What is the Deliverance Ministry?
The deliverance ministry is the ministry of casting out demons. I believe that the power behind the deliverance ministry is the love of God. He sacrificed His Son and He will with Christ also freely give us all things. Scripture says: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) The armies of hell have no defense against God’s redeeming love for us. Amazingly God loves us so much that He wants to free us from any spiritual bondages we are under.
We may be held in bondage and not even realize it. We can freely walk around with a smile on our face praising the Lord and still be bound – bound by shame, rejection, fear, anger or un-forgiveness, impurities and addictions. Since so many people have these problems we may just think that it is normal. Some of us have prayed and read God’s Word and confessed our sins and gone to Christian counselors and still have not been completely set free. These weaknesses may have spiritual roots that can only be pulled up and broken by Jesus Christ who is our Redeemer and our Deliverer. Jesus has come to set the captives free. And scripture says: “If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.” (John 8:36)
God has granted us the authority to use the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ to defeat the works of darkness. (Matthew 16:19: Luke 10:19) Evil is real but so is the power of Jesus Christ. In God’s wonderful order, He uses the prayers of His people to restrain demonic (evil) activity. We Christians have been given power over evil spirits. Scripture says: “He who is in you (the Holy Spirit) is greater than he who is in the world. (the devil) ”(1 John 4:4) Even though we have been commanded by Christ to cast out demons, many of our churches do not have a deliverance ministry and many Christians never realize that through Christ they have been given authority over evil.
Deliverance is not always a once in a lifetime event, but it can be an ongoing process. While we believers are still on earth we are to be advancing in becoming more like Christ. It is a spiritual process. Christ sets us free but we must occupy the freedom He has given us. As we advance to drive out the enemy in our lives there will be warfare. Yet, God promises to contend with our enemies until they are destroyed. Many of us Christians seem to be comfortable with a certain amount of sin (bondage) in our lives. But God is calling us to repent of and reject all of our sins, not just some, and to “not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:27)
Since the founding of the Church there have always been some church groups that have had a deliverance ministry. When churches today plan to have a deliverance ministry there are some costly mistakes that they need to keep from making. First the ministry of deliverance cannot be placed in the hands of a person who is an immature Christian or a person who has wrong motives and wants to build up his own reputation. All of the glory should be given to God. The leaders must be humble and God fearing and bring encouragement and comfort to the people going through the deliverance. The ministry needs to be done as a team and each team member should be accountable to each other and to the leader. Team members should not view themselves as having special powers that others don’t have.
Also effective deliverance is the result of being grounded in God’s Word. Unsound doctrine and hidden special doctrines can quickly wreck the deliverance ministry. There are always wolves (fake Christians, false prophets) that would try to come in and harm the sheep. (the children of God). The church that is involved in the deliverance ministry must be on constant watch to keep these spoilers from ruining this vital ministry.
There are other essentials for a successful deliverance ministry. First, the ministry must be performed in a safe place. By this I mean a place that is not threatening to people who may be afraid to confess and renounce their sins. A safe place is a place where the ministers are caring and loving and where they are not shocked by confessions of sinful behavior that they will hear. It is a place where the people who are ministering deliverance are mature and trustworthy and where love and grace are demonstrated. If those coming to be delivered are going to allow another person to lay hands on them for the purpose of casting out unclean spirits, they need to be able to count on the persons who are ministering deliverance to keep everything that happens there confidential.
It can be a heady thing to come up against the demonic and see evil forces be forced out of a person when you order them to go in Jesus’ Name. It can cause the person who is ministering deliverance to feel proud that he has been used by God. And proud that in Jesus Christ’s Name he has been given the authority to order these evil spirits out. But if this person on the deliverance team is not careful he can parade the hurts and pains of others before others, showing off how amazing he is. Casting out demons can be turned into a theatrical side show if the ministering team isn’t humble. And the person who has been delivered may feel humiliated when they are being showcased for others to see. And then God is not glorified. When Jesus delivered a person from evil spirits He often took the person away from the crowd for these very reasons. (Mark 7:33 and 8:23)
The persons who have been delivered from evil spirits need to learn truths and disciplines that will help them to maintain their deliverance. They need revelation of what keeps opening the door to demonic control and they need to stay away from these influences. People who have been delivered from a bondage need to be connected with others who will hold them accountable for their choices and offer them encouragement and also correction.
The freed person needs to learn to walk in the Spirit and commit everything in their lives to God. Scripture says: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) Ongoing submission to God and staying away from those places where bondage can occur easily are a huge part of maintaining freedom from past bondages.
Sometimes people are not ready to receive deliverance. They have not taken the time to be ready to live a new life and allow God to change their old thoughts and habits. Real deliverance comes from thoughtful preparation. One sin that can stand in the way of successful deliverance is the sin of un- forgiveness. We must be ready to forgive people who have sinned against us just as God has forgiven the sins we have committed against Him. (Matthew 6:12)
Scripture says: “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) We need to learn to live our lives in step with the Holy Spirit. We can receive freedom from bondage through Jesus Christ, but we have a part to play if we are to keep that freedom.
Our part is to trust God and obey Him. To repent and renounce our sin. And God’s part is to break the yoke of bondage and remove any demonic presence. When we are ready then His part is to sanctify us and make us clean. Scripture says: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7) Christ is our Righteousness and through Him we are made clean. When we find ourselves polluted by our past or loaded down with the bondage of the present, then we can enter God’s cleansing stream and become “whiter than snow.” It doesn’t get any better than that!
The information and ideas for this blog were taken from Chris Hayward’s book “God’s Cleansing Stream, Deliverance in the Local Church” with the foreword by Jack Hayford.