After 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz entered his former high school in Florida last week and killed 17 people, he told authorities that demons instructed him on how to carry out the attack.
Nicky Cruz was born in Puerto Rico in 1938. Nicky's parents worshipped Satan, and his mother would often call him "Son of Satan." Nicky grew up around animal sacrifices and seances. "I saw my mother possessed by the devil many times," Nicky recalls. And he witnessed various supernatural events at his home.
When Nicky was 15 his parents sent him to live with his brother in New York City. He soon started living on the streets and joined the notorious Mau Mau street gang. It wasn't long before Nicky became the leader ("Warlord") of the gang.
A preacher by the name of David Wilkerson began going to Nicky's neighborhood. He told Nicky that Jesus loved him and would never stop loving him. Cruz slapped the preacher and threatened to kill him, but Wilkerson kept going back. He even organized an evangelistic rally at a local boxing arena. Nicky said that when he arrived at the arena he "felt guilty" about what he had done. Nicky and some other members of his gang repented of their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. This dramatic series of events took place over 60 years ago, and to this day 79-year-old Nicky Cruz continues to share the Gospel.
Pastor Wilkerson wrote The Cross and the Switchblade describing his ministry to Nicky and other disillusioned youth in New York City, and a film adaptation was released in 1970. The film has been seen by an estimated 50 million people in over 30 languages in 150 countries.
Last Sunday I preached about the 72 disciples Jesus sent out who later "returned with joy and said, 'Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.'" (Luke 10:17)
You see, believers in Jesus have been given authority to command demons to get away from them and to stop harassing others. If only Nikolas Cruz had come to know Christ, and then commanded the demons to leave him alone when they started prodding him to kill people. Instead, Nikolas gave into their diabolical persuasion, just like the parents of Nicky Cruz in Puerto Rico.
Some people place themselves under the control of demons, while others get saved and receive authority from Christ to rebuke demons and command them to leave. For those oppressed by demons, there is a way to effectively deal with these supernatural agitators.
Here is the only approach that produces peace and freedom:
1) Confess yours sins to the Lord and turn away from them.
2) Receive Jesus as your Savior and trust the Lord to completely forgive you. (John 3:16-18)
3) Commit your life to following Christ day by day in thought, word, and deed.
4) Command any demons that oppress you to get away "in Jesus' name."
5) Fill your mind with Scripture and spend time everyday in prayer.
Nikolas Cruz and Nicky Cruz illustrate the tremendous difference between walking in darkness and walking in the light. (John 8:12) You can either submit to the demons and allow them to guide your decisions, or you can submit your life to Jesus Christ and command the demons to get away from you.
Jesus told the72 disciples, "Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:20) The name of every believer is written in "the book of life," (Rev. 20:15) which is essentially "heaven's reservation book."
What about you my friend? Do you have a relationship with the Lord? If not, there is still time to come to Christ. This opportunity, however, may not be available to you tomorrow. We never know when our final hour will arrive. Our nation has once again witnessed an evil man carry out a senseless rampage. And the 17 victims in Florida had no idea their life on earth was going to end that day.
Nikolas Cruz and Nicky Cruz present a picture of two spiritual paths and two eternal destinations. (John 7:13,14)
My message at Wellspring last Sunday compared these two men in light of Luke 10, and perhaps you or someone you know would benefit from hearing it. There will always be some people who are ready to step out of the darkness of demons and into the light of Christ. (Col. 1:13) They just need someone to help them get out. They just need someone to give them hope.
Jesus told Saul (who would become the apostle Paul): "I am sending you to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me." (Acts 26:18)
Faith in Jesus is the key that allows a person access into God's kingdom with all of its blessings and authority. Open your eyes. Open your heart. And then receive the Savior who shed His blood on the cross for all of your sins. (John 1:12; Eph. 1:7)