Summary: A challenge to wake up, work out and walk right.
Dealing With The Devil
Woodlawn Baptist Church
June 10, 2007
He blinds the minds of the unsaved. He steals away the good seed sown in the heart. He lulls unbelievers into a false sense of security. He lays snares for those unaware. He masquerades as an angel of light, mixes truth with error and deceives the minds of those who are not in the Word of God. He persecutes the Lord’s churches. He perverts the gospel. He disturbs our unity and sows the seeds of heresy. He is none other than Lucifer, that old dragon, the devil.
We know him as Satan, and today as I begin a short series of messages about spiritual warfare I want to begin here, with the originator of all spiritual warfare. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:12,
“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
I like the way the New Living Translation reads.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
More than we know there is a war raging around us every day, even now; a war that cannot be fought with guns and tanks and missiles. The war is real and cannot be taken lightly. It is not a figure of speech reminding us of how bad things get, it is a real war involving real spirits and it effects real people, churches and families.
Unlike the war in Iraq, where we pay men and women to go off and fight and we can read about it or watch it on T.V. from the comfort of our homes, this war is taking place in our homes. There are no bystanders, no silent observers. It effects us all. The question today is whether it engages us all. You see, far to many, most people in fact, forget, dismiss, or ignore the spiritual warfare that is raging. While the war goes on, they have laid down their weapons and have been taken captive.
Today I have no intention of giving you a theological lesson about the devil. Instead, this is a call to action: a call for you, for this church, for your families to quit living like spectators and instead to become fully engaged in the battle ourselves. I want to give you three challenges related to this call to arms.
According to a study done by the Barna Research Group in 2006, more than half of adults surveyed say that Satan is only a symbol of evil. A full 45% of Christians deny Satan’s existence. In the same way we view Cupid as a symbol of love, these are professing believers who think that Satan is only a symbol of evil! The Bible doesn’t address Satan as an idea or symbol, but as a real being who exists, communicates, thinks, has emotion and acts.
Do we really believe the Bible? A couple of weeks ago John quoted a popular story about the preacher and the writer. Thousands flocked to hear the writer, so the preacher wanted to know how he did it. If you remember, the writer said, “I tell fiction as though it were truth, and you tell truth as though it were fiction.” That’s the truth! We’ve reduced Satan to a fictitious man in a red suit with horns, but the Bible declares that he is real!
• In Genesis 3 he was the deceiver in the Garden of Eden, planting doubt and confusion about man’s need for God.
• In 1 Chronicles he was the provoker who led David to number the people of Israel, an act of pride and arrogance considering that God had built the nation, not David
• In Job 1 he was the accuser and tormenter of Job.
• In Matthew 4 he was the tempter during Jesus’ wilderness testing.
• He led Judas to betray the Savior.
• He filled Ananias’ heart with greed and lies so that he lied to the Holy Spirit.
The Scriptures are plain: Satan was at work throughout the Old Testament, he was at work in the New Testament and he is still at work today! That’s why Paul told us to put on the whole armor of God – so we might stand against the strategies of Satan: strategies like doubt, pride, lies, accusations, false security and deception. He uses those strategies against you, your family and this church. But irregardless of what strategy he uses, the point is always the same: we don’t need God.
That was his point in the Garden. Adam and Eve didn’t need God when they could be gods. That was his point with David. David was a great and mighty king! He had built an empire himself! He didn’t need God. When Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones to bread, to jump off the temple, and to bow at his feet, the temptation was for Jesus to deny His need for God.