We have just seen the account of Paul casting demons out of the slave girl in Philippi (Acts 16:16-18). We have the same power and authority in Jesus that Paul had, so we must learn from his example.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Notice that Paul cast the demon(s) out in Jesus’ name (Acts 16:18). We have no power or authority of our own to do this, only in Jesus. Jesus has given us that same authority to use today (John 14:12; Matthew 28:18-20). Satan deceives us into thinking we are powerless victims but that is a lie. As God’s children we have access to the same resources Jesus did when He lived on earth. For more information about this see the following sections: II. LIFE OF JESUS, C. SPIRITUAL WARFARE IN JESUS’ MINISTRY, 6. POWER & AUTHORITY GIVEN (Luke 9:1; 10:1, 17-19).
We have this power available to us as well (Acts 1:8; John 14:12). It is His power that transforms us into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) as He gives us new life (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). His power delivers us from temptations and trials when we rely on it (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 2:14). He has power to put His divine nature in us (2 Peter 1:4) and give us live abundant now and eternal life in heaven (John 3:16; 10:10).
LESSON FOR TODAY: How did the apostles cast demons out? Paul brought deliverance by a word (verbally, just as Jesus did). He said, “In the name of Jesus I command you to come out” (Acts 16:16-18). Paul was not establishing a pattern for us to following by using cloths to cast out demons. When God was showing everyone that Paul was His spokesman there was a time when just touching a cloth that Paul had used brought deliverance (Acts 19:12). That was a special event, not a pattern to follow! When directed by God, Paul defeated the demons in Elymas (an unbeliever) by making him blind so he’d stop interfering with God’s word (Acts 13:6-12).
We have many examples of the disciples casting out demons, too. Jesus gave them power and commanded them to use it (Matthew 10:1; Luke 10:17; Mark 6:7; 16:17). They cast out demons as a regular part of their ministry (Mark 9:38; Luke 10:17). Paul cast out demons (Acts 16:16-18; 19:12) and so did Philip (Acts 8:7). When trying to do it in their own strength (without dependence on God) they failed (Mark 9:18, 28-29).
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)