Devil Possession, Mental Illness, and Bad Behavior (Part 3)Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Sunday, March 20, 2016.
An indented copy of the outline in both Word and PDF formats is attached below. To Listen on YouTube, click here: Devil Possession, Mental Illness, and Bad Behavior (Part 3) VIII. Can bad behavior cause mental illness? 1. Yes, it can. 2. As fallen sinful creatures, madness is naturally in our hearts (Ecc 9:3). 3. The apostle Paul was persecuting the church with a clear conscience (Act 23:1; Act 26:9) and yet was mad (Act 26:11). A. Mad adj. - 1. a. Suffering from mental disease; beside oneself, out of one's mind; insane, lunatic. In mod. use chiefly with a more restricted application, implying violent excitement or extravagant delusions: Maniacal, frenzied. B. Paul was not mentally ill because of a chemical imbalance in his brain, nor was he possessed by a devil; rather, he was deceived (1Ti 1:13). C. Paul's mental illness was self-inflicted. 4. The false prophet Balaam was full of madness because of his inordinate love of money and honor (2Pe 2:15-16). A. Balaam was not mentally ill because of a chemical imbalance in his brain, nor was he possessed by a devil; he was just a sinner. B. Balaam appeared to have it together on the outside (Num 22:18), all the while being nuts on the inside. C. Balaam's mental illness was self-inflicted. 5. Ammon had a sinful desire for his sister and was so vexed that he made himself sick (2Sa 13:1-2). A. Vexed ppl. - 1. Troubled, harassed; kept in a disturbed or unquiet state. B. Ammon ended up acting out his lunacy and raping his sister (2Sa 13:11-14). C. After he raped her, he ended up having bipolar disorder symptoms and hated her more than he loved her a short time earlier (2Sa 13:15-17). D. Ammon's mental illness was self-inflicted. 6. Depression can lead to a broken spirit (Pro 15:13). A. A broken spirit can cause bodily problems (Pro 17:22; Psa 32:3-4). B. The solution to this depression which brings physical affliction is repentance and confession of sin (Psa 32:5; Psa 38:17-18; Psa 51:1-4; 1Jo 1:9). IX. Can devil possession be mistaken for mental illness? 1. Yes; there was a boy whose father thought he was lunatic, but who was actually possessed by a devil (Mat 17:14-18). 2. Lunatic adj. - 1. Originally, affected with the kind of insanity that was supposed to have recurring periods dependent on the changes of the moon. In mod. use, synonymous with insane; X. How can we tell if a person is possessed by a devil, is mentally ill, or is just behaving sinfully? 1. In the Bible, a person who was possessed by a devil or an unclean spirit never came to Jesus to be healed, but rather someone else brought them to Jesus. A. There is not one instance of a devil possessed man coming to Jesus of his own will in the Bible. i. Every time a devil-possessed person came to Jesus, it was because someone else brought him to Him (Mat 4:24; Mat 8:16; Mat 9:32; Mat 12:22; Mar 1:32; Luk 4:40-41). ii. On other occasions, people came to Jesus seeking help for their devil-possessed family members (Mat 15:22; Mar 7:25-26). B. The only exception to this is the wild men of the Gadarenes/Gergesenes who came to Jesus, and even worshipped him (Mat 8:28; Mar 5:1-2,6; Luk 8:27). i. But the only reason that the men approached Jesus was because the legion of devils in them wanted Jesus to not cast them out (Mat 8:29; Mar 5:7; Luk 8:28). ii. Another example of this was the man in the synagogue with an unclean spirit that came to Jesus, not to follow him, but rather to tell him to leave him alone (Luk 4:33-34). C. Therefore, since no devil-possessed person in the Bible ever came to Jesus in faith, nor desired to be healed by Him, it is reasonable to conclude that if a person is suffering severe mental or physical affliction and they believe the truth about Jesus and they desire Him to heal them, then that person is likely not possessed by a devil because devil-possessed people don't act in this way. i. In this case, when a person comes to Christ in faith and desires to healed by him of his possession-like symptoms, he is likely undergoing affliction either because of a legitimate mental illness, or because of sinful behavior which has caused mental instability and/or the chastening hand of God to be upon him. (See Section VIII) ii. It is also possible that God is allowing one of his children to be afflicted (not possessed) by the devil to prove and try them like He did to Job (Job 1:12-22; Job 2:6-10) and the saints of the church of Smyrna (Rev 2:10). D. On the contrary, if a person is acting insane and is suffering mental or physical affliction and wants nothing to do with the true Jesus and resists Him, then that person very well could be devil-possessed, or he could be mentally ill. 2. If a person appears to be devil-possessed and wants nothing to do with Jesus, then leave them alone. 3. If a person appears to be devil-possessed and claims to believe in the true Jesus and is seeking deliverance from the true Jesus, then whether they are actually possessed or not, they should do the following: A. Quit complaining about the punishment for their sins (Lam 3:39-40). B. Acknowledge their sins and quit blaming God, others, or their circumstance for their problems or affliction (Psa 51:3-4). C. Repent and confess their sins (1Jo 1:9). D. Forsake their sins (Pro 28:13). E. Call on the Lord Jesus for deliverance (Rom 10:13). F. Read the Bible (Psa 119:9-11). G. Seek first the kingdom of God (Mat 6:33). H. Seek counsel from a man of God (Pro 11:14). I. Adopt Job's attitude (Job 1:21-22; Job 13:15). J. Remember that you are being punished less than your sin deserves (Ezr 9:13; Job 11:6; Psa 103:10). K. Remember that suffering is only temporary, even in this life (Psa 30:5). L. Realize that the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory which awaits us (Rom 8:18). M. If the person will not do these things, then let them alone and let God deal with them. 4. If mental problems persist, a person should seek medical attention because they may be suffering from a mental illness.
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