Summary: Sermon 3 of 3 on the Survivor series. This Sermon is about doubt and faith.
Conflict In Your Heart
There is a battle going on for your heart
We begin this morning with the story of a boy who is possessed by a demon.
That sounds a bit dramatic doesn’t it.
Demons are certainly a dramatic concept. Right? A bit antiquated, old fashioned, and out of step with scientific knowledge - but dramatic! Well, Maybe not as antiquated as you might think.
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.
The apostle Paul writes of a spiritual battle involving much more than just flesh and blood.
Most people understand this - especially today. There is a great emphasis on angels and spiritual beings
Rather than dealing with speculation and popular views let’s go to the source of all spiritual things.
Let me tell you what God says about this spiritual battle for your heart
14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them.
15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
16 are you arguing with them about?“he asked.
17 A man in the crowd answered, , I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.
18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.“
19 unbelieving generation,“Jesus replied, long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.“
20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, long has he been like this?“childhood,“he answered.
22 has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.“
23 “‘If you can’?“said Jesus. is possible for him who believes.“
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!“
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. deaf and mute spirit,“he said, command you, come out of him and never enter him again.“
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, ’s dead.“
27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, couldn’t we drive it out?“
He replied, kind can come out only by prayer.“
The Great Spiritual Battle
Frank Peretti writes of this battle in the book titled Present Darkness“
It opens with a description of a skirmish involving an angel of light and a demon of darkness. I regard this as powerful imagery and an allegory of sorts. In other words there is much truth here in a narrative which is fictional.
Make no mistake - Demon’s are real; Satan is real; and there is a real battle going on.
Sometimes the spiritual battle is bold and sometimes it is very subtle and beneath the surface of what appears to be normal. Kind of like the difference between WWII and the war“which followed with the Soviet Union.
In one there are raging battles involving artillery, war planes, bombs, bullets, and blood. In the other there is behind the scenes maneuvering, propaganda, political posturing with lots of subterfuge, trickery and terrorism.
Where there is openness towards spiritual things - the battle is visible. Where there is an attitude of rational scientific thinking the battle is subtle and hidden.
I had the occasion to travel to India in 1996. During that trip several of us visited a village near Madras. We wanted to learn about a people group called the “- a tribe of low-caste Indians that lived at the bottom of the social strata.
Eric Derry (our missions minister), Toni Wright (a prayer warrior on the trip with us), and I sat on a low cot in the middle of the village. It had been drug from a near by hut and placed under a tree in the center of what might be called main street. Around us, about 15-20 feet away, stood a small group of villagers. We talked to some of them for a while about their village and their way of life.