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Don’t Make Deals with the Devil | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
August 7, 2022 3:00 am

Don’t Make Deals with the Devil | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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August 7, 2022 3:00 am

We don’t leap toward spiritual decline, but crawl toward it, little by little; and we experience it when we give the Devil a foothold. As Pastor Greg says, “Show me a Christian who’s starting to compromise, and I’ll show you a Christian who’s headed toward spiritual ruin.” Hear what else he has to say on the matter in this Sunday episode!

Notes

Do not make deals with the devil, you will lose.

The devil is evil, the devil is wicked, and the devil is cunning.

A Christian who begins to comprise is headed toward spiritual ruin.

You are loved, you are needed, and your life matters!

Distressed in debt and discontented.

1. Distressed.

Under the pressure of stress.

2. In Debt.

To have a number of creditors. 

3. Discontented.

To be bitter of soul, having been wronged or mistreated.

God specializes in taking the outcasts of this culture and making them people of God.

We see ourselves for what we are; God sees us for what we will be! 

“Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver David into his hand.” —1 Samuel 23:14

Satan is described as, “A roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

Satan believes the Bible and knows that his days are numbered. 

1. We need to do God’s Will the right way at the right time.

2. We should not take vengeance on people, even if they deserve it.

Forgiveness is not a suggestion in Scripture; God commands it!

Forgiven people should be forgiving people!

“Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely thing until they have someone to forgive.” —C. S. Lewis

To forgive means, surrendering the right to get even. 

Godly sorrow produces repentance.

3. You cannot make deals with the devil.

Any person can be saved, regardless of what they have done!

The price has been paid for our redemption.

The debt has been canceled.

Scripture Referenced

Ephesians 4:27

Psalm 57:4

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Romans 12:14, 17-19

Ephesians 4:31-32

Colossians 2:14

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This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. I like that. How many of you are following on a tablet or a phone? Raise that up right now. Ok. That's good.

That's good. Grab your Bible and or electronic device and turn to 1 Samuel 22. And we are also going to look at Romans 12. 1 Samuel 22, Romans 12.

The title of my message is, Don't Make Deals with the Devil. So I heard about a bear hunter that was out in the forest looking for a prey. He found a big giant bear. He pulled out his rifle. He lowered it down. He got the bear in his sights.

He carefully exhaled, began to squeeze the trigger. When suddenly the bear turned around and says to the hunter, Excuse me, but isn't it better to talk than to shoot? The hunter was shocked, number one, that the bear spoke and secondly that the bear was British apparently. The hunter didn't know what to say. The bear continued on. Can't we negotiate the matter?

Tell me what it is you're looking for. The hunter said, Well, I'd like to bag me a bear. I want a fur coat. Ah, said the bear.

Now we're getting somewhere because I want a full stomach. Let's negotiate. So they disappeared into the forest together. Apparently the negotiations were successful because a little time passed and the bear came from the forest alone. They both got what they wanted.

The bear got his full stomach and the hunter got a fur coat. That's how compromise works. That's how deals with the devil work. You never want to make a deal with the devil. No matter what, he always comes out on top. He's just that guy. The devil is a master. Well, say negotiator, but in reality, he's a master manipulator. Any deal you enter into with him is going to be a losing deal for you. That is why the Bible tells us in Ephesians 24 27, Don't give place to the devil.

Another translation puts it this way. Don't give the devil a foothold in your life. Listen. Satan is wicked. He's evil. He's cunning. He's been honing his crowd for a long time.

And he's really good at what he does. And he knows in general he can't bring a believer down in one fell swoop. Therefore, he seeks to dismantle them a little at a time through the subtle strategy of compromise. Show me a Christian that's starting to compromise and I'll show you a Christian that is headed towards spiritual ruin. Okay, so we're back in our House of David series. And kind of to get back into the story of where we're at, David is running from Saul. Remember, David, the shepherd boy, has been called by God to be the next king of Israel. The Lord has rejected King Saul because of his disobedience. David goes out and defeats the giant nine foot six inch Philistine named Goliath.

And he is celebrated by the people of Israel. And once all of a sudden, Saul discovers that David is gonna take his place on the throne. He dedicates his life to the destruction of David. And now at this point in David's life, every crutch has been removed. His family has effectively abandoned him. His wife has betrayed him.

His best friend can't help him. And his father-in-law, King Saul, wants to kill him. So David has a momentary lapse of faith. He's known as Gath. Now Gath was sort of like Philistine central. In fact, Goliath came from the city of Gath. I don't know what David was thinking. And he could walk through the city and not be recognized.

But he was like a legend in his own time. Everybody knew who David was. And he's immediately recognized. He realizes he's in trouble and he's brought before the king. And so David pretends he's insane to get out of the mess and the predicament. He's put himself in trouble.

And then he runs from there and flees to a cave called Adullam. Now David has royally messed everything up by taking matters into his own hands. Now he has time alone. No one's with him. No family.

No friends. He's alone with God. But David was gonna emerge from this cave a different person than who he was when he went in. I'm sure he was feeling sorry for himself.

I was happy watching my little flock of sheep. How did this come upon me? This isn't fair.

This isn't right. Maybe he even thought no one cares about me. No one loves me. My dad sure doesn't.

My brothers don't. My wife has betrayed me. My best friend Jonathan isn't here to help me. He might have thought, you know, things would be better if I weren't even here. People entertain thoughts like that when they get really down. Sometimes they even entertain suicidal thoughts. They think maybe if I just left this world, all my pain would end.

But what they don't realize is that pain will just begin for all of those that are left behind. And I want you to know, no matter what kind of a situation you are in, you are loved. And you are wanted. And you are needed. Don't let the devil whisper in your ear, oh just take your life. No, no, no.

Don't do that. You're loved by God. You're loved by people more than you will ever realize. And look how things change quickly for David. 1 Samuel 22 one, David escaped to the cave of Adullam. And so when his brothers and all of his father's house heard it, they went down there to him.

Wait, what? His father, his brothers have come to him now. This is the father that wouldn't even acknowledge the existence of his son when the prophet Samuel came to Bethlehem.

Looking for the next king of Israel who was one of the sons of Jesse. That's David's dad. But now the father comes to him and his brothers are there as well.

That must have been reassuring to David. Isn't it great when you can reconcile with someone you've been estranged with? You know sometimes we drift apart from people. There might be a member of our family. Might be a close friend from our childhood.

We're talking to them but we just aren't. And then something happens that brings us together. Maybe it's an event. Maybe it's a death of a loved one or something.

And then we start communicating again and fellowship is restored. That's what's happening for David. How reassuring this must have been.

And I think his dad and his brothers are finally getting David. Like wow, we underestimated this kid. He's not just the weird kid watching the sheep writing songs. This guy's a warrior. This guy's legitimate. This guy is gonna be the next king. And plus he's been a man of integrity because David has handled success very well. You know I think one of the greatest tests of a person's character is not failure but success. What happens when you succeed? Some people you give them a little power.

They have a little success and it goes to their head and they become an altogether different person. You know what I'm talking about? Take mall cops for instance. Now I respect they're doing a job okay. But if you're a mall cop let me just say you're not law enforcement. You're not a police officer. You are a mall cop. You have your little thing you drive around which is not very intimidating honestly.

Maybe you have a little light but it's that weird little thing you drive and what when you arrest someone you have to say no get up and hold on to me and we'll go to the little mall jail together. I don't know. But I've seen some people with a little authority it goes to their head. A little success it goes to their head.

A little money it goes to their head. David had it all. He was still that humble loving caring young man that was described in the Bible as having being the man after God's own heart. But it wasn't just his family that showed up. Look at who else shows up.

1 Samuel 22 2. Everyone who was in distress. Everyone who was in debt and everyone who was discontented gathered to him and he became captain over them and there were about 400 men with him.

Wow. What a motley crew this was. A ragtag army.

Their actual classification would be 3D. Distressed in debt and discontented. This was not actually the cream of the crop. Everyone who was in distress it means under the pressure. The pressure of stress. Suddenly David finds himself surrounded by stressed out people but not just them those who were in debt which means people that had a number of creditors. So they're around him too. And then everyone who was discontented or literally people who were bitter of soul. People who had been wronged and mistreated.

Are these the kind of people you want to hang around with. That was David's new team. But out of this group of misfits and unhappy discontented stressed out people God was going to bring a mighty army. They would later be known as David's mighty men of valor.

And they would rule with David when he finally ascends to the throne. Listen to this. God seems to specialize in taking the outcasts of this culture and turning them into men and women of God. Let me say that again.

God specializes in taking the outcasts of the culture and turning them into men and women of God. You know we. If you're going to clap go. Go. One person really liked it the other time. I think I should clap I'm not sure really.

But it's true. Think about it. We take the apostles we put them on pedestals. Apostles. They were so amazing.

They were just like you and me. Peter was a hot heat. He was a hot-headed impulsive outspoken guy that Jesus called. Then take James and John. They're not called the Sons of Thunder for nothing.

On one occasion they wanted to call fire down from heaven on a city that was not hospitable toward them. And there's Matthew the tax collector. Well he's working for the occupying force of Rome. He's considered a turncoat and traitor by his fellow Jews. And then there's Simon the Zealot.

That's what we call him. more like Simon the terrorist, a man who was dedicated to the violent overthrow of Rome. These were not the best people to have on your team, and Jesus transforms them into the apostles, and he turns the world upside down with them.

The apostle Paul sums it this way in 1 Corinthians 1, 26, from a modern translation. Take a good look, friends, at who you were when God called you into this life. I don't see many of the brightest and best among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses? God chose these nobodies to expose the hollow pretensions of the somebodies, well said. Think about your own life. I think about mine. It's not like God got some great prize when the 17-year-old Greg Laurie believed in Jesus.

I was just a mixed-up kid going the wrong direction in life, and I'm sure you have a similar story. So now these rejects are gonna be a mighty army under David. This is who David is. Against all odds, he's taking on the establishment. He's taking on King Saul and his power, and he's going to be God's man. So here he is in this cave, looking around at his ragtag army, who are gonna become mighty men of faith, and he starts getting perspective again. He starts seeing their potential. And at this point, he writes Psalm 57, which says, verse four, my soul is among lions.

I must lie down among those who breathe forth fire, even the sons of men whose teeth are spears and arrows. Wait, David, are you looking at the same people we're looking at? These are the stressed-out people. These are the people in debt.

These are the depressed people. Oh, yeah, David says, but I see them for what they will become. Do you know that God sees the same when he looks at you? What do you see when you look in the mirror? Let me put it another way. What do you see when you look in a magnifying mirror?

Those are just no fun, are they? You see your flaws? You see your shortcomings? God sees you differently than the way you see yourself. We see a blank canvas, God sees a finished painting. We see a failure, God sees potential. We see the past, God sees the future. We see a mess, God sees a message. We see a zero, God sees a potential hero.

He sees things differently than you do. This ragtag army of David would become mighty men of God. So David is rejoicing. Back to Psalm 57, which he wrote at this time. He says, my heart is steadfast, O Lord.

I'll sing praises to God. All right, he's doing well. He's passed the test. Now a big test is gonna come his way.

It will appear to be a great opportunity, but in reality, it's a test. Let's go back to 1 Samuel 24. I'm gonna read verses three to seven from the New Living Translation. At the place where the road passes some, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. Do we all understand what that means? Saul was sitting on a different kind of throne at this moment.

And so he's going to the bathroom, as we would say. And it so happened that David and his men were hiding further back in the very cave. Now's your opportunity, David's men whispered to him. Today the Lord is telling you, I will certainly put your enemy into your power to do as you please. So David crept forward and cut a piece of the hem of Saul's robe. Verse five, but when David's conscience began bothering him because he cut Saul's robe, he said to the men, the Lord forbid that I should do this to my Lord the King. I shouldn't attack the Lord's anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him. So David restrained his men and did not let them kill King Saul. Wow, isn't that an interesting twist in the story?

Here's a test. Okay David, here's your moment. You can slit his throat.

You can put an end to this. Saul has been pursuing David for years, years, day in, day out, trying to take his life, throwing javelins at him, pursuing him with armies. David could have ended it. Is David going to be merciful?

Or is David gonna be an angry and bitter man like King Saul? And this reminds us of the devil who pursues us constantly. He doesn't let up. Wouldn't it be nice if Satan took a day off, just one day? Hey devil, could you take Mondays off?

Just don't bother me. Guess what, you'd still get yourself into trouble, even if the devil wasn't hassling you. But having said that, the devil never takes a day off.

He doesn't take an hour off. He's always seeking his prey. The Bible describes him as a roaring lion walking about, seeking whom he may devour. In the book of Job, we have an interesting story. The angels of God appear before the Lord.

And Lucifer was among them. Now we think, well, what's the devil doing in heaven? The devil is not what you think he is. First of all, he doesn't have red skin. He doesn't have pointed ears. He doesn't have horns. He doesn't have a goatee. Why do they always give him a goatee? He doesn't have a pointed tail, and he doesn't walk on hooves.

That's some caricature someone came up with. But the reality is the devil is a beautiful angel. Lucifer is how he was known in heaven, but he rebelled against God. Isaiah 14 tells us Satan wanted the number one spot.

He wanted to be God. So he lost that high-ranking position in heaven, and he took one-third of the angels with him. Now Satan, also known as the devil, is a fallen angel, and those angels that went with them are called demons.

That's where they came from. So the bad news is one-third of the angels rebelled against God. The good news is two-thirds of the angels are still on our team.

Okay, so we got the majority there, and we have the Lord himself, which is the most important thing of all. But up in heaven, the angels are appearing. Lord says to Satan, so what have you been up to? And here's what the devil says in response.

He says, well, I've just been patrolling the earth, watching everything that's going on. You might be surprised to know that the devil believes the Bible is true. He hates it, he's opposed to everything it says, but he believes the Bible is true, because the Bible says even the demons believe and tremble. And Satan believes what the Bible says about his ultimate judgment, because Revelation 12, 12 says of Satan, he has come down to us with great wrath, knowing this time is short. Whereas another translation puts it, the devil's come down to you with both feet. He has had a great fall, he's wild and raging with anger, and he hasn't much time, and he knows it.

Doesn't that explain things? Why is he so angry? Why is he agitated? Why is he pursuing us? Because he knows his days are numbered. That's King Saul.

He can't let it go. David could have said, hey, you know, I'm just tired of this. I'll give God a little assistance. I'm sure the men were rooting him on, come on, David, kill this guy.

It's time to get her done, right? Do it, David, I can't, David's eye can't do it. He's the Lord's anointed, God put him in that position.

Okay, here's point number one if you're taking notes. We need to do God's will the right way at the right time. We need to do God's will the right way at the right time.

That's very important. Listen, God will accomplish his will in his time. The Bible says he makes all things beautiful in his time.

Ah, but it's hard. We get impatient with God, don't we? Lord, when is my husband gonna come to you?

When is he going to believe? I'm gonna help you out, Lord. I have a plan to nag him into heaven. That plan is not going to work.

It may drive him further away. Oh, my prodigal child, Lord, they need to return to you. I'm gonna pursue them and make it so hard for them and you actually drive your child away from the faith. Or maybe you're single, Lord, I'm single. I wanna get married, I'm tired of waiting.

I'm 18 years old and come on. I'm tired of waiting for some Christian guy to ask me out or a Christian girl. I'm gonna go find a non-believer and lead him to you. Oh, boy, famous last words. You need to do God's will in God's time in God's way. And here's what was happening with David. Saul was still technically king.

He was a bad king, but he was in that position of authority. David said, I'm not gonna kill him. God put him there, I'm not taking him out. If God wants to take him out, he can, but I'm not gonna be the one to do it. This is why he is called a man after God's own heart. Look at verse five. His conscience began bothering him after he cut Saul's robe.

Really? But that shows a tender heart. Listen, if you have a tender and sensitive conscience, thank God for that and don't temper with it. Point number two, we should not take vengeance on people even if they deserve it. We should not take vengeance on people even if they deserve it.

David chooses to forgive Saul and not take vengeance. That's God's job. Now I told you to turn to Romans 12, right? Look at Romans 12, verse 14.

And Paul says, bless those that persecute you. Don't curse them. Pray that God will bless them. Never pay back evil with more evil.

Do all you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God, for the scriptures say I will take revenge. I'll pay them back, says the Lord. There it is. It's not our job to pay people back. That's God's job.

Why no, that's a tall order. We live in a world of conflict. We have division and discord everywhere.

It's only amplified on social media. We live in a culture that believes in the adage, don't get mad, get even, right? In the society we're living in, the exaltation of vengeance and violence is everywhere you look. And it feels like payback is always the answer, never forgiveness. Bringing me to point number three. Instead of taking vengeance, we should instead forgive.

It's getting really quiet in here. Now it's one thing to not take vengeance. I really wanna hit you back. Okay, I won't hit you back. Now what, I'm supposed to forgive you?

On top of that, yes actually you are. Forgiveness is not just as suggested in scripture. It's commanded.

Ephesians 4, 31 says be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven you. Now look, I don't know about you, but this doesn't come naturally to me. How many of you would describe yourself as somewhat passive, you never get angry at people, and you never wanna hit back when you're hit? Raise your hand. There are people like this. Not many here, but there are some. How many of you are more of the nature of someone hits you, you wanna hit them back? Raise your hand up.

If you're in church, don't lie. I'm one of you. I'm the person, you hit me, I wanna hit you. You insult me, I have a better insult for you, and it's coming right now. So to not fight, don't, someone just clap, yeah. Yeah.

No, that's what we're not supposed to do. I'm not bragging. I'm acknowledging, you see.

It's not a good thing. I don't defend it. It's part of the sinful aspect of who I am. God tells me to forgive. In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus gave us the example. He said, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.

Listen to this. Forgiven people should be forgiving people. Well, Greg, they don't deserve forgiveness, okay?

Point taken. Do you? Well, no, you don't. So God forgave you, right? Should you not then forgive others as well?

I love what C.S. Lewis said about this. He said, quote, everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely thing until they have someone to forgive.

How true. Oh, I love forgiveness. I'm for forgiveness until we're the one that has to extend it to someone who has hurt us. I, like you, have been hurt in life. You know, with my crazy childhood and my mom married and divorced seven times. After about the third dad, I got tired of calling them dad.

My mom would literally bring home a man who was a complete stranger to me and say, Greg, this is your new dad? And after a while, I thought, I'm done with this. And I started getting hardened. And I became an angry young man, getting in trouble in school, very rebellious, because of the life I'd lived. And you know, as I became a Christian, I had to forgive my mom. I had to forgive these others. I had to forgive a lot of people. Oh, but it didn't stop after I became a Christian. I've had people hurt me, like you've had people hurt you.

I've had people slander me, lie about me. But God tells me to forgive. But listen to this, forgiveness is not giving into the person who hurt you, it's getting free from the person.

It's getting free from them. I know it sounds virtuous when I say, I forgave that person, but in a way, it's the only way I can maintain my own sanity. Because I'm not gonna walk around angry at someone that hurt me.

I don't wanna live that way, and I don't think you wanna live that way easier. Listen, forgiveness is not only good for you spiritually, it's good for you physically, and even psychologically. A Time Magazine just did a story, well, they didn't just do it, it's been out for a while, but the cover story was called Should All Be Forgiven.

And I quote from it. Scientists and sociologists have begun to extract forgiveness and the act of forgiving from the confines of the confessional, transforming it into the subject of quantifiable research. It's another way of saying, they're taking it out of the church, and they're saying this is something that we've studied. And the writer of this article went on to say, again I quote, several psychotherapists are testifying there's nothing like forgiveness, for dissipating anger, many marriages, and banishing depression.

Isn't that interesting? They're not saying do it because the Bible says you should do it. They're not saying do it because Jesus tells you to. They're saying hey, we've studied this, and we've found that when you forgive people, it mends the marriage, and it removes depression, and it makes life better for you in general. Ah, science is catching up with the Bible again. God had it right all along, didn't he? It's good to forgive.

It's good for you physically, spiritually, and it's not an option. Back to our story. So Saul has done his business, he's left the cave, and David's a safe distance from him, and he yells at, hey King Saul, do you notice a little draft in the old robe?

I'm holding a piece of it right here. I could have killed you, but I didn't. Now Saul seems to change his tune. First Samuel 24, verse 16. Saul called back, is that really you, my son, David? And he began to cry, and he said to David, you're a better man than I am, for you've repaid me good for evil. You've been amazingly kind to me today, for the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, and you didn't do it.

Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the Lord reward you for your kindness. You've shown me today, and now I realize you're surely going to be king, and the kingdom of Israel will flourish under your rule.

Mm, looks good, an improvement, right? Eh, not so much. He said these things, but he didn't really mean them, because he returned to his murderous way shortly after this. As they say, the proof is in the pudding.

And I don't even know what that means, because I've eaten pudding, I've never found proof. But I think the idea is if someone really is sorry, they'll change, and if they don't change, are they sorry? The answer is no. The Bible says godly sorrow produces repentance. So if you're really sorry for something, you will change your behavior. Oh sure, Saul cried a few tears. You can do the same chopping an onion, but they weren't tears of repentance, for he continued on in his path. But I love this, because David was not a fool. He didn't go home with Saul. He could've said, okay, Saul, now you know I'm the king, everything's cool, I'll go back with you, we'll have meals together.

David's like, yeah, okay, see ya later. And he kept his distance, why? Because he had a few javelins thrown in his direction from King Saul. He didn't trust him, and he was right to not trust him.

So Saul went back to the palace. He had no intention of abdicating his throne. If he had, he would've given his royal robe and crown to David at that very moment, bringing me to point number four. You can't make deals with the devil.

You can't make deals with the devil. So I have five grandchildren. I have one grandson and four granddaughters. Boys are very different from girls and what they want for Christmas or birthdays. And so I asked my grandson, Christopher, what would you like for Christmas? He said, a snake. And I thought, nothing says the birth of Jesus like a serpent, right? So I bought him a snake, a black king snake, about this long, and he was really enjoying it. Now, I don't know if you know this, but snakes, they like protein. In other words, they like live prey. So he feeds it little baby mice and that's what the snake eats. I'm sorry to tell you that. You can try feeding them kale.

I don't think they're gonna go with it. So the other day, his father, Jonathan, said to Christopher, you know, oh, I forgot to tell you one thing. Okay, let me backtrack. So he has a snake secure in a cage that he can't get out of. And about 10 feet away from the cage is a hamster cage.

Okay, so you already know what's gonna happen, don't you? So the other day, Jonathan says to his son, Christopher, hey buddy, have you checked on a hamster lately? Does he have enough water and food? So Christopher goes and checks in the hamster's cage. He can't find the hamster.

It's looking everywhere. There's a bunch of sawdust so the hamster would hide, you know? He can't find him and he reaches in and pulls out the snake. Somehow, the king snake got out of his cage and crawled into the hamster's cage.

I imagine a conversation took place. The snake said to the hamster, tell me what you're looking for. The hamster said, well, I would like to have a snakeskin coat. Excellent, said the snake, I would like a full stomach. Apparently, the negotiations were successful.

The hamster got his snakeskin coat and the snake got a full stomach. Did you notice I referenced back to the opening story? How many of you got that? Okay, good listeners.

How many of you missed it until they told you? Doesn't matter. We think we've got the devil under control. I've got him in this one little area. He'll never get out of this. No, the devil's really good at getting into little openings in your life.

You give him an inch, he'll take a mile. I've told you this story before but I'm gonna tell you again because it makes a point. Years ago, when I was a little boy, I collected snakes. I loved them so much and I had my mother drive me to the pet store and we bought a snake and we put it in the cage.

It was secure. We got home and we opened the trunk and there was the cage and the snake was gone. The snake was loose in the car.

You've heard of snakes on a plane? This was snakes in a car. My mother said, I'm never driving this car again. But a week later, she had to drive the car and she was sitting at an intersection waiting for the light to turn green.

Suddenly, a cold coil dropped on her ankle. She opened the door, put her foot out, jumped out of the car screaming and there was a police officer there. She said, officer, there's a snake in the car. He walked over to the car and saw that a hose had come loose but she never drove the car again and she gave it to me. So kids, if you wanna get cars, lose snakes.

It worked for me. But that's the way a snake is. That's the way the devil is. Oh, just one little area and then he gets a foothold in your life. Remember, you give him an inch, he'll take a mile and the Bible says don't give the devil a foothold.

He's subtle. You know, I wrote a book called Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus about the spiritual journey of different rock stars and some people who hadn't read the book sort of literally judged the book by its cover saying, Greg, don't you know these people have sold their souls to the devil? I don't even know where that came from. This idea that the devil appears with red skin, pointed ears, goatee, horns, and a pitchfork and he has a contract. Hey, I'll make you a famous rock star. I'll give you all the success in the world if you sign this and they sign their soul away. You can't sign your soul away. Your soul doesn't belong to you. Your soul belongs to God, you see?

So that can't even happen. But you can make a deal with the devil. And by that I mean you live a certain lifestyle.

You live the way he effectively wants you to live and you're under his control. But here's the good news. When Jesus died on the cross and shed his blood for your sins, he broke the control of the devil in your life and from this point on, all deals are off. Isn't that great? Colossians 2.14 says of Christ on the cross, You know, occasionally someone believes in Christ when things are going well in their life.

But generally they don't. It usually takes a wake up call, doesn't it? Everything's working well in your life. You know, the sky is blue, the birds are singing, the lights are green, the cell phone's charged. And then something happens.

You get the call from the doctor. Or you have the financial crisis or you have the family crisis. Or something else takes place that's a wake up call and it causes you to evaluate your life and even to turn to God.

That's a good thing. And most of us came to the Lord when we were in a place just like that. We were distressed and we called out to Jesus and said, Jesus, I've made a mess of my life.

Will you help me? And of course he says yes. That was me when I came to Christ. I'm sure it was many of you as well. Jesus told the story of the prodigal son who went out and wasted all of his money on wild living. And one day the Bible says he came to his senses and he returned to his father. So we come to the Lord when we're distressed. And those who are in debt, oh, we're all in debt spiritually. We owe a debt we could never pay, the debt of sin. That's why the Bible says the wages of sin are death. But as I've said before, Christ came to pay a debt he did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. And finally, those who were discontented. That's many of us as well. You know, sometimes people have to climb to the top to find out there's nothing there. In this book that I wrote, I explored many who had incredible success.

And it was then that they became drug addicts or alcoholics or some of them even took their own lives. And we say, but why? They have everything.

They have everything that I dream of. See, when you think if I get to this place, I know I'll be happy, now that might keep you going. But if you get to that place and go beyond that place and even beyond it more and realize there's nothing there, that's why these people are so empty and so sad and make the horrible choices that they make. Amy Winehouse was an incredible success, very talented young lady. She had global fame and she said, quote, fame is like a terminal cancer. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, end quote. These things are empty, those who were discontented.

And she tragically died of alcohol poisoning. So here now are the people of Israel, they have a choice. What king do you wanna follow? Do you wanna follow the wicked King Saul or the godly King David?

And we have the same choice in our life. What king are you gonna follow? Are you gonna follow Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords? Or are you gonna follow Satan?

I don't like those options. How about if I just follow my own course because I am the captain of my ship. No, you are not. Your ship is sinking, captain.

You're taking on water. News flash, you never were the captain of your own ship. The Bible describes the devil as the god of this world who is in control of the lives of those that do not yet believe. See, it's Christ who sets us free because of the blood he shed on the cross and then in his resurrection. And he's the king we should follow. And one day as we follow this king, he will take us into his kingdom.

Amen. Remember that thief on the cross? We call him a thief. Actually, he was probably a murderer. The Romans didn't crucify thieves, but they did crucify insurrectionists. So this man was guilty of a great crime, whatever it was. But that criminal turned to Jesus and said, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom. And Jesus said, truly, truly, I say unto you, today you'll be with me in paradise.

And that man at the last moment believed and was forgiven of all of his sin. And that can happen for all of us. And this is the moment where we ask ourself the question, have I given the devil a foothold in my life? Is there some sin I have allowed to be a part of my life on a regular basis?

I've sort of built a little place for it and it comes back, you know, gets out of its cage every now and then, yeah. That's not gonna work out well for you. This is the time to acknowledge that. Acknowledge its power over you if it has power over you and ask the Lord to free you from it. But there might be somebody else here that would say, man, there's someone that's hurt me and I'm so angry, I'm so bitter, I wanna get them.

Well, number one, you're not supposed to get them. And even more, you're supposed to forgive them. That's not easy, Greg. Well, I know that, I know. But you should be tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. That's what the Bible says. So it's an act of obedience to forgive, to let it go. I'm not gonna be haunted by this thing anymore. I'm not gonna let this person, what they did to me, to have almost that power over me. I'm gonna forgive and put it behind me. This would be the moment to do that.

Maybe there's some other area. Examine yourself. Make sure you're right with God. But if you don't know Jesus yet, this would be a great moment to pray and ask him to come into your life. Let's pray. Now, Father, I pray for every person here that we will examine ourself, that we will repent of any sin that has gotten a foothold in our life because, Lord, we wanna be free in you.

You've given us this beautiful freedom. But, Lord, if there's someone we need to forgive, if there's someone we need to apologize to, if there's something we need to do, some step we need to take, Lord, help us to take it. Show us what it is, Lord, and help us to take that step of obedience to you. But, Lord, for those that may have joined us who don't know you, let this be the moment they believe. If you are here or watching, wherever you may be, if you're not sure that Jesus Christ is living in your life, if you're not sure that you're a child of God, why don't you just pray this prayer with me? We could all pray it out loud together, actually. Let's all pray this together. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin and I put my faith in you. Be my Savior and Lord, my God and my friend.

In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Hey, everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-14 23:56:42 / 2023-03-15 00:15:02 / 18

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