes, trying to stop the people seeing. Some of them had their hands over their ears, trying to stop them listening, stop them hearing. Some of them had their hands over the mouth, trying to stop them speaking, and all of them were trying to hold on desperately.”

I said: “What else did you see?” She said: “Well I couldn’t see you. I heard you speaking. I could just see this person who looks like Jesus, and there’s just light flowing out everywhere, and every demon is looking at this person and they’re terrified. Every time you began to speak, it was like a river of God flowed and the demons were just swept away.” I said: “What else did you see?” She said: “It was all too much for me, I couldn’t manage seeing into two worlds at once. I just closed my eyes again.” I said: “Oh I’d like to know more.”

But there’s the thing – the spirit world sees us as we really are. Demonic spirits recognise Jesus, they know He’s the Son of God; they are terrified of them. He defeated them at Calvary. The Bible says when Jesus died and gave up His life on Calvary, He legally broke the power of the devil over every person. Jesus extends an invitation to us to turn away from sin, turn away from these occult practices, and turn to Him, the living God. He loves us. We’re not made for evil spirits.

There are some of you here who have opened your life up to evil spirits. Maybe it’s come through your family. Maybe you were dedicated to some idol or temple. Maybe your family are involved in idolatry, fortune-telling. Or maybe you have done this: opened your life to spirits through fortune-telling of some kind. Perhaps you’ve opened your eyes to the occult world by invitations to demons. Maybe you’ve opened your life in these ways. God wants to set you free.

One way I’ve noticed some people have come into bondage is through computer games – role-playing computer games; playing the role of a sorcerer. I’ve prayed for a number of people, about 400+, who were involved with computer games, who became addicted and demonised when they used these role-playing imagination games, and began to engage in the spirit world. Others have got demonised through martial arts, from meditation, from various kinds of occult things. Jesus came to set us free.

Let’s finish our story now and see what happened. It says: “She did this for many days, and Paul was greatly annoyed. He was grieved.” The word literally means – he was struggling to break through. When there’s a lot of demonic activity, we can feel spiritual pressure and struggle to break through. He was struggling in getting breakthroughs, and then he began to realise the demonic spirit around this girl.

So he spoke to her, notice what he said – he came in the authority of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the devil conqueror; and when we align our life with Him, we become devil conquerors too. “In the name of Jesus Christ, come out!” Spoke to the spirit, and the spirit manifested, and then came out of her. It was a python. Came out of her, and she was set free.

I remember when I was in Hastings many years ago, and we had our first move of God in deliverance. I remember it very clearly – it was very spectacular. We had a meeting one night, and people came up for ministry, and I laid my hands on one man. He was from the Pacific Islands, and his family are involved in fortune-telling. He fell on the ground. It’s quite common.

But then he did this, and I had never seen this before – He imitated a snake and he slithered all this way under the chairs, all the way to the back of the room. I’d never seen anything like it! How do you do that trick? That’s a good trick to do at a party. The chairs were just popping like this, and he just slithered his way on the ground.

We came and spoke over him, commanded the spirit of divination to go. The spirit left him. It was a spirit in the form of a python, and it manifested just like it. I’ve had that happen on several occasions. People slither, very fast. I’ve seen all kinds of things like that. And here’s the point: they’re all bad. They’re all bad. And they seek to hurt you.

Paul confronted the spirit and the young girl was set free. She was a slave girl to people and she was a slave girl to demons, and that day she came to Christ and became a free person. Free in her heart from sin, free in her heart from the evil spirit. God wants the same to happen to you.

So, we’re going to extend two invitations – the first is for people to become a follower to Jesus. This is what Jesus said: Whoever received Him, made Him welcome, and believed on His name, Jesus is the Saviour who saves us from sin. To any person who received Him and believed on Him, He gave power to become a child of God; to be born into the family of God. This is what God wants to do for you today. He wants to change your life. He wants room in your heart, if you will let Him.

It doesn’t matter what has been happening in your life, how bad your life seems to be. God loves you. He loves you. He understands you. No matter what you’ve been involved in, it can never change that God loves you. Your behaviour, no matter how bad, cannot change that God loves you. While you were in sin, God sent His Son to die on the cross for you.

I want to tell you today, God loves you. God loves you. Jesus said – Those who follow Him, will hear His voice; and He will give them eternal life. I want to invite you today to take the first step. To follow Jesus – it’s to invite Him into your life, to ask Him to forgive your sins, to receive Him into your life.

Later on, we’ll have a second alter call, and I want to specially pray for people who have trouble with evil spirits. If you’ve been involved in divination or fortune-telling, been involved in occult activities to any kind: idolatry or spiritism, or you’re tormented by spirits. Maybe your family’s been involved in spirits. We want to have a second alter call to pray for deliverance, and the power of God will come on you and set you free from those spirits.

You can make a decision today to become connected with God. You can make a decision today to go home without your demons. By asking Jesus Christ to set you free. Let’s just close our eyes right now.

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