Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 6. Experiencing the power of the cross . No 07:- Dead to Satan (Part 3) Know your enemy!

. No 07:- Dead to Satan (Part 3) Know your enemy!

 

EXPERIENCING THE POWER OF THE CROSS


DEAD TO SATAN (PART 3)

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 continue in our series on ‘Dying to Live’ with specific reference to us as believers experiencing the power of the cross. Over the last four weeks we were able to say that ‘if one died for all, namely Jesus Christ, then we all died to sin’, and we were also able to say based on last week’s message: ‘when one died for all namely Jesus Christ, we all died to Satan.

Now just as sin was conquered on the cross and the penalty against us was destroyed, we do realise that sin is still alive as we are saved from the power of sin, which means sin’s ability to damn me to hell, but we are not saved from the presence of sin, and sin will remain a continuous struggle. The same with Satan, Satan is a defeated foe, his power has been reduced, he is under subjection to God, but he is still our enemy and he goes around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, but he is doing this without teeth. He is not functioning on 220v but on 9v. He can shock you and irritate you and be in your face, and tempt you and cause you to sin and to disobey God, but he cannot kill you or damn you.

So, what do we do then with the devil, because the word of God is clear according to Ephesians 6:10-12 (ESV) “that we stand against the schemes of the devil,” AND THAT “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.”

Paul had the right perception of things. Think of Paul, he was attacked by man, arrested by man, imprisoned by man, resisted by man, flogged by man, stoned by man, he was attacked by members of the church of Corinth and others, and yet he says that his struggle is not 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. Sadly, Christians so often miss this point and they think that they are fighting man.

One of the things that saddened me most two years ago when I resigned from my previous ministry is that none of the leaders there saw that we were involved in spiritual warfare and they rather fought me in the flesh than fighting Satan. There was no calling the elders or the congregation to prayer accept the traditional opening and closing of meetings in prayer. As I look back at things I believe Satan had a field day as the authority of Scripture was ignored as it was applied and ignored at will, lies were told in the flesh, slandering took place in the flesh, and Satan was rejoicing all the way as he saw yet another pulpit emptied. I believe that if they knew what they were dealing with, the whole congregation should have been called to a week of prayer, before any decisions were made. While I was spending my days in prayer, their three man committee were sitting behind closed doors discussing how to dethrone me. That is history, but Logos we must learn from it and protect one another against the devils scheming. You have my commitment that even if you fall into sin, you can be open about it as we will not fight you, but together we will fight the root cause which is sin and Satan, and we will help you overcome so that God may be glorified and Satan defeated.

Verse 11 says that we must 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” The Greek word for schemes is ‘methodia’, which we find our word ‘methods’ from. Or it can be translated ‘stealth’. While Satan may be operating on 9 volts as per our illustration, he is not stupid, he is a fallen angel. He knows the will of God, and he knows his final destiny and he will work out schemes by which to destroy the work of the Lord in our lives and in the church. He will scheme to the point that he may remove members and empty pulpits. Satan is a destroyer, he is the destroyer of families, marriages, relationships, joy, peace, contentment and he does not rest till he has his way or till he is defeated.

It is interesting that Paul leaves this argument for the end of his letter to the Ephesians. It is as if he is saying: if you are a true Christian as defined in chapter 1 to 3, and if you are living the way a true Christian should live as defined in chapters 4 to 6, then you can be sure of one thing, and that is, that you are going to run right into the enemy. It is impossible to live in the manner that Ephesians outlines without having conflict with Satan. And that's why, having said all of this, Paul says the final thing you need to know is that you have to be strong; you have to put on the armour of God, because you're in a spiritual war.

We're in a battle Christian. It's a war. And that's essentially what Paul is saying here. If we are as Ephesians 4:1 says walking worthy of the calling to which we're called, if we're walking in humility, in unity, not in the vanity of our mind as the gentiles, if we're putting on the new man, if we're walking in love not lust, if we're walking in light not darkness, if we're walking in wisdom not foolishness, if we're not drunk with wine but filled with the Spirit, if we're not singing the world's songs but songs and hymns and spiritual songs, and if rather than being proud and individualistic we are submitting ourselves one to another, and if we are submitting as wives should to husbands as to the Lord and if husbands are loving their wives as Christ loved the Church, and if children are obeying their parents and parents are nurturing and rearing their children in the things of God, and if employees and employers have right relationships biblically and with spirit-filled impact, then believe me – we will encounter the full force of the heavenly realm. Believe me, when God begins to bless a church, or a marriage, or a family, or an individual, Satan begins to attack the same church, marriage and family. He does not want to see you experiencing the joy of the Lord. The moment you feel the most spiritual and you believe you are finally growing in the Lord; he will bring things across your path to distract you from that and to cause you to stumble and become disheartened.

Church family, we have great days ahead of us. I get overjoyed when I read verses like Ephesians 3:20 (ESV) that says: 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,”. We are a new church and just at the beginning of seeing what God would do when a group of people are totally committed to walk a worthy walk; when a group of people are totally committed to live the kind of life that Ephesians 4, 5, and 6 calls for. But as soon as that begins, Satan will oppose it. We see it all around us. You go back into the Old Testament, for example, and you see God sending an angel in Daniel chapter 10, and a demon withholds that angel so that the angel cannot accomplish the divine purpose, and God had to dispatch a greater angel, a stronger angel, to blast that demon out and send that angel on his way.

Remember what we saw in Jude a few weeks ago where the archangel Michael had a battle with Satan over the body of Moses. There is a high level spiritual struggle and we are caught up in that, and involved in that. That is why Paul can say in Ephesians 3:10 (ESV) 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” So we're engaged in this tremendous conflict, and that's why I say its war.

So I ask again, what do we do with the Devil?

As we said over the last few weeks, you cannot KOKD him as this girl wrote on the back of the envelopes to me as she sent me her letters. Sounds simple, right? Keep on kicking the devil. We have also concluded that you cannot stamp Satan lower as children learn to sing in Sunday School, as that which Jesus achieved on the cross cannot be improved on. Also we have concluded that you cannot bind Satan, as Jesus did that at the cross as He is the stronger one who has come to bind the strong man. But for now, Satan is like a dog on a chain, he still has lots of bite, but his reach is limited by God, and as long as you do not move into the realm where he moves you are safe even though you are still in the battle.

So what do you do?

Firstly, know that the devil is going to attack you.

We have seen this clearly in Ephesians 6:10-12, so I need to say no more now.

Secondly, Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

James 4:7-8 (ESV) says: 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” So how do you resist the devil?

We need to understand the context here and you will know what it is to resist.  James 4:1-12 (ESV) 1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. 11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”

Christian, the issue is clear. Do you want to deal with the devil? Well, you do not bind him, you do not kick him, you do not speak to him and you do not stomp him down. The context is clear. It is a matter of live right which is godly living and you draw near to God, stop doing wrong, and your resist the devil. So according to James, stop quarrelling, stop coveting, stop praying selfish prayers, stop being a friend of the world, put away your pride, stop speaking evil against each other, stop judging your neighbour, cleanse your hands from sin, stop sinning, rather mourn over your sin and the net result of all of this will be that you do things God’s way and in so doing you draw near to God and you resist the devil. If you are going to play in the Bull ring, you will be pushed by the bull, stay out of it and you are safe. Verse 7 appears right there in the middle and is the hinge between all the preceding comments and the following comments.

Thirdly, keep your spiritual eyes wide open.

Too many times, Christians are not even aware that they are being attacked until they are trapped. Look at sin, and ask yourself why you slowly but surely become desensitized to it.  You mix with wrong friends and you do not see the change in yourself taking place gradually. Your marriage and your relationship with your spouse are slowly but surely disintegrating and you are not aware of it. Your relationship with God is cooling down, you have no more love for the Word of God, you do not speak to the Lord any longer, your love for worship and sitting under the Word has cooled down and you so easily embrace any excuse to miss it. All of these are indications that Satan is getting to you and you are losing the battle and your feet are no longer on solid ground.

Peter has an answer for this. 1 Peter 5:8-9 (ESV) 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”

So Peter’s answer to you is firstly to be sober-minded, to keep your eyes open, to resist the devil and to stand firm in your faith.

Fourthly, do not be ignorant about his devices.

As we said in Ephesians, we must be aware of the devil’s scheming, his methods and his stealth. Sadly, so many Christians are outwitted by Satan. Let me give you an example. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 (ESV) “10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.”

This section shows the very reason why we must restore Christians who fall and forgive then instead of kicking them out as brothers. The reason we restore is because Satan’s aim and Satan’s design is to get rid of the members of God’s family. This is something I firmly believe in my heart happened to me two years ago when brothers of 23 years asked me to resign from the ministry that I was able to build up by God’s grace. They were outwitted by Satan and instead of forgiving me and restoring me they got rid of me. That is why even unto this day they cannot look me in the eyes and they still run around in bitterness, and they do not realise that they have given the devil a foothold and that they were outwitted and are still being outwitted by Satan.

The issue of Satan is not very complicated. You see the issue is to do what is right and it saves us all a lot of headaches. We will see more about it next week as I unpack a last sermon on Satan, which will be an exposition on ‘putting on the whole armour of God’.

But look at the text before us now. It is nothing of binding the devil, kicking the devil, speaking to the devil, but simply do what God says and ‘forgive’. And in so doing you outwit or to put it in the language of James you resist the devil.

Paul even makes reference to this in the context of marriage. Let’s take the issue of adultery. Now I know we cannot oversimplify the matter and reasons for adultery, but do you know that we as Christians normally come down hard on the adulterer as having caved into his lusts and obedience to Satan and we ignore the other side of the story. Look at what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 (ESV) “2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control”.

So Paul makes a few comments here that we all understand. Temptation to sexual immorality is a given. If you are not tempted, praise God, but do not think all cope the way you do. So therefore people are to be married and exercise that desire in the context of marriage. Now, the mutual command to both man and woman is not to withhold those conjugal rights from one another. This then brings us to the point. If you do withhold that right from your partner, you are guilty of doing what? You are giving Satan a foothold, you are allowing him to tempt your partner, and in so doing you are playing into the hands of the one who is going around like a roaring lion, and you assist him in his roaring trade which is adultery.

In a real sense what we have seen under this point as it is highlighted now on the sexual issue, is; live right, obey God, stay out of any position that exposes you to sin, so that Satan does not tempt you. Church family – realise this that Satan will always tempt you where you are the weakest. He will never tempt me to gluttony with brussel sprouts. If money is your problem, he will tempt you with money, you will want more, you will love money, which is the root of all evil, you will spend it on yourself, and go and check your own heart, you will hold back from God’s work because it becomes so difficult to give away.

Fifthly, never underestimate the importance of prayer.

We will see more about the importance of prayer in the putting on of the armour of God next week. In the meantime I want to focus on a different angle. The demonic world is real. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, and it is not just against Satan, it is against the demonic world, the principalities, and there are some of them that are stubborn and they do not easily let go of the person that is demon possessed. Let me just say this that no true Christian can be demon possessed. We can be oppressed by demons, but not possessed. If the Spirit of Christ is in you there is no place for demonic activity.

But let me get to the issue of prayer. Listen to the words of Christ. Mark 9:29 (ESV) 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” So it is very simple. It is not a focus on the power of a believer, but the power of God.  Yes, demons will obey genuine believers. We saw this in my last sermon in Luke 10:17 (ESV) 17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” They will not respond to an unbeliever trying to cast them out, because an unbeliever cannot speak in the name of God. There is an interesting story in Acts 19:13-16 (ESV) 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”

You see Christians, the demons know Christ and they know they are a defeated foe, they knew about Paul and who he represented, but they did not recognize these men even praying in the name of Jesus. They know Christ and when we represent Christ we do not have to fear them. Mark 3:11 (ESV) 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” Christians we need to realise that we do not stand in our own strength. That is why Paul says in Ephesians 6:10 (ESV) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

Basically it boils down to strong in the Lord, strong in His strength, and strong in His might.  It is not us who has the power as all power belongs to God. But His power is at work in us.

Sixthly, put on the whole armour of God.

This will be our sermon for next week. Do not miss it.

There is much more to add, many Scriptures that we have not touched, but I trust that you have learned and realised that dealing with Satan is not a gory activity, but rather to stop our own gory sinful activities, and Satan and his forces will flee from you. Let me put it this way: be dumb, ignore the Son and Satan will make you numb, BUT be bright, live right and see Satan in flight.

Amen.

Logos Community Church: - 21 April 2013