Summary: Don’t be like the 2 boys walking back home from church. They had just heard the pastor preach a strong message on the devil when the one boy said, “What do you think about all this Satan stuff?” The other boy replied, “You know how Santa Clause turned out. It’s probably just your dad.”
According to a cartoon in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, God and the devil are discussing who gets to welcome Michael Jackson to the afterlife. The cartoon shows Satan holding a newspaper with a headline announcing Jackson’s death. He looks up and poses a question to God, who is leaning over a cloud to listen, “Shall we flip a coin?” the devil asks.
In Dante’s Inferno, the poet describes Satan as living in the deepest recesses of hell. He is there as a three mouthed beast, chewing on Judas, the betrayer of Jesus Christ, along with Brutus and Cassius, the traitors who assassinated Julius Caesar.
Burt Ross, who recently lost $5 million to Bernie Madoff, said the following: “May Satan grow a fourth mouth where Bernard L. Madoff deserves to spend the rest of eternity.”
When discussing Satan, I don’t want you to be like the two boys walking back home from church. They had just heard the pastor preach a strong message on the devil when the one boy said, “What do you think about all this Satan stuff?” The other boy replied, “You know how Santa Clause turned out. It’s probably just your dad.”
If you believe the Bible to be true, then you accept Satan. Through the pages of the Bible, he is described as the Dragon, The Ruler of this Age, the adversary, the accuser, Beelzebub, or the Devil. These titles give Satan a poignant expression to his evil character. Simply put, when we think of evil, we see the work of Satan himself. Indeed, he is the embodiment of evil itself and Satan is the supernatural enemy of God.
Today we are nearing the end of a journey through Peter’s first letter. In doing so, we are going to give a close look at Satan who Peter describes as a roaring lion ready to devour. Peter’s words are not intended to be a classroom lecture prepared to entertain us with amusing details of Satan. Instead, Peter tells us that we will always be at war. Retreat is impossible. Arm yourselves. A crucial way to arm yourself is to recognize some tendencies that crop up when people often think of the devil.
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. Nineteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament refer to Satan with another four more speaking of demons. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.
I believe in Satan. I believe in Satan because I believe in Jesus. If Satan is our mythological holdover from a pre-scientific age, then the life-long struggle of our Lord Jesus was mere shadow-boxing. Take Satan and his forces out of the Gospels, and Jesus is left like a fool punching the air.
“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:5b-11)
TODAY’S BIG IDEA: Stand Alert Against the Schemes of Satan.
The jaws of a satanic lion are crushing Christians in order to destroy them. Peter warns us to be alert. Peter warns us to be sober.
1. Who is Satan?
1.1. Satan Lies
“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
1.2 Satan Blinds
“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Satan not only speaks what is false, he hides what is true.
1.3 Satan Deceives
Major William Martin, a British citizen, was buried near the southern coast of Spain. Martin never knew the great contribution he made to the Allied success in the Second World War, especially in Sicily, because he died of pneumonia in the foggy dampness of England before he ever saw the battle front. The Allies had invaded North Africa. The next logical step was Sicily. Knowing the Germans calculated this, the Allies determined to outfox them. One dark night, an Allied submarine came to the surface just off the coast of Spain and put Martin’s body out to sea in a rubber raft with an oar. In his pocket were secret documents indicating the Allied forces would strike next in Greece. Major Martin’s body washed ashore, and Axis intelligence operatives soon found him, thinking he had crashed at sea. They passed the secret documents through Axis hands all the way to Hitler’s headquarters. While Allied forces moved toward Sicily, thousands and thousands of German troops moved on to Greece – where the battle wasn’t.