Summary: Allies and Enemies!
Over the last decade, Frank Peretti has done more to cause Christians to think about the reality of demons than any other author. He wrote several best-selling novels beginning with This Present Darkness. He followed up with Piercing the Darkness. These wildly popular novels explained the trials and tribulations of a small Pastor as being the result of demonic forces who arrayed themselves in opposition to the Gospel. I recommend them as good fiction and even with the hope that they might open your mind to consider the reality of the Devil’s work to frustrate the perfect will of God in this world. A caution is in order! Don’t be foolish like some Christians who read them as fact and organized prayer meetings for the beleaguered Pastor and church in the story! It is a fictional book. But it can help you to think of the spirit realm that while invisible, surrounds us. That is the intent of our text passage.
Turn this morning to Ephesians 6. In your Pew Bible you’ll find the passage on page 1824.
Beginning at v. 10 we read . . .
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (NIV)
It would be a wrong conclusion to think that all of the difficulties in life are directly brought on us by the Devil or demons. Some of our sickness, our poverty, our relationship problems are the result of our own wrong or poor choices. We know, too, that some of our suffering is causes by viruses that infect our cells, bacteria that attack our health, and even genetic coding that makes us prone to different problems.
Yet, we must take seriously the words that I read to you from the Bible about those “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms!” We must not become so seduced by the materialistic explanations of life’s challenges, so that we forget the real and powerful spiritual world that surrounds us and that opposes God’s purposes for us.
Today I want to talk with you about...Angels and Demons [ pray ]
Before we talk about the grim stuff, let’s discuss the bright side.
I find that people are much more open to the possibility of the supernatural and the spiritual than they were 20 years ago. Though many are skeptical of biblical Christianity, I am encouraged that people want to talk about God! There is no place where this renewed interest in things spiritual is more evident than in the prominence of angels. Angels have made a real comeback in the last few years! One of the most popular programs on TV features a trio of angels who step into real life situations and help people to figure out that God is on their side.
Monica, Tess, Andrew, and Gloria capture the attention of millions every Saturday evening for an hour.
Is this portrayal of angelic presence accurate? No, it’s TV.
Do angels really act like a cranky African American woman or a pretty Irish lass? I think not!
Never the less, the fact that a popular program reflects God’s care for the world through the ministry of angels is a good thing.
Are there really angels?
According to the Bible, yes! Scriptures speak often of angels (about 200 times in the New Testament alone), but explains little about them. We are left to read between the lines to know much about them.
The most basic role that angels play is that of messengers of God. The word, “angel” in the New Testament means – “one who brings news.”
The Bible tells us several important things about these messengers that should encourage us in as we engage ourselves in the struggle to influence the world with righteousness and to do battle to defeat evil.
1. Angels are spirit beings.
Hebrews 1:14 “Are not all angels ministering spirits?”(NIV) We do learn that the angels can take on physical form and interact with the physical world, but they are spirit beings without bodies like us.
2. Angels are supernaturally powerful beings.
In the Bible angels are recorded as having opened prison doors, rolled away the stone at the grave of Jesus, and even engaging in war with evil men. In the book of the Revelation, John speaks of angels who “bind Satan,” taking him into custody. God grants them the ability from time to time to even change the course of nature.
Revelation 7:1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four