“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8
I love movies. I love fairytales. I love epic stories that show amazing battles between good and evil, with good ultimately triumphing in the end. So I’m a huge fan of movies like Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Taken, or just about every John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movie ever made. Maybe you’re like me. There is something in us that is drawn to these good stories where life and death hang in the balance – where the stakes are high, the cost is everything, the demands are daunting, but the reward is sweet.
As much as I love these stories, however, I recognize one great danger. If I’m not careful I can be lulled into believing that these stories are just fantasy, entertainment, and escapism confined to a page in a book or a screen in a theater. The truth is much bigger, scarier, better, and amazing than that. The Bible tells me that I’m in a much greater story, that I have a horribly heinous enemy, and that good will indeed triumph at the end of all things. Sometimes I can be so engrossed in lesser stories that I forget that you and I find ourselves participants in the greatest of all stories.
We are real people. We live in a real world. And we have a real enemy. The Bible uses lots of names to describe him. Sometimes he is simply referred to as “the enemy.” Oftentimes he is named the Adversary, Satan, the Father of Lies, the Devil, the serpent, and the book of Revelation even calls him the great dragon (Rev. 12:9). Our enemy is far more cunning, far more evil, far more deceptive, and far more violent than anyone or anything that can be imagined. The White Witch, Voldemort, Sauron, and Darth Vader combined don’t even compare to this enemy. This enemy, our real enemy, makes those guys look like the Tooth Fairy and her merry magical cousins.
The Bible’s story tells us how this evil prince of darkness led humanity into rebellion against its good creator, its true king. The creation was wrecked. The cosmos were cursed. The universe was unhinged, and evil grew. But this isn’t the end of the story. No, this is only the beginning. The Bible tells us how God, the great and good king, had a plan to reverse the evil effects that were birthed in the heart of the dark one. So God spoke. God worked. God forgave. God promised…and finally God came. The creator entered the cursed creation in the very form of the creation. The creator of flesh and blood fashioned skin and bone onto himself and entered the arena in disguise. He came to a death-match with the enemy, to triumph over him once for all, to kill the devilish forces of death.
And the King died.
And he didn’t just die…he was violently tortured and killed.
The creator of life, the very essence of life itself, fell slain into the dust of death. And darkness covered the earth. And the ground shook violently. And the good king was laid to rest in a graveyard.
But again…this isn’t the end of the story.
In history’s greatest reversal, the cold-dead paralyzed limbs of Jesus swung back to life. The cemetery that imprisoned him burst open and cast him out of its confines. The King of the Universe had been carried as a corpse into a sealed tomb, but he walked out living on the other side. The King was resurrected, and by his death and his life again he defeated that evil snake, crushing its skull into pieces. He rose in triumph and has now empowered his people, those who follow him, those who are citizens of his kingdom to continue this epic struggle with the forces of sin and Satan until that day when he will return to bring history to a close, eternity to a beginning, and evil to its final resting place…forever.
This is the story we were made for. This is the great story that is unlike any other. And you are invited to jump in and join in the greatest narrative that began eons ago and will continue forever as we celebrate the victory of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
On Monday evenings at 7:00 pm at Pastor Toby’s house our men are gathering to plot and conspire to do battle with our enemy. We’re going through a Bible Study entitled Putting on the Armor, a two month journey through Ephesians 6 that seeks to equip men – husbands, sons, brothers, the adopted sons of the King, the knights in Christ’s army, to war against Satan in their own lives, against their own temptations, and for their own lives and the lives of those they love most. Every man in our church and community is invited to join with us for these weekly war councils.
Additionally, Toby, myself (Cade), and Logan are in the beginning stages of preparing for the Sunday evening sermon series that will begin this fall. It’s entitled The King and the Crown: The Grand Story of God in the Epic Stories of the Bible. This series will walk us through the great narrative of the great war, showing the curse of the evil dragon, the imprisonment of the ones God loves, and the great lengths that our good and glorious King has gone to in order get us back and destroy evil forever.
We hope you’ll join us in this struggle. We hope you’ll pray for our men as they meet weekly. Pray that God will equip them to wear his armor and to fight with his weapons and to battle against our common enemy. Pray and prepare for our sermon series, get involved in our mission efforts and our ministry opportunities. Join this fight. The war is raging all around us. It’s end is certain, but it’s violence continues for a time. You cannot escape the battleground, and you must pick a side. “Choose this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).