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Summary: A biblical discussion of culture’s fascination with the supernatural based on Ephesians 6:12. Original audience was for a medium-sized church congregation.

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Supernatural Encounters

Dillon Burroughs Ephesians 6:12 2.5.06

Have you noticed America’s new focus on the supernatural? America’s entertainment choices include…

movies such as Underworld, The Sixth Sense, The Exorcism of Emily Rose,

television programs like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Ghost Whisperer,

books like Harry Potter, Eldest, and Goosebumps, and

video games like Doom, Diablo, and The Darkness.

A study released this January from the Barna organization revealed that 73% of today’s youth have been involved in some form of psychic or witchcraft related activity. The most popular of these activities includes playing with Ouija boards and the reading of witchcraft and Wicca related books.

In fact, more than one fourth of all American teenagers have played board games or video games featuring witchcraft or sorcery.

More than one-fourth of teens have had their palm read (30%) or their fortune told (27%). Other psychic deeds included being physically present when someone else used psychic powers (14%), visiting a medium or spiritual guide (9%), and consulting a psychic (9%).

More than two million teens say they have communicated with a dead person (10%). Nearly two million youth claim they have psychic powers.

The research revealed that many churches fail to address the subject of the supernatural with sufficient frequency or relevance. One of the report’s most sobering findings is that only one-quarter of churched teenagers (28%) recall receiving any teaching at their church in the last year that helped to shape their views on the supernatural world!

While this research may have been based on a teenage audience, the same influences are impacting single adults and families. It is difficult to turn on the TV, check out movie listings, or browse the bestseller lists at your local bookstore without spotting several supernatural items featuring witchcraft, aliens, ghosts, or evil spirits.

As a church, it is vital that we learn what God’s Word says about this issue of the supernatural. The Christian faith is a supernatural faith, affirms the existence of evil and good spirits, heaven and hell, and angels and demons. Yet if I were to quiz you about even a few of the basics regarding these activities in the Bible, I wonder what results we would see.

So let’s take a little Bible quiz together this morning.

Supernatural Bible Quiz--True or false…

The Bible talks about people communicating with the dead. (1 Samuel 28:4ff)

The Bible talks about people being controlled by demons. (Jesus cast out many demons, Saul tormented by a demon)

The Bible talks about wizards and sorcerers. (Several OT references to mediums. In NT, see Acts 8:14-25).

The Bible talks about witches. (Duet. 18:10; 1 Sam 28:1; 2 Kings 9:22; 7 total references)

The Bible talks about ghosts. (5 Bible references; Disciples thought Jesus was a ghost when he walked on the water in Mk 6:49, when he rose from the dead in Luke 24:37).

If you answered true to all five of the above, you aced the quiz. How did you do?

Are you noticing that the Bible has a lot to say about the supernatural issues of our day? Since our time is limited, let’s just look at three of the foundational principles God’s Word provides on the supernatural this morning. We’ll discuss three essentials that can guide us in our daily choices and decision making. Here is the first…

1. The Supernatural Is Real…So Be Aware of It

Ephesians 6:12 tells us: 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.

This verse is clear that a battle does exist outside of the human realm. All around us, good and evil are at war. If you have ever felt there was an internal or spiritual war occurring in your midst, you were probably right.

Notice three crucial details regarding this battle.

First, it is a significant fight. It is not a leisurely walk. Spiritual warfare is war. If you’ve ever spoken with a person who has served in armed military battle, they do not take it lightly. Some veterans refuse to even speak of what happened during their battles. The graphic events that occurred overwhelm them when they bring the thoughts to memory. My grandpa served on the most badly damaged aircraft carrier that did NOT sink during WWII. He would not speak of that day no matter how much we asked when we were kids.

Our spiritual battles must also be taken very seriously. If our military can spend billions of dollars each year to provide the best training and preparation for battle, can we who battle with heavenly forces pretend no war exists? We must recognize this battle is significant.

Second, it is a spiritual fight. It is not against people. I don’t want anyone to walk out of here thinking that their spiritual battle is against their boss, their teacher, their parents, their roommate, or their kids! We are warring with the devil and his demons. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, it tells us.

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