Posts Tagged 'the Devil'

Lies the Devil Told Me

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The Devil is a liar.  In fact, the Bible teaches us that he is “the father of lies.”  The Devil, also known as Satan, is somebody you don’t want to know.  But you should know about him; you should know as much about him as you can because he is your enemy and key to winning any battle is knowing your enemy.

The cloven-hoofed one is smart and over the centuries he has been very successful at creating an image of himself that is not even close to reality.  He is an expert at branding.  So, let’s shine the light on Satan’s lies about himself so you have an accurate picture of just who your enemy really is.  It’s no sin to talk about Satan and you shouldn’t be superstitious about it.  Jesus once said:

“I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. Be as wary as serpents and harmless as doves.”  (Matthew 10:16  TLB)

The very best way to be “as wary as serpents” is to know as much as we can about our enemy, the Devil.

Lie Number One:  “I don’t really exist.”

The very first lie the Devil has been successful in peddling is that he isn’t real; that he doesn’t really exist.  Over the centuries, he has used superstition, ignorance, and even humor to convince people that he isn’t real; that he is a figment of the imagination.  Think about it.  We tell jokes about him (“the devil made me do it!”) and blame things he’s responsible for on warped minds or man’s inner impulses.  We have found ingenious ways to explain the Devil out of existence.  But thinking he isn’t real doesn’t make it so.  The Devil is real.  He is as real as God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.  He is as real as your neighbor.  And if you are a Christian, he’s out to get you.

Be careful-watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart.  Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too.  (1 Peter 5:8, 9  TLB)

The best way for the enemy to gain the upper hand is to convince us that he isn’t real.  The Bible, though, speaks of Satan as a real being.  It never tries to prove his existence, any more than it tries to prove God’s existence.  But like God, the Bible simply assumes its readers are smart enough to know the truth.

For example, the author of the book of Job assumed you’d know that Satan was real.   In fact, we get a rare glimpse into the heavenly realms to see how he operates:

One day as the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan, the Accuser, came with them.  “Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan. And Satan replied, “From earth, where I’ve been watching everything that’s going on.”  (Job 1:6, 7  TLB)

Satan, an angelic being, is able to roam the earth and heaven and, like all other angels, is answerable to God.  God knows the Devil is real because the Devil “presents” himself to God, apparently, on a regular basis.  He’s referred to here as “the Accuser,” and if you read the book of Job, you’ll learn that his chief activity is accusing God’s people before God.

“You have always protected him and his home and his property from all harm. You have prospered everything he does-look how rich he is! No wonder he ‘worships’ you!  But just take away his wealth, and you’ll see him curse you to your face!”  (Job 1:10, 11  TLB)

Thank God we have a Mediator in heaven who intercedes on our behalf!  And speaking of Jesus Christ, He knows Satan is real because He’s seen him!

“Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan falling from heaven as a flash of lightning!”  (Luke 10:18  TLB)

God knows Satan is real.  Jesus knows Satan is real.  Only man has the arrogance to think he knows more than they do!  But, Satan is an expert liar, and he’s convinced a lot of people he isn’t real.  Bob Hartman wrote a song back in the 1970’s that puts it all in perspective:

You got the clergy working overtime to widen the narrow way, You’ve got politicians everywhere listening to what you say.  

You’ve got false apostles teaching lies perverting the only way, You’ve got principalities and powers waiting to obey.

You’ve got philosophies and vain deceits lying to deceive.

You’ve got hate, and greed, ungodly lusts in the deadly web you weave.

Somehow you’ve got so many thinking you’re not even there.  One look is all it takes to get them blinded by your glare!

Indeed.  Satan is the “Angel of Light,” blinding all kinds of people to the reality of his existence.

Lie Number Two:  “It’s God Versus Satan.”

This is an insidiously clever lie that says simply there is a great, cosmic battle going on between God and Satan; a boxing match in the heavenly realms between the forces of light and dark; between good and evil.  The idea behind this lie is that Satan and God and equally matched; that good is at war with evil and maybe – maybe – evil might win.

Now, there is a grain of truth in this lie.  There is a war in the heavenlies, but it’s a battle being waged for your soul, not for dominion over the material and immaterial universes.  Satan is merely a created being, just like you are, except that he’s a purely spiritual being whereas you’re both physical and spiritual.  God and the Devil are not locked in an eternal battle.  And the fact is, God has already told us what the final destiny of Satan will be:

Then the devil who had betrayed them will again be thrown into the Lake of Fire burning with sulphur where the Creature and False Prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.  (Revelation 20:10  TLB)

The Devil knows this is his fate and that’s why he’s trying to convince people he’s just as powerful as God.  He aims to take as many people into the Lake of Fire with him as he can.  But Satan isn’t anything like God. He is not omnipotent.  He is not omniscient.  He is not infinite.  He is not omnipresent.

Christians need to stop giving Satan so much credit!

Lie Number Three:  “I look like a man in a red suit with a tale, horns, and a pitchfork.”

This is often the way Satan is portrayed in cartoons and on TV shows.  Sometimes he comes across as funny little man wearing that kind of costume.  Sometimes he’s portrayed as a  hideous goat-like creature, not in a funny way at all.  But the Bible teaches us something very different.  Here’s how it describes Satan:

“Son of dust, weep for the king of Tyre. Tell him, ‘The Lord God says: You were the perfection of wisdom and beauty.  You were in Eden, the garden of God; your clothing was bejeweled with every precious stone-ruby, topaz, diamond, chrysolite, onyx, jasper, sapphire, carbuncle, and emerald-all in beautiful settings of finest gold. They were given to you on the day you were created.  I appointed you to be the anointed Guardian Angel. You had access to the holy mountain of God. You walked among the stones of fire.  You were perfect in all you did from the day you were created until that time when wrong was found in you.”  (Ezekiel 28:12 – 15  TLB)

That doesn’t sound like a man in a red suit!  Or how about this:

God never sent those men at all; they are “phonies” who have fooled you into thinking they are Christ’s apostles.  Yet I am not surprised! Satan can change himself into an angel of light, so it is no wonder his servants can do it too, and seem like godly ministers. In the end they will get every bit of punishment their wicked deeds deserve.  (2 Corinthians 11:13 – 15  TLB)

The Devil can make himself look like anything you need and anybody you want.  That’s why you need to be aware of his tactics and his lies.

Lie Number 4:  “I am the ruler of Hell.

This is such a common belief most people are surprised to find out that it’s not true at all.  This myth is common in much of the literature many of us have studied in high school or college.  This was Satan’s claim in Paradise Lost, according to Milton:

It is better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven.

Maybe so for him, but that’s not happening now nor will it ever happen.  Satan is not the ruler in Hell and he’s not in Hell.  When he finally gets there, he won’t be ruling over it.

So where is the Devil at the moment?  Revelation 12:12 gives us a clue:

Rejoice, O heavens! You citizens of heaven, rejoice! Be glad! But woe to you people of the world, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.  (TLB)

So he’s here!  He’s roaming the earth trying to make as much trouble as he can.  That’s what he does, especially in the lives of Christians.  He’ll do anything to cause you to doubt and make your faith weak.

When Satan is finally dealt with, he still won’t get into Hell.

Then I will turn to those on my left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.’  (Matthew 25:41  TLB)

But in the end, he still won’t get to be the ruler he aspires to be:

Then the devil who had betrayed them will again be thrown into the Lake of Fire burning with sulphur where the Creature and False Prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.   (Revelation 20:10  TLB)

Lie Number 5:  “The Devil made me do it.”

Back in the day, this was part of a hilarious Flip Wilson routine.  As funny as it was, that’s all it was:  a comedic routine without any basis in fact.  Satan tempted Jesus to sin, but it’s highly unlikely any of you reading this are so important as to attract His Dark Majesty’s personal attention.  In fact, the Bible teaches that, while the Devil is real and he is your enemy, even if there was no personal Devil you’d still have trouble staying on the straight and narrow.  It’s not Satan making you do anything, it’s your own sinful nature.   James says:

And remember, when someone wants to do wrong it is never God who is tempting him, for God never wants to do wrong and never tempts anyone else to do it.  Temptation is the pull of man’s own evil thoughts and wishes.  (James 1:13, 14  TLB)

We can blame the Devil for a lot of things, but most of the time, when we sin it’s our own fault.

But, what if you warrant Satan’s attention?  Can you resist him?  James again:

So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  (James 4:7  TLB)

The Devil can’t make you DO anything you don’t want to.  You have it within you to resist him every time.  You may still sin, but you can win against the Devil.

Lie Number 6:  “I’ll make a deal with you…”

This is another lie:  You can make deal with the Devil.  Sometimes the deal goes like this:  A person is so desperate for something they need but can’t have, that they “sell their soul” to the Devil.  He gives them what they need, and when they die, he comes and claims their soul.

It’s a classic Hollywood scenario.  It makes for some great drama and lessons in morality.  But it isn’t true.  It doesn’t happen that way.  Nobody is capable of making a bargain with Satan.  The sad fact is, if you are unsaved, Satan already owns you.  Your only hope of gaining your freedom from him is coming to Jesus and asking Him to save you.

Satan hates God.  God is everything Satan wants to be, but can never be.  Because you are created in God’s image, Satan hates you almost as much as he hates God.  With Satan, it’s not personal.  It God’s image in you he hates.  Satan won’t strike a bargain you.  He hates you.  He is incapable of friendship.

Satan wants to lash out and strike at God but he cannot.  So he sets his sights on man.  He hurts the human race and causes strife and hatred and injustice purely as a way to get back at the God he hates so much.

He hates Christians most of all.  We’re privy to Satan’s schemes.  We know the truth and that offends him.  He will do what he can, when he can to disrupt your relationship with Christ and with each other within the Church.

But understand this:  Satan’s power is limited.  His hatred is limited.  His schemes are imperfect.  He can’t read your mind.  There’s no guarantee that any of his schemes against you will succeed.  He is, in reality, the saddest, most pathetic creature in existence.  But it’s the existence he chose for himself.  Satan doesn’t deserve your pity.  He doesn’t deserve your fear.  And he doesn’t deserve a second of your time.  If you’ve confessed Christ as Savior and He’s the Lord of your life, then you belong to God.  Beyond knowing about Satan, he’s of no concern to you.

The Devil’s time is limited.  He knows it. And he’s determined to do as much damage as he can before his time is up.  Let’s do what we can, as soldiers in Christ’s army, to disrupt his plans.  Let’s turn the tables on him and make life hard for the Devil for a change.

 

 

 

Luke and Satan

devil

Luke 11:14-22

Jesus, during His earthly ministry, was clever and always in charge in spite of what those who were trying to stymie His work thought.  In language not unlike Exodus 8:19, Jesus answered His critics in such a way that made it almost impossible to conclude that God was NOT at work in His work.

This is the finger of God, they exclaimed to Pharaoh. But Pharaohs heart was hard and stubborn, and he wouldnt listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.  (Exodus 8:19  TLB)

No matter the evidence, there are people, like Pharaoh and some the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, who would just never believe the truth.  In Luke 11, these men accused Jesus of casting out demons using the power of Satan.  Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but people obsessed with religion will always sound ridiculous in the light of the simplicity of God’s truth.

This is a familiar story in the life of Jesus; it’s seen in Matthew and Mark (Matthew 12, Mark 3) with slight variations.  A demon-possessed man who had lost the ability to talk had been set free and as a result, started talking.  Those who had witnessed this miracle – or it might be more accurate to say these miracles –  were amazed.  But mixed in with this sense of amazement was a nagging doubt and perhaps some fear.  Matthew’s account records this reaction from some:

The crowd was amazed. Maybe Jesus is the Messiah! they exclaimed.  (Matthew 12:23  TLB)

And here, the reaction of some bordered on outright hostility:

No wonder he can cast them out. He gets his power from Satan, the king of demons!  Others asked for something to happen in the sky to prove his claim of being the Messiah.  (Luke 11:15, 16  TLB)

So, the crowd was definitely divided.  Some thought that perhaps this Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, some thought He was a much darker Person, getting His power from Satan.  Still others wanted to a sign.

There will always be the “sign-seekers” in our midst; people who are indecisive and unable to form an opinion, even when the truth is right in front of them.  This kind of people always want more proof or evidence.  It’s odd that they would want to see a sign in the sky when demons were cast out on earth.  They had the proof or evidence right in front of them:  a man had been set free from demonic possession and he started talking.  A man’s life and heart had been changed.  But these religious types wanted more, like they always do. 

In this story we see another truth, later stated succinctly by Paul:

For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodiesthe evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.  (Ephesians 6:12  TLB)

1.  The real enemy

No wonder he can cast them out. He gets his power from Satan, the king of demons!  (Luke 11:15  TLB)

In the original, Jesus is accused of getting His supernatural powers from “Beelzebub.”  Who or what is that?  Sometimes in the New Testament, Satan is referred to as “Beelzebub,” but where did that name come from?  The answer is found back in 2 Kings 1:2–

Israels new king, Ahaziah, had fallen off the upstairs porch of his palace at Samaria and was seriously injured. He sent messengers to the temple of the god Baal-zebub at Ekron to ask whether he would recover.  (2 Kings 1:2  TLB)

In the New Testament, “Baal” is replaced with “Beel,” leading to “Beelzebub,” which means “lord of the dwelling.”  We can see why this name for Satan is used in connection with demon possession!

In Luke, these religious leaders were saying that Jesus was using Satan’s power to drive these demons out of the unfortunate man.  And in Mark’s account they even went so far as to accuse Jesus of being possessed by Satan Himself!

We can only imagine how humiliating this must have been for Jesus to go through.  Here He was, the One sent from Heaven to heal the sick, restore the oppressed, and seek the lost being called “demon possessed” by so-called religious wizards of smart.

But what of Satan?  What do we know about him?

(a)  His character

In verse 21, Satan is described as being “strong and armed.”   The strength of the devil is in the nefarious nature of his character:  he is a liar and a deceiver and he is cunning.  But his real strength lies in our weakness; he knows our Achilles’ heel and he is an expert at exploiting it.  As he did with Eve in the Garden, Satan comes to us in wisdom and in friendship, often appearing exactly opposite to his true self.

God never sent those men at all; they are phonies who have fooled you into thinking they are Christs apostles.  Yet I am not surprised! Satan can change himself into an angel of light, so it is no wonder his servants can do it too, and seem like godly ministers.  (2 Corinthians 11:13-15a  TLB)

(b)  His condition

In addition to his craftiness, Satan is described by Jesus as being “armed.”  His armor is the darkness, not the light; he does his best, most effective work under the cover of darkness.

...but one night as he slept, his enemy came and sowed thistles among the wheat.  (Matthew 13:25  TLB)

In Ephesians 2, Paul describes Satan as a “prince of the air,” and the lost of this world are under his control:

You went along with the crowd and were just like all the others, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air, who is at work right now in the hearts of those who are against the Lord.  (Ephesians 2:2  TLB)

Satan’s armor is the exact opposite to that of God’s.  His belt is the belt of deceit – he has been a liar from the very beginning.  Satan does not tell the truth.  His breastplate is that of wickedness – he is wicked from his innermost being; there is no good thing in this creature.  He wears boots of cruelty and his shield is the a shield of doubt and faithlessness.  On Satans head is the helmet of damnation and his sword is the vile imagination of his heart.  But the Christian has a different kind of armor:  Ephesians 6:11-18.

(c)  His occupation

Further, we are told Satan guards his palace.   What is his palace?  Its the unredeemed heart!  He guards it even as he owns it.  He guards those hearts that belong to him by continually whispering lies into the persons ears.  I dont need to go to church,I dont need God right now,Before I die, Ill get right with God, and things like that.  This is Satans occupation, and hes expert at it.

And the sad part is, the more anxious the captive heart is to leave, the closer Satan guards that heart.  Only the power of One greater than the captive can set that captive heart free!

2.  The only deliverer

...until someone stronger and better armed attacks and overcomes him and strips him of his weapons and carries off his belongings.  (Luke 11:22  TLB)

Of course, the stronger someone is none other than Jesus Himself.  Didnt Jesus previously prove Himself the stronger of the two in during his period of temptation?  Of course Jesus is stronger and better armed.  There is no contest between Satan and Jesus.

(a)  His character

Christs character is bound up in His Word, which is strong. Nothing can stop Gods Word from accomplishing that which He wants it to accomplish.  Christ the deliverer is strong enough to overcome any obstacle that stands in His way; any physical obstacle or supernatural one.  His word is strong and His work cannot be undone because it is built on a firm foundation.  Not time, not eternity, not any power of this world or the unseen world can ever hinder any part of Christs work.  Jesus Christ, the great deliverer, has come to seek and to save the lost and with Him,  nothing is impossible.

(b)  His style

Our Lord is the aggressor:  He attacks, wrote Luke.  When Jesus confronts the powers of darkness, He is not some meek, milquetoast, namby-pamby, scrawny pacifist!  He aggressively and without mercy destroys the enemys hold on the hapless, hopeless heart.  It must be this way according to Genesis 3:15-

From now on you and the woman will be enemies, as will your offspring and hers.  You will strike his heel, but he will crush your head.  (Genesis 3:15  TLB)

Thats God talking to Satan in the Garden of Eden.  As far back as then Satan knew he was on the losing end of history.  But the point to take home is this:  Jesus attacks, He does not wait around to be attacked.  Just as David went out to fight Goliath, so Jesus attacks our enemy.  David fought on behalf of Israel, and so Jesus fought on our behalf. 

I have trodden the winepress alone. No one was there to help me.  In my wrath I have trodden my enemies like grapes.  In my fury I trampled my foes.  It is their blood you see upon my clothes.  For the time has come for me to avenge my people, to redeem them from the hands of their oppressors. I looked but no one came to help them; I was amazed and appalled.  So I executed vengeance alone; unaided, I meted out judgment.  I crushed the heathen nations in my anger and them stagger and fall to the ground.  (Isaiah 63:3-6  TLB)

(c)  His victory

The great Deliverer attacks and overcomes Satan and strips him of his weapons.  What a picture of the victorious Christ!  We go back to Genesis 3, which promises the final victory of Jesus and final defeat of Satan.  Satan’s helmet was broken and crushed; his armor of darkness and dread has been destroyed.

Since we, Gods children, are human beingsmade of flesh and bloodhe became flesh and blood too by being born in human form; for only as a human being could he die and in dying break the power of the devil who had the power of death.  (Hebrews 2:14  TLB)

In death, Jesus broke the power of the devil!  It’s in the past tense; it’s something Jesus already did.  No human being needs to be under the sway of Satan any more.  The Bible clearly teaches that he is a defeated enemy.  Unfortunately, Satan is still around, trying desperately to convince people that he still has power.  The only power Satan has over anybody is the power they willingly give him.  The truly sad thing about mankind is that we prefer the darkness.  Many people give themselves over to Satan; they allow him to rule their hearts.  In spite of the fact that these people are miserable, Satan has duped them into thinking that HE, not Jesus, is what’s best for them.

It’s the biggest news most people have never heard:  Satan has been defeated.  Satan  has no real power.  For the Christian, this verse should engraved on our hearts:

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.  (1 John 4:4  TNIV)

This incident ends with an oft-quoted verse:

Anyone who is not for me is against me; if he isnt helping me, he is hurting my cause.  (Luke 11:23  TLB)

The crowd that witnessed the miracle(s) and heard what Jesus had told the religious types needed to hear verse 23.  Some in the crowd may have thought Jesus was the Messiah.  Some were on the fence.  Others were in outright opposition to Jesus.  The thing is, when it comes to Jesus, nobody can be sitting on the fence; neutrality is just not an option.  Jesus never, ever compromised with Satan, and we shouldn’t either.  But by the same token, we must be FOR Jesus, we can’t be “sort of for Him, sometimes.”  And we must be actively serving.  If we are not, we will be opposing Him.  In the Kingdom of God, there are no “lukewarm,” part-time Christians.


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