Navigating the spiritual world
We seem to know very little about the existence and ministry of angels. To most of us angels are more decoration than reality. Angels appear on tombstones, the walls of nurseries, jewelry, renaissance art, and Christmas cards. Angels are usually viewed as very bright with wings on their backs. These caricatures are just that. Nevertheless, the Bible tells us that angels have very special ministries both in Heaven and on earth.
Something To Talk About:
What we need to know about:
- Angels: They were created by God. Colossians 1:16 is referencing angels when it speaks of authorities, rulers, and dominions: “for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.” They have ranks and there are many of them. Although we do not know the exact number, Hebrews 12:22 (ESV) says that they are innumerable. Revelations 5:11 says, “Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne …” They are extremely powerful. When an army sought to destroy God’s people, God answered King Hezekiah’s prayer by sending one angel. In 2 Kings 19:35, we find out what one angel was able to do: “That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers.” They glorify God. The Psalmist in Psalm 103:20 says,”Praise the LORD, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands.” We also see in the Christmas story how they glorified God (Luke 2:14).
- Satan: Satan is the enemy of God. He is a real adversary that we should be aware of; in fact, 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour..” And he is more powerful than we often give him credit for being. In Ephesians 2, the Apostle Paul refers to him as the “prince of the power of the air.” He has power and everything he does is intended to undermine God’s good and perfect plan for humanity. His greatest tool is deceit. He uses lies to catch his prey. Satan has been twisting God’s truth to try to lure people away. Jesus warned us about this: “…He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) But the final fact about Satan offers us good news. Satan will one day face God’s final judgment. The book of Revelation tells us what will happen to the devil and his demons at the end of human history: “Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). The only power the devil has is the power God allows him to have, for a limited time, until Jesus comes again. When Jesus returns, He’s going to put an end to the devil’s authority and power forever and ever.
- What shapes our thinking about angels?
- Why did God create angels? What would you say is the job description of angels?
- What is the difference between the way angels are portrayed in the Bible and the way they are portrayed in art?
- How have angels helped the people of God in times of distress?
- How can angels help us?
- Read Mark 5:1-5. What do the verses so far tell us about the power of our enemy?
- When discussing spiritual warfare – we can easily fall into one of two camps. One is to give too much credit to demons, the other is to discredit them entirely. Which way do you tend to lean when you think about spiritual warfare? What do you think the pitfalls are for each?
- Read Mark: 5:6-8. What does this tell us about the power of Jesus?
- God is All-Powerful, All-Knowing, and Everywhere. Which truth is most comforting for you? How does this compare with Satan?
Take One Thing Home with You:
On this day in 1752, Ben Franklin conducted an experiment that changed the course of history. He had suspected that lightning was an electrical current in nature, and he wanted to see if he was right. So Franklin took a metal key and used a kite to get that key near lightning. When he touched the key, Franklin received a shock. He had made an important discovery that led to unlocking the power of electricity. This discovery ultimately would lead to the development of the light bulb. It also would change the way people interact and revolutionize transportation and industry.
Electricity may be a powerful force, but its power pales in comparison with the spiritual power God has made available to each Believer—not only in the early church but still today. Jesus told His disciples they would receive an amazing kind of power that could transform their lives. It was a supernatural, miracle-working power. The same power of the Holy Spirit is present and available today. He can heal diseases and transform your life through the same power Jesus described.