Okay, I knew that our Spiritual Warfare sermon series would be provocative, perhaps controversial, certainly unsettling. But I had no idea the buzz it would unleash. The reports and comments I’m receiving indicate that you are engaging in deep, spirited conversations about a topic that we Presbyterians too often avoid. Even more interestingly, there have been no “you guys are crazy” kind of comments. Some skepticism maybe, but a general willingness to listen to what scripture teaches and grapple with it. I couldn’t be prouder of you all!
We are half way through the series. I have laid the biblical groundwork for the reality of a spiritual realm and the idea that Jesus’ ministry can be understood in part as a cosmic battle with Satan and his forces. And last week was the “you gotta be kidding me” moment when I showed from scripture how Jesus has empowered us, his Spirit-filled followers, with his authority to carry on this spiritual battle.
Some have requested that I repeat the principles that Jesus modeled when he was involved in spiritual warfare. Here they are:
1. He always functioned under the anointing and direction of the Holy Spirit. 2. He spoke out loud to evil spirits. (They can’t read minds.)
3. With the exception of “Legion” (Mark 5), Jesus never conversed with evil spirits. (He told them to shut up, in fact.)
4. His rebukes were always short. (Not complicated incantations.)
5. He never touched a demon-possessed person (although he frequently touched those whom he healed.)
6. He taught us to pray that the Holy Spirit fill any spaces that were left vacant.
Over the next three weeks, we will get into more detail on how we do battle, spiritually. We will talk about “Taking Up Arms,” “Recon” and “The Battle Plan.” Every one of these messages is, I think, essential for the fully-equipped soldier of the Lord. I pray it will empower and encourage you!
P.S. One of the most important, and sometimes under-appreciated, aspects of being Presbyterian is our form of government. We ordain lay people to the offices of elder and deacon and believe in a shared form of governance that insures mutual accountability. This weekend at all three services, we will ordain our newest officers, another reason and opportunity to give thanks to God.