Most likely you've seen the pictures of Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Spooky, huh! I suspect you're starting to roll your eyes about now so go ahead and get it over with -- because I'm going to talk to you about the spirit world that surrounds us. It's probably not your favorite subject but it's life and death important -- so listen up! Some of you are old enough to remember when you had to open your mouth wide so your Mom could give you a dose of foul-tasting cod liver oil while she said "this is good for you." Well open wide because I'm going to give you a dose of something you need to survive in this wicked world. Trust me, it'll be good for you. The "spirit world" is real so quit ignoring it as though it doesn't exist. We're not children any more so let's tackle this subject like adults.
(PERSONAL NOTE -- Although the following chronicles some of my own experiences with the world of evil spirits, i.e., the demonic, my only purpose here is to convince you that we truly live in a spiritual world and much of it is evil to the core. When God filled me with His Holy Spirit the only gift, or talent, I brought with me was that I was willing . . . nothing more. It is definitely not intended to impress you or to make you think of me as some spiritual giant. You see, I know where I came from and much of it was pretty ugly. Only God gets the credit, and only He deserves the glory. Now that we've cleared that up, let's get started.)
Most people (even Christians) today are oblivious to the fact that we live in a spiritual world. We think that if we can't see it, or touch it, it's not real. But you probably didn't know that Jesus spent as much time casting out demons from people as He did healing the sick (true.) Throughout the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John He "preached on the kingdom, healed the sick, and cast out demons" and He instructed His disciples to do the same. He said "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons . . . " (Matthew 10:8).
Let me tell you about my first encounter with evil, or demonic spirits, because like most of you I didn't believe in it. In fact I scoffed at it. What happened next was dead serious, and it turns out that this was no laughing matter! (The following are [edited] excerpts from my book "The Prodigal Diaries.")
"I started attending the Garden Grove Community Church (later the Crystal Cathedral), where the Reverend Dr. Robert Schuller was pastor. It wasn’t long before Rev. Schuller and I had struck up something of a friendship, and soon he asked me to teach a Sunday school class of high school students, which rather surprised me since I was such a new Christian with so little experience. Just a few weeks earlier Larry Reed, an ex-con who was full of the love of Jesus, prayed for me and I was dramatically baptized in the Holy Spirit, fell to the floor, and the Holy Spirit moved over me in wave after wave, breathing on me. He revealed to me that this was the same spirit that entered the tomb where the dead body of Jesus lay, and breathed on Him resurrection life. This experience would alter the course of my life forever."
"However, just prior to that time of being baptized in the Holy Spirit I had been teaching the class of high school students and we came across several passages in the gospels where it referenced the casting out of demons. One of the students asked me, “What’s all this business about casting out demons? It seems that just about everywhere Jesus went he was healing people and casting out demons!” And of course, being the expert I was (not), I responded with an answer even though I didn’t have a clue. My absurd response went something like this,"
“Well, Jesus, being a contemporary man of his day, simply went along with the myths and superstitions of the time" and blah, blah, blah . . . Remember, this was in response to a specific question about the passages in which the demon threw this poor boy to the ground, and he was foaming at the mouth and Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the child and returned him again to his father (see Luke 9:38–42). I should have kept my mouth shut because I certainly didn’t know what I was talking about, and what I had just told the students in the class was spiritual hogwash!"
"A few weeks after my experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit Rev. Schuller asked me to speak to a group made up of young adults, mostly in their twenties, who were from the Garden Grove Community Church. It was on a Friday night and there were about thirty people at this meeting, which was in one of the couples’ homes, and as I began to speak I once again felt an unusual anointing, meaning that I felt the Holy Spirit’s presence in a very real and tangible way. And as I spoke His presence became very evident to everyone in the room . . . A quiet hush and a sense of fear fell on everyone there. Soon there was a sense of awe and everyone looked around the room wide-eyed as if to say, “Do you feel it too?” These were people from Rev. Schuler's church — not exactly a hotbed of wild-eyed Pentecostals — and although they called this a prayer meeting it was more of a social gathering. As I spoke suddenly a well-dressed quiet young man, who had been sitting on a couch in the back of the room, stood up and began to ask me a reasonable and intelligent question, but while he was speaking he was interrupted mid-sentence and he began to . . . howl and to wail at the top of his lungs. This otherwise quiet and shy young man was howling like a wolf!"
"Next he was thrown to the ground and began to shudder and convulse and drool out his mouth all while he continued to howl at the top of his voice. And yet even during the violent convulsions a chilling deep guttural voice was speaking from this young man’s mouth, saying, “You can’t have him — I’ve been in here sixteen years and he's mine.”
"Everyone in the room was terrified including me, and everyone’s eyes were as wide as saucers. You could sense a fear come on everyone there. We were all terrified. It was so very violent as the demons within thrashed him about. For a moment I thought it would kill him, such was the violence. Then it was as though scriptures were being scrolled through my mind as on a ticker tape and I saw the passages about the boy who was brought to Jesus by his father, having an unclean spirit, and the demons within thrashed the boy around so that the father feared it would kill his son. Suddenly I knew that my religious babble a few weeks earlier about Jesus going along with the superstitions of his time was spiritual nonsense and I knew what had to be done. Although just moments earlier I had been so fightened that I almost ran out of the place suddenly I felt authority come over me like a warm blanket along with a sense of peace and a holy boldness that filled my being. It was an anointing, somewhat like the pouring of warm oil over my head as they did when they anointed the prophets in the Old Testament, and I walked over to him and said with absolute authority,"
“Demon . . . I command you in the name of Jesus to come out of him now!” The spirit then reacted and started growling in a devilish voice. This young man was terrified as he screamed out in horror. Yet at the same time two voices were coming out of him—one howling like a wolf and screaming out in terror, and the other, a demonic growling male voice claiming possession of him. Once again, I responded with, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to leave him… come out of him now!” The young man screamed out in a loud voice, then he leapt to his feet, and then with a violent shudder he collapsed onto the floor followed by a violent convulsion as if hell itself had left him. He had been set free! He began to weep an uncontrollable weeping, which soon turned to unrestrained joy as he asked Jesus to come into his life and to be his Lord. Never before had I seen someone so overcome with joy because he had been set free! I tried to imagine being tormented for all those years and then finally being set free! There was a sense of awe and fear on everyone there and some dropped to their knees, weeping. I was amazed that something so vile and ugly as a demon being manifested could turn into something so incredibly beautiful because he was no longer in bondage. The shackles had been broken and he was now free!
Many years ago a Christian man in Michigan had a neighbor who was tormented by evil spirits. He'd heard about this man in Florida that had the power to cast demons out of people who were being tormented, so he somehow convinced his neighbor to come to Florida. They drove straight through for more than 1,200 miles, stopping only for gas and food, and when they got there they interrupted my meeting. It was on a Friday night. First, the Christian man walked through the door, but when the neighbor who had been tormented by demons walked through the front door he looked at me and when our eyes met without my saying a word the power of God knocked him up against the wall and he fell to the floor. He was instantly set free!
From 1997 to 2001 I was a volunteer counselor at The Gospel Light Chapel at the Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility in Chino, California. The warden once told me that more than 80% of the prisoners were in there on murder charges, but the purpose of the Stark facility was to rehabilitate those who showed some promise. This prison facility housed 18- to 24-yr-old prisoners who were either released upon their 25th birthday or sent to another adult prison. In 2001 one of the guards asked me if I would like to visit "the dungeon," which was where the worst offenders were housed. I didn't quite know what to expect, as I'd only heard rumors about the dungeon, but I agreed. My mind was conjuring up all kinds of visions about a medieval dungeon. I said, "Let me go back to the chapel and get my Bible," but the guard said I should accompany him now or not at all.
When I arrived I saw that this unit was almost completely underground. I went down several steps where the guard then opened a steel door. When I entered I had not been announced. Upon entering I noticed that there were no bars on the cells, but only solid steel doors, and between cells there were also no bars, only solid concrete walls. As I recall, there were about 16 to 18 cells. The only means the prisoners had in which to look out to the hallway separating the cells was through 1 1/2 " x 6" reinforced glass set at eye level. I was not wearing a suit, nor was I carrying a Bible, and except for the little glass window in the steel doors none of them had any way to see me, but immediately upon entry I heard loud shouting and cursing. I peered through the tiny slit into the first cell on my right and I saw a young man repeatedly bouncing off his bunk and violently slamming himself against the wall, loudly screaming "Get out of here with that f- ing Jesus, I don't want any f- ing Jesus in here." By that time it had broken out in the entire unit with many screaming out obscenities and repeating, "Get out of here with that f- ing Jesus." Soon two of the guards came over to me and immediately began shouting, "What did you say to them to get them so riled up?" I hadn't said anything, but the presence of the Holy Spirit within me had them so agitated they couldn't stand the idea of Jesus being in their cell block. The guards quickly ushered me out.
The Bible says that "we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, (demonic forces) against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12).
If you, or someone you know, is wrestling with demonic forces in their life -- take heart, for there is a solution. It's deliverance through the power and blood of Jesus Christ, for "greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world," (John 4:4), and, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7).
Since that time I have had literally dozens of similar experiences in dealing with demonic forces. I'm not talking about "exorcism" -- that's a religious ritual that usually just gets the demons really ticked off, but if it's "deliverance" and done in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit -- it sets the captives free!!
If you would like to schedule Ken Simmons to speak to your church or organization he can be contacted at: Ken Simmons Ministries, Ontario, California firstname.lastname@example.org or call (909) 957-8882.