Hello Brothers & Sisters,
It was good to be back in the pulpit this past Sunday. I addressed a topic that has become increasingly difficult to talk about in our post-Christian culture, which generally tends to scoff at the idea of the devil, demons, and spiritual warfare. I mentioned that 40% of Christians in the US believe that the devil is merely a symbol of evil, not a personal agent of evil. About 20% aren’t sure. This is a disturbing trend and it reveals that a growing number of Christians are denying something that the Bible teaches is a fundamental aspect of reality. How can we oppose the real enemy if the church doesn’t believe he exists?
In a message entitled Not Against Flesh & Blood, I began by sharing a personal experience with the appearing of a dark figure in my college dorm room. I believe this demonic attack was in response to my commitment to passionately pray with a sense of urgency for family, friends, my church, and some of the worst of sinners. I was even praying for rock stars that were associated with the occult and Satanism. Needless to say, I had gotten the attention of the “principalities and powers” (Eph 6:12). I didn’t grow up in a “charismatic” church, but this event definitely impacted the way I view prayer.
From there I invited us to consider what the Scriptures teach regarding the spiritual fight we’re in as followers of Jesus. I said that our worldview will shape the way we pray. If we believe that everything happens because God wants/wills it (even evil things), then we are far less likely to revolt against evil in the world. We will probably not see the real enemy (Satan), pray with a sense of urgency, or pray in the way that we ought. So, accepting that God is revealed in Jesus as the One who stands apart from evil, and calls us to oppose the darkness in all its forms, has made it possible for me to see that we’re in a real battle of the wills. That’s what I hope we will embrace. We can shape the future, for better or for worse. We can act or not act. We can engage or disengage. Our decisions matter.
Remember, we pray “thy will be done” (as Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer) because clearly God’s will is not always done. Therefore, God calls us to cry out for more of the Kingdom through prayer and join him in resisting the devil (James 4:7). May we be a church that acknowledges this truth and corporately utilizes prayer as a spiritual weapon against the forces of darkness in the heavenly realms. Let us passionately pray with a sense of urgency for our family, friends, our church, and those who have great power to influence the world around us.
Finally, if you’re in town this weekend, please join us for worship at 10:30 am as we kick off a 6-week summer series called, Knowing Jesus – A Worship Series for Saints & Sinners. You will find a summary of the series in a bulletin insert this Sunday. The first sermon in the series is called, Nothing Greater Than Jesus. I look forward to worshipping with you as we consider what it means to make knowing Jesus our greatest passion and pursuit in life.
Grace & Peace,
P.S. Grantham Church will be offering meeting space to Eileen Gardner, a Professional Counselor and recent graduate of Messiah’s Graduate Counseling Program. Eileen is a long-time member of Mechanicsburg BIC Church. She will be meeting with people at Grantham Church on Tuesdays, from 8am -12 pm and Thursdays, 5pm -9 pm. Eileen will be offering a special reduced rate to clients associated with our church. Interested in scheduling an appointment? Contact Eileen at email@example.com or call 717-526-0943. Questions? Contact Pastor Kelly @firstname.lastname@example.org.
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