Summary: Actually, there are many who think that there isn't any such being as Satan - that he is a product of our imagination, sort of like Santa Claus, only evil. (PowerPoints Available - #294)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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A. This morning I'm starting a short series of sermons about Satan & Satanism, & it is proving to be a difficult series to prepare. The reason it is difficult is because I am wondering just how to get us to realize the importance of understanding who Satan is & how he works in our lives; for Satan is real, & his followers are many!
ILL. Back in 1989, Mark Kilroy, a college student, went with his buddies to South Padre Island, TX for Spring Break. Along with thousands of others, he crossed over into Mexico to spend a night drinking & partying in Matamoros.
But he never came back into the United States. His buddies reported his disappearance to the police & soon an intensive manhunt began on both sides of the border. But for 2 months there were no leads at all.
Meanwhile the Mexican police were also trying to break up the Hernandez crime family that was heavily involved in drug-smuggling. They set up roadblocks trying to catch the smugglers.
One night a smuggler, Serafin Hernandez, ignored a police roadblock, driving right through it & was then chased & arrested. When questioned about why he had driven through the roadblock without stopping, he told them a horrifying story.
He & his fellow drug-smugglers were Satan worshippers, in particular an Afro-Caribbean form of what is called "Santeria." Their worship of Satan involved voodoo, the casting of spells, blood rituals, & human sacrifices.
They believed that one of their most powerful spells would grant them special protection by Satan & provide them supernatural powers, including the power to be invisible to their enemies. This spell required human sacrifices & the cooking & eating of parts of the bodies of their victims.
He told the police that Mark had been specifically chosen because their leader, Constanzo, wanted to sacrifice an American college student for this ritual. Serafin participated in this voodoo ritual, & had ignored the road block because he thought he was invisible & they wouldn't see him.
Well, there is a lot more to this that I don't want to mention. So let me just say that when the Mexican police raided their rural hideout, called "The Devil's Ranch", they found parts of 15 bodies, men, women, & children who had been sacrificed in their Satanic rituals, plus evidence of the killing of nearly 60 more victims.
We're horrified to hear about such things. And there have been all kinds of TV programs & newspaper/magazine articles about Satanism & some of the terrible things that are done in the name of Satan.
But outside of being horrified, it really doesn't affect us much, does it?
After all, we're Christians, we're church going people, so Satan doesn't have any influence or affect upon us. Or does he?
B. Actually, there are many who think that there isn't any such being as Satan that he is a product of our imagination, sort of like Santa Claus, only evil.
Such people would say that any evil in the world arises out of our own animal instincts that we inherited from our ancestors who swung through the trees by their tails.
And they utterly reject as "religious mumbo jumbo" the idea that there really is a Satan who is alive & powerful, & deliberately trying to wreck us & this world that God has given us.
ILL. Let me tell you about an experience in C.S. Lovett's life when he suddenly realized that Satan really lives & works in us. He wrote:
"He lives . . . Satan lives! I saw the devil at work & it shook me. The occasion was at a meeting of a well known Christian Foundation. Momentous decisions were before the Foundation's directors.
"And then, at a crucial moment in the meeting, a person present spoke words which filled the president of the Foundation with anguish. I saw the hurt of his soul rise to his face. The spirit of the meeting changed instantly.
"Now the one who made the comment was a friend of mine. He is as gracious a man as you'd hope to meet. Those words from his lips didn't sound like him at all. When I beheld the great damage his words had done, I was perplexed 'How could such a thing happen?'
"I sank into my chair to reflect on this amazing disruptive spirit. What in the world possessed my friend to say such a thing? It sounded like someone else. But who? Then the Holy Spirit moved within me. Indeed, someone else had authored that comment SATAN!
"The instant that truth struck, I trembled. The palms of my hands became sweaty. A dreadful awareness swept over me. I experienced something about Satan I had never realized before.