OPEN: The minister’s group I’m part of came up with this title: The Devil Wears Prada. It was based on a movie by that same name (and I found out later there was a Rock group that same name).
But in researching this sermon I found that Prada is a high class Italian fashion Company known for it’s original designs and product lines. And on their webpage I found this internet advertisement.
What you’ve just seen is one of the two video commercials I found on Prada’s website. Personally, I found the commercial to be dull and annoying. But the 2nd time I reviewed it, I discovered that there something was missing from that commercial. Can you guess what I realized was missing?
It said ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about Prada’s clothing or product lines.
All it showed was several young men standing around (supposedly in Prada clothing) all trying to look excessively cool in the sunglasses and playing guitars.
But the commercial said nothing about Prada’s product line.
They obviously weren’t selling clothes in that commercial.
So... what were they selling?
They were selling prestige, style, status, significance.
Essentially, that’s what all fashion houses have always sold. Their clothes are not that significantly different from what you’d buy at WalMart or Target. But fashion houses aren’t selling clothes and accessories… they’re selling an image. An image of what you could be like... if only you wore their clothing, and accessorized with their products.
They’re selling an image
And that’s what Satan does…. He sells an image.
As Paul says in our text this morning:
“…Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14
Now when I was a child I thought Satan was some scary dude running around in red tights and horns. (at this point we put a fairly scarey Satan.jpg on the overhead)
Now, seriously … would you really buy anything from this guy?
Of course you wouldn’t
He looks evil, scary... and very untrustworthy.
AND Satan knows that… so he’s not going to show up at your front door like that.
He masquerades. He dresses himself up in an appealing fashion.
Because his objective is to sell an image.
An image of what he wants you to think he is like.
And an image of what he wants to embrace about yourself.
It’s all about packaging.
Sata packages his product in such a way that you see what he wants you to see... not what his product would actually do to your life.
Just as an example of how Satan packages his product:
1. Would you be more inclined to buy cigarettes from this man? (The Marlboro Man) He’s handsome, rugged... a real man’s man.
Or would you buy cigarettes from this woman (a woman dying of lung cancer from smoking)
2. Would you be sexually attracted by this girl (sensual looking woman).
Or by this girl who’s dying of a sexually transmitted disease (image of woman who’s dying of AIDS)
3. Would you be tempted to buy alcohol from this friendly looking bartender (young man)
Or by this man who has taste tested alcohol most of his life (alcholic)
Satan tries to sell you the products that most reflects what people really want in life
Manliness for men
Attractiveness for women.
Pleasure, success, achievement. Etc. etc.
But Satan is very careful how he packages those products because - if you ever really caught on to where his product line would lead - you’d never buy it!!!
ILLUS: Just as an example of how effectively Satan packages his product, I was talking with another minister this past week and he told of talking with a young girl that had been part of their church’s youth group a couple years back.
Now, she’s a pregnant unmarried teenager.
The dad was not in the picture… probably never would be.
And there she was.
Pregnant, faced with raising her child alone without a father.
And she’s not happy.
But she wasn’t unhappy because she was pregnant.
She wasn’t unhappy because the baby’s dad was not going to be in the picture
She wasn’t unhappy because her child probably won’t have the advantages that two parents would have given it..
No, she wasn’t unhappy because of those difficulties.
She was unhappy because the only clothes she can find that will fit were sold at Target or Wal-Mart. She couldn’t find her American Eagle and Tommy Hilfinger kind of clothing… because those companies didn’t make their product for pregnant teenagers.
Satan had sold her the image so effectively that she was not disturbed that she was unmarried and pregnant… only that she was out of style.
You see… Satan did his job right with her. She never knew guessed how much heartache was ahead for her because Satan had gotten her eyes fixed on “the image” that became so important to her.
Now, what Paul is telling us here in II Corinthians is: Satan is selling image.
And he’s trying to sells us the same image he sold to Eve in the garden.
“… I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3
So, how was Eve deceived?
What was the image Satan tried to sell to Eve that day in the garden?
He told her "God knows that when you eat of (this fruit) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:5
You see, Satan wasn’t selling her an apple.
He was selling her “an image”
You will be like God!” he said.
Have you ever wondered what it be like if you could be God?
Why, if I could be God… I would all powerful.
I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted… and nobody could ever stop me.
And I’d not only be strong, I’d be wise.
I’d see the problems in this world and I could fix them and I wouldn’t have to ask anybody’s permission to do so. I could fix what’s wrong in government. I could fix what’s wrong in families. I could fix what’s wrong in individuals. Because I’d be God.
ILLUS: My daddy used to say the most efficient form of Government was a benevolent dictatorship… and he was willing to volunteer to be the dictator.
That’s what it would be like – if I could be God.
But I’d also be really popular. I mean why wouldn’t I be? If you wanted a car (snap) I’d could give you a car. If you wanted a house (snap) you’d have the house of your dreams. If you wanted a specific job, or wanted to be independently wealthy so you’d never have to work again (snap) I could give it to you. I’d be real popular.
And I could be really handsome. I could change my hair, my face. I could have abs of steel.
If I could only just become God.
Well, the only way I could do that is to ascend to the throne and BE God.
But, of course, I’d have to get God off the throne FIRST.
There’s no room on that throne for the two of us.
I’d have to replace Him… with me
Now – of course – that’s not going to happen!
Satan tried it once, and it didn’t work out real well for him.
But people who’ve been sold Satan’s bill of goods… try to do it anyway.
They’ve been sold the image that they can be like God.
And so, they try remove Him from the picture… somehow.
Because once they’ve done that - they can be in charge.
They’ll ignore God. Deny God. Make fun of God
They do whatever they have to do to get God OFF the throne … so they can sit there themselves.
Now Jesus taught us that’ll never work (even if we could get it done)
Jesus said you can’t become powerful by becoming LIKE God
You can’t become GREAT in this world… by doing that with your life?
Jesus said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mt 20:25-28
Jesus stripped Himself of His divinity… He came down out of heaven.
And He did all that so He could be YOUR servant.
So He could give His life as a ransom for many.
And Jesus is the example of what God tells us will make us Great.
Satan’s message is: to become great, you got to be God.
You’ve got to CENTER on YOURSELF
You’ve got to meet YOUR needs
You’ve got to lift YOURSELF up
But Christ’s message is: to become great, you got to be a servant.
You’ve got to CENTER on GOD/OTHERS
You’ve got to center on somebody other than yourself.
Satan’s product: YOU as God of your life
God’s product: YOU as a servant of God.
Those two messages will NEVER coexist together. They won’t work together.
Now, here in II Corinthians, Paul tells us that Satan doesn’t do all this on his own.
Satan doesn’t slip into our bedrooms at night and whisper wicked things in our ears.
Oh, no… Satan’s got himself a sales staff.
Paul writes in II Corinthians - that SINCE Satan can pass himself off an angel of light
“It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness...” 2 Cor. 11:15
Satan has a sales staff
He’s got folks working for him.
And Satan knows it’s important to have the RIGHT people working for him.
Just like we wouldn’t buy a product from a demonic looking creature, neither are we going to accept guidance from someone we don’t know.
So, Satan works through people I know and trust.
People I work with
People I work for.
ILLUS: At our Saturday Morning Men’s prayer breakfast, a few weeks back, the guys started talking about the influence people at work could have on them. They’d be around these folks ALL day long and these fellow workers would curse, and say nasty things. Sometimes the language was hateful and despicable. And there might be pornographic magazines in the break room.
Most of the guys at the prayer breakfast shared how hard it was not to get caught up in what these other workers were saying and doing.
Why? Because, if you’re around certain people long enough, they start to matter to you. Their opinion becomes important to you.
ILLUS: A few years back I read an article that said – if you hung around people that had been divorced… chances were, you might end up in a divorce yourself.
In other words, divorce was contagious.
Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg have seen many marriages crumble… and they observed:
“The old saying “misery loves company” is unfortunately true. It is common for divorce to break out in an office, company, neighborhood, family, or sometimes even a church group. All it takes is one person going through a divorce and becoming bitter at his/her husband or wife. If they aren’t seeking to reconcile and especially if they are seeking to divorce, they will look for someone to console them and with whom to spend time. If you are happily married, this doesn’t provide them with the fellowship they are seeking.
All they need is for us to have a seed of discontent in our marriage and the next thing you know they are trying to build an offense between us and our spouse.”
You see: Satan has his own salesmen.
And if he can surround us with enough of those salesmen… he can change our minds
ILLUS: About 15 years ago, a team of psychiatrists conducted an experiment.
They brought 10 teenagers into a room and told them they were testing how well they could see the other end of the room.
The doctors said, “We’re going to hold up some cards at the front of the room. On each card are 3 lines – Line A, Line B and Line C – each of a different length. When we point to the longest line, raise your hand to show you know it is longer.”
They repeated the directions to be sure everybody understood and then raised the first card and pointed to the top line.
What one student didn’t know was that the other 9 had been secretly informed earlier to vote for the second longest line. In other words, they were told to vote wrongly.
The doctors held up the first card and pointed to Line A, which was clearly shorter than line B.
At this point, all 9 students raised their hands.
The fellow being studied looked around in disbelief. It was obvious that Line B was the longest line, but… everybody seemed to think Line A was longer.
He later admitted that he thought, “I must not have been listening during the directions. Somehow, I missed the point, and I’d better do what everybody else is doing or they’ll laugh at me.”
So he carefully raised his hand with the rest of the group.
Then the researchers explained the directions again:
“Vote for the longest line; raise your hand when we point to the longest line.”
It couldn’t have been more simple!
Then they held up the 2nd card, and again, 9 people voted for the wrong line.
The confused student became more tense over his predicament, but eventually he raised his hand with the group once again.
Over and over he voted with the group, even though he knew they were wrong.
You see… that’s the genius of what Satan does.
If he can surround us with enough people who tell us that
· wrong is right
· that evil is better than good
· and that God either isn’t there, or He doesn’t care
THEN eventually - we begin to listen… even though we know they’re wrong.
He’ll sell us on the idea that cigarettes or drugs can calm our nerves and relieve our stress
That you can’t really enjoy a party unless you have lots of alcohol.
That real men speak “adult language”
That you’re a fool if you haven’t slept with at least one or two people before you get marriedAnd that you really ought to test drive your relationships before you get married. How will you know if you really are ready if you haven’t experienced marriage without the strings?
Over and over again, Satan sells the same bill of goods.
You will become like God knowing good and evil.
The only problem is that the good Satan would have us embrace is the evil God has always condemned… because of the damage it can do our lives and our souls.
So Satan tries to surround you with HIS sales people, knowing that if he can get you to listen to them long enough, he can sell the image he wants in our lives.
But that’s why God created the church.
When we spend time with God’s people,
Reading God’s Word,
Praying in Jesus’ name
Taking communion to celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice
and singing songs of praise to our savior
Then we learn to take care of each other and strengthen each other.
And learn the holy and perfect will of God.
CLOSE: It all depends on which sales staff you listen to: Satan’s or God’s
At the first church I served there was a young man named Kevin that married one of the daughters of one of our Elders. He’d come to church every Sunday, but he never got much involved. Then one day, he stepped out in the aisle and walked down to the front to be baptized into Christ.
Then he told me his story.
He used to go to one of the other churches in town (I won’t say which denomination). Every Sunday, leading men in that congregation would spend time out in the foyer… telling dirty jokes and cursing off and on. Then, during the week, he noticed other supposed Christians stepping out of the local bar. He finally quite going to church altogether because the hypocrisy of what he’d constantly seen discouraged him.
Then he started coming to church where we were. He heard sermons that told him of a different kind of Jesus. A Jesus of righteousness and of mercy, who called us to live a holy kind of life before our God.
Every Sunday, when the invitation was given, Kevin would stand and place his hands on the pew in front of him. He’d cling to it so tightly that his knuckles literally turned white. He didn’t know if he could trust this new message… but he desperately wanted to.
And when he finally made his decision for Christ, he became God’s man and never looked back.
Why? Because he finally rejected the image Satan had planted in him mind, and he fully embraced the God who died on the cross for him.