Scripture of the Month
Psalm 126:2-Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”
John 10:10-The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
This morning’s message title looks confusing, I am sure. I want to talk to you about two different beings, two different entities, two different people. They are both expressed in John 10:10. They are Satan and Jesus. I want to be very clear this morning. Satan was defeated by Jesus on the cross. Colossians 2:15 tells us that as Jesus hung on the cross in what was deemed a public spectacle or public embarrassment or a public shaming in the natural realm was really something quite different in the spiritual realm. Remember church, looks can be deceiving! Jesus didn’t lose a battle on the cross. He wasn’t powerless on the cross. He was actually winning the war on the cross for you and me as in the spirit realm he publicly dismantled the powers of darkness and triumphed over them by the cross, making a public spectacle of THEM!
Even though Satan is defeated—that is, even though he was stripped of his power to take you down spiritually and strip you of your spiritual heritage and destiny—he is still hanging around trying to mess with you and to discourage you and to trip you up.
Here’s the truth:
Satan is a bully.
A bully is someone who uses “physical, emotional, or verbal intimidation to control others.”
Here are some of the defining characteristics of a bully:
- Lacks empathy for others.
- Needs to control others.
- Gets angry quickly.
- Constantly reminds others of their weaknesses.
- Picks on those who don’t comply to his expectations.
- Makes others afraid through threats.
- Uses physical aggression to intimidate and control.
- Defies any who would share or correct his power.
(taken from: http://sermonnotebook.org/Hard_Cases/HC%2011%20-%201%20Samuel%2017_1-54.htm)
These are all strategies of Satan. Satan will never care about you. You mean nothing to him. You are a pawn. You are something he is messing with in order to try to mess with Jesus. You can’t mess with a secure victory, but Satan won’t admit defeat. He is an idiot.
He will tell you that you are no match for temptation; that you can never live a clean and righteous life. He will tell you that you don’t have what it takes to please God. He will tell you that you are doomed to keep repeating the same mistakes, that you will never be free from the sin, the addictions, the strongholds, the chains in your life. He will tell you that you are weak and powerless to change your circumstances. He will tell you that you are unlovable, unwanted, and a loser. He is a liar! He is the liar of all liars. He is the “father of lies” (John 8:44).
He is always coming for you. He is always hiding somewhere to try to pop out and scare you. He is always “prowling around like a roaring lion” looking to take you down (I Peter 5:8). He is coming for you to destroy your confidence. He is coming for you to try to get you addicted to things that steal your mental focus, that ruin your relationships, that destroy your body, that disrupt your peace, and that harm your relationship with Jesus. He wants to get you thinking about things that cause you anxiety, worry, and fear. He wants to disrupt your peace. He wants to push your buttons so that you say and do things out of emotion that you will regret, that will hurt your reputation and hurt the people you love. That is how he steals from us. He does things to try to get us to be our own worst enemy. He tries to get us to sabotage our own success. Don’t let Satan turn you against yourself! Don’t let Satan turn you against God!
Satan is emotional, insecure, and delusional. He thinks he is something when he is nothing. Satan isn’t all-powerful. He isn’t God. He isn’t God’s opposite or equal. He cannot do what God can do, and in fact, in Christ, you are more powerful than Satan is!
Satan is a big bully. Sometimes he tries to act like a friend or to present what seems fun and harmless. II Corinthians 11 tells us that Satan masquerades like an angel of light sometimes. When he can’t get to us through the front door, he tries to slip into the back door to influence us to sin and make it look good. When he tries to make things look harmless that are really poisonous to your soul, He is trying to bully you into sinning. He is trying to coerce you into dishonoring God. He keeps dangling things in front of you to try to get you to fall for the trappings of this world and the fleeting trappings of the flesh. Don’t let him push you over the edge. Don’t let him continue to fill your mind with lust and sinful thoughts. Don’t entertain evil! Satan is a rude guest. If you open the door, he will never leave on his own.
Remember, he tried to bully Jesus in the desert wilderness. He wanted to derail Jesus from the onset of His ministry so that He wouldn’t be faithful to the will of the Father which eventually took Him to the cross. He kept offering him things of the world if he would listen to him. Jesus didn’t fall for it. He stayed focused. He stayed true. He fought Satan off. Jesus never fell for what seemed good in the moment. He was always future-focused, always eternity-focused. He beat the bully.
Listen, Satan is trying to make those “secret sins” look good, but he is a bully who is trying to seduce you into doing his will rather than God’s. Don’t budge an ounce. Don’t give him any breathing room. Don’t debate with the devil. Don’t argue with Satan. Don’t toy with temptation. Don’t try to sneak around and see how long you can do something without getting caught or without paying a consequence. Don’t try to play with Satan’s fire. He is out to burn you. What seems fun now will cost you later. It isn’t worth it.
Listen, bullies don’t have to be tolerated and must not be tolerated. It is time as Christians that we develop a no-tolerance policy for bullies, especially when his name is Satan.
Satan is an accuser.
He is called the “accuser of the brethren” in Rev. 12:10. This is one of his bullying tactics. He likes to dredge stuff up. He likes to throw stuff in your face. He likes to resurrect sin that is already under the blood and has already been forgiven. He does it so he can make you feel guilty. He does it so he can get you to doubt your worth. He does it so he can get you to doubt your salvation. He wants to mess with your mind so that he can mess with your faith. If he can confuse you, he can move you out of the realm of faith into the realm of fear. He dispenses condemnation and shame that weigh you down and depress you so that you see no way forward. You can’t let him accuse of you of that which has already been forgiven.
I know some of you are tired of running. I know some of you are tired of trying to hide. I know some of you are sick of the way you have been living, and you need and want something different. I know some of you know there is a better way, but you have let Satan bully you into the corner.
In his book Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes: There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons. But then the karate lesson guy said I had to start paying him five dollars a lesson. So, I just went back to paying the bully. Too many people feel it is easier just to pay the bully than it is to learn how to defeat him.
NO! You can defeat the devil today. You can stand up to the bully today. I Peter 5:9 says, “Resist him, standing firm in the faith…”
In James 4:7, James says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you!” (James 4:7).
We need to Resist him, rebuke him, and remind him of his position.
Resist him. Don’t let thoughts linger in your mind that aren’t helpful and holy. Start reading the Word. Start listening to praise music. Start talking to God about the temptation you face. Resist him. You’ve got to put up a fight.
If someone comes to capture you and places their hands around your neck or hits you in the stomach do you just fall to your knees and say, “Ok, you win! Do whatever you want with me?” Heavens no! You start bobbing and weaving and kicking and scratching and clawing and screaming. You put up a struggle. You put up a fight. That is what it means to resist someone. Resisting isn’t passive. It is active. It is forceful. It is aggressive. We need to start aggressively resisting the devil and sin. Too often, we are waving the flag of surrender too quickly, too easily and without much effort. In some cases, I think some of us see Satan coming and we hand him the duct tape and say, “It’s no use fighting. Go ahead and tie me up!” I mean, really!
Not only do we need to start getting fiery in our resistance, but we can open up our mouth and rebuke him. Satan isn’t shy about using his mouth on us. How about we open up our mouths and let him have it! You have my permission to be mouthy with the devil! Jesus spoke directly to Satan on a number of occasions and rebuked him by quoting Scripture and by telling him to get behind him and away from him. Open up your mouth and tell Satan to get out of your house, out of your marriage, out of your workplace, out of your children, out of your friendships, out of your free time, out of your finances, and out of your social life. Rebuke him. He has no place in your life.
Tell him you belong to Jesus. Tell him you are victorious and that he is defeated. Tell him to go to the pit of Hell because that is where he belongs! Plead the blood of Jesus over your mind, your free time, your finances, your health, your life, your everything. How do you do that? You say, “I plead the blood of Jesus over my life!” Rev. 12:11 tells us we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our Testimony! Testify to Satan about who God is and what He has done for you. He can’t stand to hear Jesus’ name be praised! It is worse than nails on a chalkboard because it reminds his doom is certain. His time is coming to an end.
Resist him. Rebuke him. Remind him of his position. He is under our feet! (Romans 16:20) That is where he is! He is a low-life with no life and no future except a torturous one. He is a defeated foe.
Oh, but then don’t get complacent. Don’t go on autopilot. Don’t just fight a round or two and think he will leave you alone forever. He always finds a way to eventually come for you.
Draw nearer, nearer, and nearer to Jesus because He has come FOR you. He is FOR you. He will fight FOR you against your enemy.
Jesus is our Brother and Backer.
Think with me about having a big brother who is willing to take on that bully with you and for you. What would He do to save you? What would He do to rescue you? He has already done it. He took on your sin. You don’t have to listen to the accuser. He took on your shame. You don’t have to sit in condemnation.
He has shown us how to obey God. He has shown us how to resist temptation. We can follow in His footsteps. We can live by His example. He never got it wrong. Jesus, our Big Brother, has shown us how to love, how to forgive, how to war against Satan, and how walk with God. How well do you know Him this morning?
He backs us up. He has all power. He has all authority. He sends us out with His power and authority. We aren’t just left out there on our own to face the enemy and to deal with temptation. His Holy Spirit is always with us to guide us and to counsel and comfort us. We always have back-up when we walk with Jesus. We are never alone. “Never Once Did We Ever Walk Alone!” Glory! Hebrews 13:5 tells us He will never leave us or forsake us. We also have His name to use whenever we are in trouble. The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run to it and are safe! (Proverbs 18:10)
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalms 27:1). In I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, I and II Chronicles, and in Psalms, God is referred to numerous times as the God of angel armies. He has an angel army. He is always fighting for us. He has angels who do His bidding. Satan is a bully who can’t back up any of his words and accusations, but God can back up everything He promises, and He promises to provide for us. He has back up for His back up!
Jesus is our Advocate.
Jesus is our Advocate, I John 2:1. This idea about Jesus being our Advocate is like Jesus being our attorney. He pleads our case before the Judge, Father God. He speaks to God on our behalf. When Satan tries to throw us under the bus to God, Jesus sets the record straight. If we are in Him, we are covered. We are good to go. Attorney Jesus, always wins His case! He is constantly representing us before God.
You know how attorneys are always well-spoken? They are good with words. They are expert communicators. They know how to influence and sway a judge. Hebrews 7:23-25 tells us that Jesus is always talking to God about us. He is always praying for us. He lives to intercede for us. That is what verse 25 says! He lives to intercede for us! FOR US! Satan lives to mess with us. Jesus lives to intercede for us. He is praying for you this morning!
There will be times when we stumble and fall. Jesus, our Advocate, our helper, will pick us up and help us move forward. He knows how to open doors no man or woman can shut (Rev. 3:8). He knows how to open and close doors in order to guide you and to give you opportunities. He is a networker. He knows how to move people into position into your life that can help you.
Run to Him. Rest in Him. Remain in Him.
Do you realize that when you resist Jesus, you are basically running towards Satan? There is not a “no-man’s land” where neither entity has jurisdiction. We are either in Christ or we are walking in darkness with the devil. Don’t resist Jesus. When you do you are resisting the only One who can truly help you live. I believe there are people in churches all across America who are being beaten up by Satan. Going to church doesn’t make you exempt from Satan’s schemes. There are people being picked apart and beaten down and chained up, yet rather than run to Jesus, they are resisting Him. I actually see it here most Sundays as people grip the seat in front of them rather than respond when God is calling. Jesus isn’t the One you are supposed to resist if you want to live securely, abundantly, and with joy.
Someone today needs a soft place to land. The softest place I know is in the arms of Jesus. You can rest there. Jesus said to come to Him all who were tired and overburdened and He would give them rest. (Matthew 11:28) Psalm 91 talks about how being inside of Jesus is like being covered by the feathers of a bird’s wings. It is a dwelling place. You can dwell in safety inside Jesus. He will cover you. He will care for you. Why? Because He has come FOR you. Following Jesus isn’t the easy way out, but it is far easier than living a lie, playing church, and getting beaten up by Satan day after day after day.
Stay with Jesus. Don’t be an on-again/off-again Christian. Don’t look to Jesus today and Satan tomorrow. You will never be stable. You will never be happy. You will never be able to live the life God has promised. Many people are holding God hostage to their expectations when all the while they are embracing the devil and dancing with the devil.
It’s time to wake up. Satan comes for you to steal from you and to destroy your life. Jesus has come for you because He is FOR you. He wants to give you life; real life. Will you let Him be your Big Brother? Will you let Him be your Backer? Will you let Him be your Advocate? He has done all of the hard work, but you have a part to play. Will you start resisting Satan. Will you rebuke him today? Will you remind him of his position? If you will, run to Jesus. Rest in Him. And remain with the One who is truly FOR you this morning.