“The devil made me do it!” Ever heard that before? What’s the deal with the devil anyway – should we believe in him or not? What does the scripture say, if anything, and what role does he or can he play in our life? Tune in to part 1 of this two-part sermon about Satan, the enemy. When you give at Harmony, you are investing in life change and are Advancing the Kingdom! GIVE TODAY, text any amount to (859) 459-0316 to get started (or give online @ my.harmonychurch.cc/give .
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OPENING ILLUSTRATION: When I was a kid, I LOVED Halloween. I remember one year my mom bought me this red spandex suit with a black pitchfork and I dressed up as the devil.
I really looked more like a plump tomato than anything else.
But I thought it was funny because, to me, the devil seemed more like a cartoon character than anything real.
I think if we’re honest, that’s kind of how most of us think about the devil.
-We picture him on Sylvester the cat’s shoulder along with an angel telling him not to eat a mouse.
– We picture him as an invention of man to explain evil
But did you know that’s not how the scripture describes the devil or his other name, Satan – both words mean the same thing – the devil was the Latinized version of the Greek word diabolos – which meant accuser which is what Satan means.
The term Satan actually means “adversary” or “accuser” – think “prosecutor.”
Satan at times in the OT is used as a verb – someone is acting as a Satan. At other times it’s used as a noun – they are the Satan-but in the OT it isn’t entirely clear if Satan is doing any wrong or if he’s just fulfilling his duty as a prosecutor.
I did a deep dive into the history of Satan and found that there is more than I have time to cover.
What we do know is it is the New Testament and other extra-biblical documents that equate Satan as The Adversary of God. He is not painted as some cartoon character, but a real, true threat to those who chose to follow Jesus.
ILLUSTRATION: It reminds me of back in June there was this goofball Youtuber named Logan Paul who took on boxing Floyd Mayweather (50-0 pro boxing record – 12 world titles in 5 weight classes). Logan Paul’s resume was that he had fought and lost one match and that he had 20 million Social media subscribers. He seemed like a cartoon character until he got in the ring. He didn’t beat Mayweather, but he stayed with him and I’m not sure I’d want to put on the gloves with him…
Here’s the deal, I’m a critic at heart. I struggle through lots of these things going, “Really?” So, if I could, I want to give you the most convincing reason I have for believing that this evil, spiritual being exists.
Here is the most convincing argument, to me, about why you should believe in Satan
Because Jesus acted and operated as though Satan was a real spiritual entity who sought to oppose the work of God.
For me, if you have predicted and then actually lived out dying and bringing yourself back from the dead, then I am willing to take your word on other topics as well. And for Jesus, Satan as an opposer was reality.
- Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert (Matthew 4, Mark 1)
- Jesus referenced Satans work against the Gospel message in His parables (Mark 4)
- Jesus understood some physical infirmities to be partially the action of the Satanic (Luke 13:16)
- Satan is not equal to God in authority or power – he has to ask for authority, he can be cast out(Luke 22:31, Luke 11)
So, what does the scripture say about Satan that’s so important that I would spend this sermon and the next on it? Remember last week how I told you the story of walking in the rain carrying an umbrella and how I think that’s how a lot of us are when it comes to the spiritual realm? We exist in it but don’t recognize the damage it is doing to us and that we have ways of standing against it and protecting ourselves.
2 things I think everyone should know about Satan:
- Those who are apart from Christ are under his rule.
Several times Jesus spoke of Satan as “The prince of this world” (John 12:31, John 14:30, John 16:11)
Paul calls him “The god of this age”
2 Corinthians 4:4 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
John again tells us in 1 John
1 John 5:19 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
When Jesus is being tempted by Satan and Satan offers him all the kingdoms of the world, he’s not using hyperbole. He is legitimately trying to bring Jesus under his control by offering Jesus what Satan has and Jesus wants…
This doesn’t mean that people who are not Christians are part of some worldwide Satanic movement
What it means is that they live under a spiritual delusion and captivity that Satan reigns within because of our abandonment of GodWhen Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent to eat the fruit, the temptation was to remove themselves from under that authority and reign of God, to under their own authority and reign through the knowledge of good and evil (Law)
But ultimately they were removing themselves from a relationship with God that was protecting them from the power that law gave to sin…
Paul says it this way…
1 Corinthians 15:6 “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.”
Death has a sting to it because sin is present and keeps us from being present with God. Law gives sin its power – if there were no laws to break, there would be no sin because sin is a breaking of law.
Satan’s control over us is in our persistence to remain under law and our own leadership instead of engaging in a relationship with the creator God.
We have been bound over to Satan.
- Jesus died to free you from sin and the reign of Satan that sin provided in your life.
This is how the author of Hebrews says it:
Hebrews 2:14-15 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Part of what Jesus’ death on the cross did was to break the hold death had on humanity.
Death was the power Satan used to bind us through sin and law – Jesus’ death broke that hold and set us free…