The Readings open our eyes to an Epiphany moment of realizing how dangerous healing and deliverance ministry can be. There is a wonderful line in C.S. Lewis’s story "Prince Caspian". This is a children's story that deals with the struggle between good and evil. Jesus is represented as a lion. Lucy, the youngest girl asks, "is he dangerous?". The reply comes back "Of course he's dangerous". The Gospel reveals a very dangerous side of Jesus that has been almost lost in our time: (One of my manuscripts 7 lost spiritual truths)
· Isaiah reminds us that spiritual authority comes from God and is dangerous
· Paul warns us to be careful in our spiritual lives
· Jesus teaches us how spiritual authority works in healing and deliverance ministry
1. Spiritual authority comes from God
The Isaiah Reading makes it clear how dangerous it is to rely on human learning and pretend to have divine authority. The penalty was death – why Jesus was crucified.
· A false prophet is anyone who presumes to teach or speak in the name of God, when they teach things that are not from God.
· Why Christian teachers go through a process of spiritual discernment by others to ensure they are really listening to God and really chosen by God
· Christian teachers are to be under the spiritual authority of a Bishop to ensure orthodoxy
· 2 Tests – 1. consistent with the Bible. 2. Comes true
2. Paul reminds us to be very careful in our religious lives
In Paul’s time – as in ours, there were many other gods. People were confused then, as they are now, by the new idea that there was only one god:
· Food sacrificed to idols had a special meaning
· Participating in eating sacrificed food signaled acceptance of this meaning and god to people.
· Ancient people believed that eating meat dedicated to a particular god joined them spiritually to that god (or demon) – and it did!
· Spiritual dimension is very legalistic
· Paul is concerned that new Christians could be confused and could un-intentionally open a spiritual doorway and lose their salvation.
3. Jesus teaches us how spiritual authority works in practice
· Need to get past ‘gentle Jesus, mild and meek’
· The mild and meek do not get crucified
· Jesus was in a life and death spiritual battle with evil spirits that were oppressing the people who came to Him for healing.
· This exorcism not only demonstrated that Jesus has spiritual authority over demons; it also revealed the lack of spiritual authority of the local priests and challenged their legitimacy.
· Our Epiphany moment comes when we how dangerous these evil spirits are to people and how dangerous it was for Jesus to use His spiritual authority to conduct a public exorcism.
- Do not try to cast out demons unless you have been called, trained, are under spiritual authority, guided by Holy Spirit and have a prayer support team – I speak from painful experience!