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Sermon by Pastor Gene

WHAT ABOUT THE SUPERNATURAL

DEVIL OR ANGEL

Good morning everyone, welcome to Strait gate Church. If this is your first time here we are happy to have you with us today. If you have your bibles handy we are going to look at Ephesians 6:12, I am using the KJV but you can use the NIV also if you like. The KJV says "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high placeses."

There has been a revival in our day of interest in the spirit world. While there has always been interest in the supernatural, with the rise of Rationalism that interest was somewhat diminished, at least in our culture. But Rationalism does not have all the answers, and along with this, realization has become a renewed interest in the unseen realm. The role of the supernatural has been given great publicity by the New Age Movement. There has also been a rise of occultic and satanic cults in society. There is an organization for those who practice witchcraft. You can even dial a hot-line number to be instantly placed in touch with your own "personal" psychic advisor.

"WHAT ABOUT THE SUPERNATURAL" ? Is there an unseen realm populated by spirit beings? if so, who are these spirit beings? The Bible teaches clearly that there "IS" a spirit world. This world is populated, not by ghosts, but by spirit beings which have been created by "GOD". We know them as angels and demons. These spirit beings were created by God to serve Him and to do His bidding. Satan, who was originally one of the chief angels, led a rebellion against God. In Isaiah 14:12-17, It says "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! v-13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will set also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: v-14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the most High. v-15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. v-16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms: v-17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof, that opened not the house of his prisoners?

We read how this beautiful and anointed angel wanted to be like God. He became exalted in his own pride and was thrown out of heaven. As he was cast down he took a third of the angels with him. These followers of Satan are the demonic enemy.

From the Scripture, we know a number of things about these spirit beings. They were created by God. Colossians 1:16 says, "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him:

The invisible spirit beings, refer to angels. God created them. These beings are sexless. Speaking of angelic beings, Jesus says in Matthew 22:30, "For in the "resurrection" ( talking about us ) they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven." Angels are neither male nor female. These beings never die, they are eternal. And we will be like them.

In Luke 20:36 It says, "Neither can they die any more; for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

Angels have no limit to their existence. These beings, though they are eternal, are not omniscient." having infinite awareness". Jesus, speaking of His return, says in Mark 13:32, "But of that day or hour no one knows, not even angels in heaven." Concerning the gospel, in 1 Peter 1:12 we read that there are "Things into which angels long to look." In other words, there are things angels do not know. But these beings are powerful. We read in Isaiah 37:36 how one angel killed 185,000 men in one night. It reads, "Then the angel of the Lord went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses".

Psalm 103:20 says, "Bless the Lord, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word!" They are not omnipotent like God, but are far more powerful than any man.

Angels are active in the lives of believers. In Daniel 6:22 we read that God sent His angel to shut the lions' mouths and save Daniel from certain death. In 1Kings 19:5 says of the angel ministering to Elijah when he was in the midst of despair and distress. In Acts 5:19 and 12:8-11 we read of how an angel twice delivered Peter from prison. And we also find in Scripture that the numbers of angels are huge. There are millions, if not billions of angelic beings in existence all over this world.

We also know from Scripture that there is both rank and organization of angelic beings. Our Scripture today talks about "rulers, powers, world forces of this darkness, spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Rulers and powers refer to different ranks of angelic beings.

There are far too many references in Scripture to these spirit beings than we are able to share in this brief message. I encourage you to do your own study of angelic and demonic beings. With all emphasis in Scripture, however, we should be more than superficially acquainted with these beings. With perhaps billions of unseen angels encircling us at all times, we should not only be aware of their presence, but also aware of their activity in our midst. You see, none of them are neutral towards us. There are some who are friendly towards us. But there are others who are not. In fact, they are extremely hostile. They are our enemies. We must understand who they are, how they work, and how to combat their influence in our lives.

From Scripture we understand that there is a spirit world. We have seen that there are unseen forces that do good and others that do evil. We have also seen that none of these spirits are neutral. Here lies our problem. The reality of the spirit world brings us face to face with another reality. It is the reality of spiritual warfare. It is important to think biblically about demons because all of us, without exception, must endure the attack of demons.

Our text emphasizes this warfare: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."

We are in a struggle. Our struggle is not against other humans, but it is against spiritual forces of wickedness, which are demonic powers. This conflict is a warfare. It is a struggle against these forces. And we, like it or not, are placed in the role as a spiritual soldier, the choice is between becoming an effective soldier or becoming a defeated casualty. It should be obvious from our text today that these demon spirits are set against us as well. Their purpose, like their leader Satan, is to fight against God and His work. Satan is a liar, so are they. Satan is a deceiver, so are they. Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. So do they.

In John 10:10, The thief cometh not , but for to steal and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

This is their purpose. How do they accomplish this purpose? What is their strategy? What are their schemes? Well, As far as their attack against Christians is concerned, the Scripture reveals that the primary place of their assault is on our minds. Demons seek to influence the way we think. the way we act, and in not so good habits. When they can accomplish that, they can then control our behavior. Proverbs 23:7 says concerning our behavior, "For as he thinks within himself, so he is." If Satan and his subordinates can get us to believe a lie, if he can deceive us, he can then make us live our lives on the basis of that lie. This is a powerful strategy. If demonic influence can convince that we cannot overcome a particular sin, for instance, then we will continue to live in that sin. If demonic influence can convince us that a certain circumstance will surely defeat us, then we will program ourselves to be defeated.

Expectations count for so very much in anyone's life. Very often do we receive what we expect, because those expectations control how we respond and how we act. If you believe you are a failure, then you will act like a failure, and become a failure. "Expectations". You might use another word "faith". The two are very similar. How are we to combat the demonic activity which comes against us? If we are in a warfare, are there any weapons we can use to defeat the enemy? Since we are engaged in a supernatural conflict, what are the supernatural weapons available to us?

The weapons available to us consist of two powerful offensive weapons and a number of defensive pieces of armor. In Ephesians 6:11-13, v-11 it says, Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. v-12 for we wrestle not against flesh and blood. but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of the world, spiritual wickedness in high places. v-13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

The armor of God is mentioned. There are a number of pieces of armor which are given to protect us. There is a girdle of truth, a breastplate of righteousness, a shield of faith, and a helmet of salvation. Additionally, there are gospel boots. These are all defensive in nature. Then there is the sword of the Spirit. This offensive weapon is defined as "the Word of God." And finally, there is another offensive weapon "prayer and petition." We attack the enemy through prayer and a use of the Word of God. We rebuff his attacks by being clothed in the armor of God. What is in view here is a lifestyle in which we live for Jesus and rely on His Word and on prayer.

The function of His Word and prayer is to change our minds, to transform them into minds that think biblically. The function of the armor is to cause our lives to be such that there is no place for Satan to strike. When we are walking in truth, righteousness, salvation, and faith, the flaming missiles of the evil one simply bounce off. There are no gaps in that armor.

But there is one overriding reason why all of this supernatural weaponry is utilized. The reason is "so that you may be able to resist." The main method which brings us success against the attack of demonic powers is to resist.

In James 4:7 we read, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Our strategy in using the armor and weaponry of God is to submit to God and to resist the devil. We are given the promise that if we will do these things then the devil will flee. This is the truth of God.

We must remember that one of the devil's biggest lies is that he can do more to us than he really can. Demons are real. They can do terrible things. We must not make the mistake of acting like they don't exist. But we also must not make the mistake of assigning to them more power than they have. While we cannot defeat them in our own strength, as we resist them in the power of God they must flee. This does not mean that our struggle is any less a real conflict. Sometimes the battle is difficult. There are times when we must work hard at prayer. There are times when we must labor long and hard at diligently searching the Scriptures. There are times when we must discipline our own lives to live in obedience, careful obedience, to the Word of God.

As we stand against the enemy, and resist his attack in this way, then he has no choice but to leave us alone. But there is ample evidence that a Christian can be under such attack that he is so oppressed that his condition could be called bondage. This oppression may require the assistance of other believers to help. They may need to pray for you and encourage you and keep standing with you over time for you to find total freedom in prayer. The spirit world is a reality. Spiritual warfare is a reality. In Christ, victory can be a reality. But we must clothe ourselves in the armour of God, and we must use the powerful weapons that are provided by God.

Let us pray. Father God, we come to you today in prayer to give us the strength to fight against the attacts of the devil in our lives. We know that sometimes it can be deffecult. But as we put on our full armor and carry your sword we can defeat his attacks on us. Be with us in difficulte times that we may be in your perfect will, that we will stand up strong with sword in hand and brest plate on, in God's name we pray. A-men

Pastor Gene

You know nothing, until you've known the love of God