The Point: Demonic forces are real, but Christ is greater.
Get Into the Study
Use this story to introduce the point of Session 2: Demonic forces are real, but Christ is greater.
As the United States prepared for the total solar eclipse on August 21st, information flooded the internet and media about eclipse safety. Solar eclipse viewing glasses were mass-produced, and schools were even cancelled to reduce the risk of eclipse-induced eye damage. As the day of the eclipse approached, many people found themselves unable to find protective eyewear, and recalls were issued across the country due to questionable glasses and potential forgeries.
Eclipse eye damage is often caused when people are unaware of the danger caused by the sun. Since portions of the sun are blocked by the moon, the eye doesn’t react as it normally does, and the iris doesn’t constrict as much. Since there are no pain sensors in the retina, you won’t even realize you are damaging your eyes, until it is too late.
Ask: How did you prepare for the eclipse? How did information about possible dangers impact your experience?
Ignorance about danger doesn’t keep you safe. Information and preparation are key. Demonic forces are real. Denying the potential danger does not make them go away. There is a battle being waged, and we will benefit from preparation.
This week we will learn of Christ’s power in the face of demons and our power through prayer.
Nikki Wilbanks is a stay-at-home mom, writer, Bible study leader, and commercial real estate appraiser/investor. She graduated from Pepperdine University, and lives with her husband and two children in Murfreesboro, TN.
Use the following illustration as you wrap up your study of the Mark 9:28-29 section. This will create a natural lead in to the Live It Out section in the Personal Study Guide.
One of the most deadly and feared cancers known today is pancreatic cancer. In 2017, approximately 53,670 Americans will be diagnosed with and another 43,090 will die from this fatal disease.
Every cancer is different regarding its symptoms, treatments, life expectancy, etc. Pancreatic cancer is a bit unique in that it is often diagnosed in the late stages. One report explains why:
“Pancreatic cancer is hard to find early. The pancreas is deep inside the body, so early tumors can’t be seen or felt by health care providers during routine physical exams. People usually have no symptoms until the cancer has already spread to other organs.”
Demons are similar to a cancer, in the sense that they often (not always) are silently at work, taking a measurable toll on their victim. The existence and ongoing work of demons cannot be ignored, even if we have no experiential evidence of them. Just as it would be foolish to ignore the real threat of a fatal disease, it is more foolish still to conduct life and pretend demons pose no actual threat to Christians, the church, and the world.
Questions for discussion:
- How do I currently think about the presence and threat of the demonic realm?
- What biblical weapons can I utilize in my arsenal against the enemy’s most powerful forces?
- Are there ways to minimize my potential cynicism or potential paranoia with demons?
Emily Jennings (Master of Arts, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary 2009) serves and lives in the greater Atlanta area. She is wife to Brian and mom to three wonderful boys. She teaches the Bible to 8th grade girls at First Baptist Church Woodstock and you can find her on Twitter and Instagram: @emilyejenn
What are some popular supernatural movies and TV shows today?
In what ways are demons portrayed in our culture?
When did you first learn about demonic forces?
What words would you use to describe the influence of this demon on everyone in this story?
How would you have reacted if you encountered the young man in the scripture controlled by demonic forces?
How has your faith in God given you comfort when realizing that evil spirits are at work?
When have you been most desperate about the spiritual state of a family member or close friend?
How do you understand the father’s response in Mark 9:24?
What do these verses teach you about why faith is so important when dealing with evil forces?
How do fasting and prayer prepare us for spiritual warfare?
When is a time you sensed that God was on your side, fighting for you in the middle of a personal struggle?
What makes prayer so powerful?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional:
Here’s a brief five-minute teaching video about this session: The Dark Side, Session 2.