Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:12-14
What Would Satan Say?
We began our Christmas series last week with somewhat of a humorous, yet serious look at what Santa, or Saint Nick might say if he were among us today. Remember that we said that the modern day Santa Claus has its origins in the legend of this God fearing man who was so willing to give of himself for the good of others. If he could see what Christmas has become, we found that he might have some things to say to us. I believe those things were very practical in nature. We need to think about our focus, our faith, our giving and our love during this holiday season and keep it all in perspective.
Today, I want to turn from that and consider what Satan might say if he were among us. This has been most difficult to determine for two reasons. For one thing, Satan’s presence is among us today. Though it is doubtful he is here personally, we can be sure that there are demonic spirits in our very presence during this service and every worship service we undertake as a church body. So, it is not as though he could be present, there is a very real presence of evil among us today. The second reason it has been difficult is that I really wonder what Satan might say. What would this fallen angel who is alive and well say to you and me this morning?
I think the answer to that question can be found by considering his handiwork in the books of Genesis and Matthew. Let’s look first at the account in Genesis 3:1-5.
"Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
Remember that Jesus called Satan a liar and the father of lies. He was a murderer from the beginning. One of Satan’s chief instruments in his arsenal against the people of God is doubt. That’s what we find in his conversation with Eve. He went to work immediately creating doubt about what God had said and instructed. "Did God really say that? Did He tell you the whole truth? Are you sure?" Now let’s look at Matthew 4, and I want you to notice in particular verses 3, 6 and 9. Notice the one little word they all have in common – the word if. You see, even when Satan was speaking with his Creator, he tried to plant those seeds of doubt in the Lord’s mind to detract Him from His mission.
Doubt – it is probably one of the most effective instruments used by Satan in our lives as we seek to follow the Lord, and it is one of the most widely used instruments used at this time of year by those who would try to get you to examine your beliefs about the birth of the Savior. I want to focus on two things I believe Satan would say to us today. You may think of more, and if you do, I would invite you to share them with me so I might work on them some other time, but for now, if he were among us today, what would Satan say?
Do you really believe that Jesus was virgin born?
Matthew 1:18-25 says,
"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus."
Now if Satan were here in bodily form today among us as we read this passage, he would no doubt have to say something about what we have read. You see, here it is – you take a young man and a young woman who are in love and want to be married. Suddenly the girl becomes pregnant – and we are to believe that the God of the universe mysteriously put that baby into her womb just like that. Think about it – the idea of a young woman who had never in her life been sexually active, who had never so much as been intimate with the man to whom she was espoused, comes up pregnant. The very idea sounds ludicrous doesn’t it?
Satan would have us to believe that the whole story is either made up so they’d be famous, or it was a lie to cover up for their immorality, or possibly something else, but Mary could not have been a virgin or else she would not have been pregnant. The lie is this: You can believe in Jesus. He was a great man who did and taught great things without believing that He was virgin born. What harm is there in that? So what if Mary was His mother and Joseph was His father? He still lived a great life and died on a cross to pay for sin, right? There’s nothing that would please our enemy more than for God’s children to believe the lie that the virgin birth never occurred. But it did occur.
Maybe you’re wondering what difference it makes. So what if He was or wasn’t born of a virgin? Well it does make a difference. The doctrinal importance of the virgin birth of Christ is seen in at least three areas.
The virgin birth shows that salvation ultimately must come from the Lord.
All the way back in Genesis 3:15, right after the serpent deceived Eve into eating of the forbidden fruit, the Lord said,
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
When God made that statement to the serpent, He was giving the first promise in the Bible of the coming Redeemer. Some 5000 years before Christ was born, God made a statement that He was going to show all of the Creation that He was going to orchestrate the events of history in such a way that a Savior would be born and brought about by His own power and not through the efforts of sinful man. The virgin birth of Christ is an unmistakable reminder that salvation is the work of God. Paul said in Galatians 4 that "when we were in bondage under the elements of the world: when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." There’s not a man or woman alive who could have brought about salvation – it is the work of God!
The virgin birth made possible the uniting of full deity and full humanity in one person.
Jesus was not 50% God and 50% man. He was 100% God and 100% man. This virgin born Christ was the means God used to send His Son into the world as a man. I suppose that God could have created a God man anyway He so chose, but He chose to plant His seed in the womb of this virgin girl Mary, and it really doesn’t matter why He chose to do it – it is not our place to question that – instead, we are to believe it. But isn’t that exactly where Satan likes to strike the most? Isn’t it characteristic of him to work at the point of belief? You see, at the very place where we are most apt to question why God does a thing that seems odd to us is exactly where Satan would have us to question God’s work when it is not our place to do so.
The virgin birth made possible Christ’s true humanity without inherited sin.
All human beings have inherited sin – a corrupt moral nature we receive from our first father Adam – but Jesus did not have this inherited sin. Every man and woman ever born were conceived in the same manner – a manner that I don’t have to explain to you in this room this morning with our little ears – every man and woman except for Jesus.
The 5th chapter of Romans explains to us that sin began with Adam and through conception passes from the mother and father to the child, but this process was broken when the Holy Spirit of God chose to plant His seed into that womb without a human father. If you take away the virgin birth of Christ, then you give Him a sin nature, inherited sin from Adam, and if Jesus was a sinner, then He could not have died on the cross to pay for your sin or mine.
Is the virgin birth of Christ important? Your salvation depends on it! Your eternal destiny depends on it! Satan, that old liar and deceiver, isn’t just represented in this service today by his wicked demons, but he is present in your life daily – and from time to time he’ll come along and try to create just a seed of doubt in your mind – is it really true? Do you really believe that? Was it really necessary?
If and when those doubts begin to crop up, don’t do like Eve did, you do as Jesus did when that wicked one worked on Him and you go to the Word of God and remember that the virgin birth of Christ isn’t optional – the salvation of all of humanity depends on it.
If Jesus really came to bring peace, then why are your lives so messed up?
In Luke 2:12-14, we read,
"And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
A more proper reading of that verse would be, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace toward men of good will." The Scriptures are wonderful in how they proclaim Christ! The word Bethlehem means House of Bread, and Jerusalem means City of Peace. Think about this for a minute – Jesus is called the Bread of Life and the Prince of Peace. The Bread of Life was born in Bethlehem – the House of Bread. He is the Prince of Peace, king of Jerusalem, the city of Peace!
No matter where you go, all around the world at Christmas time the world talks about peace – the birth of Jesus brought peace into the world. Now I believe that the Prince of peace came to bring peace – but Satan would go to work at this point. Sure the Bible says all that, but did Jesus really bring peace? Go back to Matthew 2:16 and read it.
"Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men."
If Satan were here today he would take us to that event in history and ask us, "If Jesus really came to bring peace, then why did all these babies have to die just so He could be born?" If Satan were present with us, maybe he would take us to Matthew 10:34, where Jesus Himself said, "Don’t think that I have come to send peace on earth: I didn’t come to send peace, but a sword." If Jesus really came to bring peace, then why did He say, "I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household." Now what kind of Prince of peace is that?
If Jesus is all about peace, then why is life like it is? Life doesn’t always get more peaceful when we meet Jesus – it gets more complicated! The only people I know who are Christians and their lives are peace filled are the ones who don’t do anything! They may go to church, but aside from that nobody would ever know they knew Christ. When I look around just this room I see people who are hurting and suffering. When I think about our church I think of people who love the Lord and have faithfully served Him for many years, only to be confined to their homes like Sister Bayless. I think of those who are going through marital pain, those who are suffering agony with their children or other loved ones. If Jesus is all about peace, then why in the world are we loosing our jobs right before Christmas?
You see how easy it is to allow Satan to work and plant those seeds of doubt and dismay about the Lord? How often do bad things happen in our lives, things occur that we don’t understand – that hurt and cause great pain and we can find no answers for them. How often I have heard someone say "Why? Why Lord did this have to happen?" I have listened, and I am sure some of you have too, to mothers cry out to God in the loss of a child, "Why?" "If God really loved me…If Jesus really cared…If He really came to bring peace, then why?
Satan enters the picture at this point and plants those seeds of doubt and he quietly whispers to you, "Does God really care about you? Do you see how He treats you? You love and serve and give and witness. You live like He says in that Bible of yours and this is what you get in return." Oh, it is certainly a subtle way of causing you to question and wonder, and it has caused many a child of God to walk away from the Lord and from His churches and people never to follow again.
What is the answer? If Jesus really came to bring peace, then why are so many lives so messed up? Well to be quite honest the answer is not so simple. One thing is certain though – God loves us all and He never does anything to us to hurt us. God is the giver of every good and perfect gift James says. The most simple way to answer the question is to say that sin is the cause.
· Why do people get sick and die? Because of sin. "The wages of sin is death."
· Why do people have family problems? Because of sin. If we loved one another with a perfect love like Jesus has then family problems would be nonexistent.
We can blame it all on sin, but that is not so easy when we are the ones hurting. I know this sounds trite when you are the one hurting, but it is true nonetheless, God cares. His Word is true. His thoughts and ways are beyond our understanding. All things work out for our good, and there are a multitude of other passages that assure us that God knows what He is doing in our lives – it is our responsibility not to question what happens in our lives so much as it is for us to learn to trust Him when we don’t understand and be compelled to run to Him in those times of hurt and pain.
I’ll say this – that more I observe believers, the more I realize that the ones who handle the crisis’s of life with grace tend to be those who are in the Word of God, and those whose lives are falling apart and they don’t know what to do tend to be those who only run to God when things get bad. It’s like the old saying, "The man whose Bible is falling apart usually has a life that isn’t." There’s great truth to that statement. The Word of God is an anchor for the weary soul in the storms of life. You cling to that anchor and God will see you through the storm.
No doubt about it, if Satan were among us this morning, he would begin to work on each of us individually and point out what is wrong in our lives and how unjust God is with us – don’t you allow him the room to do it! You go to the Scriptures and you remind Satan that God loves you and no matter what may happen – you know there is a purpose and a plan in it.
You know, if Satan were here, maybe he would have a lot to say. Maybe he would say…
· don’t take all this religious stuff too seriously
· you’ve got plenty of time to straighten up
· you’re so busy, there’s always someone else and there’s always another day
To those of you who have never trusted Christ as your Savior, I know he would tell you that you don’t need to worry about it right now, if ever. Listen, Jesus Christ is the virgin born Son of God, the Prince of Peace – and He was born into this world to destroy the power that sin has over your life. If you’ve never accepted Christ, you’re a slave to sin – you’re in bondage and you can’t do anything about it on your own, but Christ paid the price to purchase you from that slave master. He died to set you free, and all you have to do to be set free is to realize that you are indeed in bondage to sin, repent of your sin, confess it to God and ask Him to save you trusting Him in faith and He will do it.
Satan is telling your right now that you don’t need to do it today. You don’t need to accept Christ right now. You don’t have to make a decision for Him in this invitation. My question for you then is this, to whom will you respond?