A Temple of God, but a Dwelling for Demons?

What does the title of this message even mean? Just the thought of it makes most Christians uncomfortable.

Is it really possible for the temple of God to be a dwelling for demons?  If so, is this something that I need to be concerned about, or is this something that is only for people who have dabbled in witchcraft? After all, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 

This is not so simple.  Many of us struggle with walking in freedom.  We want it but we can't seem to attain it.  In this week's message, we continue developing our understanding of how to walk in victory. 

Passage(s): 
Romans 6:12-14

Comments

2016-05-15 MW

 

Today we recognize Will Neely for 15 years of service to Southside [standing ovation].

 

Recognizing the seniors graduating this year: Jay B, Ryan C, Dani D, Justin E, Josiah L, Ian M, Melody N. Ovation. Prayer by Byron.

 

Michael recognizing: It’s great to see so many young people focused and dedicated and given a platform by God to serve Him. Thanks also to the youth praise band for leading us in worship. It’s exciting to see young people want to walk with God.

 

Message Title: A temple of God / dwelling for Demons — 

Or, better: Steps to Victory: The power of Sanctification.

 

I want to talk about how to walk in victory. It’s important. we talk about spiritual warfare because you are children of God. The spirit of God resides in you.

The the Kingdom of God is forcefully advancing in spiritual battle. And because you’re a believer, you MUST understand this: your life is of great value, destined to have great influence. God has purposed to use you with a calling on your life. The enemy will try all he can to subdue that and keep ou from being effective for the Kingdom of God . 

We’re in a spiritual battle for our lives. And if God can affect you, you’ll affect your family, your neighborhood, your community, your state.

As Christians we are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. But we can give influence/room to demonic influences in our lives making us ineffective for the Kingdom of God.

 

Rom 5:17-19 -  17 If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

 18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

 

First thing: this scripture is telling us that every person that has been born has been born into spiritual death. Even though man’s created in the image of God — spirit, soul, body. God is spirit, “breathing” life into man. But we’re born into this life with a dead, tarnished spirit.

Our spirit man is born dead so the image of God is tarnished. Our mind, will emotions are tarnished. Our identity is corrupted and belongs to this evil age. As a result, we’re destined to death. This is our identity until we’re born again. We cannot walk in fulfillment of God’s purposes until then. We cannot be set free because we’re spiritually dead and the Spirit of God isn’t in control of our lives.

 

We need to be born again.

The core of a person prior to becoming a Christian: corrupt. Not focused on God but on self and evil desires.

 

So in the core of a non-Christian, the satanic forces have full authority and rights.

 

But when we recognize Jesus Christ, believe He’s the son of God. “Whoever calls on the name shall be saved”. Spirit cries out “abba father”. We’re alive in Christ. When a person becomes bored again and becomes a true Christian, you are a new creation. Born again. A supernatural transformation has occurred.

 

Born again = alive in Christ. Image of God renewed: mind, will, emotions. We belong to the age to come. No longer is the enemy able to possess and dwell in the core of who we are because we’re alive in Christ.

 

Even though we’re alive in Christ, evil can still penetrate and reside in our lives—our “soulish” realm.

 

Rom 6:12-14 -  12* Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions.

 13* Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

 14* For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

 

Paul clearly says that it’s important to understand that as believers, sin can reign in our lives. Evil. Rebellion from God. Brought from the pit of hell. Evil can reign in our lives, even as a believer. 

If that can happen, there’s a prob we have to deal with.

Even alive in Christ, our spirit is alive. The sin can dwell in the soul-ish realm. Led by the flesh. The enemy can infiltrate.

 

Eph 4:25-32 -  25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

 27* and give no opportunity to the devil.

 28* Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

 29* Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

 30* And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

 

After this, it gives different ways that we can give opportunity (Greek: topos = space, a spot). So your core is pure and holy, but in your flesh, you can give occupancy to demonic forces to direct and influence your life.

It’s possible to grieve the Spirit of God. He’ll convict and bring you council, and you have a choice. As circumstances affect you, you’re presented with circumstances and situations. He’ll speak lies and deception to try to take up residence in your life.

You’ll have opportunity to let him speak truth to your life, or you can follow the deceptions.

 

In the OT, we talked about the temple. Josiah inherited a temple that had been corrupted. They’d let Baal into the temple. He had to clean them out. We as children of God are now the temple of God. And we can allow corruption into our lives, just like the OT temple.

There’s a battle going on.

 

So, what does 2 Cor 5:17 mean—how can evil still reign in my life? What’s the answer? Sanctification.

 

Sanctification, from the book “My Heart, Christ’s Home”, when the spirit of God resides in your heart he (initially) resides in the living room. He notices a closet and sees dark secrets and hidden sins. God says, “I want to be Lord of that closet as well.” And he sees every area of our life and wants to bring truth and liberation. A sanctification process.

 

Eph 4:20-24 - the sanctification process

 

 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!--

 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,

 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,

 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,

 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

 

Paul says, “You no longer have to wear your old self, love your old self. You can put off the old self. You need to be renewed. Allow the Holy Spirit to renew you. Where Sp is in control, not the soul-ish part of your life. You need to choose. You have a choice to make.”

THere’s “psyche” and there’s “pneuma”. You need to choose which is to have control. Flesh or spirit. You have a choice.

When you weren’t born again, you didn’t have a choice. but as a child of God you have a choice. Sin doesn’t have authority to rue in your life unless you give it the opportunity: rebellion, lust, self-centeredness, outbursts of anger.

 

Col 3:9-11 -  9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices

 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

 

There’s a process in which the Spirit of God wants to penetrate every aspect of our lives and our minds need to be renewed.

If you became a believer at 33 years old, you’ve been living according to the sinful nature for the first 32 years of your life. Your desires and passions have been ruled and reigned by dark demonic forces. But then, when suddenly you’ve been made alive in Christ and the light comes on, you have new desires to do right.

But the older desires are still there. And you have to choose.

 

Hey 4:12 -  12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 

division of what? soul and spirit.

 

The Word of God is alive. It’s the Word of God. the Sword of the Spirit. Convicts as you read it. It can divide what’s of God and what’s of the soul.

But God, I can see myself doing good. But what does the word say? Need to be led by the spirit, not by the soul. The word knows every thought and intent of the heart.

God gives us truth to feed on so we can stand in truth.

 

James 4:1-7 -  4:1 ¶ What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?

 2* You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.

 3* You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

 4* You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

 

An adulterous person is married and woo’ed away into an adulterous relationship. He’s calling believers adulterers because though united with Crist, they’re woo’ed away to something else.

 

 5* Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’’?

 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’’

 7* Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

When it’s all about you, there’s something wrong if you’re not happy because You are #1.

 

Over and over, you’l see in Scripture that people have SUFFERED for Christ. Persecuted for the sake of Christ. Many men and women, as I learned in my reading in prep to go to Africa, most lived only one year after going to Africa.

When they packed to go to Africa, they packed their belongings in a coffin, so their bodies could be shipped back in that coffin. The reason the gospel went to Africa, is because people gave their lives for Christ.

It’s not just about making our lives comfortable. “friend of the word=enemy of God”.

 

He says, “Listen, don’t you know the Spirit he has placed within you yearns to walk with God?” Before, there was no desire. But now there’s a conviction that takes place. The Spirit within is alive. And now there’s a battle.

If you humble yourself and yield to the spirit, He will influence your heart more and more. No matter how difficult, you’ll have power and authority to resist the devil.

 

1Th 5:16-24 - 

 16 ¶ Rejoice always,

 17 pray without ceasing,

 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

 19 Do not quench the Spirit.

 

So you as a believer may have the ability to do this.

 

 20 Do not despise prophecies,

 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.

 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

 23 ¶ Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

 

Doesn’t mean walking around with our eyes closed and walking into walls.

 

So as evil forces TRY to reign in your life, and as you submit to the Spirit of God, and the Word and Spirit speak truth into your life, you can deny the deceptions of the evil one.

 

God is able to sanctify us and set us apart for the purpose He has for us, protecting our spirit, soul, body.

 

The core has been born again. Spirit of man made alive. There’s now a desire for God and passion to please him in every respect.

 

No evil spirit can evict the Holy Spirit from the core of who you are. He can be quenched, but he will remain. The core is new and the battle rages. The enemy will try to use the old corrupt thoughts and ideas to influence our soul and body and hinder our sanctification.

 

Think about your own life. The things that tempt you—

-Some struggle with self-esteem.

-Some worry and are consumed by fear

 

Think how many of these are soul-related.

 

The enemy uses his old tricks, what he used to success in your life before you became a Christian. 

 

That’s why Rom 12:1-2 -  12:1 ¶ I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

 2* Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

IN conclusion, when you understand that there’s a difference between believers and unbelievers, there’s a relationship w/ God thanks to the Holy Spirit. Demonic spirits can’t penetrate the core. But believers can yield to the evil influences. A child of God can not be erased or stolen.

 

As a non-believer, you’re dead.

 

We’re empowered, energized, by the Sp God to defeat all the influences of the enemy. And the struggle in this battle is not between equals. 1J 4:4 -  4 ¶ Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

 

You can stand and walk in victory.

 

Friday am, as I was coming into the office to work on the message. My wife and I had had a disagreement. She and I were both grieved by it. Financial things. We were grieved for different reasons. Sad feelings about my past. Loneliness. For her it was fear about finances. No sin involved. Just a situation.

But we both walked away with melancholy spirits. Miscommunication happened. I was moping around. I was Eeyore.

Then, Sat am, I went fishing w/ Judah and Josiah. And I was in a funk. Couldn’t focus. I had to contact my wife and apologize. “I need you to forgive me and I want you to know I love you.” And she texted back, “I want our hearts one too.”

The enemy can use circumstance to break (or harm) relationship. We gave him room in this situation until the Holy Spirit convicted me, and I saw truth. I responded.

 

As driving in the car, I’ll pray, “Devil, you have no right or authority in my life. I command you to flee in the name of Jesus. And I ask God to renew my mind.”

 

As we walk and commune with God, we can walk in victory. If you’ve allowed him to take residence in your life in certain areas, it’s time to kick him out. Let the Lord reign in every area. You can stand and walk in victory.

 

11:27. As we prepare to sing this last song, let’s take a moment, remain silent. I know we battle. Take this time and allow the Holy Spirit to work in your heart for you to respond appropriately.

 

Prayer - Lord, I know i’m just the under shepherd and you’re the chief shepherd. Some of my brothers and sisters here have felt to their core that there’s nothing left. They’re completely weak and weary. Even feeling like they’re lying dead.

Because your spirit is in us, they’re alive. may your spirit speak to them. Like they’re being shocked back to life. Revive them. Allow them to rule and reign. That they’d submit to you and resist the evil one. 

Lord, we need you. I pray for your great work to penetrate each of us. Let us walk in the power of your sanctification. We pray in your magnificent name.

 

Londa testimony - we’ve never had a pastor preach this message before in this pulpit. You can walk in victory. It won’t be perfect, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. If this confused you and you need more information, get it. Listen again. He wants you to walk in victory. Don’t walk in defeat.

 

11:39 - Great Commission.