Adam Hince

The musings of Syndal Baptist Church's Gen Y and Beyond Pastor

Good vs Evil :: An unseen battle shaping the visible world.

Posted on | July 12, 2010 | 1 Comment

Even as I write that heading – there is a part of me that just thinks it sounds a little more like science fiction than reality! But … as those who were at Syndal Baptist Church last night learned – it is something which the bible challenges us to believe and engage in.

Some of the things that are said in the bible Good and Evil are…

–          Both have been there from the beginning of creation. The story of the Garden of Eden introduces both – with “evil” personified in a snake, reminding us that evil can be subtle, hidden and even dismissed easily. Followers of Jesus need to choose to be aware and conscious – without living in fear.

–          The stories of Job and Daniel teach us that the battle between good and evil is read and tense … a genuine fight, whose implications have tangible effects on life as we see it. We must be careful of two extremes.

One extreme being a belief that “everything is the devils fault!”. There is a danger in giving evil more credit than it deserves – there are lots of reasons that bad things happen – and while “evil” (personified often as the devil or Satan) is certainly one influence, fallen humans, a fallen world and at times an active and redeeming God all play their parts. The other extreme is the belief that either the devil doesn’t exist, or has no power. I’ve talked to a number followers of Jesus lately who hold this belief – and it’s one that I strongly disagree with.

–          The stories of Jesus time on earth are often punctuated by little battles between good and evil. Jesus was strong enough for the very best that evil could throw at him, or at any human. He was wiser, stronger and  more powerful than any of the demons he encounters – and loving and gracious to enough to both set people free from the influence of evil and bring healing and restoration. Importantly  – the stories of Jesus separate healing from “deliverance” (a word used to describe what happens when someone has an evil spirit removed).

–          The book of Revelation tells many stories – one being the culmination of this battle between good and evil. This is not a battle that “good” wins, but rather a battle that “God” wins.  The best thing for people to do with this battle in mind, is get & stay as close to Jesus as they can.

The Book of Acts tells several specific stories about battles between good and evil, with the reality of both being the sub plot to the WHOLE story.  In Acts 19:13-17, this story is told…

“A group of Jews was travelling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. 15 But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.  17 The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored.”

 

What did these seven sons do wrong and what would they have learned from the experience about the battle between good and evil?

 1.      Good vs Evil … it’s not a game.

I think that these boys were a little overconfident, and inexperienced in their decision making. They did not know seem to really grasp what was going on. Stories of Jesus working this way were well told, and the legend of Paul’s work and the Apostles would only have added to it. But it seems that they themselves lacked first hand, accurate knowledge. You cannot borrow someone else’s experience in life!

Next time?  I reckon they would be more humble, and take it more seriously.

Not humble to the evil, but humble before God.

2.      Good vs Evil… its real, and sometimes complex.

 A lot of the Devils work is permitted simply through the absence of awareness. Neither total ignorance nor totally obsession are healthy – but as with all things there is a balance we should seek after.

 Next time?  I reckon they would be more aware.

Theology is word used to describe our knowledge of God. It is built from the bible, from experience (our own and others) and from reason (our intellect and collected wisdom).  All followers of Jesus need a “theology” that is growing, yet secure. That theology should shape our awareness of even that which we cannot see.

3.      Good vs Evil… not something best battled out alone.

As with all things followers of Jesus might engage in … its always “better together”. The more isolated we are, the more alone we are … the more vulnerable we are. There is safety in numbers – more to keep watch, more to pray, more to protect. Its especially helpful when those “numbers” are experience, knowledge and strength that you lack.

Next time? I reckon they would make sure they weren’t fighting alone.

What do you think about this?

I must confess – its hard not to learn about the battle between good and evil without thinking of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or any of the many films devoted to it. The bible tells many stories about it – but those stories aren’t Gods way of scaring people into beleiving in Him. I think that’s important to acknowelge. The over arching lesson I am left with is that while there is much I don’t yet understand about the battle between good and evil and its effect on my life… the bible challenges me and invites me to know Jesus as best I can, to trust him as much as possible and depend on Him as a protector and helper in ways that perhaps I will never see.

More later in the week!

Adam.

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Comments

One Response to “Good vs Evil :: An unseen battle shaping the visible world.”

  1. Andrew
    July 12th, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

    I have seen the effects of the demonic realm on a person’s life. For a long time I ministered to a young non-Christian man who had strong involvement in the new age and the occult. His beliefs had left him open to demonic influence. It was many months of meeting each week before we discovered exactly what was happening.

    Despite some very lucid moments as we would talk to him, once we began to pray in the name of Jesus with him, he would become confused, agitatated and aggressive. It eventually became apparent that he was indeed possesed by an unclean spirit. Once we realised this, we were led to do battle with this spirit through prayer and he was eventually delivered from the demonic influence. He was then soundly saved and is growing stronger as a Christian every time we see him.

    As a result of this and a bunch of other encounters, I am very aware of the presence of the spiritual realm however I have to agree with your comment not to try and attribute all things to a spiritual cause. Not all illness (physical or psycological) is demonic. When bad things happen, it is not always due to the demonic. They are real and they do affect things but as you said, we should not attribute them more than they are due…

    … and Jesus is always stronger!

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