WHAT the DEVIL CAN and CANNOT DO
INTRODUCTION: Again, in this message we are going to focus our attention on the Spiritual Warfare of the believer. In Ephesians 6:10-13; we read,
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
One of Flip Wilson's most popular one-sentence statements that made audiences howl in laughter was,"The devil made me do it."
On its surface, it's not a particularly funny line. But perhaps it struck our funny bones because it struck a nerve.
We know we're sinners and violate our consciences.
We seem to constantly hurt others and even ourselves.
We're bewildered at how easily we do wrong and how hard it is to do right.
We need a rationale for our evil habits, or at least an excuse.
We want to blame someone or something for our sinful inclinations.
So when a gifted comic says, "The devil made me do it," it hits close enough to home to be funny. It's as good an excuse as any. In some way Flip Wilson's tagline became an expression of national self-justification.
As we begin, let’s focus on WHAT THE DEVIL CAN DO. It's true that we must not underestimate the devil. His very title, Devil, comes from the Greek word “diabolos,” from which we get our English word diabolical. The word literally means “slanderer.”
But he has more names and titles than a blue-blooded, upper-crusted British aristocrat. He is called:
The serpent, The dragon, The enemy,
A roaring lion, Beelzebub, The ruler of this world,
A liar and the father of lies, The thief, The tempter,
The wicked one, A murderer from the beginning, and
The prince of the power of the air.
He is also referred to in Scripture as Satan, meaning Adversary. Seven books of the Old Testament speak of Satan, as does every single writer of the New Testament. He is referred to as a real person, not just an impersonal force or influence.
Remember Satan began his career as a faker even before the Garden of Eden. In Isaiah 14:13-14; Satan declares:
"I will ascend to heaven… I will exalt my throne… I will enthrone myself … I will ascend to the heights of heaven… I will make myself like God.”
From the Garden of Eden the Bible is a record of Satan's attempts to fool the entire human race one way or another to make people believe he is God.
Satan's fakeries and forgeries have been exposed so that we need not be fooled, by falling into deception like our first parents. This is how Satan operates:
FIRST: There are SATAN’S TRAPS.He lays traps for us, by attacking and accusing us. He rejoices when we fall, and kicks us when we're down. There's no doubt Satan can tempt us to sin.
In Genesis 3:1-7; Satan tempted Adam and Eve in Eden.
In I Chronicles 21:1; Satan tempted David to number Israel.
In Acts 5:1-11; Satan tempted Ananias and Sapphira to lie to the early church.
In I Corinthians 7:5; Satan tempted believers into immorality.
In Matthew 4:1-11; Satan even tried to tempt the sinless Christ.
Satan is cunning, cruel, deceptive, and dangerous. It's foolish to underestimate his power in this world. We shouldn't be fixated on him or dwell on his demonic realm, but we should be aware of his devices.
Paul told the Thessalonians in I Thessalonians 3:5; he was worried “…lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.”
He warned Timothy in I Timothy 5:15; to watch out for "younger widows" who become gossips, busybodies, and sensual. "Some," he warned, "have already turned aside after Satan."
He warned the Ephesians in Ephesians 6:11-12; “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but … against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
SECOND: There are SATAN’SLIES. In John 8:44; we read,
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Today lying has become pandemic.
The world lies in every form possible. Parents lie and then children of these parents also lie. Businesses lie to you to get a sale. Those in government lie to you. Even those in the While House and manyinCongress spread deception and lies. Who do you believe and what do you believe? Worse yet, more than ever before, Christians lie.
I could be a very, very rich man if I had a dollar for every bold-faced lie that has been spoken to me over the years, even by some who attend this church. Do you realize what you are doing, when you lie, is nothing more than imitating Satan, the father of lies?
THIRD: There are SATAN'S FORGERIES. The dictionary says a forger is someone who counterfeits, and a counterfeit is a copy made with the intent to defraud or deceive; an imitation of something valuable.
We also see Satan's effort to counterfeit the wisdom of God in the courts of Egypt.
God sent Moses and Aaron straight into the heart of Pharaoh's Egypt, demanding that the king let God's people go. When Pharaoh demanded a miracle to validate the power of the Hebrew's God, In Exodus 7:8; Aaron threw down his staff and it became a snake.
But in Exodus 7:11; Pharaoh's sorcerers and magicians threw down their staffs, all of which became serpents as well. By their "enchantments" – meaning use of the occult, Pharaoh's wise men counterfeited the power of God—almost: Aaron's snake ate up the magicians' snakes.
Two more times, Satan counterfeited the power of God through the Egyptian magicians. In Exodus 7:22 and 8:7, they turned water into blood and called forth frogs to come upon the land of Egypt, just as Aaron did by the power of God.
But then, Satan's power ran out. The magicians were unable to duplicate the remaining plagues God brought upon Egypt, declaring in Exodus 8:19, "This is the finger of God."
What is the lesson? Don't fall for every miracle you see unless you want your spiritual bank account to be drained. Don’t fall for these visions that people at times claim they see – Satan can counterfeit those too!
FOURTH: There are SATAN'S FAKERIES. The apostle Paul came face-to-face with Satan's fakes, especially in Corinth.
In 2 Corinthians 11:12-15; we read, “But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. (13) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. (14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
There were fake apostles in Corinth who were trying to be something they weren't. They were not God-called apostles like the apostle Paul. They were "transforming themselves into apostles of Christ," fooling perhaps some, but not Paul.
How ironic—the prince of darkness trying to pass himself off as an angel of light! Two thousand years later, don't mistake the appearance of light for light itself. Follow a fake light and you'll be stumbling in the darkness in no time.
Over the past two thousand years we have had false prophets even as we do today. Be careful who you listen to on the radio and watch on the TV. They are religious hustlers twisting scripture to get you to fund their ministries and line their pockets with your money. They are promising you a lot but delivering nothing.
Also remember Satan puts a bright light on SIN as you enter, but never shows you the dumpster in the dark of night in the back alley.
Now let’s move on to the other side of the coin.
Now, let’s focus on WHAT THE DEVIL CAN NOT DO. Let's not give the devil too much due.
He can tempt, but he can't force us to sin.
He can bring pressure to bear, but he can't violate our will.
Flip Wilson was wrong in his theology. The devil doesn't make us do anything. We can resist him. Ephesians 4:27; commands: "…nor give place to the devil."
Are you giving the devil a foothold in your life? The context in Ephesians 4:27; involves harboring a bitter and angry spirit, but there are many other ways of letting Satan gain leverage in our heart and habits.
Immorality Drug and Alcohol use Sexting
Unkindness Pornography Materialism
Apathy Anxiety Unbelief
Satan may tempt with these things, but he cannot triumph without our cooperation. Here's the way someone put it:
"Many people make the devil their scapegoat. They refuse to be responsible for anything bad that comes their way. But…the devil probably doesn't deserve as much credit as we give him."
He goes on to say, “I’m not denying the power of Satan. The devil does not make us commit sinful behavior. The devil tempts us, and we do the sinning!"
When we fall, we must take responsibility. Repent. Confess your sin to the Lord as yours alone, then seek His help in turning from it.
When we blame the devil, we're giving him too much power. Remember Satan is not omnipotent nor is he omniscient nor is he omnipresent.
The devil is a created being. He can cause a lot of stress and trouble, and he's a powerful creature who can attack us. But when it comes to measuring him up against God, there's no contest. We already know who wins.
In Matthew 4:1-22; when Satan tried to tempt Christ,He knew what to do. Here we read,
“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. (2) And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. (3) And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. (4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (5) Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, (6) And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. (7) Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (8) Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; (9)And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. (10) Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (11) Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”
Verse 1, Jesus relied on the Holy Spirit.”
Verse 2, He devoted Himself to fasting and prayer.
Verses 4, 7, and 10, He chose to say "No" to Satan and quoted Scripture in the moment of temptation.
Verse 11, Jesus outlasted the temptation. Satan finally threw up his hands and left, not knowing what else to do.
That's the winning strategy for us. We need to rely on the Holy Spirit, pray, say "No" to temptation, and use the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
When we falter and fail, we must take responsibility. Don't blame your sin on Satan. He didn't make you do it. He may have tempted you, but the final decision is yours and mine. Instead of blaming Satan, defeat him.
He has no answer to sincere repentance and confession.
He has no answer to a humble heart that accepts responsibility.
He has no answer to the blood of Jesus Christ. When faced with the power of the cross, Satan is powerless.
As Martin Luther wrote long ago,
The Prince of darkness grim,
We tremble not for Him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That little word is Jesus for in I John 2:1; we read, “… And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” Our Adversary is no match for our Advocate.
Satan is a forger and a faker and an ultimate failure. He and all his works will one day be destroyed forever.
While it may seem Satan has been free to deceive for thousands of years, nothing could be further from the truth. We already know, according to Revelation 20:10, where he is going to end up: the Lake of Fire, with no time off for good behavior.
Not every fugitive is caught immediately. The F.B.I. has its list of the "Ten Most Wanted" because there are fugitives from justice who remain at large.
But the fact that the list keeps changing means that fugitives are being apprehended. Satan, the ultimate fugitive from God's justice, is living on borrowed time.
Like all fugitives, Satan can run, but he can't hide. He has nowhere to go that God cannot see his every move. Be sober … be vigilant … be on your guard … be discerning. But don't be afraid of this one on the run. I John 4:4 tells us:
"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
In spiritual warfare God and Satan are battling each other for control of your life.
It's important to remember that God is the One who is truly in control. He's already won the battle! But Satan wants to make you think that he's the one in control, so he tries to get to you in any way he can. He likes to play games with people.
Why does Satan do this? Because when you start thinking his way, you stop thinking about God. And that's Satan's main strategy in this spiritual war.
The Devil wants you to believe that he – not God – is in control. He wants to make your life miserable, and he wants you to think that there's nothing you can do about it. That's the heart of spiritual warfare—Satan trying to tear you away from God. Don't believe Satan for a second!
When things go wrong in your life, God wants you to turn to Him. He wants to hear your prayers, comfort you, and help you through your troubles.So, let's get going. It's time to put on God's Armor and prepare to win the war!
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon "What the DEVIL CAN and CANOT DO” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31; “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13; “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to email@example.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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In His Amazing Grace,
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