Supernatural: What We See Isn’t What We’ve Got


Take a moment and read from Ephesians 6:10-18

I have always had an interest in the supernatural.  My mom was a children’s librarian in our public library.  I discovered their collection on the books of the supernatural and I studied all about the lore of the creatures of darkness like vampires, poltergeists, and werewolves.  The differentiation between good and evil always seemed so clear cut.  But in recent years, the lines have blurred.  Characters in comics like Blade and Hellboy, each presented a monster who was struggling to overcome their darkness.  TV shows and movies like Supernatural follows Dean and Sam Winchester as they face the darkness and many times, compromise their souls to achieve some semblance of victory.

Of course this is all make believe.  Because we can’t prove it by the scientific formula, the conclusion is the supernatural doesn’t exist.  It is fairy tales and anyone who believes otherwise is merely deluded.  Of course there are also those who disagree vehemently too.  Don’t believe me?  Visit any message board on the internet where believers and skeptics abound and you’ll find extensive arguments.  Even among churches, differing denominations and even within denominations, we find ourselves drawn off course; focusing on what divides us and viewing other people as our enemy.

Consider the example from history where it used to be that before a journey ship captains would have a worship service for the crew before departure.  One story tells of a captain who invited a Presbyterian (a Calvinist) to preach this day.  The pastor refused stating, “I cannot do that for you.  As you well know I am a Presbyterian; a Calvinist and you are a Methodist; a Wesleyan.  I could easily say something to hurt your feelings.”  “Sir,” was the reply, “what we would like you to do is to come and preach against the Devil!”  (Walter Knight.  Master Book of New Illustrations).

This is where our divisions now have us.  We are more concerned about theology and leadership and programs in the Church of Jesus Christ, we’ve almost forgotten Paul’s words to the Ephesian church, “...For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…” (6:12)  We care more about politics and opinions than “against principalities, against powers (6:12).”  The Bible makes a firm point the stuff of the supernatural is in fact, truly natural.

The story of the attempt to capture the prophet Elisha is important for us to get a proper perspective.  2 Kings 6:15-17 ESV  When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?"  (16)  He said, "Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."  (17)  Then Elisha prayed and said, "O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see." So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”  The servant of Elisha couldn’t see what Elisha saw.  He thought the world was only tangible.  But Elisha saw the whole picture - the supernatural is natural.

Look through the New Testament, and not only do the writers make clear there is a supernatural world, but that demons and a personal devil are part of it.  Consider a few verses to look up later: Matthew 4:1-11; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 5:18.  Theologian and missionary, Francis Foulkes writes, “We should be hesitant to regard ourselves as wiser than the apostles and our incarnate Lord concerning the unseen world (172, Tyndale Commentary).

For the next few weeks we’re going to delve into more detail on we exist and thrive in this supernatural world God has placed us in.  We’ll tackle more about the devil and demons, the role of angels and a bit more about how we are called to deal with the supernatural reality.  There are a few observations that I think are important to make regarding our knowledge of the supernatural:  
  1. The war is actually over - Jesus defeated the devil on Easter.
  2. The devil is not equal to God.
  3. The OT and NT are not at odds.  God’s revelation at work.
  4. On our own, we are no match for the devil.  But there is a way -

Ephesians goes on to talk about the “armor of God” and each of these is important but there is a crucial part we’ve got live by and understand.  It is the one thing which gets us into more trouble than anything else.  It got us in trouble as 2 year olds and 16 year olds.  It got us in trouble with our parents and our spouse.  We don’t like to follow orders/rules/law/etc… We are told to “be strong” which in Greek is a passive voice: we are to BE MADE STRONG.  This is something Jesus is going to do TO US.  

But there is a second part of our orders are to stand (stete), literally a military term meaning to “hold our ground.” The armor and the sword of God’s Word are to be in our hands and with them, and the truth and reality that Jesus overcame death on Easter - then we will win the day.  We may be bloodied and battered.  We drop in the breach but we shall overcome because our power is not natural but supernatural - our hope is not in our arms but in nail hands of God’s Son.

May I Ask? Have you asked Jesus to make you strong? What part of the armor do you need to "put on?" Are you standing? Backing off? or rushing in? What would it look like in your life to simply "hold your ground?"


Pastor's Note: This sermon series is inspired by Craig Groeshel's sermon series at www.livechurch.tv and their free resources at open.church. While there are similarities, the majority of the work is mine.




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