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Will the Gates of Hell Prevail?

(24)

Sermon shared by Greg Nance

January 2007
Summary: Job is in a spiritual battle. He is ignorant of what is happening behind the scenes, but is certainly feeling the effects. Does this still occur? What does Godís word say?
Audience: General adults
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Sermon:
Jesus once said of his church that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Paul once wrote to the Christians of Ephesians: Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers and principalities, against the dark forces of evil in the heavenly places.

When we come to the book of Job, nothing is clearer than this: Job was in the midst of a spiritual battle even though he was completely unaware of what was going on behind the scenes. As far as we can tell, he is never informed. We, the readers, get to stand in the privileged position of seeing the bigger picture.

Perhaps more importantly, we discover that Jobís character and his integrity, even though they are tested in the crucible of Satanís worst onslaughts, stand. Job stands. He is Godís man even when he thinks God is afflicting him beyond all reason and has no idea why, even when his wife tells him to curse God and die and his friends surround him and blame him for his condition over and over. This weeks readings brings us to chapter 31.

So where do we see Jesus thus far in our study of Job? Job is like Jesus in his suffering as a blameless man. We see Jesus in Job enduring what others deserve. We see Jesus in Job as he is attacked by Satan doing his worst to destroy his integrity. We see Jesus in Job when he is faced with false accusations and is betrayed by his friends. We hear Job in Jesus when Jesus cries out, ďMy God, My God, why have you forsaken me?Ē In Jobís as well as in Jesusí life, Satan attempts to overthrow good with suffering and temptation to sin.

Of course there are also differences. Unlike Job, Jesus endures Godís wrath and punishment for the sins of all mankind. As Isaiah said, ďAll we like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.Ē Unlike Job, Jesus is God, the creator, and in His suffering, we find redemption from sin and salvation. Again Isaiah says, ďBy his stripes we are healed.Ē And unlike Job, Jesus is put to death, paying the ultimate price of his very life and blood to bring to us Godís grace and forgiveness. While Job is a blameless man of God, Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, the perfect sinless Lamb of God, our sacrifice, Savior, King and Lord.

Through this book of Job we learn mysteries about God, Satan, and man, some that are troubling and others that are comforting. Since we are reading through this entire 42 chapter book in less than two weeks in our reading schedule, we have just enough time this week to get Job into the middle of all the trouble and misery that is described here.

Letís launch into Job together, shall we? We meet this rich man from the east whose wealth is measured in livestock and whose character is measured in these terms: blameless and upright, one who fears God and turns away from evil. Job is a caring father of 10 apparently grown children. They have their own houses and they like to have each other over for parties. It doesnít say so, but Job doesnít seem to go to these parties. But he does clean up afterward, spiritually, that is. After each child celebrates his or her birthday Job gets up the next morning and offers a sacrifice of burnt offerings, one for each one of them. Just in case they might have cursed God in their hearts. The bible says that he did this continually. Once
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