Questions and Answers: Standing Firm Against Satan
Demons and Unbelievers

Biblical Sermon Outline

By Pastor Ron Jones,

The Basis of My Answers: What does the Bible say?

2 Tim.3:16-17

We should not preach the Bible and then as soon as we hear phenomena and experiences we cannot explain, we then create a theology outside the Bible.

We have to believe that everything we need to know about Satan is in the Scriptures.


1. Can unbelievers be demon-possessed? Can Christians cast out demons today? If so, how do we do it?

Can unbelievers be demon-possessed? Unbelievers can clearly be demon-possessed. Demon possession is mentioned frequently in the gospels.

Can Christians cast out demons today? If so, how do we do it?

We need to make a distinction here between a third party casting out a demon from someone, and the demon-possessed victim himself or herself getting rid of a demon.

The examples we are going to look at are all demons being driven out by a third party.

There is no question that special authority to cast out demons was given by Jesus to his apostles and certain others.

1) The twelve were sent out to preach and were given authority to drive out demons.
Mat.10: 5-8

Notice that this is miraculous power of the same quality as healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing those with leprosy

2) Seventy other disciples were given authority to cast out demons.
Lu.10: 1, 8-9, 17

3) After Jesus ascended to heaven, we see the authority to cast out demons displayed not by everyone, but certain key individuals as they did miraculous signs for the spreading of the gospel.

Acts 8: 6-7
Philip cast out demons and healed.
They saw the miraculous signs he did.

These verses show that the casting out of demons was not the normal everyday ministry of believers, but was part of a supernatural ministry.

4) God gave to the church certain miraculous spiritual gifts in the first century.
1 Cor.12: 8-10

v. 10 “miraculous powers” (not healings, mentioned later)
The miraculous gifts were gifts through which God suspended natural law or intervened in the supernatural world.

The gift of miracles may have been "the spiritual ability to perform supernatural acts over the human or demonic realm" (1 Corinthians 12:10, Acts 13:6-11; 20:9-12, Luke 9:1-2, Acts 16:16-18, Acts 5:14-16; 8:7)

Summary: It appears that the casting out of demons by a third party was part of the supernatural signs ministry of the apostolic age. God wanted to show that Jesus and the apostles and other designated believers during the apostolic age had power over the demonic realm. When there is a demon inhabiting an unbeliever who wants to come to faith in Christ, when the unbeliever repents and turns to Christ the demon will come out of that person as the Holy Spirit enters that person.

By Acts 4:4 there were about five thousand men who were believers in Jerusalem, that does not count women and children. Surely some of them had demons who came to Christ and the demons left.

I believe that today, demons leave when people come to Christ. If they do not turn to Christ then all the prayer and rebuking of the demon mean nothing. Plus, the Lord has not given to his church the command to cast out demons from unbelievers just to get them out. The church is to bring people to Jesus Christ.

So today, we cast out demons now by bringing an unbeliever to salvation.


2. Can demons inhabit buildings and haunt them? What are ghosts?

Yes. Demons can move around buildings and structures. There is no Biblical evidence that they do. But they could. In the Scriptures we see demons involved solely with people, not places.

What are ghosts?
The answer to that question is that only demonic spirits are wandering around in the spirit realm who can have contact with humans in limited ways.

There are no disembodied human spirits moving around the earth, "haunting" various locations. When people die, they either go to heaven if they are believers (2 Cor.5:4-8) or they go to Hades if they are unbelievers (Lu.16:19-31, Rev.20:11-14) to await the great white throne judgment. Once a person dies he goes to one or the other location and that's it (Heb.9:27).

Human spirits do not interact with humans after they die. There is no reason or purpose to do so. There are spirits moving around but they are not human. The Scripture clearly indicates that there are demonic spirits who have lived and observed the earth from the beginning of its existence who can disguise themselves and appear as human spirits and give facts about a dead person's life. When people get involved with communicating with the dead, they are actually getting involved with demonic spirits.

This is forbidden by God according to Deut.18: 9-14.


3. Is there is a relationship between demon possession and mental illness?

Is there is a relationship between demon possession and psychiatric diagnoses such as multiple personality disorder (usually seen in cases of incest or other abuse) or schizophrenia (where the person hears voices or is paranoid)?

According to the Scriptures, problems of mental illness have only three possible origins.

1) It originates in the body.
The Bible states that our bodies have been deeply affected by the fall and can create all kinds of physical problems. Any mental problem that has a physical or neurological basis could fit into physical illness category and affected by the fall. That would be called a brain disorder.

2) It originates in the mind and heart.
All human beings have a fleshly nature as a result of the fall. That fleshly nature manifests itself in our minds and hearts, our intellect, will, and emotions. We also know our minds are corrupted by the flesh, therefore they can cause psychological problems (Matt.15:17-20).

3) It originates as a direct attack by a demon on unbelievers only.
We have already seen that believers cannot have be attacked internally by demons, but unbelievers can. This comes a result of demon possession.

The Scriptures recognize that all three sources can create mental and emotional problems.

From all three the symptoms demonstrated externally (that is all we can see) may be similar because the mind is affected, but the source and cause are different.

Each cause requires a different method to cure it.

1) Brain disorders can be healed with medicine and other medical means.

2) Purely psychological problems can be healed through applying the Scriptures to whatever is troubling a Christian (may require Biblical counseling).

3) Demon possession can be eliminated through an unbeliever coming to Christ.

There is a distinction made in the Scriptures between normal brain disorders such as epilepsy and those caused by demons.

Matthew says Jesus healed three types of problems all with physical manifestations.

Matt.4: 24
“…and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.”

First Matthew gives a general description of the kinds of people who came, those with various diseases and who were suffering severe pain.

Then Matthew describes three out of this group:
1) the demon –possessed
2) those having seizures
3) the paralyzed (paraplegics, quadraplegics, and the like)

The key word here is “those having seizures.” This Greek word only occurs twice in the NT, once here and once in Matt.17

It was used of those who had seizures which could be those who have epilepsy or other ailments that caused seizures.

We can learn two very important implications which we can draw from this description.

1. There were people with seizures that Jesus healed that did not have seizures because of demon-possession.

We know from the description of the second time the word is used that demon-possession sometimes resulted in seizures.

Matt.17: 15, 19

2. The mention of Jesus healing seizures that were not caused by demon possession is the Biblical recognition of brain disorders. If Matthew, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, recognizes one brain disorder, he recognizes them all.

Mental illness is generally divided into two categories, organic or brain disorders and psychological. Organic mental illness or brain disorders have a physical cause. Jesus only healed physical illnesses, not psychological ones. Therefore, this is Biblical recognition of physically based brain disorders which could be healed by Jesus instantaneously.

These have nothing to do with demons. Today medicine can help deal with them just as much as any other physically based ailment. It is within God’s will to treat these conditions with medication.

How do you tell if a mental illness is caused by demon possession?

There are three characteristics of demon possession that demonstrate that someone is demon possessed that will accompany the mental illness symptoms:

1) There is no control by victim and there is a presence of a distinct personality

Merrill F. Unger, former professor at Dallas Theological Seminary in his book, Demons in the World Today on p.103 writes, “The chief characteristic of demon possession…is the automatic projection of a new personality in the victim. During the attack the victim’s personality is completely obliterated, and the inhabiting demon’s personality takes over completely.”

Later he writes again of a famous doctor who concurred with this view.

“…the famous nineteenth century specialist in mental diseases, Dr. Forbes Benignus Winslow (1810-1874). He correctly recognized the demoniac by a strange duality; and by the fact that, when temporarily relieved from the oppression of the demon, he is frequently able to describe the force that takes control of him and compels him to act and speak shamefully.”

2) Violence to the victim or others
Demons often consistently try to harm the people they are inhabiting.

3) It is constant and medications and human means will not solve it.

A good example of these characteristics come from Jesus encounter with the demon-possessed man in the land of the Garasenes.

1) There is no control by victim and there is a presence of a distinct personality

Matt.8: 28-29 “suddenly they cried out”
“When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gerasenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. And suddenly they cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God?’”

2) Violence to the victim or others
Mk.5:7 “cutting himself with stones”
“…immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.”

3) It is constant and medications and human means will not solve it.
Lu.8: 27 “for a long time”
“…stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs. “

If there are no signs of demon possession, treat the mental illness as either physically based or psychologically based.


4. If a psychic uses channeling to find a kidnapped person is this wrong? How is this possible?

First, God forbids going to psychics and all activities involving "spirits" which are apart from worshipping the true God in the Bible. When the Israelites were getting ready to go into the promised land after they had been delivered from Egypt by Moses, God told them not to get involved in the "spiritistic" practices in that land because they were detestable to Him.

Deuteronomy 18:9-13 says:
"When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no on be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire (human sacrifice), who practices divination (obtaining knowledge of the future through spiritistic practices = psychics) or sorcery, interprets omens (signs of activity of pagan gods = palm readers, astrology), engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead (seances). Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God."

This passage of Scripture forbids all the new age and occultic practices that exist including channeling, seances, psychics, astrology, palm reading, good luck charms, crystals that you wear, ouiji boards and the like.

These are all Satanic/demonic practices. People don't realize this, but it is true.

Paul the apostle says in 1 Cor. 10:20:
"No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons."

All these things are detestable before God. God does not want us to know the future of our lives, but rather to trust and obey Him on a daily basis.

Channeling is certainly a form of demonic activity where demons can communicate with unbelievers. Demons are not omniscient, but they certainly can see what is happening in the human realm and could certainly know about the kidnap or murder of someone and communicate that to a psychic. But they are excellent guessers when it comes to predicting the future, but they are not always right. That’s why a true prophet had to be 100% right all the time to be considered true. If demons have been around since the beginning of humans. They certainly predict human behavior with some accuracy.


5. Could UFO and alien sightings be demonic in origin?

The Bible does not give any evidence whatsoever of life on other planets. Therefore I do not believe there is any. Howevere, the Bible does give evidence that angelic beings can create around themselves flying saucer-like devices.


Ezekial saw:

1. An immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the middle was what looked like four living creatures.


Ezekial saw a windstorm coming out of the north, an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal.

We find out from ch.10 that these living creatures are cherubim – good angels. They are described in v.5-14. Look at what is next to them in v. 15 – wheels

2. Wheels that sparkled like chrysolite, made like a wheel intersecting a wheel.


Their rims were high and awesome and all four rims were full of eyes all around (like small lighted windows).

Remember he is describing what he is seeing in his ancient terms.

V. 19-20 says they are intimately connected with the wheels.

Turn the visible angels invisible and you have what could easily look like a UFO.

Now this is symbolic and these are good angels. But if good angels can create something that looked like this, demons could as well for they are angels.

In Lu.21:11, Jesus said that in the last days, there will be great signs from heaven.