Sermons

Summary: Satan desires God's throne. Here is how he operates.

SERIES: ANGELS and DEMONS

(freely adapted from a series of the same name by James Merritt)

“THE PRETENDER TO THE THRONE”

MATTHEW 4:1-11

OPEN

I see and read and hear about men, women, teenagers and children from all walks of life that run blindly into this spiritual being we know as the devil. They don’t see him. They don’t hear hm. Some of them don’t even believe he is real. And they run right into his jaws and their lives are destroyed.

I believe. Jesus believed. And the Bible teaches that we live in two worlds. We live in a world that we can see and we live that we can’t. We live in a world that’s visible to the eye and we live in a world that is invisible world. We live in a world that we can touch and sense and sense and smell and feel. But there’s another world out there that you cannot touch and sense and smell and feel. And the Bible says that invisible world is populated by spiritual beings known as angels and demons.

Today, we’re going to talk about the spiritual being who wants to be the #1 person in that spiritual world. He leads the bad guys. But he is only a pretender to the throne.

I know this is the 21st century. Many people have trouble accepting the supernatural. They’re smart people and nice people who believe that the devil is a figment of somebody’s theological imagination. And I realize that there are people who believe that the devil is nothing more than a fun figure – something some cartoonist dreamed up – a fellow in a red suit with horns, a pointy tail, wearing a goatee and carrying a pitchfork just waiting for someone to bend over. That’s exactly what the devil would want you to think – that he is not real; that he is a fantasy figure like Mickey Mouse.

If you’re struggling with accepting the reality of the devil, if you doubt the existence of evil and a sinister being who wants to do you harm, please just do one thing. Pick up your newspaper. The evidence is there for every body to see.

For those who do believe in the devil, the big question is: why did God create the devil? The simple answer is that God did not create the devil. God created angels. And when God created angels, he created one that was uniquely beautiful. And to this angel he gave the position of leadership and authority.

But God also gave to every angel, just like he’s given to every human being, the right of choice. For whatever reason, this special angel, originally named Lucifer, decided that he could do a better job at being God than God could. So there was what the Bible calls a war in heaven. And the devil and his angels (1/3 of all the angels) fought against God and his angels and they lost and were cast out of heaven.

Ever since, the devil has been public enemy #1. Ever since that moment, the devil has been at war against God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit and against all of his followers.

So, how does the devil relate to us today? When the devil does attack us – when he comes against us or our families or our businesses or our finances, or even our health – how do respond to the devil? How do we actually stand up and face up against the devil? He seems so intimidating, because next to God himself, the devil is the most powerful being in the universe. How do we accomplish this seemingly impossible task?

We’re going to focus in on one passage this morning. And the passage we’re going to look at is interesting for a couple ofl reasons. First, it describes a battle that is one of the top battles of all time. It’s a one-on-one fight that occurs somewhere in the Judean wilderness between Jesus and the devil. There has never been a heavyweight boxing championship or wrestling match or mixed-martial arts bout that can ever compare to this match-up. Secondly, it teaches us three important lessons about who the devil is and how we can defeat him. There is victory over God’s number one enemy and our number one enemy.

RECOGNIZE SATAN’S WICKEDNESS

The first time we’re introduced to the devil in the NT is in this encounter. Mt. 4:1 – “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.”

Notice something: Even though Jesus was being led by the Holy Spirit, even though he was in complete obedience to God’s will, even directly in the center of God’s will, He comes face-to-face with this sinister minister of evil called the devil.

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