Community Updates

Preparing for Worship: Demons, Magic, and God's Mercy

John Haralson
February 10, 2023

The National"Demons"

Annalyn Ifland
"Ephesians 2"

When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to Jesus, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.
Matthew 8:16

         Note: Christian Formation & prayer at 9:00AM.
                  Sunday worship at 10:15 AM (childcare thru 2nd grade available)

                  In-person worship and live stream
Dear Grace Family,

If we ever use the word “demons”, we often mean it metaphorically to describe something like a struggle with addiction or a past wound that continues to haunt us. Beyond that, most of us tend to act as if demons—what the Bible also refers to as “evil spirits”—do not really exist.

Unlike our ancestors, we live in a disenchanted world. Culturally, we have moved on from a universe populated by spiritual beings that can bless us or curse us. The world that we have created has an impenetrable shield between us and the spirit realm.

The Bible, on the other hand, assumes the existence of demons. The description of Jesus’ ministry from Matthew’s gospel doesn’t tell us how these people got possessed by demons or what kind of effects the demons had on them. Matthew simply tells us that Jesus drove the evil spirits out of these people. He didn’t need to explain demon possession to his original readers any more than he needed to explain to them what “sickness” was.

Ephesians is full of words like “power” and “authority” and “realm”, which are entities that Paul’s first readers knew about. They describe spiritual beings and forces that impacted their lives profoundly. The original hearers of Paul’s letter knew exactly what he was talking about.

This puts us at distinct disadvantage when we approach Ephesians. From our perspective some 2,000 years later, we cannot fully grasp the message of the book without knowing the spiritual background that shaped it. If we ignore or discount the spiritual and religious world in Ephesus, we will miss out on the depth of understanding we desire.

But the stakes are even higher.

This is much more important than merely understanding one book of the Bible. Could it be that we need to let Ephesians critique and correct our disenchanted view of reality? Might it be necessary and helpful for us to let Ephesians alter our mental and spiritual frameworks for understanding our lives and the world God has made?

I hope to worship with you Sunday!

This Sunday: Ephesians 2:1-10 (NIV)       “Demons, Sin, and God's Mercy”Here is the Order of Worship.Warmly in Christ,John

P.S. We made a few minor changes to our communion liturgy this week.