Summary: There are real demons and a real devil even though we do live in the 21st Century.
“Satan’s Worst Nightmare Has Come True!”(REVISED)
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
A couple days ago I was reading a sermon on this same passage written by a colleague of mine.
In it, he wrote something to the effect of, “Back in Jesus’ day people still believed in demons and the devil, but of course, now we know better. We are 21st century people.”
I have to respectfully disagree that people no longer believe in demons and the devil.
From what I have seen, the majority of people do still believe in the reality of these evil beings.
For example, if I had not believed in the reality of the devil, demons and hell…
…I might very well have never decided to give my life to Christ.
And I am completely convinced that if I had not given my life to Christ, I would either be dead right now, or living under some tree somewhere…but probably dead.
If we are so ready to believe that there is a real God and that there are real angels, why is it so hard to believe that there are real demons and a real Satan?
I do believe that God uses the belief in the devil and hell to bring many into the life of Christ…
…but of course that is not where we are to continue to dwell as we mature as Christians.
From there, we begin our journey into the life of love and abundant life.
If there is no devil and no hell, then why not just live the way I want?
If there is no devil and no hell, then why did Jesus die on the cross?
And how do we even begin to explain the Fall, sin, evil, murder, and everything else that is opposed to the God of love and His plan?
Yes, modern medicine and psychology have come a long way, but even the most learned and sophisticated of doctors would have to admit that he or she does not have all the answers…not even close.
C.S. Lewis put it very well when he wrote, “There are two mistakes that people make concerning the devil. One is not to believe in his existence at all. The other is to have an unhealthy interest in him. Satan is equally pleased with both.”
In John chapter 8, Jesus describes the original murderer and the father of lies as the devil.
In Matthew chapter 25, Jesus says that there is an “eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
In Luke chapter 10 Jesus says, “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven.”
The Bible talks about a real devil, and real demons over 175 times.
Who are we to say that these beings do not exist?
I have seldom met a non-Christian or a regular church-goer who does not believe in the existence of Satan.
Our church fathers have believed in the existence of Satan for 2000 years.
Many very sincere and effective mainline ministers claim to have been involved in exorcisms—even today.
And the evil spirit mentioned in our Gospel Lesson for today simply means a demon.
Angels were created to worship and praise God, to serve Him, and to act as His messengers.
The Bible tells us that angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation.”
We all have angels of God who care for us and help us…who have a strong desire to work in the lives of humans for our good.
And demons have a similar function, but a different master and a different agenda.
Their allegiance is to the devil…
…and they serve him out of fear and delusion.
Like angels, demons have a strong desire to work in the lives of humans, but their purpose is to carry out the schemes of Satan and to oppose God.
Just as God loves us more than we can imagine…for He created us out of love in His image…
Satan hates us more than we can imagine…for we are created in God’s image.
Satan uses his demons to tempt, deceive, and delude people so that we will not hear and accept the message of the Gospel and be saved…and without the saving blood of Jesus…there is no forgiveness of sins.
The Bible tells us in 1st Peter: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Peter warns us: “Be self-controlled and alert…resist him standing firm in the faith.”
Satan gained quite a foothold on God’s creation when he tempted Adam and Eve…and they gave in…Oh, how he must of laughed!
“He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?”
Eve replied, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”