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Angels and Demons | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
June 4, 2023 3:00 am

Angels and Demons | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 4, 2023 3:00 am

Pastor Greg Laurie gives a message titled “Angels and Demons,” in which he dispels the myths and helps you understand the truth about the spiritual world. Listen in for a practical message!

Notes

People do not become angels; angels are angels!

The Bible is full of stories of those who were miraculously spoken to, comforted, and delivered by angels; and sometimes angels speak to us, and we don’t even know it!

1. Angels sometimes deliver us from difficult situations.

Angels played a major role in getting Peter out of prison again in Acts 12.

2. Sometimes angels stop us, and other times, they prompt us.

Perhaps, we have headed for destruction and God changed our course.

We may not always be aware of the presence of angels or predict how and when they will appear, but the Bible says they are there.

It is entirely possible that you have even personally met an angel!

If an angel were to appear to us right now, we would be tempted to worship it.

As hard as it is to fathom, not all of the angels follow the Lord, due to a rebellion.

3. Before we talk about demons, let’s say a few words about their leader, the devil.

The devil came from Heaven.

This angelic rebellion was led by Satan himself.

Lucifer was not satisfied with worshiping God. He himself wanted to be worshiped.

Though the devil lost this once exalted position, he still has access to Heaven.

The Bible describes Satan as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

4. The devil is not alone. He has a well-organized network of demon powers doing his bidding.

We read numerous passages that refer to Satan and his minions.

5. The purpose of demons seems to be two-fold: They seek to hinder the purposes of

God and to extend the power of Satan.

6. The devil knows his days are numbered.

This is more than a political or ideological conflict; it’s a spiritual battle.

Satan knows we are in the last days, and he is upping his game; we, as Christians, must do the same.

Our offensive weapons are prayer and the proclamation of the gospel.

The grammatical construction of this phrase, in the Greek, indicates Satan starts this.

Why pick a fight with an angel more powerful than you?

Answer: Sin makes you stupid!

7. The devil does not want you to know that he attacks with accusation.

“A good general must penetrate the brain of his enemy.”—Victor Hugo

There is no sin in a temptation, only in giving into it.

It’s not the bait that constitutes sin; it’s the bite.

Before we sin, while Satan is tempting us, he whispers: “You can get away with this.”

After we sin, he shouts: “You will never get away with this!”

8. They overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb.

My access to God is the result of what Jesus has done for me.

At the Cross of Calvary, Jesus dealt the decisive blow against Satan and his forces.

It is through the blood of the Lamb I can even approach God and find the help I need.

You will never overcome the devil as long as there is unconfessed sin in your heart.

9. They overcame by the word of their testimony.

10 They did not love their lives to the death.

Jesus said, “There is joy in Heaven in the presence of the angels when one sinner repents.”

The devil says, “tomorrow,” while the Holy Spirit says, “Today is the day of salvation.”

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Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.

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

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A New Beginning
Greg Laurie

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. And today we're going to look at Revelation chapter 12. So grab your Bible and turn there with me, if you would.

Revelation 12. And the title of my message is Angels and Demons. You know, right now, at this moment, all around us, there is a supernatural world. A very real world.

It's as real as the physical world. It's the world of God and Satan. It's the world of angels and demons. In fact, there's a story in the Bible about the prophet, Elisha, with his servant, Gehazi. And the enemy armies were closing in on them, and Gehazi was getting really frightened, and he said to Elijah, Master, wake up.

What are we going to do? And Elisha, excuse me, Elisha, not Elijah, and Elisha, wiping the sleep from his eyes, said this prayer, Lord, open his eyes. And then he said, because those that are with us are more than those that are with them.

And then that servant had his spiritual eyes open, and he saw the mountain full of horses with chariots of fire all around Elisha. What happened was, that man had his eyes open to the supernatural world. If we could see this invisible world right now, frankly, it might just freak us out a little bit.

But it's there. And I'm praying that God will open our eyes to understand how this unseen world interfaces with the world that we are all living in right now. How angels are at work in our lives, and what the agenda of demons are in our lives as well. How many angels are there?

Well, I think you can't really count them. The Bible says there's thousands and thousands of them. Most angels are holy. Some angels are fallen.

You find them in the Old and New Testament alike. They're mentioned directly or indirectly in the Bible 300 times. Now, there's a lot of misconceptions about angels.

We don't understand what their role actually is. Sometimes you hear of people talking to angels or praying to angels, and this is never encouraged in Scripture. Angels sort of work behind the scenes. You might call them God's secret agents. Angels are like Navy Seals, you know.

We don't know a lot of what the Navy Seals do. We just know they go out there and they take care of business without a lot of fanfare. Angels are the same.

They're doing the work of God behind the scenes. We frankly don't know how many times an angel may have stopped us, gotten us out of a tight situation, protected us from harm, maybe even spoken directly to us. I was speaking with my granddaughters a while ago, and they asked me the question, Papa, what do angels look like? I said, well, girls, angels appear in the Bible as men, and they were very upset by this.

They said, Papa, that's not fair. It's funny because we tend to think of angels as feminine. A lot of times in art, you see angels as women, when in reality, every time an angel appears in the Bible, they appear as a man in masculine form.

So it's quite different than people often think. In fact, we read over in Luke 24, for after Jesus rose, two men enclosed that shone like lightning stood beside them. So angels are created beings made by God. I bring this up because sometimes when people die, we'll say, well, they've become an angel now, or God needed another angel in heaven. No, people don't become angels. Angels are angels created by God. In fact, it appears that they're eternal, and they never die. Speaking of those who've gone into heaven, Jesus said in Luke 20, neither can they die anymore, for they're equal to the angels.

So that's interesting. Now, they have a special work that they do specifically in the life of the Christian. The Bible says of angels that their ministering spirits serve those that are heirs of salvation. And the Bible is just full of stories of where angels got involved in the lives of people. Now, I'm going to give you seven takeaway truths about angels and demons.

So if you're taking notes, here's point number one. Sometimes angels deliver us from difficult situations. Sometimes angels deliver us from difficult situations. In Acts chapter five, we read of angels busting the apostles out of jail, saying, go tell the people all about this new life. Then later on in the book of Acts, in Acts chapter 12, Herod was in control, and he had James executed, and he put Peter in prison, and the church began to pray for God to deliver Peter, and the Lord dispatched an angel to get him out. And what's interesting is Peter was so deep in his sleep, the angel had to whack him to wake him up.

I find that a humorous story. And then as Peter finally realized what's happening, the doors open up automatically in the prison, and he walks out free because God delivered him through angels. Probably one of the best-known angelic stories is found in the book of Daniel when Daniel was thrown into the lion's den because he would not obey the decree of King Darius to not pray. A law was passed that no one could pray, but Daniel disobeyed the law, and because of this, he was sent to a den of lions, but the Bible tells us God sent his angel to protect Daniel. And it's a good reminder that if government ever passes a law that contradicts God's law, we go with what the Bible says, not with what government says, right? In the book of Acts, we had government authorities telling the apostles to no longer preach. They said, stop, you're forbidden.

And after that, the apostles preached like never before, saying we must obey God and not man. Also, we know, number two, angels stop us, and other times they prompt us. In the book of Acts, there's a story of the Lord prompting Philip, simply saying, go to the desert. The angel did not give a detailed blueprint to Philip.

He did not tell him what was going to happen next. Of course, you remember this story. There was a man visiting from Ethiopia, a foreign dignitary that was seeking God, and the Lord directed Philip to engage him, but the angel told him to go. So there may have been times where an angel has actually said something to you, and you didn't even know it was an angel.

You thought it was your own thoughts. But it may have been one of these mysterious messengers doing God's work in your life. One of the most well-known stories of angels is in the story of Balaam and his donkey. And this, by the way, is one of my favorite stories in the Bible, because you recall Balaam was sort of a prophet for hire. In fact, you could spell his description a prophet, P-R-O-F-I-T. He was a prophet for profit. And so the enemies of Israel came to him and hired him to curse the Jewish people.

And he agreed to do this. And as he was on his way to do what God did not want him to do, the Lord intervened, and actually, as he was riding his donkey, the donkey suddenly stopped. And then Balaam was beating his donkey, trying to get it to move forward, and the donkey then rubbed up against the wall, crushing the leg of Balaam. And then he kept beating him, and finally the donkey just collapsed. And then the Bible tells us that the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey.

This is why it's such a funny story. And the donkey actually says, why are you beating me? Haven't I been a good donkey?

Now that's amazing, but what's more amazing is without missing a beat, Balaam said in response, because you're not doing what I told you to do. And then suddenly an angel of the Lord appears with his sword drawn, and Balaam suddenly realizes that this was God trying to stop him from doing the wrong thing. And the angel rebuked him for beating his donkey.

That donkey had more sense than the prophet had. So you may not be aware of the presence of angels, but they're doing the work of God all the time. And that's why we're told in Hebrews 13 to don't forget to entertain strangers, for in doing so some have entertained angels without knowing it. So you may have met an angel. You may be sitting next to an angel. An angel can take on bodily form. So look around.

I don't know. I don't think you'll see any feathers or angel food cake crumbs as little reminders, but they're around us doing the work of God. If an angel were to appear to us right now, we would be tempted to worship it because he would be so glorious, so amazing, so incredible. In fact, that actually happened to the apostle John. He saw an angel and fell down and began to worship it. In Revelation 22, 8, the angel said, Do not worship me, worship God. Now sometimes the question is asked, Do we have guardian angels? And I think the answer is maybe. I think some of us have maybe worn out a few guardian angels.

I don't know. I think it's entirely possible that children have guardian angels because in Matthew 18, 10, Jesus says, Don't look down on one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. That's interesting, their angels in heaven, not just the angels in heaven.

So that implies that maybe they have personalized angels that are assigned to watch over the little ones. But then there's an interesting story going back to Acts 12. After Peter was released from prison, he showed up at the door of a home where Christians were praying no doubt for his deliverance. A lady named Rhoda answered the door and there stands before her an answer to her prayer and it's Peter and she shuts the door in his face. And then goes back and tells the apostles who are probably praying for his deliverance at that very moment that Peter's standing at the front door and one of them says, Well, it's just his angel.

Which I find weird. Okay, so does that imply Peter had a guardian angel number one and number two? If I had an angel standing at my front door knocking, I would probably let him in, wouldn't you?

And then they finally realized that it was Peter and God had answered their prayers. Okay, so the title of this message is Angels and Demons. Now let's shift gears and talk about demons. Where in the heck did demons come from and why do they even exist? Simple answer, demons are fallen angels. The Bible tells the story of Lucifer who was once a high ranking angel later to become known as Satan and the devil leading a rebellion against God and one third of the angels went with him. So one third of the angels which number in the thousands are now what we would call fallen angels or demons doing the bidding of Lucifer. The bad news is one third defected. The good news is two thirds are still on our side.

So that's good to know, right? But where did the devil come from? Well, as I said, he was once this high ranking beautiful angel. Some think he might have even been an archangel. There's only three angels named in the Bible.

They're Gabriel, they're Michael and Lucifer which means the son of the morning. But according to Isaiah 14, Satan became lifted up with pride. He effectively wanted the top job. He wanted to be as God.

So the Lord rejected him from that position. He wants hell. We think the devil comes from hell. The reality is the devil comes from heaven.

But he rebelled against God and ultimately he is headed to hell. Sometimes we sort of envision the devil ruling from some throne in hell and that's not true at all. He's not there yet, but he's headed there because Jesus said hell was prepared for the devil and his angels. And so here is the devil now with this well organized network of demonic powers.

His minions, not those kinds of minions, that do his bidding and do his work. Back in the book of Job, there's a story of the angels appearing before the Lord and Satan appearing with them. And the Lord sees Lucifer and says, well where have you been? And Lucifer says, well I've been going back and forth across the earth watching everything that's going on. And the Bible describes Satan as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.

Think of a lion that's hungry and is ready to pounce on its prey. He never takes suffocation. He never takes a day off.

He never takes an hour off. If he is beaten, he rises again. If he can't get in the front door, he'll come in the back door.

And if that doesn't work, he'll come through the roof or climb up through the floor as an uninvited guest. On our little anniversary trip that we just took, we went to Italy, which was very nice. Italian food is so good, especially in Italy. And so we were going to this hotel and someone was driving us there. And they somehow got confused and took us to the wrong property. And so they pull up to this place and I get out of the car and the front door is open and I walk in and I thought, wow, this looks a lot like someone's house. And I said, hello. And some Italian guy comes out and he says, what are you doing? This is my house. I said, oh sorry, sorry.

Arrivederci Roma and I'm trying to get out of there. You know, I had walked into his house uninvited and fortunately he was a nice guy but it all ended out pretty well. But the point is is that I wasn't invited into his home but I went in anyway and this is what the devil's looking for. He's looking for a foothold, a way to get into our life and he doesn't give up.

He's looking for someone who's vulnerable. I watched a video the other day of some antelopes in Africa that were fighting and they were so busy fighting with each other that he did not see the lion and the tall grass creeping up in their direction and suddenly he burst out of the grass and grabbed one of them and had antelope for lunch. And that reminds me a little bit of us. Sometimes we're so busy fighting with each other we forget who the real enemy is and it's the devil.

And one of the ways he attacks, one of the ways he attacks is through division. Yes, Satan can be like a lion but he can also be like a hippo. Now hippos are such interesting creatures.

They almost look cartoony, don't they? I don't know if you've ever seen a hippo in real life but when I was a kid my only reference for hippos was the jungle cruise at Disneyland, right? And their little ears would turn and they'd come out of the water and the guy would shoot him with his fake gun. But I was in Africa a number of years ago and I actually saw hippos in the wild and I was shocked to discover that hippos kill more people in Africa than any other animal. They're actually pretty fast on land.

They can move quicker than you would think. And I read this story of a man in South Africa who actually had a hippo as a pet. He adopted it when it was a five month old calf and he named it Humphrey. Humphrey the hippo. So they did a little news article on him and he was talking about how wonderful Humphrey was as a pet. He said, he's like a son to me. He's just like a human. He said, people think you can only have relationships with dogs or cats or domestic animals but I have a relationship with the most dangerous animal in Africa. Famous last words. I think you can probably imagine how that story turned out.

Humphrey got a little bit bigger and turned on his owner and killed him. So it's a reminder, don't have hippos as pets. Number one. And don't make deals with the devil. Here's point number four, the devil is not alone. He has this well organized network of demon powers doing his bidding to accomplish his purpose, purposes. We read numerous passages about Satan and the demons. Matthew 12, 24, Jesus speaks of Beelzebub, another name for the devil and his demons. Then in Matthew 25, 41, Jesus mentions the devil and his angels. Revelation 12, seven, the dragon and his angels. A dragon's another word to describe Satan.

And finally, hell of course is the future dwelling place for the devil and his angels. The objective of demons seems to be too full. They want to hinder the purpose of God and extend the power of Satan.

Let me say that again. They want to hinder the purpose of God and extend the power of Satan. So any efforts that you or we as a church or as believers make to permeate culture with the gospel will be opposed by the devil. That's why as we get ready to do another crusade, we need to really be praying because the devil hates evangelism.

And he hates it when we try to take ground. So he wants to stop the purposes of God but then he also wants to extend his own power. What are the tactics of the devil? Well let's read about it now, Revelation chapter 12.

Turn there with me if you would. Revelation 12, I'm gonna read verses seven to 12. And war broke out in heaven. Michael, that would be Michael the archangel, and his angels fought with the dragon and the dragon and his angels fought but they did not prevail nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. The great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old called the devil. And Satan who deceives the whole world was cast to the earth and his angels are cast out with him. Verse 10, then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, now salvation and strength in the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ have come for the accuser of the brethren, underline that statement, the accuser of the brethren who accused them before our God day and night has been cast down.

And don't miss this, they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, oh heavens, and you that dwell in them and the inhabitants of the earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you having great wrath and he knows he has a short time. Now in these verses we learn a lot about our adversary the devil.

Here's another point. The devil knows his days are numbered. The devil knows his days are numbered. He knows that time is short. He knows that he's going to ultimately be defeated.

He's read the Bible too. And we see so many demonic things happening in our culture right now. I think you have to acknowledge the demonic factor that people don't talk about when you have these mass shootings. These horrible events like this. A young woman that went into a school in Tennessee and shot adults and children that are there to learn about Jesus.

I hear a story about like that and I think that's demonic. When I look at what's happening to our young people today, the drug epidemic that is just out of control. You have people on streets of major cities in America that look like they're zombies. It's like a zombie apocalypse.

The rise of fentanyl, the depression, and suicidal ideation of young people today. I think the only explanation for this kind of activity is this is devilish. The devil knows his time is short. He knows it's the last days. We know it's the last days. And we're looking forward to the return of Christ but he knows it's the last days. His last days.

And his judgment is going to come and he wants to wreak as much havoc as he can in the interim. There's an interesting verse here that I want to read again. Revelation 12, 12 from another translation. It's modern and it gives a little light on it. It says the devil's come down on you with both feet. He's had a great fall. He's wild and raging with anger.

He doesn't have much time and he knows it. I mean you look at what's happening right now in our culture. You see these, the trans movement promoting these products to our children in stores.

And these stores, many of them have lost billions of dollars because of this. And you have messaging on shirts for little children with statements like too queer for here and Satan respects pronouns. In fact I read an interview with the designer of many of these shirts who is an open Satanist and he admits it. And he says this and I quote, for me this is this man speaking, Satan is hope, compassion, equality, and love. So naturally Satan respects pronouns.

He loves all LGBT plus people. So he misunderstands who Satan is. Satan doesn't love anyone. Satan hates everyone. Satan is out to destroy. Jesus said of Satan in John 10, 10, the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. But then he said in contrast, I have come that you might have life and that more abundantly.

So the devil knows it's the last days. He's upping his game. And folks, it's time for us to up our game too.

Okay? I think these boycotts have played an important role and sent a strong message to these companies that we don't like this. So that's good defense. But the best defense is a good offense, right?

So there's a place for standing up, speaking out, and saying no more of this. But then there's a place for offense and the most powerful offensive weapons we have in our arsenal are prayer and the proclamation of the gospel. We gotta focus on that. Satan does not love people in the gay community or in the trans community, but I'll tell you who does love him. God loves him. He loves him. He loves him. He loves him. He loves him. He loves him.

And he wants to change them. I think one of the reasons this movie Jesus Revolution is so resonated and we're still just thanking God for the impact that it's having everywhere. People are all the time telling me I saw it in an airline, you know. And it's still the number one selling DVD on Amazon beating all other DVDs. I'm amazed that people still buy DVDs, frankly. But it's great though because it's a message of love and it's a message that talks about what God did in the last great spiritual awakening and how people regardless of the way they looked on the outside or were behaving were loved by God and they came to Christ and their lives were changed. Listen, here's the best thing that we can do is give the gospel to people. Share Jesus with people because when lives change, culture changes. And so as people come to faith and their worldview changes, I know it happened for me.

I know it happened for you as well. Then it affects our nation as a whole because the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. But here's what we need to remember. We win in the end and Satan loses and he knows it. So here in Revelation 12, God tells Michael the archangel to take out the trash. Satan is dumped.

Look at Revelation 12, seven. War broke out in heaven. Michael and the angels fought with the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought. They did not prevail. There was a place found for them in heaven any longer for the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old called the devil.

Isn't that interesting? The grammatical construction of this phrase in the Greek indicates Satan started this fight. Now look, sometimes we think Satan is the equal of God.

Not true. God is omnipotent. We've already talked about that. All powerful. Satan has limited power. God has omniscient. He knows all things. Satan has limited knowledge. God is omnipresent. He can be everywhere at the same time. Satan can only be in one place at one time. Not only is the devil not the equal of God, the devil isn't even the equal of Michael the archangel. Michael trumps him. So the Lord just dispatches Michael and says, take out the trash, Michael. And he does it. And he kicks Satan to the curb. But what's so weird about this is it can be translated, Michael and his angels had to fight the dragon. The devil picked a fight that he could not win. Why?

Simple answer. Sin makes you stupid. And so they're defeated. Now let's, in closing, talk about how we can overcome the devil. And this is point number seven. The devil does not want you to know what I'm about to tell you. So wake up.

Pay attention. The devil does not want you to know that one of his primary ways of defeating Christians is through accusation. Accusation.

He's called the accuser of the brethren. We already read that together. Paul wrote, we're not ignorant of the devices of the devil in 2 Corinthians 2.11. Victor Hugo, the author of the well-known book, Les Miserables, made this statement. And I quote, a good general must penetrate the brain of his enemy, end quote. So it's good for us to understand the tactics of our adversary, the devil. He attacks us through accusation. Verse 10 of Revelation 12. The accuser of the brothers, brethren, who accused them before our good day and night has been cast out.

So here's how it works. Satan tempts you. By the way, it's not a sin to be tempted.

Did you know that? Because sometimes you're just minding your own business. Maybe you're sitting in church. Maybe you're reading your Bible. Maybe you're singing a praise song. Maybe you're praying. All of a sudden this wicked, twisted, impure thought comes into your mind and then the devil comes and says, how could you think something like that?

You haven't done anything wrong. You see, it's only if you take that wicked, impure thought, whatever it may be, and bring it inside again. It's been said you can't stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair.

Now in my case, he better bring his own materials because there's not much to work with. So I can't stop that impure thought from knocking on the door of my imagination. That thought of anger. That thought of jealousy. That thought of lust. That thought of whatever that thought is.

I can't stop that thought from coming, but I can say I recognize where this comes from and I say get behind me, Satan. I heard a story. I heard a story about a woman that said to her husband, I'm gonna go down to the mall and shop. He says, no you aren't, because every time you go, you spend way too much money. She says, no, I won't buy anything.

I'll just browse. She says, okay, promise you won't buy anything. She says, I won't. So she's walking around at the mall and she comes home with a brand new dress. She says, I asked you not to buy anything.

We can't afford it. She goes, but I have to tell you what happened. He says, what happened? She says, well, I went into the store and I saw this beautiful dress and so I tried it on and while I was trying it on, Satan himself appeared. He says he did.

What did he say? He said, that dress looks good on you. And he says, you should have said get behind me, Satan. She said, I did. I said, get behind me, Satan. And then the devil said, looks good from the back, too.

Dumb joke. But that's what we say. I recognize where this is coming from. Get behind me, Satan.

Go away from me. It's not the bait that constitutes sin. It's the bite. So here's how the devil works. He whispers in your ear, go ahead and do it. No one will ever know.

I won't tell anyone if you won't. So you take the bite. You take the bait. You do the wrong thing and then he comes and he condemns you, the accuser of the brethren. So that's what he does.

No, that's his tactic. He tempts you and he condemns you for giving in to his temptation. Bringing me to my next point, point number eight.

They overcame him by the blood of the lamb. So here's what happens. I get tempted. I give in to the temptation. The devil condemns me. He says, don't even show your ugly face in church on Sunday. Don't even think about reading your Bible.

That would be hypocritical to read your Bible after you just had that thought or after you just did that thing. Don't even consider praying. No, he's a liar and he's the father of lies and I overcome him by the blood of the lamb.

Right? The devil says, you're not worthy to approach God. My answer is, you're right, I'm not worthy.

Never was worthy, never will be worthy. But I don't approach God through my worthiness. I approach him through the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for me and he hates that message and he doesn't want you to know it. You know, very easily as Christians, we can get into this sort of work self-righteousness trip. We think we do certain things, therefore we've earned the approval of God.

No, I have God's approval, as do you. The Bible says I've been made accepted in the beloved. That's not based on what I've done, it's based on what he did at the cross. And when he said that single word, tetelestai, translated it is finished, it meant that I no longer have to be under the power of sin. So you overcome him by the blood of the lamb. Hebrews 10, 19 says, dear friends, enter boldly into heaven's most holy place through the blood of Jesus. This is the new life giving way that Christ has opened up for us through this sacred curtain by means of his death for us. It's through the blood of the lamb I can approach God. Ephesians 2, 23 says, you who are sometimes far off have been made near by the blood of Jesus. First John tells us if we walk in the light, if he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.

They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and that's how you will overcome him as well, right? Remember that. So maybe as you're hearing this message, you're thinking I've done this thing I should not have done. I said something I should have never said. I've given in to this temptation.

What about me? You go to Jesus and say, Lord, I call that what it is, a sin. I'm sorry for that sin. I repent of that sin and I ask you to forgive me of that sin. See, if you live with unconfessed sin, this will bring your prayer life to a screeching halt. The Bible says, the psalm is speaking, if I regard iniquity in my heart, which means to hold on to or to cling to, the Lord will not hear me. So I need to acknowledge my sin.

I need to ask God to forgive me of my sin but once I've done that, I need to accept the forgiveness of God. They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony. The word of their testimony. When a believer is walking with God, they will want to tell others and that is why evangelism and telling our personal story is so important because listen, as I was saying earlier, our objective as Christians is not just to hold ground.

It's to gain ground. It's to advance spiritually. Think about the spiritual armor that we're told to wear as Christians described for us in Ephesians chapter six. We have the helmet of salvation protecting our mind. We have the breastplate of righteousness. We have the shield of faith but it's interesting because it says we have our feet shod with a preparation of the gospel of peace. That's King James which means your footwear, your boots or sandals with cleats in them worn by the Roman soldier would be used to gain ground, to move forward, to march forward. What is that? The gospel and what is the one offensive weapon we have in our arsenal?

It's a sword of the spirit which is the word of God. When you... That was a little tepid but I'll let you go anyway. I'm just kidding. Oh, much better. There you go.

Much better. It's the word of God. You don't fight your enemy with your shield. You don't try to beat him to death with your helmet or your shoe. You use your sword.

That's what a sword is for. The word of God, there's power in the word of God and they overcame him by their testimony. This is why sharing the gospel is so much a part of our DNA here at Harvest and I think should be a part of the DNA of every church, quite frankly.

But this is why we're always talking about reaching our culture in new ways. This is why we do evangelistic crusades. This is why almost every time I or anybody else in this pulpit gives a message, it ends with an invitation for people to come to Christ because we know that we actually gain ground through the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony and just let me say this. You have a testimony.

Your testimony is simply your story of what Christ has done for you and one of the best ways to start an evangelistic conversation is start by telling your story. You know, they can argue with your facts or your theological statements all day long but they can't argue with your story. You're an expert on you and what is your story? What is my story?

What is our story? It's all the same. It's effectively the same testimony that that man who was healed of blindness had.

He said, look, all I can tell you is this. Once I was blind but now I see. Maybe we had different sins we were trapped by but whatever they were, the answer was the same. Christ changed us.

Start by telling your story. You overcome the devil by the blood of the lamb, by the word of your testimony and finally, they did not love their lives until the death. This means that they knew that their lives belong to God. The Bible says in Psalm 31 15, our times are in his hands. God is in control. Stop worrying about how long you will live. It's up to God.

Stop being obsessed with it and some are. Instead, focus your energy on this. Live a life that honors and glorifies God, right? So if this is your last day, glorify him with this day.

If he gives you 10 more days or 10 more years or decades more, whatever that is, that's in the hands of the Lord. We want to be sure that we live our lives well and we want to be sure that we finish our lives well and hear the Lord say to us in that final day, well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.

C.S. Lewis wrote a book called The Screwtape Letters and it's sort of Lewis's attempt to try to get into the mind of the devil and the demons and their strategies. He was a very creative writer and here's what he wrote in The Screwtape Letters and I quote, there's a legend about Satan and his imps, meaning his demons, planning the strategy for attacking the world that's hearing the message of salvation. One of the demons says to the devil, I've got the plan, master. When I get on earth and take charge of people's thinking, I'll tell them there's no heaven. The devil responds, I'll never believe that. The book of truth is full of messages and the hope of heaven through sins forgiven. They won't believe that.

They know there's a glory still in the future. On the other side of the room, another demon says, I've got the plan. I'll tell them there's no hell, no good. The devil says, Jesus, while he was on earth, talked more of hell than he did of heaven.

They'll know in their hearts that is wrong. And then finally, Lewis writes, one brilliant little imp stood up in the back and said, I know the answer. I'll tell them there's no hurry. C.S. Lewis concludes, and that's the one Satan chose.

Interesting. There's no hurry. And that's what the devil says to people. There's no hurry, man. Come on, live your life. Have fun.

Sow your wild oats. Do what you wanna do with whoever you wanna do it with. Enjoy every pleasure this world offers. But the Holy Spirit says to us to come to Christ now. Remember, as I said earlier, Satan hates you and he wants to destroy you, but Jesus loves you and he wants to save you. The devil says tomorrow, but the Holy Spirit says today is the day of salvation.

Right? So I said earlier, I always wrap up my message with an opportunity for people to come to Christ and I'll do that again right now. Maybe you've joined us and most of you have. And you're saying I don't have a relationship with God. Maybe you're saying I don't have a relationship with God. In fact, all this talk about demons has kind of freaked me out a little bit.

And let me just be very blunt with you. You have no way to defend yourself against demon powers. They're real.

They're strong. You say, well, you know, I'll just pull out some holy water. There is no such thing as holy water. Well, I'll just wear garlic around my neck. Well, that'll keep your friends away, but it won't keep the devil away. I'll pull out a crucifix. Satan could care less about a crucifix.

See, here's the point. The only defense against Satan is Christ living in your life. Then you don't have to be afraid of him. Because the Bible says greater is he that is in us, speaking of Jesus, than he that is in the world, speaking of the devil. When Christ comes and lives inside of you, the devil cannot come into your life.

But let me say something else. If you're not a Christian, you can be demon possessed. Yes, demon possession is real. Satan can infiltrate and take control of the life of a non-believer. He cannot come into the life of a Christian. But he can come into the life of a non-Christian. But if you have Christ living in you, you don't have to be afraid anymore.

And I ask you, do you have Jesus living in you? He's ready to forgive you of all of your sin, no matter what you've done. You can have a fresh start. You can have a new beginning.

Imagine it for a moment. But you must say to God, I know I'm a sinner. And I believe that Jesus died on the cross for you. You say, what do you mean I know I'm a sinner? Every one of us have sinned. Sin is breaking the commandments of God, and it's falling short of his standards as well. So granted, some people may sin more than others, but every one of us have sinned in some way, shape, or form more times than you can count.

And the Bible says if you offend in one point of the law, you're guilty of all of it. So every one of us have sinned. But the good news is, why we were yet sinners, the Bible says, Christ died for us.

Jesus said, for God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, and whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Satan hates you. God loves you. Satan wants to destroy you. God wants to restore you. Satan wants you to go to hell with him. God wants you to go to heaven for all eternity. It's your choice.

You decide in this life where you will spend the afterlife. If you've never asked Jesus Christ to come into your life and forgive you of your sin, you can do it right here, right now, as we close in prayer. Let's all bow our heads and pray, Father, I pray that your Holy Spirit will speak to every person that is here.

Every person that is watching, whatever campus they're at, Lord, if they're watching online as well, help them to respond now. And while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed, maybe there's somebody here that would say, I need Jesus Christ right now. I need his forgiveness. I don't have this confidence that I'll go to heaven one day. I'm not sure that my sin is forgiven. Pray for me. I want Jesus to come into my life and forgive me of my sin. If you want Christ to forgive you, if you want to know that when you die, you will go to heaven, if you want to find the meaning and purpose of life, if you want a fresh start in life, would you just lift your hand up wherever you are and I'd love to pray for you. Lift your hand up saying I need Jesus today and I'll pray for you. God bless you.

Lift your hand up high where I can see it. Let me pray for you today. God bless you.

Anybody else? God bless you. God bless you. God bless you. God bless you. All of you that have raised your hand, God bless you all.

Now I can't see all of you. Some of you are watching on the screen, but God sees your hand. Here's what I'm gonna ask you to do. Every one of you that just raised your hand, I want you to pray this prayer with me right now. In fact, I want you to pray it out loud.

Right where you're sitting, pray this prayer out loud after me. Just pray these words, Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead. I'm sorry for my sin.

I repent and turn from my sin. I ask you to come into my life as my Savior and Lord, as my God and friend from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. God bless you. God bless all of you that prayed that prayer. 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 / 2023-06-05 05:28:15 / 2023-06-05 05:46:48 / 19

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