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Church Demons

Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:21-24)

Jesus goes to church and encounters a demon. Not exactly what we might expect at church. But I’m convinced that demons are very comfortable in most churches. In light of the fact that their founder and president was once a celestial worship leader, demons could be more comfortable in church than anywhere else.

Jesus gives his first sermon in front of the hometown crowd and a demon shows up. The way in which Jesus deals with this demon explains much about the characteristics and strategy of dark forces. Lets briefly look at a few noteworthy characteristics of “church demons:”

First, church demons don’t like spiritual authority! Jesus “taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Church demons don’t mind good sermons, solid exegesis, and fine applications, but they don’t feel comfortable around spiritual authority. Spiritual authority comes from a walk with God that is humble, broken, and anointed. The scribes didn’t have it, but Jesus did.

Second, church demons come in packs and work from “groupthink.” The demonized man said, “Let us alone.” Plural. Demons are like pot smokers and most political parties, they can’t do anything alone. Demons don’t fly around in singles but appear to stack up based on opportunity.

Third, church demons get nervous around authentic Jesus followers. They would rather hang out with religious people who peddle programs with smart marketing techniques. They definitely don’t enjoy people who truly love the Lord.

Fourth, church demons divide and conquer through gossip, innuendo, and an inability to confront true relational issues. The two passages they hate the most are Matthew 5:21-25 and 18:15-20 because Jesus talks about honest confrontation, loving conversation, and true reconciliation. Such a lifestyle is anathema to the character of demons.

Church demons thrive on relational chaos. They love it when the church leadership especially is in disarray and unable to work through conflicts. Demons just laugh all the way to hell as the church destroys and divides itself.

The Bible is clear about the purpose of Jesus and his view of the demonic,

He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. [1]

Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. He started his deliverance ministry in the church. And today, he continues his work in the church. Church demons feel like they’re safe until Jesus shows up. Maybe it’s time for Jesus to show up a bit more often in our churches.

On the Road,


[1] The New King James Version. 1982 (1 Jn 3:8). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.