He who sups with the devil had better have a long spoon. The devilry of modernity has its own magic: The (believer) who sups with it will find his spoon getting shorter and shorter-until that last supper in which he is left alone at the table, with no spoon at all and with an empty plate. The devil, one may guess, will by then have gone away to more interesting company.
Quoted in: Guinness, Dining with the Devil, Baker, 1993, p. 5.
Yesterday was Halloween.
Satan and the demonic is just a bit of fun and no one actually believes in their reality these days. It's best turned into a ridiculous hideously commercial festival for children.
Or not? It's tricky.
I spoke to a Vicar pal who advised that he has a happy problem. His problem is that his wife has started listening to lots and lots and lots of Bible teaching by a well known preacher. As a result of this, she is starting and is joining Bible study groups in their church and both my friend and his wife are feeling more renewed, refreshed and in love with Jesus than they have been for quite some while. I confess my dear pal (a dedicated and very encouraging reader) did discover these sermons and this preacher here.
Mark Driscoll is not an uncontroversial man and I have written about him in the past in a long piece called Politeness so I won't revisit the same ground (do read it though as it's a helpful primer). Suffice it to say he's a Marmite man, you tend to either love or hate this style of preaching and the theology that lies behind it and you'll have to decide that for yourself. Now remember he is an American and you know I love things American but we are a teeny weeny bit culturally different (watch Man vs Food if you are not convinced). We like warm beer, we invented the Pork pie and the Cornish Pasty, the Aston Martin and we gave the world both Morecambe and Wise and Dad's Army. That's why we've got the word 'Great' before the 'Britain'. Oh, and of course Whitfield, Spurgeon, CT Studd and the 18C Missionary Movement, John Stott, Lloyd-Jones and the Puritans so it's sort of time the US had a good preacher and caught up a bit:)....(excepting Billy Graham who is entirely in a league of his own).
I think I happened upon Mars Hill though on one of the many blogs I read and the person was so hot under the collar in their dislike of Driscoll I thought I'd listen myself and form my own view (a good principle methinks). I started by listening to the series called Trial on 1 Peter and his teaching on suffering and the power of the gospel simply blew me away. However, I really really do appreciate he's not everyone's cup of java.
One area I have been been greatly helped by Driscoll is through his four part teaching + Q & A on spiritual warfare and by reading Death by love. As it happens, two weeks running I am preaching on scriptures that speak of Jesus and his confrontations with the demonic and it's timely given all the devil costumes I walked past yesterday.
Do listen to this very challenging sermon called Jesus vs Satan.
It ends with three questions and you might like to spend some time reflecting on them.
1. Where are the evidences of Satan and demons at work in your life?
2. How have you aided your enemy?
3. Will you command Satan and his demons to leave?
I told my friend I'd post a few Mars Hill sermons that have blessed and challenged me:
Mary and Martha
Heaven and Hell
It's all about: Humility
The Porn Path
Jesus heals a demonised woman
Men and Marriage
Dance of Mahanaim
Jesus: Tough and Tender
The Gethsemane Prayer
Where is Jesus today?
Jesus is a better mediator
My pal and his wife (on current form) will listen to all these in a blink but maybe pick one or so and see how you go. They're also signing up for the excellent Leadership Coaching.