Victory over the Devil
INTRO: When the ordeal at Virginia Tech took place it was interesting to see and hear the different responses as to why it happened….But none of the talking heads said, “This was a direct result of the work of Satan and the reality that there is a war going on….
Shortly after that they busted a young man with explosives and guns who was planning to do the same thing…
We can’t lose sight of the fact that there is a war and that war is very different than what most of the world sees as war- there is a spiritual side to what is happening in the world and we can’t lose sight of that and we can, we can become very comfortable and forget that we’re in a war. It happens when soldiers go on leave, they forget there’s a war going on and when the Christian becomes like that then they can easily become a casualty of that war. And some of you may be a casualty this morning. Satan may have a shock collar on you and you’re only able to go so far and then you get shocked and you’re pulled back…
I want to remind us of this today. We have a powerful adversary, more powerful than you and I and he is taking people captive and even on to hell. But he has been beaten and he doesn’t want people to know that he has been beaten but the passage this morning really exposes it.
Let’s read verses 7-12…..
This passage actually takes place during the tribulation period, some think that this is a parenthetical section that has happened already when Satan was cast out of heaven the first time, but the evidence points to this taking place during the great tribulation therefore falling into chronological order here.
Now I want us to look at a couple of things this morning….
I. The Character of our enemy.
A. Verse 9 gives us a well rounded picture of our Enemy.
1. He is called the great dragon.
Because of his great power to inflict harm and bring disaster, as was evident at Virginia Tech. He is fierce and cruel in nature.
2. The Serpent of Old.
This brings us back to Genesis where he led Eve into sin. This stresses his craftiness and subtlety. He’s a snake in the grass a viper waiting to strike.
3. He is also called the devil.
The Greek word “diablos” means, “slanderer,” “defamer,” or “false accuser.”
This name for the evil one would have made a specially strong impact in the first century, for there was a well-known and well-hated figure called the delator, the paid informer. He made his living by accusing people before the authorities.
4. He is also called Satan.
Satan is a Hebrew word that means, “Adversary.” Satan is not your friend and if you dance with the devil you will pay the piper.
B. He deceives the whole world.
Satan operates on deception. The word for deception there means, “to cause to wander, to lead astray.”
Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 24:4, “take heed that no one deceives you.”
The deception seems to be spreading like cancer right now. One reason of course is the technology- information can travel at rapid speeds and the media at large propagates seven big lies:
One of Satan’s primary strategies is to erode society by removing the standards.
(ILLUS) On Wednesday night before service we took David Gibbs to dinner. While at the dinner table we discussed some of the Terri Shiavo case. It was almost startling some of the things that went on that the general public had no clue to. But what intrigued me was one of his appearances before the judge. Michael Shiavo was suing for 20 million dollars for future medical care but once he got his settlement then it was time to put her to death. Michael had a girlfriend on the side and this was brought to the judges attention. David said, “you have a law on the books that states adultery is illegal.” The judges attitude was, “yeah but his wife is incapacitated and he has needs.” At one time in court transcripts he declared he loved his wife and he was going to be with her through sickness and health and better or worse.”
But here you have a judge that says it really isn’t adultery. See, Satan wants to get rid of all of the standards.
(ILLUS) Satan is so powerful in his deception that he makes people think that life now is all about them and it’s all about pleasure and there are no consequences for your actions, not now and not eternally.
It’s kind of like the foreclosures that you see taking place in the valley, they tripled I believe. Because people got in more house than they can afford on interest only loans, they just saw the moment not the future- they just saw the granite kitchen tops and tile floors and probably thought that they would be alright when their payments went up. And they weren’t, it was time to pay the piper and they couldn’t, so that nice house they had they now have to give it back.
Satan wants to strip you of everything that God has intended for you. He wants to take your reputation, he wants to take your family, he wants to take your future- he will not be happy until he can get it all from you.
II. What you need to know is that Satan can be overcome.
Some people talk about the devil as if he has all the power and as if he’s controlling their lives. Every time you have a conversation with them it centers on Satan and not Jesus.
As he does in heaven, Satan will try to keep you from being used and blessed by accusing you night and day, saying, “You’re not worthy to be in ministry. You’re not good enough to have your family blessed. You’re not spiritual enough to have your prayers answered.”
But he can be overcome on earth the same way he’s overcome in heaven: by the blood of the Lamb, the word of testimony, the dying to self.
A. There are three things recorded in verse eleven in their gaining victory over Satan.
1. The blood of the Lamb.
This speaks of Jesus’ work on the cross. The blood of Jesus cleanses us of all sin.
Revelation 7:14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Satan can’t make a single charge against the believer. The accuser can accuse all day long and he can’t make anything stick, your wrap sheet is no more. His accusations carry no punch to them.
(ILLUS) This is dramatically pictured in Zechariah 3…..
But Satan wants you to doubt what Christ has done on the cross for you. This is important because so many people hear the voice of Satan saying, “God could never forgive you of that.” “God could never accept you, what you did is unspeakable.”
Satan and his demonic homeboys can’t do a thing against the blood of Jesus. Sure he’s going to attack you, and he’s going to tempt you, and he’s going to try and trip you up, but there is power in the blood of Jesus Christ. We sing a song that goes something like this, “there is power, power, wonder working power in the blood of the lamb.” And that’s true.
(ILLUS) I may have mentioned this to you before and some of you may have heard it first hand when he was here. There’s a missionary in Bogata Columbia that we support named Alden Poehner, his wife’s name is Inga. He’s a wonderful brother and servant of the Lord. He is older but unashamedly shares the gospel. One time he was in the jungles sharing the gospel with a small tribe. In those areas there is a lot of demonic activity that is obvious. There are witchdoctors and tribes have all kinds of incantations and dances to invite the darkness. One night in the hut he was staying in something grabbed him that was demonic. It wasn’t human and it wasn’t an animal, and it had him by the neck and making this demonic noise. Alden said all he could do is plead the blood of Jesus and when he did the demon fled. Now some people think aw come on, get real, those things don’t happen.
(ILLUS) In the Old Testament we see the importance of the blood covering dramatically illustrated in Exodus 12 when God was delivering the people from Egypt….
2. The Word of their Testimony.
Their testimony was that God pulled them out of the pit of their sin and set them on the rock of Jesus Christ.
(ILLUS) After the fashion show yesterday one of the board members came up to me and said that someone from one of the local organizations wanted to give money to the women’s home from that organization. And they wanted to get a family member into the men’s home. That came as a result of the testimonies that were given. The fashions aren’t the most important part of that event, the boutiques aren’t the most important part of that event, and the food isn’t the most important part of that event- the most important part of that event is the testimonies of what God is doing in the lives of people in which satan once had his way with.
Our testimony is the most important thing in our lives because it is the proof to others that there is a living God who saves. And Satan would love for you to tarnish your testimony because that gives him ammunition against the people that you want to see come to Christ. He wants you to get caught up in a scandal, he wants you to violate some ethical code so that you have to shut your mouth about Jesus.
When you are constantly giving your testimony it is reinforcement to yourself that Jesus delivered you from the works of the devil and from the sin that had you in bondage. When was the last time you gave your testimony? Seriously, when was the last time you shared with someone what God has done in your life? No one can argue with you on that because you know better than them what God has done in your own life.
3. Dying to Self.
Their loyalty to Jesus Christ was more important than even their lives. See, people sell their relationship with Christ for mere pitons.
My prayer is Lord, give me the strength to be loyal to you. I don’t want to be two-faced with you, I want to be someone who exercises self-control in this world.
I want to have more of a passion for you than the world, I don’t want to become a casualty in this war. As time goes on I want to die more and more to the world, the things that it offers, and the fleeting pleasures that leave you so empty when it’s all over with. Death is a bad word in the world, but in Christianity it is really a good word because when the Christian dies physically they enter into the presence of God, when they die to themselves they become Christ-like.
CLOSE: I’m going to do something different this morning as I felt the Lord’s leading. I want this time we’re going to transition into to be a time of true reflection and examination of our hearts. This doesn’t happen regularly enough in a world filled with distractions. As communion is delivered I’m not going to lead us into it. I’m going to ask as you receive it to examine your heart and when you’re done if the Lord speaks to you in a call to deal with something in your life, or a dying to yourself, etc., etc, etc.