Here's the question: Do you believe?
Do you believe in angels and demons and satan, and possession, and exorcism? Doesn't that all a little 1800's?
Well if you're a follower of Jesus, you have no choice but to take it seriously, because Jesus did.
A just know that if you come to this from the place of "This all just feels so lame and fake." Know that I am also a skeptic. At heart. I question things that I care about. It's in my nature. And so rest assured that no one here is asking you to leave your brain in the car when you come in to church. We don't want to be spooky or weird, we just want to take it seriously, because Jesus took it seriously.
This past week I got a number of questions about 'Authority'. Basically who's in charge of what?
And so I made a little card that hopefully you got as you came in that hopefully makes a real clear.
The Biblical Story of Authority
The Bible doesn't teach that when a person dies, their spirit just hangs around, moving furniture.
If you get your understanding of the spiritual world from Hollywood, you probably don't agree with that. Hollywood teaches you that sometimes the spirit of a person hangs around in order to accomplish something. Sometimes noble, sometimes nefarious. And lots of people believe that.
The movie the 6th sense. The little boy sees dead people. And the dead people have to stay around until they finish their business. And then they can rest.
And people have lots of anecdotal evidence. "Well one time I was washing my hands in the bathroom and I saw my dead aunt Suzy in the mirror.
Could be. But like I said in this series, the only place we're looking for information in is the bible.
And the Bible never even hints of anything like that.
Now it is my opinion that supernatural beings can sometimes appear to us AS our loved ones. I suppose possibly for noble reasons, but certainly for nefarious ones.
People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment. (Hebrews 9:27b)
So we die, then we face judgement.
By the way, that's only scary if you don't trust in God's character.
We will face a judge, luckily for us our judge is Love himself.
Demons, evil spirits, unclean spirits, are used interchangeably in the NT, but never interchangeably with fallen angels, or dark angels, or angels in general.
When we read about demons, they seem to always have an interest in getting inside people, but we never read that about fallen angels.
We'll talk more about that next week.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:15)
So they have already in a sense been defeated.
But they are still trying to wreak havoc in their dying breaths.
BTW Sometimes when we read about "Satanic forces" - sometimes it's talking about the actual being 'Satan'. Other times it's saying 'satanic forces' in a general sense, which could be demons who satan operates through.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)
This is the first thing we're told about about satan and the forces of evil. That it's subtle.
Notice it doesn't say "THE MOST POWERFUL!!!"
He approaches as an angel of light.
Asks questions: "Did God really say?
Here Jesus is arguing with some people, and he lays down the mother of all disses:
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. (BTW this is not how I recommend talking to your in-laws) He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (1 Timothy 4:1)
Greek mythology: Hercules and Hera. She hates him so she deceives him into thinking his family is bandits and he kills them.
Pretty good metaphor for demonic deception. Gets us to use our power for evil.
IF you know the truth. If you don't know the truth, you'll believe they have power over you. That's not what the Bible teaches.
Like germs. - They are these little creatures that mean you no good, and even at this very moment, are crawling all over you. Every time you swallow your own spit, you're swallowing germs.
There's this whole unseen world that's disgusting. And when you're a kid just learning about germs, it can be overwhelming.
But then, you grow up and you realize, you can just live your life.
Understanding the reality of germs does mean you'll do some things different. Like I'm gonna wash my hands. That's a great idea.
Same with demons.
Demons are like germs. We don't ignore them. But we don't obsess about them either. And we certainly don't live in fear of them. No no, we are children of God, and we live in his protection. We've been given back authority.
So we don't live in fear, but we do take some precautions.
Light is so much greater than darkness. It just is.
Carlsbad Carverns - Single Match I don't know if you've ever been to Carlsbad caverns when the do the whole light off thing. There's literally zero natural light and so when everybody turns off the lights, it feels like the darkness is so overpowering. But then the tour guide lights a single match and this massive cavern becomes lit.
The strongest darkness is vanquished with even the smallest light.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. (Matthew 5:14)
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (Matthew 5:15)
How do you fight against darkness? By being the light.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Jesus doesn't just teach truth, he is the truth.
Wilderness Temptation If you remember Jesus's wilderness temptation. He's in the wilderness for 40 days and is tempted by the devil. And so the devil would tempt Jesus with something, and how would Jesus respond?
"No. It is written…" See he fought against Satans lies with the truth.
Family Member Car Accident Let's say that someone from our host team came to you right here in service and took you out to the hallway and told you that one of your family members was in a serious car accident and is being rushed to the hospital. Let's say they were totally lying. They made it up. Would you believe them? Probably. But now let's say you called that family member and they said "No I wasn't. I'm sitting here eating Cheetos." - In that moment, how much power would the lie have over you? None at all.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
Challenge: What's one thing I can do this week to hear more of God's truth and less of Satan's lies?
Which of course leads us to Jesus. I find it significant that the beginning of Jesus's ministry was his baptism where God the father said "This is my son." God was speaking to Jesus about his identity. And then and only then was he able to withstand the wilderness temptation, because he knew the truth. He knew the truth of who he was. First and foremost: a son. And that would be my prayer for you too. That when that voice pops up in your head that says "You're a phony. You're not good. Remember what you did." That that voice would have no weight to it because at the root of our identity is "I'm a son. I'm a daughter."