Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 6. Experiencing the power of the cross . No 05:- Dead to Satan (Part 1)

. No 05:- Dead to Satan (Part 1)

EXPERIENCING THE POWER OF THE CROSS

DEAD TO SATAN (Part 1)

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (ESV) 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

Introduction.

We spent the last two sermons covering the ‘concept of dead to sin’. We saw in the first sermon just how ugly and dangerous sin is, and in the second sermon we learnt how to deal with sin. To be victorious over sin we saw required three things. Firstly we had to remind ourselves just how bad sin is, then we saw that we must remind ourselves of our position which is that we have died with Christ to sin and then lastly we saw that we now have an obligation by the Spirit to make dead the sin that still so easily rears its head.

But sin is only one of the enemies we face. We face other enemies as well. We face Satan, we face the flesh, we face self, we face the law and we face the world. All of these are enemies that we died to, but all of these are enemies that are still very actively involved against us and we need to battle against them and mortify or kill them on a daily basis as they rear their ugly heads.

In this sermon we now get to the issue of Satan, that age old foe that has been around since the beginning and is the real reason why man has fallen into sin in the first place. There is no way to put it lightly, but Christians we are at war and that is not against one another as we so often sadly see in our churches, no we are at war against Satan and the principalities of the air, the principalities of darkness. Sadly, many times churches do not even realise that they are in spiritual warfare, and instead of attacking Satan and taking him down, they attack one another and take one another down. They will rather get rid of one another and empty their pulpits than deal with the real enemy and the spiritual issues at stake.

Remember Paul’s calling which we read in Acts 26:18 (ESV). God tells him that he must go to the gentiles “to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’” The purpose of evangelism is to bring people from the power of Satan to God.  So with that said, where are we going to go with this sermon?

Together with Paul we once again want to be driven and controlled by the love of Christ, but to achieve that we want to be able to say with Paul in verse 14 “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;” and then we want to add the words to the back of the sentence as we did ‘to sin’, but this time, ‘we all died to Satan.’

The subject of Satan is an enormous subject and we can spend many sermons on this. I want to do justice to our theme though which is related to the cross, and do not want to go beyond two sermons. I believe the best way to approach this text is to firstly ask who Satan is, and then we will look at our positional death to Satan i.e. ‘what happened to Satan when  Christ died on the cross, and then lastly we will look at our role in overcoming Satan, or making dead the works of the evil one.

Point 1. Who is Satan?

The word Devil for Satan in our language comes from the Greek word diabolos (diabolos) which means slanderer or accuser. There are many superstitions and misconceptions about Satan which are not found in the Word of God and there are right conceptions.

1.1 Misconceptions of Satan.

There are many strange ideas about Satan that abound. Some people imagine him to be this red guy with horns and a fork in his hand. Many Christians actually even portray him as sitting on the one side of their shoulder with an angel on the other side, and that you are caught in between their instructions to you. He has even been given names like ‘Nick the devil.’ It has nothing to do with my name though.

Some people, even some Christians, see Satan as an equal opposing force to God, and in one sense the big difference for us is that our God will win. Others wrongly view Satan as somebody that they can bind on a regular basis, and so you would often hear Christians praying ‘Satan we bind you….’ If you ask them where they get this authority from they would quote verses like Matthew 16:18-19 (ESV) 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind (forbid) on earth shall be bound (forbidden) in heaven, and whatever you loose (permit) on earth shall be loosed (permitted) in heaven.” An example of what this text really means is that Christians therefore have the right for example to tell an unbeliever, that based on what is declared from heaven he is under God’s judgment, condemned and on his way to hell, but if he turns to Christ his sins are forgiven, he is a child of God and on his way to heaven. It is not a magical tool in Peter’s or our hands to bind Satan or people or circumstances.

The other verse they refer to is a similar quote in Matthew 18 where an unrepentant Christian is treated as a pagan and a tax collector, which is exactly the opposite of what I gave you a moment ago. If a person is unrepentant, you and God agree that you should treat him as a pagan or tax collector. If he is repentant and you treat him as a pagan or tax collector, God does not agree with you, and it is not bound in heaven.

Nowhere in the Word of God are Christians told that they can bind the devil. If it is true, then the question we need to ask is how he gets loose every time after being bound, and it is actually an indictment on God Himself, because then God who said that it will be bound in heaven actually failed in doing His part. Let me just say this, that I have absolutely nothing to say to the devil. I am horrified that in some churches today they even sing to the devil.  Now I know the words of the song are to put Satan down, like the song that says ‘Satan the blood of Jesus is against you.’ Now while it is true, do you want to sing songs to your arch enemy during worship, do you want to make melody against him? No my friend, you want to kill him; you are in a battle against him. Now if that is my personal opinion, let it be so, at least Scripture backs me as we have no example of it in the Word of God that Satan is addressed in song. You can sing about him as a defeated foe, but not address him in song.

The last misconception I want to refer to is that some see Satan as omnipresent and omniscient which is why people would think that they can bind him. I will address this under the right conceptions, but let me say this Satan is not omnipresent and he can also not read your mind.

1.2 Right conceptions of Satan.

Something you and I are not fully going to understand this side of glory is the fact that Satan was a holy angel created by God but who turned against God’s authority. Job, who actually existed in the patriarchal period, makes reference of him appearing with the angels. The fact that he is in the Garden of Eden means he was there from the beginning. The angels were part of God’s creation, nobody knows when they fell, but between the time that they were created and Genesis 3 they sinned. What we do know is that like man, the angels had the ability to sin. As far as Satan falling and other angels as demons with him, we do not have verses stating that explicitly to go on. Some theologians use Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28:12-17 as texts that teach us that Satan was cast out of heaven when he wanted to uplift himself above God. Those sections actually talk about the Kings of Babylon and Tyre that have fallen. But we do not need these verses to prove that Satan was a fallen angel as there is enough left in Scripture to prove that. The Old Testament is actually very quiet on Satan. A New Testament verse that implies his fallen state is to be found in 1 Timothy 3:6 (ESV) which talks about the qualification of elders He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.”

What we do know is that Satan was out of fellowship with God, that what he did in heaven was very bad, and that hell was prepared for him and his angels. Therefore his conduct in the presence of God must have been as bad or worse than when God decided to destroy the world though the flood. Man equally disgusts God to the point that unbelievers will now join him there unless they turn to God. Matthew 25:41 (ESV) “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."

One thing is sure, he has great power in the heavenly realm and on earth and should not be underestimated.

1.2.1 Satan has power in the heavenly realm.

We will deal with this in our next sermon but take note of Ephesians 6:12 (ESV) that says: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Look at the descriptions used: ‘rulers’, ‘authorities’, ‘cosmic powers’, ‘spiritual forces’. Church family, this is not a Sunday School picnic.

What we do know is that Satan has access to God in the heavenly realm and is actually accountable to God and he is hemmed in by God. Job 1:6 (ESV) “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.” Even though he is fallen, he is still a created being and is subject to the authority and judgment of God, but for the reasons of God’s own glory for the duration of time on earth he has a purpose and is to be reckoned with.  According to Job 1:7 he actually roams throughout the earth; “The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”

Satan’s power has repute in the spiritual realm, he is a force to be reckoned with amongst the Holy and fallen angels. Look for example at an event in heaven between a Holy angel and this fallen angel. Jude 9 (ESV) 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” Let me say this now, but we will get there in our next sermon in greater detail. But think about it, that if even the archangel Michael needed the Lord’s help in overcoming Satan, how much more don’t we? However, Satan is obviously restrained from enacting his full fury; he is still a created being under God, and his power is limited as we see in Job 1.

1.2.2 Satan has power on earth:

We did a sermon series on ‘why do bad things happen to good people’ recently, and there we saw clearly from Job 1 & 2 that Satan does enact evil and does cause harm on earth even when at times permission is granted by God. His first activity was already seen soon after God created man and women in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3 tells of Satan’s temptation of Eve, the “mother of all the living” (v. 20), and her subsequent first sin. It was this act, and that of Eve’s husband Adam, that brought sin into the world, and it is the reason all humankind must be redeemed from sin in order to be with God. Adam obviously did not want to take responsibility for his sin and he blamed Eve who in turn blamed the snake, who in turn was cursed by God.

Now I know that some will immediately ask the question if Satan was a real snake or if it is a figure of speech here? For some Christians their world falls apart if it was not. Besides Genesis Satan is also referred to as a snake in Revelation 12:9 (ESV) where we look now at a future event “9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” Here he is referred to as a dragon as well and then we are reminded historically about his appearance in the garden.  Let me say this, relax, whether Satan embodied himself as a snake or whether it is a figure of speech to insult or so that whenever you and I see scary snakes that we will be reminded about Satan does not matter. Remember Satan even appears as an angel of light. What matters is that he appeared to Eve and deceived her. At the end of the day do not miss the heart of what the Bible says about the devil. He is alive and well and active on earth.

There is even sickness attributed to Satan, even if it is permitted by God as we saw in Job. Let me give you one example: Luke 13:11 (ESV) “And there was a woman who had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself.” But then we see immediately that Christ has authority over Satan. Luke 13:13 (ESV) “And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.”

We do not have time to go through all the verses I will give you now, but they are in the notes and if you follow this sermon on the website you can click on the verses in blue and it will immediately take you to an ESV link.  But let me tell you this about the devil. Since being cast out from heaven to earth, Satan has been named as the “prince,” “god” or “ruler” of this world (John 14:30; cf. John 12:31; 16:11; 1 Corinthians 2:6, 8; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 2:2; Colossians 1:13). Remember, when the devil is called the god of this world, it is not because he made it, but because we serve him with our worldliness. He is seen as the enemy of God and truth (Matthew 13:24-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12), and he does everything he can to tempt individuals as we saw in Genesis three, but there is more in ( Luke 22:31; Matthew 2:3; 1 Timothy 3:7),  and he also tempts larger groups of people (1 Thessalonians 3:5; Revelation 2:10). Not only that, He “leads the whole world astray” (Revelation 12:9). We saw it earlier where it says that he is the deceiver of the whole world. Satan accomplishes this in many ways, including appealing to man’s pride (1 Timothy 3:6; 1 Corinthians 4:6), interfering with the transmission of truth (Matthew 13:18-22, 38-39) and placing false believers within the church (1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; Revelation 2:9; 3:9). Let me give you another verse in this regard and this one I will quote: Matthew 13:24-25 (ESV) 24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.” So Satan puts his own people in the church.

We all know that Satan is our enemy and that he does not have our good interests at heart. He will pretend to have our good interests at heart but he is a liar as we see in John 8:44 (ESV) 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Do you know why we are so prone to obey Satan instead of the Spirit of God? It is because Satan always tempts us through the flesh and through our senses. He never comes at us through our spirit as the Spirit of God does. That is why sin is called the works of the flesh, and why righteousness is called the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit however, works through the spirit of man and not through our senses.

Conclusion.

Church family, there is so much more to say if we had the time. But for now, we need to know that we have a real enemy. He is in enmity towards God, he is in enmity against the world and he is in enmity towards us. The Bible says 1 John 5:19 (ESV) that “… the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV) to: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” He has one aim and that is to destroy and he is successful in that aim as he is dragging along millions of men and women who are under his power and he is taking them with him to hell that was prepared for the devil and his angels.

All of us here today, if we are children of God, were once fully under his power. Men and women under the power of Satan are not this evil looking people, but they are people just like us. You are either under God or you are under Satan. That is why Paul was commissioned to bring people from the power of Satan to God. Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV) explains us in our previous condition when we did not know Christ. 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” We all lived in that life following the passions of the flesh.

Praise God that we are now under Christ and that we know according to 1 John 4:4 (ESV) that “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

Next week we will see what Jesus accomplished on the cross as far as Satan is concerned and how in Christ we died to Satan, and then we will see how we then conquer Satan and defeat him on a daily basis. Don’t miss our time together.

Amen.

Logos Community Church: - 14 April 2013