Summary: Our purpose in this series is to reacquaint ourselves with the fundamentals of our faith.
Why We Believe What We Believe – About Satan
Why We Believe What We Believe Teaching Series
Gages Lake Bible Church
January 10th, 2010
Pastor Daniel Darling
Last Fall we began a series entitled, “Why We Believe What We Believe.” We began this series because many of us here at Gages Lake are new—including me. And so we thought it would be a good idea to set down what our beliefs are and why we believe them.
For many of us, this is review—doctrines we’ve heard in Sunday School and all of our lives and yet there is something refreshing in digging in and rediscovering the why of what we believe—and why its important to our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
For those of you who are maybe new to the faith, this is a great opportunity for you to learn some of the core doctrines of the faith. I really, really encourage you to get the entire series when it is finished and listen to all of them.
Intro: Today we come to the eighth message in our series: Why We Believe What We Believe—about Satan.
Now, there really isn’t a good way to introduce a message about Satan. Honestly, preachers really don’t enjoy preaching messages about Satan. Well, some do, but they have bigger issues!
Joe Page, the Yankee relief ace, says he dreamed one night that he was in heaven, and was assigned the task of forming a baseball team of all the great stars available there. "But who'll we play against?" he asked.
Just then the Devil telephoned and challenged him to a series. "Four games out of seven," suggested the Devil, "and no miracles on either side."
"What chance have you got?" scoffed Page. "Every great ball player goes to heaven when he dies!"
"I'm not worrying," the Devil told him. "I've got all the umpires."
Well, I’m not sure about the theology of that, but it is funny.
Know You’re Adversary
I’m a big fan of football. And any good football coach will spend hours and hours studying the other team. They are the adversary. In fact, the coaching staff on an NFL football team might spend 40, 50, 60 hours each week breaking down and studying the film of the other team.
Well, every team that is, except the Chicago Bears, I think!
We Talk about the Enemy, Because the Bible Talks about the Enemy
We take our faith and our doctrine from one place, the Bible. The Bible is our middle name.
And while the story of the Bible is about God’s interaction with man through Jesus Christ—the Bible does mention an enemy, Satan. It doesn’t ignore the enemy. It doesn’t pretend he isn’t there.
In fact, references to Satan fill the Bible. He is a major character in the beginning of the Bible—in Genesis and he’s a major character at the end of the Bible, in Revelation.
In the Old Testament, we find the story of his fall from exalted angel to archenemy of God. We find him prominently featured in the epic story of Job, considered the oldest manuscript in the Bible. We find him tempting King David to act against God. And we find him mentioned throughout the prophets.
In the New Testament, Jesus mentions His adversary, Satan, no less than twenty five times. Every New Testament writer discusses Satan and nineteen of 27 New Testament books mention Satan.
So belief in the existence of Satan is not some fringe theology, it is part and parcel of our faith.
A few years ago a story in Christianity Today chronicled the story of New York’s John Cardinal O’Connor. It read like this:
So what did New York's John Cardinal O'Connor do to cause newspapers and television newscasts across the country, even Time magazine, to report his behavior? The big news was that he said he believed the Devil exists.
Time magazine asked, "Was O'Connor seriously suggesting that demons were loose in the land?"
Ironically, recent issues of Time had stories on mass-murdering sociopaths, "wilding" gang rapes, brutal wars, heinous negligence!
We believe Satan is real, he is alive, and he is powerful.
Satan in Culture
Satan is often depicted in our culture an ominous figure, complete with red horns and cape. Or he’s often laughed and joked over, as if he’s a sympathetic figure, even harmless.
Lately worship of Satan has been on the rise with the increased popularity of the black arts and video games and media that praises and encourages a dabbling in the dark underworld and with evil.
But Satan is not harmless and he’s not the stumbling fool we think he is. He is to be respected, but not feared. He isn’t to be messed with, he is to be resisted.
Writing in his classic book, Great Doctrines of the Faith, William Evans writes: