Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
Life is not always what it seems to be. There are battles going on that we don’t see, schemes being put into play, and even protection we’re not aware of.
We’re in the middle of a war and it’s to be taken seriously. There’s no getting around the fact that God’s enemy, our enemy, Satan, is at work to destroy the plans of our Creator. We can’t stand by idly and allow him to take out families, marriages, ministries, and ultimately souls. We need to open our eyes.
The thing is, this isn’t an evenly matched war. Satan is not the evil version of God. He doesn’t have the might of God, the knowledge or the abilities of God. He’s incapable of victory. The strength of the Lord is our strength. If we take up the armor He’s provided for us, we have victory. We will prevail against all attacks.
We’ll talk more about the armor we’ve been given over the next few days. In the meantime, consider what it means to be on God’s side during this war.
The First Letter of John
1 John 2: 18-27 18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.t21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.25 And this is the promise that he made to ust—eternal life. 26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
It will never be my intention to scare you, but there are certain warnings in God’s Word that need to be looked at. John thought it was important enough to point out the existence of antichrists that he spent a good portion of his first letter warning about them.
There are those who oppose the gospel of Jesus Christ and seek to lead His followers astray. Though we’d like them to be easily identifiable through something like their black cowboy hat, it isn’t that simple. Though we’d like to be able to tell who they are based on the fact that they’re “out there” saying hateful things about Jesus, it’s not true. They are among us, posing as our brothers and sisters. They say things much like what we say. They call themselves Christians but their intentions are not to follow Christ. Their intentions are rather to keep others from following Him.
So how can we spot someone who is an antichrist if they look just like a Christian in some cases? There is one test given by John to his readers. They deny that Jesus is the Christ. The simple fact is that they are called antichrists because they are against Christ. If someone is opposed to believing that Jesus is the Son of God, sent into the world to redeem God’s people, then he is an antichrist. Don’t get this mixed up with The Antichrist who will come as the embodiment of all that is evil. These are individuals who reject the gospel yet try to look like they belong with Christians as they work to destroy. It was true in John’s time and it’s true in ours. Be prepared for lies by knowing what the Truth is.
Angels and demons
James 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
You believe in God. Good. But is that enough? Even the demons believe in God. They believe in His existence, because they know without a doubt that He exists. But do they surrender to Him? Do they get to live in His presence?
How about you? Do you just believe in God or do you surrender to Him? It’s not enough to believe in the existence of God, as we see by the fact that even His enemies believe. Belief that there is a God falls far short of the gospel. In order to live in the presence of God, we have to put our faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. This is where the demons fail. They believe there is a God, but they don’t trust in His Son for salvation. They try to be gods themselves.
Trying to work our way into heaven instead of taking on the righteousness of Christ is trying to be God. It’s trying to put ourselves in His place. If we do this, we’re no better off than the demons, who believe in God but shudder at the very thought of Him. What separates angels and demons? Not belief, but faith.
Angels and demons
2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;
How could a perfect God who is incapable of evil create demons? Why would He even do such a thing? The fact of the matter is some angels, the heavenly beings God created to carry out His plan, were rebellious and would rather gain power than serve the One who created them. Because God is just, those angels were cast away from His presence, and we now refer to them as demons.
But before we bid them good riddance, let’s take note of what their sin really was. The rebellious angels wanted to be like God, as did their leader Lucifer. Their arrogance cost them. But what did the first humans choose in the Garden of Eden? Rather than obeying God, they wanted to be like Him by knowing good and evil. They chose the same sin as the demons. And so do we.
Every time we choose our own preferences and comforts over what God wants, we’re choosing to be in the place of God. Aren’t we? Think about how many sins start with pride as their root cause and then boil down what pride really is. Pride in our hearts is the desire to be like God rather than submitting to Him. If God didn’t spare angels for doing such a thing, what makes us think we deserve exemption from His judgment? Thank God for His grace!
Angels and demons
Colossians 2:18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind
Do you believe in angels? Sometimes we get mixed up in what we (and others) believe about the existence of angels over what we (and others) believe about God Himself. The Bible is very clear that angels are real, but they are not meant to be the focus of our attention. They’re just the messengers. (Revelation 19:10)
The truth is, however, we can start to think more about angels watching over us (as evidenced by so many bumper stickers) than we think about our heavenly Father who watches over us. It’s He who sends the angels to guard us. (Psalm 91:11-12) They’re just doing the job they were sent to do. So why do we stop short of worshiping God for how He loves us and worship instead the means by which He shows us?
Idolizing angels isn’t a new concept. Apparently it was a big enough issue to cause Paul to bring it up in his letter to the Colossians. He warned them about only following sound doctrine and staying away from teachers who say that the way to God is through self-deprivation and angel worship, as well as going on about visions (but that’s another whole subject for another series!).
The point is that God alone is worthy of our worship. It’s right to believe that angels are real and that God uses them to carry out His plans, but it’s not ok to worship the messenger rather than the Sender. To God alone be the glory.
Angels and Demons
Mark 12:25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven
How are angels different from humans? How is it that we’re “a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8:5)? The impression we get from the Bible is that angels and humans are quite different, but how? And why?
Angels were all created by God with specific reasons in mind. They are sent out as messengers, protectors, and even warriors. They fulfill God’s will in a different way that we do. When speaking to some religious people of His day, Jesus compared resurrected humans to being more like angels than what we are here on earth. We will no longer marry, as marriage is an earthly institution with purposes that are unnecessary in heaven. Our heavenly bodies will be free from disease and injury, much like angelic beings. We will be made whole in our new bodies, there will be no more sinning, no more hurting.
But it’s important to note that we will be like the angels in heaven, not angels. We don’t become angels when we die, contrary to some cartoons. We will still be distinct from the angels, carrying out our own tasks different from theirs. We will worship God forever like the angels, but not as angels. We’ll be coworkers, so to speak, serving God however He directs us. Nothing will be done in vain.
Angels and Demons
Colossians 1:16 For byt him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
Have you ever wondered where angels and demons come from? You picture the stuff that’s in the movies with the spiritual realm at battle, angels on one side and demons on the other…but when did they come into being? Have they always been there?
A biblical truth to hold onto when it comes to anything is that God created all things. All things, to include the spiritual beings that are all around, in heaven and on earth. God’s messengers, the angels, were created by Him to do His will. Likewise, demons were created by God, but they chose to disobey Him and were cast out of heaven. Though evil, they were still created by God. How does that change the way you think about demons?
Just as we were created with purpose, angels were created with specific tasks and attributes as well. They have characteristics different from those of humans, but they are nonetheless created beings of God. They reside in heaven, out of heaven, and anywhere that God sends them. It’s worth taking a deeper look at what angels are and what they are not before forming our view of them.