In Jesus Holy Name January 24, 2021
Text: Mark 1:21-24 Epiphany IV Redeemer
“The Visible & Invisible Cosmic War on Earth” Part II
The first twenty verses of Mark's gospel is a race of words catapulting us through the tumultuous ministry of John the Baptist. The baptism of Jesus. His temptation in the wilderness, and the beginning of His public ministry. At His very first sermon Jesus has His 2nd confrontation with the forces of evil. There is both a visible and an invisible cosmic war on earth and in our lives.
If you are old enough you may remember the old Disney movie when Micky gets a new kitten. As the cartoon goes, the kitten falls into a well. Pluto, who is slightly jealous because he is afraid he is being replaced by a kitten, is standing above the well looking at the kitten fighting for its life. Suddenly appearing on one of Pluto’s shoulders is a devil with a pointed tail telling him to let the kitten drown. On the other shoulder is an angel telling him to save the kitten. What will he do?
Now the problem is this: many people think the clash between good and evil …if they think about it at all, consider it nothing more than a joke, a cartoon, conceived for the entertainment of children. Many people, never consider that the competition for our souls is something which ought to be taken seriously by sophisticated modern day souls. Even though the number of people who take the Bible seriously is shrinking the truth remains. “The devil is walking around like a roaring lion, looking for souls to devour.” (I Peter 5:8) (quote from Rev. Klaas)
If you have been following my “blog” through the book of Revelation then you understand that there is a “cosmic warfare” between God and Satan. Satan is seeking to destroy God’s creation, both the earth and the human body. His work is made visible with the arrest of child sex traffickers throughout the country, and in recent elections, in some states, that have decriminalized heron. Satan is the “beast of Revelation who gives his power to various political leaders to whom he as given power.
This is what one of the temptations of Jesus was all about. Satan was bold enough to offer Jesus all the power of all the kingdoms and nations through out history if Jesus would just fall down and worship him. Jesus refused… but it tells you that the dragon, Satan can give the power of government to men bent on evil or personal power. If there is no God, then morality is subjective. This is the visible yet invisible cosmic war in our culture. The Book of Revelation is a vision given to John to explain the warfare on earth as Satan seeks to use political power and false religion to destroy the “Church” and God’s people; “Those who obey God’s commands and follow the testimony of Jesus.” (Rev. 12 & 13)
David Kupelian in his book “How Evil Works” writes: “We don’t understand evil…what it is, how it works, and why it so routinely and effortlessly ruins our lives.” In our culture we are witnessing the war on fathers and police authority, who were created by God to protect the family and our communities. As a nation we have not corrected the “war on Poverty” which destroyed the male leadership in the American black family. What have we done to our children? Depriving them of a year of education growth for a truth that may not be a truth.
Kupelian went on to write: “Have you ever wondered why most governments no matter were on earth you look tend toward being tyrannical? Why are so many suffering under openly brutal dictatorships? Why do people surrender their freedom in exchange for a promise by a government for “cradle to grave” security, when we know they often fail to keep their promises.” (p. 2-6) William Penn said: “If human beings are not governed by God, they will be ruled by tyrants.”
John writes: “The dragon, Satan, makes war against those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” That’s us. (Rev. 12:17-13:1) The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8 “The whole earth groans and suffers because we humans (since the fall of Adam and Eve) have failed to be “good stewards of the earth which God gave Adam the command and the responsibility “take care of it.”
Mark 1 finds Jesus in Capernaum – a prosperous fishing village on the north shore of the Lake of Galilee. This village is the ministry center for Jesus and the home of many of his disciples. At the synagogue, Jesus was an honored guest. He was asked to address those who had assembled. Back then a guest preacher would begin by quoting some saintly scholar. But the guest preacher, Jesus, didn’t do what others normally did. He did not have to quote anyone famous… because He was there when the world was created. He knew that Satan had rebelled against God, the Creator and was cast out of heaven.
Jesus was involved with the creation of Adam and Eve in the perfect garden. Jesus had been there when His Father promised a perfect and
eternal sacrifice to defeat the forces of death and the devil. The entire life of Jesus was lived rejecting Satan’s temptations, keeping the laws of God perfectly that we have broken. The demon was right: “I know who you are. You are the Holy One of God. Have you come to destroy us.” The answer is yes.
The demon thought that this man’s body and soul belonged to him. This is the opening battle and confrontation with evil. This cosmic war is a religious war. It is a battle between the forces of evil controlled by Satan and God over the human life and soul. This cosmic conflict is not only visible in the ministry of Jesus, but in our lives as well.
In the book of James we find these words: “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder.” James 2:19 James goes on to give advice to each of us. When the angel appears on one shoulder and the little horned red devil appears on your other shoulder… His advice is clear for the Christian in this visible and invisible spiritual war.
Step 1: “Submit yourselves to God.”
Step 2 “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Step 3 “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” (James 4:7-8)
The demon acknowledged the purpose for which Jesus came. The Son of God was revealed in order to destroy the evil works of the devil. Our deepest human fear is the fear of death without hope. (read Hebrews 2:14) Jesus will destroy Satan’s grip of fear. The destruction of sin and Satan, death and hell will to happen at the cross and empty tomb in Jerusalem.
Satan has manipulated millions into believing the salvation story of the Savior is a myth, that the Triune God’s plan of redemption is interchangeable with the false beliefs of the world’s other religions. He has managed to convince people that they….and not God… are in control and that they will never experience the Day of Judgment.
Paul doesn’t shy away from labeling Satan “the God of the world”) In his letter to
the Christians in Corinth Paul writes: The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God.” II Cor. 4:4 Then Paul follows this up with his words of advice to every Christian. (Read Ephesians 6:10-17)
If you hear nothing else about Jesus; if you know nothing else about the Savior, believe this: according to 1500 years of written prophecies, the promises of God described and identified His Son, our Savior. Jesus was born into this world. He lived His life for us. He carried our sins for us. He died for us. Then according to prophecy, on the 3rd day Jesus did something only God could do. He rose from the dead and He showed all the world that His sacrifice had been accepted. From that moment on all who believe in Jesus as their Savior are forgiven their sins, freed from Satan’s power, and are promised an eternal place in heaven.