Summary: Sometimes we can become so sophisticated in our theology that we forget some simple but crucial truths.

The Devil Wouldn’t Let Me Do It

(I Thessalonians 2:17-20)

1. One day I came down with the "Sam" bug.

2. I was grazing with my remote, going through the channels.

3. Low and behold, my attention was set upon one of the Christian stations.

4. Three couples were talking about sin and the devil.

5. And, like many poor interpreters of the Bible, two guys with opposing opinions could not understand that they both were right, in a sense.

6. One guy was saying that the devil was actively sabotaging Christians and Christian leaders. He was of the view that believers acknowledged the reality of Satan, but did not take him seriously when it came down to daily life.

7. Another guy was arguing that people are responsible for their own behavior and that blaming things on the devil was nothing less than an evasion of responsibility.

8. But neither guy considered balancing these two factors together.

9. They did agree that when we have faith, the devil cannot stand against us and that when we walk with God, we always trample down all his schemes. I do not agree with that at all, and we will see in a few moments that Paul did not hold that viewpoint.

9.Over half of born-again Christians (52 percent), according to a recent Barna poll, do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a living entity…

Slightly more born-again Christians believe in the devil than believe in the Holy Spirit, though 45 percent do not believe that Satan exists.

[Barna stats quoted by Les Feldick at]

10. Confusing factors: God uses Satan. God allows the devil to stop us because God wants us to be stopped for some reason; the devil is real, but God is sovereign. Sometimes God wants something to fail or not progress. His Kingdom is very complex, and we must remember that God is the Great Strategist. Sometimes winning is losing and losing is winning -- in the long term.

11. Sometimes Christians are surprised to learn that God uses Satan and demons to accomplish His purposes.

I Samuel 16:14-15, "Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him. Saul’s attendants said to him, ’See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you.’"

I Kings 22:19-22, "Micaiah continued, ’Therefore hear the word of the LORD : I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. And the LORD said, ’Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’’’

"’One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the the LORD and said, ’I will entice him.’’"

" ’By what means?’ the LORD asked.

" ’I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said.

" ’You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. ’Go and do it.’

"So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you."

12. Sometimes the devil stops us because of our sin or unbelief or our failure to practice spiritual warfare. Sometimes we do not know if perhaps God is allowing the devil to stop us.

13. If you do not think that the devil is very active today, then I suggest you start witnessing. If you are someone who witnesses frequently, I probably do not have to convince you that the devil is alive and well. He becomes most active when we begin to make a difference in reaching the lost or reclaiming the fallen.

Illustration: A group of soldiers on the front line sneak out of battle, go deeply into safe territory, and play cards in a shack somewhere; they are unlikely to be attacked by the enemy because they have fled from the battle. It is the same with us - if we are not aggressively seeking to make a difference for the kingdom, we are less prone to be attacked by the enemy because we are not as strategically valuable.

Main Idea: Sometimes we can become so sophisticated in our theology that we forget some simple but crucial truths.

I. God’s Enemy Is Our ENEMY (17-18)

• When the United Kingdom suffered those recent terrorist attacks, Americans sympathized with the Brits because we have the same enemy. God and His children also share the same enemy, the devil (his title) or Satan (his name) and his army of demons.

A. He can TEAR us away from fruitful ministry (17)

1. The word translated "tore us away" contains the word "orphan." It is a strongly emotional word; picture one person clinging to another while others tear him away and carry him off…

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