I had a conversation with a friend recently about Evil. We see more and more movies coming out with Evil themes, in fact, there is a TV series called ‘Evil’ that airs in primetime on CBS. To many Americans, Evil is as entertaining as some Marvel Comic movies and their fascination with Evil has almost become a religion. In the Church, we find fewer and fewer sermons and teachings on Demonic activity. I am not sure if this is a pendulum swing in the opposite direction from a few years ago where Demons were under every rock.
I remember my mother getting into a group whose emphasis was all on Demons and this obsession stagnated their growth as Christians. Yet today, we don’t mention Demons much because we don’t want our reputations to be considered fanatical. That’s one reason; the other is because we are ignorant about Demons. Today’s emphasis is not so much about fighting Evil as it is about growing strong in self-development.
I think this raises a question about how the emphasis we place on the Bible affects how we react to it. For example, the idea of form or function comes into play when we assess just how we process the Scripture. Hebrew thought has an emphasis on ‘How do I live this Scripture?’ Whereas Christians will ask, “What do I think or feel about this Scripture?” In the Hebrew world, Faith and action are inseparable. This is exactly what the Apostle James was talking about when he wrote:
James 2:26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
Bringing all of this back to the reality of Demons … how do we deal with them other than acknowledging the historical fact they appeared quite often in the life of Jesus and the Apostle Paul? Reading about Demons and acknowledging their presence in our lives are two separate issues. The form is acknowledging they exist, but the function is how do we deal with them in real life?
What I find fascinating is that Jesus and many of the writers of the New Testament dealt with Demons persistently and Jesus said some Evil entities would not depart a person unless it was by Prayer. I think of the great gun debate and how some are villainizing guns in our Country. It is true that guns are used in killing innocent people, but the people using guns in these mass shootings are not normal people. If there is any mention of the shooter in these incidents, they are always described as needing mental health care. Is it only mental health or is there Demonic activity?
The question no one is asking, “is there a Spiritual component here in all these killings that would border on Demonic activity?” I think we are afraid to even ask that question for fear of sounding like a lunatic. Well, if the Demonic activity in the Bible changed a person’s behavior and outcome in life, why couldn’t that also be a reason for some of these insane acts of violence we have in our world today? I have always had this question about Demons: did the Demons in the day of Jesus retire or go on vacation permanently? Of course, the answer is no, they still are on earth, and they are still actively wreaking havoc among us. The only difference today is they operate without being acknowledged by society. What is even more troubling is that the Church doesn’t acknowledge them, either.
This is one more reason I think the emphasis from our pulpits is missing the point of ministry. Ministry isn’t about getting people more in tune with themselves, it is getting them tuned in to God. The fine tuning of finding yourself and perfecting yourself is a bogus emphasis according to Scripture. We are not to be more knowledgeable about ourselves because we are to deny all of that, pick up our Cross, and follow Jesus. So, tell me why are we spending so much time finding our best life now?
I have been writing about this wayward direction in the Church for some time now, but few people really respond. Why? Good question. I think it’s because as the Apostle Paul said, they like the tickling of the sound of success in their ears. That success is about themselves … not about the Lord.
In the Last Days there will be a form of Godliness, but they will deny the Power:
1 Timothy 3:5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
That Power is the submission to the uncompromising Dedication to the Jesus of The Cross. The Biblical Jesus is not the cultural Jesus we hear preached all the time. The Biblical Jesus who is coming to Judge the world is coming as King. That’s right I said it, “coming to Judge the world.” It is His next move on the timeline of God, and we are totally missing that emphasis in the Church. This is the emphasis that gets the Church to Watch and Pray. We don’t get encouraged to Watch and Pray when we are encouraged to settle in to finding our satisfaction now. Sorry folks, but American Christianity is not ‘battle readying’ their hearts and minds for a Last Days stance before the Lord Returns. That is my bottom line. Go back to the form versus the function argument in this blog, and you will get the point.
We need to get our hearts and minds back into the emphasis of the Scripture, and that would include the teaching on Standing Against the Evil in Our Day.
Keeping Life Honest and Truthful … Larry Kutzler
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