Summary: Satan is the real "Dark Lord" and while the Bible tells us he is defeated, he is still dangerous. How do we deal with this powerful force of evil and overcome?
OPEN: Several years ago, I watched a PBS Special that covered the events leading up to the "Battle of the Bulge" during WWII.
It was the autumn of 1944 and Germany had been beaten back behind its borders. The Nazi war machine was in tatters and the repeated bombing raids of the Allies all but assured that Hitler’s forces would never rise again.
Around the perimeter of Germany’s borders, the Allies spread a thin line of forces. One person observed that Allied forces were was so scattered that a man could slip between its lines without being observed.
All across Europe, there was celebration. Parties, dances, speeches all rejoicing in Germany’s defeat. The war was effectively over. The only problem was (pause) somebody forgot to tell Germany.
Even as his forces were being shattered and driven back Hitler was devising a plan for one last onslaught. Underground factories churned out more weapons, armament and ammunition. More of Germany’s young and old men were conscripted and trained for war. And as Europe rejoiced, Hitler planned.
His goal was not to drive back the Allies into the sea, as much as it was to divide the British to the North and Americans to the South, so demoralizing them that they would sue for peace on his terms.
Hundreds and thousands of men died because somebody forgot that the enemy still lived and that the war was NOT (completely) over.
APPLY: What Paul is telling us here in Ephesians is the enemy still lives. The war IS NOT completely over. And you had better not let down your guard. We MUST put on the whole armor of God and prepare for battle.
I. Why? Because, the enemy is just waiting for a chance to take you out.
Notice what Ephesians 6 tells us about Satan:
"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." (vs. 11)
“… our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil (vs. 12)
"…put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…" (vs. 13)
"…take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." (vs. 16)
What this is telling us is that the devil seeking to destroy us, seeking to pierce our souls with his flaming arrows of hatred. And a day of evil will come knocking at our doors one day threatening to demoralize our faith.
Ephesians 4:26 tells us we must be careful not to give Satan a “foothold” in our lives.
II Timothy informs us that certain people have been “taken captive” to do the will the devil.
In Revelation 2:10 Jesus told the church at Smyrna to “not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you."
And Peter tells Christians they must “…be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
There are people (even those who claim to be Christians) who don’t believe the devil exists…
They have a right to be wrong…. But they are wrong. The Bible tells us Satan does exist (even if we can’t see him).
ILLUS: One man once observed: "Sicknesses are tied to viruses and bacteria - can’t see them, but I know they are there and my doctor advises me how to respond.
So also with Satan - we can’t see him, but God assures us he is there and that he is a formidable enemy."
The very idea of "Satan" is a scary concept. And so some people just pretend he doesn’t exist. Others simply choose to ignore him. They live as if this Dark Lord doesn’t exist…
ILLUS: They read their horoscopes or go to "palm readers." They buy ouija boards for their children. They their family is "entertained’ with TV shows and movies that exalt demonic activities. These are things condemned by God, but people dabble in them because they’ve come to the conclusion that if they just "ignore" Satan - he’ll go away and not bother them….
II. In war, one of worst mistakes that anyone can make is to UNDERESTIMATE enemy
And one of the reasons we tend to underestimate Satan is because we know he’s defeated. The Bible tells us so…
Hebrews 2:14-15 "Since the children have flesh and blood, he (Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death."