A. This morning Iím starting a series of sermons about Satan & Satanism, & it is proving to be a very difficult series to prepare. The reason it is difficult is because I am wondering just how to get you to realize the importance of understanding who Satan is & how he works in our lives.

ILL. Now I know that we were all shocked by the horrible things that happened in Matamoros, Mexico a few years ago. And since then there have been all kinds of TV programs & newspaper & magazine articles about Satanism & some of the terrible things that are being done in the name of Satan.

But outside of being horrified, it really doesnít affect us much, does it? After all, weíre Christians, weíre church-going people, so Satan doesnít have any influence or affect upon us, does he? Or does he?

B. Actually, there are some who think that there really isnít any such being as Satan - that he is sort of like Santa Claus, only evil.

Such people would say that any evil there is in the world arises out of our own brutish instincts that we inherited from our animal ancestors who swung through the trees by their tails, or climbed out of a primordial swamp.

And they utterly reject as "religious mumbo-jumbo" the idea that there really is a Satan who is alive & powerful, & deliberately trying to wreck us & this world that God has given us.

ILL. Let me tell you about an experience in C.S. Lovettís life when he suddenly realized that Satan really lives & works in us. He wrote:

"He lives . . . Satan lives! I saw the devil at work & it shook me. The occasion was at a meeting of a well-known Christian Foundation. Momentous decisions were before the Foundationís directors.

"And then, at a crucial moment in the meeting, a person present spoke words which stabbed the president of the Foundation with anguish. I saw the hurt of his soul rise to his face. The spirit of the meeting changed instantly. All decisions were deferred.

"Now the one who made the comment was a friend of mine. He is as gracious a man as youíd hope to meet. Those words from his lips didnít sound like him at all. When I beheld the great damage wrought in the president, I was perplexed - `How could such a thing happen?í

"The rest of the meeting slipped by. I sank into my chair to reflect on this amazing disruptive spirit. What in the world possessed my friend to say such a thing? It sounded like someone else. But who? The Holy Spirit moved within me. Indeed, someone else had authored that comment - SATAN!

"The instant that truth struck, I trembled. The palms of my hands became sweaty. A dreadful awareness swept over me. I experienced something about Satan I hadnít realized before. No one heard the gospel tune that rang within me, but a shout was echoing - "He lives, he lives. Satan lives today. He walks with me & talks with me, along lifeís narrow