Sermon: A Glimpse Behind the Curtain
Summary: Since sin came into the world, we have always been in conflict, which is not ultimately a physical conflict, but a spiritual one that involves angels of God and malevolent beings whose goal is to sway our hearts and minds. God does not leave us to our own devices, but sends help in many forms that enable us to be victorious in the battlefield of our hearts.
Text: Daniel 10
Scripture Reading: Rev 12:7-12
1. Do you remember those science kits you used to be able to get
a. Can still get them, but nowhere near as intricate
b. Dad got me working V-8 engine model. Could see underneath how it works
c. Text this morning – Daniel gets a glimpse under the hood
2. Chapter 10-12 actually for a single section, the last vision of Daniel
a. Large section, so will take it in bite sized pieces
b. Will go a chapter at a time
3. Since Daniel has experienced several regime changes, God want to reassure Daniel and his people it is according to plan
a. God has revealed the stages of history by depicting various nations as beasts
b. We been introduced to Gabriel, an angel sent by God, to give Daniel understanding as he is praying
c. In chapter 10, God pulls back the curtain just a little to give peek at the larger picture of the conflict
4. What understanding did God grant to Daniel, that is preserved for us?
I. There is a Great Conflict Raging (Dan 10:1)
A. Concerns a great conflict/war - does not seem like a profound revelation
1. Throughout Daniel, have seen all kinds of conflict
2. From Babylon, to Persia, and later will come Greece and Rome
3. Conflict is always there
B. We need to be reminded that we are always in conflict with this world
1. (John 15:18-21) 18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
a. Look at the conflict Jesus faced
b. We follow him, so we will also face conflict
c. But there is no shame, only honor in it – we following God
2. (Jn 16:33) 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
a. In order to avoid the discouragement of missed expectations
b. In this world you have tribulation – ever since sin, never peace
c. But in him we do have peace even as world rages
C. ILL: One of the descriptions Paul uses for Christ followers – soldier
1. When you hear the word soldier, what do you think of?
a. Person in uniform – belongs to the armed forces
b. Person who has been trained in his mission – sense of purpose
c. G.I. (Government Issue) – In submission to his commanders
d. Person who trains and stays fit for this mission
2. Phil 2:25, Philm 2 – Calls brethren like Epaphroditus and Archippus a fellow “soldier”
3. (2 Timothy 1-4) 2 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men,[a] who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
a. A good soldier has a clear sense of mission – in this case the Christian message
b. A good soldier expects difficulty – We are in a battle
D. The fact that “soldier” is on description of the Christian is a reminder
1. We are in conflict with the enemy
2. The enemy is trying to get us to stop fulfilling God’s mission
3. But who is the enemy? What is the nature of the battle? …
II. There are Participants Behind the Scenes (Dan 10:2-14)
A. Greater focus on Heavenly beings here – they major players in the conflict
1. Goes to great lengths to describe this being
2. Part of the battle involves coming to Daniel to reveal God’s plans
3. Evidently there are heavenly beings attached to groups
a. Mentions 21 days of conflict with the prince of Persia, probably an evil being
b. Michael, one of the chief princes came to aid him – One of God’s angels
c. Afterwards, heavenly being came to reveal a message to Daniel
B. What is this war/battle behind the scenes like?
1. We usually thing of brute force, physical violence, swords, bombs, etc.
2. (2 Cor 10:3-5) 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
a. Nature of our battle is spiritual, not physical
b. Weapons of our warfare have DIVINE power to destroy strongholds
i. Earthly weapons cannot destroy strongholds. Why? They in heart
ii. What do we destroy? Any argument against God.
iii. What do we take captive? Not prisoners, but our own thoughts!
c. Battlefield ultimately is in the human heart!
3. (Eph 6:10-12) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places
a. Our struggle is not against people, but against cosmic powers
b. The battle being waged is in the heart – trying to sway hearts
c. Spiritual warfare is subtle, devious
4. What are these spiritual beings trying to do? Deceive, sway, influence
a. Battle began back in the garden with a simple question from the serpent – Did God really say not to eat of any tree of the garden?
b. Swayed Eve and Adam to disobey God and make own rules
c. Evil took root in the heart of man
i. From the day Cain killed Able, it has been increasing
ii. Pharaoh tried to destroy the Jews
iii. Herod killed all the babies in Bethlehem
iv. Hitler and the Nazis exterminated millions of people, as did Stalin, Mao, and Polpot
C. ILL: We know that mass killings still happen today
1. Last week, yet another mass killing at an elementary school
2. Was listening to a part of press conference with the governor and other officials
a. Talked about the need to put more resources into mental health
b. Person asked question – What about the issue of evil? Is it just mental health?
c. This person obvious saw this from a spiritual perspective
d. Suggests it is not a gun problem, not merely a mental health problem, but a sin problem
3. Root of all of our ills began with sin
4. Every act of violence or immorality can be traced back to sin
D. The enemy and his cohorts are busy behinds the scenes
1. Uses not just intimidation, but also seduction and lies and deceit
2. There is a battle, and the battleground is in your heart
a. The enemy is trying to sway you away from God
b. Will use anything from fear, lies, and seduction
3. But God does not leave you without help…
III. God sends a prince for his people (Dan 10:15-21)
A. Part of the purpose of this is to encourage Daniel - Fear not, peace be with you
B. God sends his angels to help
1. Notice, he refers to Michael “your prince.”
a. Apparently, God has assigned an arch angel over his people
b. Don’t know how he protected and fought for Israel, but he did
2. Reminded of several other passages:
a. (Mt 18:11) “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.
i. The children have angels
ii. These angels always see the face of God, and are there for children
b. (Rev 1:20) As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
i. The churches have angels?
ii. Throughout Revelation, angels play major role in what is happening behind the scenes
c. (Heb 1:13-14) 13 And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
i. God sent out angels as ministering spirits to serve us
ii. But, the context shows something better
iii. Jesus is superior to the angels because he is the Son of God who made purification for sins
C. ILL: Reminded of the Greek word, Paraclete
1. Was an ancient warrior’s term
2. Greek soldiers battled in pairs
a. When enemy attacked, they stand back to back
b. Covered each other’s blind side
3. Referred to the battle partner as the “paraclete”
4. Jesus said: (John 15:16-17) 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[g] in you.
a. “helper” is the Greek word “paraclete”
b. Jesus does not leave us as orphans, send us what we need
D. We are in better shape than Daniel was
1. We don’t just have an angel, we have much more!
a. We have the Son of God as our advocate
b. He has given us the Holy Spirit as our helper
c. He has given us the church to mutually support and encourage each other
d. God has given us his word to guide us
2. We are in good shape
1. Jesus gave the best that he could give (inv)
2. If obeyed, be aware there is more going on that meets the eye
a. Enemy is targeting your heart
b. Goal is to turn you away from God by making you busy, fearful, angry, selfish, cynical, pessimistic, doubtful-skeptic,
3. Consider this glimpse behind the curtain – God has given us everything we need for life and godliness
a. Make use of every resource he has given you
b. Includes his word, prayer, fellowship and encouragement, church, our classes and groups