Week 1

Welcome to the first week of a new series we are beginning today called “Supernatural”. How many of you would have felt comfortable inviting an unchurched friend today? If you are honest, some would have to say that even the title may make you a little nervous. Maybe you are not sure where this is headed. Past experiences in other places might cause you to be afraid things might get a little weird.

Over the next few weeks, we are going to focus on the realm of the supernatural. Admittedly, it is a topic we do not talk about very often. There are really two extremes when it comes to this subject. One is over emphasis. In some places I think they overemphasize the supernatural to the point that it makes people are uncomfortable even talking about it. We don’t even want to be connected because it seems so weird and extreme.

These are the people and churches who think there is a demon under every bush, and they are rebuking and casting out every shadow in their house. Anytime something bad happens they are convinced that it is an attack of satan himself.

In some instances, there is an overemphasis on the supernatural. But on the other hand, there can also be an under emphasis on the supernatural, and I think that is far more common today in most places. There is a reluctance to even talk about the supernatural for fear of being identified as some kind of crazy person.

Have you noticed that Hollywood has no problem talking about the supernatural? They are not at all reluctant to incorporate sorcery, witchcraft, and every form of wickedness they can imagine in their attempt to shock and entertain. My goal over the next few weeks is that we will gain a Biblical perspective on the supernatural world, a world that the Bible speaks about quite plainly.

Today will be more of an overview, then in the coming weeks we will learn about the power of the Holy Spirit, and the role of angels, and demons in our world today. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NIV)

We live in a PHYSICAL world, but there is another world that is just as real, and it is called the SPIRIT world.

According to the Bible, there is a war that is raging in the spirit realm/world. There is the, the Kingdom of Light that opposes the kingdom of darkness. And when we engage in this spiritual battle, we don’t fight with the weapons of this world. We don’t fight with nuclear weapons, or machine guns, or tanks. Instead, we engage in this battle on or knees, through prayer, by faith, as we stand on the Word of God.

There is a very real spiritual battle that is taking place. How do we do battle? Ephesians 6:10 provides this insight. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” – Ephesians 6:10 (NIV) We are not strong enough to win the battle on our own. We need the Lord’s power. We don’t have enough strength or power to come out on top. So, what do we do? “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” – Ephesians 6:11 (NIV)

Do you know you have a spiritual enemy? It is true. His name is Satan, and he hates your guts, and he is planning, and plotting, and scheming to destroy you. He will do whatever he has to do to ruin you. He wants to take you out. He will do whatever it takes to achieve his goal. He plays dirty and he plays to win. That is why you must put on the full armor of God, so you can stand against the devil’s schemes.

“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.” – Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) Our battle is not with flesh and blood. Our battle is against the powers and the principalities of this dark world.

We live in a physical world. There’s so much more to this world than what we see with our physical eyes. There is another world. There is a spiritual world that is just as real, and even more powerful than the physical world you can see. And the influences of the spiritual world have a dramatic impact on our physical world. If you’re going through a battle right now, or if you’re struggling in some way, there are some things you need to remember.

1. We are never ALONE in our battles.

We are never alone in our battles. In fact, there’s an interesting story recorded in scripture in 2 Kings 6. It is the story of when Israel was at war against the king of Aram, and there was a servant who spoke to the prophet Elisha. “When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?’ the servant asked.” – 2 Kings 6:15 (NIV)

This guy is scared to death. He looks out and he sees the enemy forces are everywhere. There were horses, and warriors, and all kinds of weapons and troops. He is looking at this scene and he knows they are outnumbered. They are in trouble. “’Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’” – 2 Kings 6:16 (NIV)

That’s when Elisha, the prophet of God, prayed. This is his prayer…“’Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” – 2 Kings 6:17 (NIV)

God gave Elisha a glimpse into the spiritual world, and suddenly he was able to see God’s angelic warriors were everywhere. He was not in the battle alone. Elisha and his servant were living in the physical world, but in this moment, God gave them a glimpse into the spiritual world to let them know they were not alone.

2. Our prayers are far more POWERFUL than we know.

There may be times when you pray, and you feel like nothing’s happening, but don’t ever forget, your prayers are far more powerful than you know. There’s a great example of this from the Old Testament.

Some of you are familiar with the story of Daniel. Daniel had been praying, and it seemed like nothing was happening. It seemed like his prayers were bouncing off the ceiling. Then one day, an angel came to deliver this message to Daniel…

“Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” – Daniel 10:12 (NIV) From the first day Daniel began to pray, God heard his prayer and God was at work in the spirit world, even though Daniel didn’t know that anything was happening.

The angel went on to say…“But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” – Daniel 10:13-14 (NIV)

Can you imagine this? Daniel prayed, and as soon as he prayed, God heard his prayer, He released His angels, and for twenty-one days there was an epic battle taking place in the spirit realm. When Michael, the archangel showed up, he was able to hold off the evil spirits so this other angel could go to Daniel and say, “God has answered your prayer.”

For twenty-one days there is a very real battle going on the heavens. It is happening right now. But this battle is not against flesh and blood, it’s against the powers and principalities of darkness.

We have a spiritual enemy and Satan is his name. I want you to see five specific things the Bible tells us about our spiritual enemy.

a) Satan works to BLIND the minds of unbelievers.

This very moment, some of you who might say, “I’m not a follower of Christ. I’m not one of Jesus’ disciples.” Some of you might say, “I’m not even sure I believe in God,” and others of you would say, “I definitely don’t believe in God.” Even this very moment, as you hear God’s Words, it is hard for you to pay attention.

Your mind is wandering. You’re thinking of all the things you need to do today. You’re putting together your grocery list. Your mind is wandering. What is that? You could blame it on ADD, or it could be satan trying to blind your mind. He’s trying to stop you from hearing the truth, because if you hear and experience the truth, the truth will change you and the truth will set you free.

Satan is trying to blind the minds of unbelievers. That is what we are told in…“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:4 (NIV) This explains so much. That little “g” god is satan and he is trying to blind our mind so we do not hear the truth.

b) Satan wants to steal GOD’S WORD from us.

He tries to rob us of God’s Word. For example, I am sure many of you can relate to this. There may have been different times in your life, where you would have heard something about God, or you would have heard His word, and it did something inside of you. It piqued some spiritual curiosity. You were kind of spiritually leaning into the things of God, and you thought, “Maybe this is real,” and, “Maybe this is good, and, and maybe I need to embrace this.” Then, you got up the next day, and all those spiritual thoughts were gone. Life went back to normal, and you were wondering, “What just happened?” I can’t even remember what it was. I thought I might go in a different direction. Where did it go? Why did it vanish? What just happened?” Jesus tells us why it vanished.

“When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart.” – Matthew 13:19 (NIV) He blinds the minds of unbelievers. He steals away the word of God.

c) Satan sets traps to ENSNARE us.

He will do whatever he has to do to trap you into a dangerous and destructive life of sin, abuse, addiction, and wickedness of all kinds. You need to know there is a very real enemy who is setting traps to ensnare you. He is cunning, deceptive, conniving and he is very patient as he waits to draw you into his snare. He will find out where you are vulnerable. He will zero in on that area of weakness. He will do whatever he has to do to tempt you, distract you, discourage you, and defeat you spiritually.

For instance, if you’re trying to leave a party lifestyle, as soon as you decide to do that, next day your friends show up with a keg of beer. Satan is at work! If you’re trying to purify your mind, next thing you know there’s some image that crops up in the ads on social media creating lustful thoughts.

Satan knows where you are vulnerable, and he knows when you are vulnerable. And that is exactly when and where your enemy will attack. Some of you can testify! “Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” – 2 Timothy 2:25-26 (NIV) Taken captive, not to do the will of God, but to do the will of satan. Satan wants to blind our minds. He wants to steal God’s Word. He wants to set traps to ensnare us.

d) Satan fights to STOP the work of God in our lives.

For example, if you have a vision to do something for God, watch how satan will try to stop you. You attend a series like we just finished last week, and you decided to sign The Giving Covenant because you want to apply The Treasure Principle in your life. You grasp the idea that God is the Owner and you are the manager of the resources He entrusts to your care. You decide to put Him first in your finances and begin tithing, then the car breaks down or a major appliance dies, and your plan is derailed.

Satan is at work attempting to stop the work of God in your life. You decide you want to have a great marriage. You’re going to pray and read the Bible and go to church together. Then your boss schedules you to work on Sunday, and the tension is your marriage starts to rise, and it seems like the bottom falls out.

You decide to share your faith with someone who needs Jesus. You have been waiting for the right moment. They just asked you a question that opens to door for you. Then their cell phone rings. What is that? It is spiritual opposition. The forces of darkness are trying to stop you from doing what God has called you to do.

Look how plainly this is spelled out in scripture. “We wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:18 (NIV) Satan blinds minds. He attempts to steals God’s truth. He sets up traps. He tries to block God’s work, and finally…

e) Satan plans to DESTROY us.

He intends to do everything he can do to take us out. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) Satan is prowling around looking for a way to destroy you.

You need to understand this. He hates you with more than you can ever imagine. He wants to devour you. He is looking for ways to destroy you. He wants to devour your marriage. He loves divorce. He wants to devour your witness, and destroy your testimony. He wants to take you out with sin and disqualify you from sharing the story of Jesus.

He wants to devour your kids. He loves to get them hooked on drugs. Pornography is one of his favorite weapons and he loves it when people are sleeping around. He will do anything to draw us away from our Heavenly Father. He wants to devour your finances.
He loves debt and financial bondage, so you can’t give, and you always fight and worry about money. He wants to destroy your health. He loves sickness and disease and pain. He wants to destroy your relationship with God. Again, he hates you, and he wants to take you out.

What you see with the natural eyes is not all there is. There is a spirit world, where there is a war going on between the Kingdom of Light versus the kingdom of darkness. It is a spiritual battle. So, what do we do? How do we fight? How do we engage in the battle? The scripture shows us how to engage in this battle.

“Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV)

Let’s break it down. How To Prepare for Spiritual Battle: We’ll start at the head and move to the toe.

1) Put on the HELMET of salvation.

We are not saved because we are good because we are not good. We are not saved because we are righteous because we are not righteous. We are saved, not by our works, but only by the grace of God through faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Because He was perfect, because He sacrificed Himself, because He shed His blood, He purchased our redemption. We are saved because of who Jesus is and what He did.

When you know that, your mind is protected. You can rest in Christ, and you recognize no one can snatch you out of God’s hand. Your head is protected because you are wearing the helmet of salvation.

2) Put on the BREASTPLATE of righteousness.

Scripture says that our heart is deceptive above all things. Your heart will lie to you. Your heart will lead you into unrighteousness. The breastplate of righteousness protects your deceitful heart. You are not righteous on your own because you are good. The Bible says there is no one righteous, not even one.

Scripture says that your best attempt at righteousness is like filthy rags before God, but because He put on the breastplate of righteousness, when He sees you, He sees the breastplate. He doesn’t see your sin.

Just like when the prodigal son in Luke 15 left home, took all his father’s money and blew it in a party lifestyle. He woke up one day in the pig pen. He was broken. His friends were all gone because the money was gone. He decided to return to his father’s house.

When he came home, his father put a robe righteousness around his son. When the father looked at his son, he didn’t see the filth and the sin, he saw the robe. In Christ we have the breastplate of righteousness. When God looks at us, He sees the righteousness of Christ. Then, when your spiritual enemy hurls fiery darts and accusations in your direction, you can deflect them by putting on the shield of faith.

3) Pick up the SHIELD of faith.

Why do you have so many negative thoughts. Why so much negative self-talk?
These are the fiery darts of the evil one. Satan whispers, “You’re no good. You are nothing. You’re pathetic. You will never make it. After all that you have done, how could God love you? Do you think God really loves you? He’ll never use you. Your marriage will always be bad. You’ll always be broke. You’ll always be sick. You’re always going to be miserable. You are nothing.”

You can pick up the shield of faith, and you say, “I do not believe the accusations from the evil one. I won’t listen to these broken soundtracks anymore. I will listen to the Word of God. I will believe I am who Christ says I am. He says I am blessed coming and blessed going out. He says that I’m an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb.

He says that greater is the One who lives inside of me than the one who lives in this world. He says that God has plans to bless me and prosper me to give me a hope and a future. He says that God is working in all things to bring about good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

4) Put on the BELT of truth.

The belt of truth sets us free from the father of lies. The Bible tells us that satan is the deceiver. The belt of truth enables us to effectively confront the lies of our enemy. We are prepared to run into the battle when we…

5) Put on the SHOES of the Gospel of peace.

Your feet are planted in the peace of God. And when others look at you in the middle of the battle, they will wonder how you can be so calm. You can experience this supernatural peace that goes beyond anyone’s ability to understand.

6) Pick up the SWORD of the Spirit.

The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, which is our weapon of choice. Study God’s Word. Read it. Memorize it. Mediate on it and apply it to your life. That is how you wield the sword of the Spirit. That is what Jesus did in Matthew 4.

When Jesus was tempted by Satan, how did He fight back? He fought back with the Word of God. Three different temptations, three different times, Jesus said, “It is written …” He quoted the Word of God. He resisted the devil, and eventually, the devil fled from Him, and then angels the came and ministered to Jesus.

Please understand, there is more to this world than what our eyes can see. The is a spiritual realm, a spiritual world, that you cannot see with your physical eyes. We are never ever alone in these battles. The Kingdom of Light is doing battle against the kingdom of darkness.

We don’t battle with the weapons of this world because these battles are fought in the spiritual realm. Your prayers are more powerful than you know.

As believers, we do not fight FOR victory (Jesus has already won the battle), we fight FROM a place of ultimate victory!

The battle truly does belong to the Lord.

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4 (NIV)