The Deliverance and the Kingdom of God (part 3)
The Great Commission
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
In this passage Jesus charged the eleven disciples to do three things: 1. Go make disciples of all nations, 2. Baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and 3 Teach their own disciples to observe all he had commanded. Here, Jesus instructed the eleven to take on disciples in the same manner that he had taken on disciples.
A Word About Power and Authority
I used to live in Oceanside, CA near the Camp Pendleton marine base. On more than one occasion I had a chance to visit friends on that military base. At times large military vehicles were stopped at military checkpoints by the Military Police (MPs). Physically, the MPs had no power to stop those vehicles. The police had power and authority that was delegated to them by the government. The MP’s were effective in stopping vehicles only because they believe they had power and chose to exercise their delegated authority. Similarly, full of the Holy Spirit, Christians exercise their god-given authority when they cast out demons. Many Christians fail to cast out demons because they do not know about the power and authority available to all believers. The Hammons point this out in their book Pigs in a Parlor:
“He [Jesus] is therefore waiting for us to recognize that he has already made the necessary provisions, and that we are to engage in spiritual warfare and become the militant church prophesied [in Mark 16:18]”
A Word About Discipleship
The Greek word for disciple is mathetes, which means “a learner, a pupil or follower.” It was the biblical norm for Jewish religious leaders to take on disciples. Rabbis of the day took on disciples, John the Baptist had disciples and Jesus had disciples. Paul sat at the feet of Gamaliel as a disciple and took on disciples in his own ministry. The model of discipleship that Jesus and the early church were working from was a rabbinical model. It was an apprenticeship model. Discipleship was less about learning rote information and more about learning the way of life, customs and skills of the master teacher. A statement by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew illustrates the closeness of his relationship with his disciples by referring to them as members of his household:
“It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household” (Matthew 10:25 NASB).
Jesus expected that his disciples would be like him in character and that they would carry on his ministry, including casting out of demons.
In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus asked his disciples to take on disciples and teach them all that he had commanded. And, one of the things Jesus specifically commanded the twelve disciples to do was to cast out demons. The casting out of demons is part of “teach them all I have commanded you.”
A similar commission is found at the end of Mark:
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:15-18).
Here, Jesus told his disciples to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” He also said that these five signs will accompany those that believe: 1. They will cast out demons, 2. They will speak with new tongues, 3. They will pick up serpents, 4. If they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them, 5. They will lay hands on the sick, and the sick will recover. Notice that the casting out of demons is listed as one of five signs that will follow “those that believe.” The only requirement that Jesus stipulated in this passage for casting out demons was belief. He does not say, “Only pastors can cast out demons” or, “Only very holy and mature Christians can cast out demons.” He said, “These signs will accompany those that believe.”
The Theology and Ministry of the Kingdom of God
Deeply rooted in the teaching of Jesus and his disciples was the theology of the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven. Both phrases appear to be used interchangeably in the New Testament. When we think of the rule and reign of God or heaven, we should not think of it in terms of a physical location as in the kingdom of Great Britain. As a young man, I remember thinking the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” was synonymous with the physical location of heaven. That is not the case. The best definition for these two phrases that I have found is “the rule and reign of God” or “the rule and reign of heaven.” So, it is better to think in terms of submission to a rulership than physical boundaries. Wherever the rule and reign of God is in effect, God’s kingdom is there. Consider these two statements:
“But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you (Mt. 12:28, NASB).
“But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you (Lk. 11:20, NASB).
By making these statements Jesus indicated that the act of casting out of demons is a signpost of the Kingdom of God. The clear pattern of ministry walked out in the Gospels is one where Jesus and his disciples preached about the Kingdom of God and then demonstrated the works of the kingdom of God. John Wimber called this pattern the “words and the works of the kingdom.” The words of the kingdom preached without the demonstration of the works of the kingdom results in powerless Christianity.
Jesus intended that the Twelve and the Seventy would carry on the ministry of the kingdom, Jesus also intended that the Church would carry on the ministry of extending the Kingdom of God on earth. Every time a person is healed, the Kingdom of God is extended. Every time a person chooses to follow Jesus and receives the free gift of salvation, the Kingdom of God is extended. And, every time a person is delivered from the influence of evil spirits, the kingdom is furthered.
The Ministry of the Kingdom is the Ministry of Reversing the Curse
The book of Genesis tells the story of the creation of humankind. In the beginning, man existed without sin, sickness and even death. With the fall of man, all of creation came under a curse. All of mankind has been subjected to the curse, until Jesus. Jesus’ death on the cross broke the power of the curse. When we as his church extend the rule of the Kingdom of God by leading someone to Jesus, healing the sick, or casting out demons we are in some way reversing the effects of the curse.
The Here and the Not Yet of the Kingdom
It is vital that we understand the here and not yet of the kingdom. Sometimes the Bible talks about the Kingdom of God as if it is something that is present, and other times as something that is in the future. In his book, The Gospel and the Kingdom, George Eldon Ladd puts it this way:
“The Kingdom of God is basically the rule of God. It is God’s reign, the divine sovereignty in action. God’s reign is manifest in several realms, and the Gospels speak of entering into the Kingdom of God both today and tomorrow. God’s reign manifests itself in both in the future and in the present realm in which man may experience the blessings of his reign.”
In other words, we as Christians live in the reality of a kingdom that is both here and not yet. Jesus death broke the power of the curse. Jesus and his disciples preached about the Kingdom of God and demonstrated the works of that kingdom. But the Kingdom of God or rule and reign of God is not yet fully implemented. The fullness of the Kingdom of God will be manifest when Jesus returns. This is the ministry that Jesus passed onto his church. And we, his church, are to take up the ministry of extending the kingdom until the kingdom comes in its fullness at Christ’s return. It is clear from scripture that the casting out of demons is to be included in the ministry of the church.
 Hammond, Frank, Hammond, Ida Mae, Pigs in a Parlor: The Practical Guide to Deliverance, Impact, Kirkwood, IL, 2010, 16.
 Ladd, George E., The Gospel and the Kingdom: Popular expositions on the Kingdom of God, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1988, 11.