Summary: This sermon is meant to help us evaluate how we worship and to warn us to avoid Satan’s influence even at church.
He can’t possess true Christ followers, but he does want to manipulate us and hinder our work for God and the growth of our faith.
Remember what Jesus said to Simon Peter? "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat." (Luke 22:31)
Simon thought he would be able to go through all the trials with Jesus without cracking. Though his faith didn’t fail completely, he miserably flunked a major test. He disavowed all knowledge of Jesus when Jesus was being falsely accused and beaten.
Peter was given another chance and he learned from his mistake, but we need to learn from it also. Satan is out to sift us.
That’s why Peter would later write in one of his letters to the churches this admonition: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)
If you think the devil doesn’t do some of his prowling in church you haven’t been around long. Satan even has control of the pulpits in some churches.
Listen to what the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15:
"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what they deserve."
3. The devil goes to church because he’s seeking worship.
The devil wants to be worshipped as if he were God.
Isaiah 14:12-14 - "How have you fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, ’I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’"
Remember what the devil said to Jesus? "All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me." (Matthew 4:9)
Satan worship will characterize the Great Tribulation. (Rev. 9:20) Satan will even resurrect the beast and kill everyone who doesn’t worship him. (Rev. 13:15)
Satan will be able to accomplish for a short while what he has longed for all along.
But until that day comes the true follower of Christ is involved in a struggle. Our great struggle is not with paying our bills or staying healthy. Our greatest struggle is a spiritual one.
"For 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 in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12)
Forget the war on terror for now, even though Satan is behind it. Let’s focus on the spiritual war that exists to hinder the work of God.
Let’s not be so naive as to neglect the fact that we war with the devil even when we come to church!