Sunday, August 11, 2013

Defeating the Devil- his weaknessess and our Strength

Defeating the devil

Ephesians 6:10-19
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil; For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities; against powers; against the rulers of the darkness of this age; against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armour of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints —  and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,” (NKJV)

The Bible reminds us that we are engaged in a very bitter struggle with the enemy – the Devil. Not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. One of the strategies of warfare is to know the exact location of your enemy; his strength and his weakness. In the same way, you should never neglect a thorough assessment of your own self – your strength and your weaknesses and your position relative to the enemy’s. Any mistake in this assessment has very disastrous consequences.

The devil is like a cheque forger. He moves around very constantly to avoid being detected. The Bible talks of about six locations that the devil has, is and will occupy.

  • In Ezekiel 28:12-19, we read of his location in heaven as God’s choir leader. This was his location before his fall. He is no longer there.
  • In Job 1:6-7 and Zechariah 3:1-2, we read of him again in the heavens but this time as God’s chief enemy. This is his present position.
  • In Revelation 12:7-12, we read of his “earthly location” He is yet to come to this position. He would descend to this location during the final half of the coming Tribulation. At that time, he would be cast out of heaven and his sphere of activities will be limited to this earth.
  • In Revelation 20:1-3, we read of a fourth location – in the bottomless pit. This will be immediately after Christ’s great victory at Armageddon. He would be there for about one thousand years during the Millennium.
  • Then In Revelation 20:7-9, we read of him again on earth for the last time – this would be after the Millennium; and finally
  • In Revelation 20:10, we read of his last location – in the lake of fire. He will be there forever.
You can now understand why our battle with him is rather complex now. He is in heaven directing the operation of his angels here. He is so busy accusing the brethren hence the need for Jesus to also rise to Heaven to counter his accusations.

We have located his position. We shall now discuss his weaknesses and limitations. Christ called the Christian a victor and more than conquerors. How weak is the devil?

Over the past month, as we have compiled and analysed many Biblical passages on the devil, he is found to be a most vicious and powerful creature in all God’s universe. This depraved and deadly dragon possesses more strength and deadly understanding than any archangel or saint; but in spite of all this, he is still a creature and not the Creator. The Creator is several times stronger than the creature. Because of this truth, his power and knowledge are very limited. Martin Luther thinking of this wicked being wrote the song “A Mighty Fortress is our God” It is a song worth studying. Let me quote one verse: 
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us: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.

The devil has three major weaknesses and limitations.
  1. He is not omnipresent: Just like Superman, the devil might move with the speed of light or more, but cannot be in two places at the same time. Only God can. We are reminded in Psalm 139 of God’s Omnipresence. The devil is not Omnipresent. The damage being done across the world is being carried out by his demons.
  2. The devil is not omnipotent:  While he is still the strongest creature in the universe, his power when compared to God’s is less than that of an ant against a mighty elephant. The Satan cannot make void any of the promises of God.  He cannot drag a saved soul to hell. He cannot even tempt a Christian without obtaining permission and express instruction as to the extent he must go from God. Remember First Corinthians 10:13; Job 1, 2; Psalm 103:14. He cannot go beyond God’s set mark for him.
  3. The devil is not omniscient:  He is not all knowing. It is heart-warming to know that the devil is totally ignorant of many things known by the most humble and uneducated believer. The devil knows nothing of God’s love; God’s grace, and God’s forgiveness. The devil does not know the future nor all the secrets of the past. He does not know tomorrow except the thing he is planning to do. He does not know God’s plan of salvation.

Furthermore the devil is powerless in the following areas: 
  • He cannot tempt a believer without God’s permission (See First Corinthians 10:13; Job 1, 2; Psalm 103:14)
  • He cannot stand to be resisted! See James 4:7; Ephesians 4:27
  • The devil likes debating – that was where Eve lost the battle. He likes to be overestimated or underestimated; but not to be resisted. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you. There are three ways  to resist the devil
    • Know how the devil attacks – First Corinthians 2:11
    • Stand guard always awaiting his attack – First Peter 5:8
    • We must at all times be clothed in the right armour- “Put on the whole armour of God" – Ephesians 610-17
The devil cannot stand the blood of Christ, nor the Christian’s testimony Revelation 12:11. 
Dear brothers and sisters the devil is vicious, wicked and powerful and can destroy you if you do not have the right protection and the right armour. Do you have a testimony? Can you call on the Lord Jesus and be sure of the Blood? Have you been washed in the Blood? 

The Christian : Our Strength and Weaknesses

Two Bible passages highlight the weakness of the Christian. 
The first is John 15:5-6 – “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” 
The Christian cannot do anything without depending on Christ. Billy Graham was preaching, and a chap listened intently and later told Billy: “Do you know why I cannot be a Christian? It is because I fear that when I start, I cannot hold on” To this Billy replied: “Don’t ever forget that!” You can never be able to hold out without Christ!
The second passage is in Romans 7:18: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” 
The Christian is like a man convicted of murder who was given the dead body of his victim to carry wherever he went. The ever present flesh with its lusts: – the lusts of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life; They have been crucified but are still with us. What shall we do with them?

That brings us to the strength of the Christian. Again two passages tell us this. 
The first is Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me”. Christ now lives my life even while carrying the flesh. 
The story is told of Augustine who had lived a sinful, promiscuous life before he was saved. On a visit to his home town, a woman met him on the street with whom he had lived in sin before his conversion. She ran toward him shouting “Augustine, Augustine, It is I, It is I” He turned to her and said, “But this is not I! The Augustine you knew is dead!” 
We should therefore learn to remind ourselves that the Augustine you knew is dead. 

The second passage is in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Let us be reminded of the power of Christ which is the power that has been made available to us (Matthew 28:19) “All power in heaven and on earth” It is the same power that removed the stone and the same power that raised Christ from the dead. That was why Paul reminded his Colossian readers in Colossians 2:9-10 “For in Him (Christ) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” This Christ dwells in you if you are a Christian. What superpower! No wonder we are more than conquerors!

We have come to the end of our sermon series on the devil. God bless you all. Let us pray.

No comments:

Post a Comment