Summary: We have an enemy to which we need be aware.
Dating back to the Garden of Eden, mankind has experienced the power of the supernatural warfare which exists on this earth. The devil, disguised as a serpent, entertained and then deceived Eve who then under the influence of darkness continued the deception with Adam and together they worked to deceived God by attempting to hide their sin.
In our lifetime we have seen, and most recently so, the rise of interest in the supernatural. Disney brought us Fantasia, Harry Potter has been a success in both book and movie form making its author one of the riches people in the world. On television there is this season, Medium, Ghost Whisperer, and other such offerings which deal in the realm of the supernatural. Other films, such as the Fog, the Exorcism of Emily Gale, and others have peaked interest. Why? Because the Bible speaks of an increase in darkness in the last days, where light and dark become more distinguishable. The dark side, as we have learned the phrase from Star Wars fame, works to make itself more acceptable, more visible, so that it is common place, and the media has become a prime tool for that acceptability.
Richard Pryor, I believe, made the phrase, “The devil made me do it,” a household expression. We laughed when it was said as he parodied the expression as an excuse to justify wrong behavior.
We continue our look at the book of Ephesians in chapter 6 today beginning an examination of the Believer’s armor so we can avoid saying, “the devil made me do it.”
Ephesians 6:10-12 in the New Living Translation, 10A final word: Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power. 11Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. 12For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.
Paul is wrapping up his letter in Ephesians with a final thought. By the way, in conclusion, I want you to know, Paul says, be strong in the Lord, and in His mighty power. Why? Because you are going to need that strength to get through this life because there are forces at work against you, forces that want to harm you, forces that want to bring you down, so put on the armor of God so you can fight the good fight of faith.
Next week we are going to look at the armor, this week, I have three things I want you to see about the influence darkness has on the world. First of all, we need to understand…
I. The World’s Leader.
Paul instructs us to put on the whole armor of God so we can withstand the assault of the devil. This world is but a vehicle which brings believers in God to heaven, a proving ground in the great battle between God and the devil. How many of you have discovered there is a battle being waged, that this world is not some playground but there are forces at work which pull you in every direction, most importantly, there are forces at work which are at this moment trying to pull you away from God? Do you know what I am talking about?
The devil, Satan, the serpent of old, is real. He is not a cartoon character wearing a red suit, carrying a pitchfork with horns on his head. If that is what he looked like, we wouldn’t give him the time of day.
Isaiah 14:12-15 says this of him, “12"How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. 13For you said to yourself, `I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. 14I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’ 15But instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths.”
Once the worship leader in heaven, Satan, the devil, attempted to overthrow God. We would think that an absurd thing to do, to overthrow the Creator of the Universe. Yet, how often have we ourselves attempted such a coup. When we decide to do something outside the will of God, when we violate the perimeters He has established, we decide we can do it better than God. That’s when we say, “the devil made me do it.”
The devil, through his agents, do influence decisions, but listen, we give to much credit to them when in actuality, as free moral agents, we make decisions which we know are wrong, all because we want what we want, and we want it now.