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The Doctrine of the Devil - 33

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
July 25, 2022 2:00 am

The Doctrine of the Devil - 33

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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July 25, 2022 2:00 am

Pastor Mike Karns continues his expositional series in Revelation.

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I've been preaching for a good while, not only here but other places, but I have never brought a sermon on the doctrine of the devil. I wonder how many of you have heard a sermon that has been exclusively given to revealing the doctrine of the devil and what the Bible has to say in a portion of scripture, but that's what we want to do tonight because we're continuing our study through the book of the Revelation, and we looked at verses one through six, primarily last Sunday night, and looked at a few verses further into the chapter. Tonight we want to revisit the warfare that we looked at last Sunday night that was confined to heaven, where the devil sought to kill the male child, which was the Lord Jesus Christ, and how God snatched him up and took him back to glory and gave him his place at his right hand to rule and to reign.

But whatever transpires on this earth in terms of warfare first breaks out in heaven, and that's what we see as we begin to explore further into the chapter. So tonight I want us to think about the devil himself under five headings. Number one, his ambition. Number two, his defeat. Number three, his wrath.

Number four, his strategies. And then lastly, his frustration, his ambition. Notice with me begins in verse seven, and war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought.

A war. And not just an earthly conflict, but a cosmic conflict, a war in heaven between the dragon, between, well, John's going to call him the serpent of old, the devil, and Satan. And notice with me this observation that in this war the devil does not fight against God, he fights against Michael and his angels. I've never seen an angel, don't know that I've ever had an encounter with an angel, but what I learned from the scriptures about angels is that they are very, very powerful. You remember, one angel was dispatched and killed 185,000 Assyrians.

Not an army of angels, but one angel. Well, Michael is at war with the dragon, the serpent, the devil himself, and he is at war with his angels. What do we know about Michael? Well, we encounter him in Daniel chapter 10 in verse 13, where he is called one of the chief princes.

He came to help Daniel at a time that he was hindered and opposed for 21 days in carrying out an assignment. And then in chapter 12 and verse 1 he is called the great prince. So he is, in the hierarchy of angels, he is one of the chief angels, the prince angel. And it is he who is engaged in holy war with the devil in heaven.

So the first heading is his ambition. And in Isaiah chapter 14 we have this description. How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning.

How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations. For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest side of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.

I will be like the Most High. His ambition to usurp God's authority, to take the place of Almighty God. That was his ambition. He was not content to serve as an angel under God's sovereign rule. And you notice the I wills in that description.

I will ascend, I will exalt, I will be like the Most High. It was a war of wills, a war of wills. Unless we fail to make appropriate application, I think it's good to stop here for a moment and to realize that every act of disobedience in our lives is in essence the same as what's going on here.

It is a contest of wills. We are not content to live our lives under his sovereign rule. We want to be in God's place. We want to rule our own lives. We do not want to submit to God. That's the essence of spiritual warfare.

I want what I want. And it is a desire to be God, to be God unto ourselves. His ambition. Now there's two postures I think that we can take in this study of the devil that are unhealthy. One is to act as if, well, I've never seen the devil.

I see all these cartoons. He's painted as a red dragon. I don't know how serious I ought to take him. You remember when Jesus said to Peter, Simon, Simon, Satan has desired to sift you as wheat. What was his reaction to that? Did he say, oh, Jesus, pray for me.

Help me. No, he blew it off like it was no big deal. He continued in his selfish boast. Though all will betray, I won't.

I won't deny you. So he diminished Satan and his power and his ability. We don't want to be in that category. But we don't want to be, on the other hand, so overwhelmed with fear of him that we cower and are just immobilized to do anything.

So those are two extremes. We need a healthy balance here. The devil is a mighty foe. You are no match for him. I am no match for him.

And we need to understand that and we need to take that seriously. So his ambition. It was a foolish ambition. It was an ambition that was not realized.

Because what do we see? Not only his ambition, but we see his defeat. War broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought with the dragon and the dragon and his angels fought, verse 8, but they did not prevail.

Nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. His defeat. He picked the wrong battle. He picked the wrong foe. He did not prevail.

And what was the result of his defeat? Well, three times in verse 9, we are told that he is either cast out or, well, listen, verse 9. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old called the devil and Satan who deceives the whole world. He was cast to the earth and his angels and his angels were cast out with him. Verse 10. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ have come for the accuser of our brethren who accused them before our God day and night has been cast down. And then one more time in verse 13.

Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. The gospels record a time when Jesus sent out his disciples two by two and he sent 70 of them out two by two. And they came back and reported to Jesus.

And listen to what was involved in that report. Verse 17 of chapter 10 of Luke. Then the 70 returned with joy saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name. And he said to them, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

Jesus said that. I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. Cast out and then ultimately he will be cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20 verse 10. The devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are.

And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. So that's his lot. He's been cast out. He's a defeated foe. And yet he is still the prince of the power of the air.

He is still the god of this world. He has a delegated authority on this earth to trouble the church, to trouble you and me. But his defeat, so not only his ambition and his defeat, but notice number three. His wrath, the devil's wrath. Verse 12. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them. Rejoice over what? Rejoice that the accuser of the brethren has been cast out.

He's been cast and his angels to the earth. Rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea. Woe. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea for the devil has come down to you having great wrath because he knows that he has a short time.

I'm not sure all that's implied with the word great. It'd be one thing for the passage to say, for the devil has come down to you with wrath, but he has come down to you having great wrath, great wrath. And it seems that his anger and wrath has been instigated and has been inflamed by his defeat, his great wrath. Verse 13. Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.

But notice the connection there. When the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child, that is the church. And then verse 17, and the dragon was enraged with the woman and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. The wrath of the devil. 1 John 3 and verse 8 tell us that Christ has appeared. He has appeared in order to destroy the works of the devil. He has appeared to destroy the works of the devil.

It shouldn't surprise us that he is enraged. It should not surprise us that he is with great wrath. He focused all of his hatred and animosity and power on the Lord Jesus Christ. He agitated, he fomented the hostility and the malice toward Jesus that put Jesus on the cross and he was crucified.

And yet, what appeared to be his victory is ultimately his defeat. Colossians chapter 2 and verse 15 says, Christ has disarmed principalities and powers. He triumphed over them at the cross. Christ made a public spectacle of the devil. He put on display for the whole world to see that the devil who has as his greatest weapon in his arsenal, death.

Death itself was defeated as Jesus rose from the grave. So, his ambition, his defeat, his wrath. What does this passage tell us about his strategies? Paul warned the Corinthian church and admonished the Corinthian church not to be ignorant concerning Satan's devices. So, I think there's real help for us here to have biblical insight into the strategies of our adversary. Number one, the first thing that's pointed out to us is deception, verse 9. So, the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old called the devil and Satan who deceives the whole world. He's a deceiver and he deceives the whole world.

To deceive, to promise one thing and deliver something else altogether. What did he promise Eve in the garden? He promised that if she would eat of the forbidden fruit, she would become wise. He promised her wisdom, but what did he deliver? He delivered her death and separation and guilt and shame.

He's a deceiver and the world is full of deception. Drugs promise an escape from reality. Drugs promise a high. But what ultimately does drugs deliver? Enslavement, misery, heartache, hopelessness.

And we could go on and on with all kinds of things that promise one thing and deliver the exact opposite. But not only deception, but accusation. Accusation. Notice verse 10. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, now salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ have come for the accuser of our brethren who accused them before our God day and night has been cast down.

He's an accuser. Probably the classic example of that is in the life of Job. In Job chapter 1 verse 6 we read, And there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The sons of God are angels. Satan also came among them.

It's a bit puzzling. I don't know how to explain to you, but he had access to heaven. He had come and go before God at this time in history. Verse 7, And the Lord said to Satan, From where do you come?

And he said, From walking to and fro in the earth. Then the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, blameless, an upright man who fears God and eschews evil? Verse 9, the accusation, Does Job fear God for nothing?

In other words, the accusation was, Job serves God, Job worships God out of selfish ambition for selfish motives. He's telling God you've bought his worship. You've treated him this way. You've bought him off. Who wouldn't worship you if you gave a person what you gave him?

Take his stuff away from him and he'll curse you to your face. That was the accusation. Turn to Zechariah chapter 3 for a moment with me, if you would, toward the end of the Old Testament. Another classic example. Zechariah chapter 3, beginning at verse 1, Then he showed me Joshua the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.

You get the picture here? Here's Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to Satan, The Lord rebuke you, Satan. The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you.

Is this not a brand plucked from the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and was standing before the angel. You say, well, what's Joshua the high priest standing before God with filthy garments?

Well, he's there in a representative sense. He's bearing the sins of his people. And there he stood, clothed with sin. Verse 4, Then he answered and spoke to those who stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him, and to him he said, See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes. And I said, Let them put on a clean turban on his head, so they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him, and the angel of the Lord stood by. Then the angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, Thus says the Lord of hosts, If you will walk in my ways and if you will keep my command, then you shall also judge my house, and likewise have charge of my courts.

I will give you places to walk among these who stand here. Here, O Joshua the high priest, you and your companions who sit before you. Well, here's Satan in the presence of God, and he is there to make accusation against Joshua the high priest because of the sins that he is bearing. He's the accuser of the brethren. But back in Revelation chapter 12, we're told that he has been cast down. For the accuser of our brethren, Revelation 12 verse 10, who accused them before our God day and night has been cast down.

We could say that Michael, the chief prince, the one who is engaged in battle, he is the court's bailiff. And he said to Satan, You're out of here. He accosted him and cast him out. In the courtroom of God's justice, he cannot accuse believers before God anymore. He has been cast out.

Before studying this passage, I was of the impression that that's something that's an ongoing thing. But this passage tells me he's been cast out. He no longer has access into God's courtroom. He's been cast out. Now, the devil can come to your conscience and accuse you, but he can't come before God and accuse you. He can't say, Well, there's so and so.

You claim to be one of yours. Yeah, you've justified him. But look what he did. Look what he said. Look how he's acting.

He can't do that anymore. He's been cast out. That's good news, isn't it? Amen. Well, what other strategy does the devil employ? Notice with me verse 12.

Therefore, rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time. What is his strategy? It is to afflict and persecute the church on earth.

Why is he so insistent on doing that? Well, because he can no longer accuse us in heaven. He can no longer do us any soul damage. He can't go to God and bring accusation against us. So he has concentrated his efforts upon the church, upon God's people here upon the earth. Verse 17, the dragon was enraged with the woman, and we have identified the woman as the church, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. I think it's Augustine who said, no man can have God as his father who doesn't have the church as his mother. That's what's being referred to here, the church and her offspring.

Notice what's going on here. The persecution, the affliction that the devil is going to bring upon Christ's church. Verse 14, for the woman was given two wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and a half time from the presence of the serpent. John is employing the metaphor of an eagle, and the eagle is a means of God's deliverance. And there's a number of references that I could point to, but let me just cite one, Exodus 19 and verse 4. God is saying to those who were delivered from Egyptian bondage, you have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I bore you on eagle's wings and brought you to myself.

On eagle's wings. He goes on to say, verse 15, so the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. Not literally water, but a flood of affliction, a flood, a deluge that would threaten to sweep us away and do damage to our souls. And when I read about that strategy, I'm reminded of what we read in Psalm 32. Let me read a couple of verses in Psalm 32 that speak to God's deliverance and God's help in time of flood. Psalm 32 verse 6, for this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to you in a time when you may be found, surely in a flood of great waters they shall not come near him.

You are my hiding place. You shall preserve me from trouble. You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Verse 10, many sorrows shall be to the wicked, but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous, and shout for joy all you upright in heart. And then I love the anthem that our choir sings that's based on Isaiah 43 verse 2. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers they shall not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel your Savior. I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Since you were precious in my sight, you have been honored and I have loved you. Therefore, I will give men for you and people for your life. Fear not, for I am with you.

I will bring your descendants from the east and gather you from the west. So, despite the devil's intensified hatred and wrath toward God's people, God has promised to protect us. God has promised to preserve us. God has promised to nourish us in the midst of.

Severe persecution. Fifth tonight, let's think for a moment about the frustration of the devil. We've considered his ambition, his defeat, his wrath, his strategies, now his frustration. Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 15 that the last enemy to be conquered is death. So, what does the devil who has been cast out, cast down, made a public spectacle on the cross by being defeated by the Christ of the cross, what does he do now? Well, he resorts to his weapon, the weapon of death.

And when did he resort to this weapon? During the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Trace the gospel accounts of the times that he instigated hatred and malice and scheming that Jesus might be accosted and tried and killed.

And ultimately, he was successful in doing that. But as I've already said at the cross, the defeated is the victor. Jesus rises from the dead in victory over death, hell and the grave. So, the devil, he's one frustrated being. He sought to kill Jesus. He stirred up hatred and malice against him and he succeeded in putting him to death. God as the hymn writer said, death could not keep its prey, right?

Death couldn't hold Jesus. So, the devil, he's frustrated. The worst he can do to us, he can't harm our soul, he can't accuse us before God, or we're kept by the power of God. The worst he can do to us is kill us.

And what does that result in? Our translation into glory. Listen to the writer of Hebrews speak to this matter of death being an enemy. Hebrews chapter 2 verse 14 and 15. In as much then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he, that is Christ, himself, likewise, shared in the same, that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death.

Now think about what is being said there. That through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Paul says Christ has disarmed powers. Christ took the very best weapon Satan has and turned it to the greatest victory known to mankind. How frustrated the devil must be. And notice he's further frustrated because of how the church responds to affliction and persecution. Verse 11, and they overcame him. What's his purpose?

What's his strategy? His strategy is to overcome them. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, the blood of the Lamb that secured their eternal redemption, and by the word of their testimony. And they did not love their lives to the death. They didn't shrink back in the face of persecution.

They didn't shrink back in the face and the threat of death itself. And how frustrated the devil must be to think that our allegiance to Jesus Christ is that deep and that permanent. Frustrated. He's frustrated also because his time is short. He's a defeated foe and he has a limited amount of time to create havoc on this earth. His time is short. I tried to think of an illustration as I was thinking about the Ukraine conflict and how we're told that Vladimir Putin is a dangerous man, particularly if he sees that his army is being defeated.

And it's kind of like what's going on here. The devil sees that he's being defeated and his wrath is stirred. He's more agitated than ever. All his wrath and all of its agitation doesn't help him a bit. He's just further and further frustrated. We will be looking at this later on, but just turn over in your Bible to chapter 13 for a minute and let me show you another reason why he's frustrated. He's frustrated because his power is limited. He does not have unquestioned authority to do whatever he wants to do.

Notice chapter 13 verse 7. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and overcome them. It was granted to him.

You see, he had to get permission in order to do that. It was granted to him to make war. So God evidently has a good and wholesome and sanctifying purpose in granting it to him. Not only verse 7 but verse 14 in the whole business of deception. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast. Again, which he was granted to do. He was granted authority, permission to deceive. And in verse 15 he was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast.

That the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He was granted. He was granted. He was granted. He didn't take it upon himself. He didn't have that kind of authority.

His power is limited. Well this passage speaks of two results that ensue from Christ's victory over the devil. The first is the temporary suffering of the church and of Christians in this age. And God's promise to sustain and preserve their souls unto the end, whatever that looks like.

And as I was preparing this message my mind went to the Ukrainian church that we have witnessed on YouTube. And they've gathered to sing He Will Hold Me Fast. I think we're familiar with the chorus, but listen to some of the stanzas and how it relates to what we're considering tonight. Stanza one, when I fear my faith will fall, or fail, Christ will hold me fast. When the tempter would prevail, he will hold me fast.

I could never keep my hold, though through life's fearful path. For my love is often cold, he must hold me fast. He'll not let my soul be lost, his promises shall last. Bought by him at such a cost, he will hold me fast. For my life he bled and died, Christ will hold me fast. Justice has been satisfied, he will hold me fast. Raised with him to endless life, he will hold me fast. Till our faith is turned to sight, when he comes at last, he will hold me fast.

He will hold me fast, for my Savior loves me so, he will hold me fast. That's wonderful truth, consistent with what we're considering here this evening. But what is the second result that ensues from Christ's victory over the devil? Notice verse 12 of Revelation 12. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them. Rejoice over what? Rejoice over the devil's defeat. Rejoice over the devil being cast out. Rejoice over the fact that the devil no longer can come and bring accusation before God concerning the saints. Everlasting joy in heaven. That's what we need, folks. We need a heavenly perspective. And that's what this passage of Scripture is giving us.

It's giving us a heavenly perspective. We have reasons for joy. So in my application, I have an assignment for you. You've sat, you've listened.

A good number of you take notes, so it'll be easier for you than those who don't. But here's my assignment for you. To compose a list of reasons for joy from this passage. Compose a list of reasons for joy from this passage. Now, get the big picture, the context in which we're talking about.

We've considered the doctrine of the devil. And at the same time, there's reasons for joy in this passage. Compose a list of reasons for joy from this passage.

And let me give you one that I've already spoken to on several occasions. Reason for joy number one. No longer subject to the accusations of the devil in God's courtroom of inflexible justice.

No longer subject. That's a reason for joy. And there's other reasons for joy, but that's your assignment. That we may further have the word of God find lodgement in our hearts for the good of our souls. And for a proper response to God, we pray. Let's pray. Father, thank you for your word tonight.

Thank you for its instruction. We are humbled as we consider this great adversary who hates us because of our allegiance to you. He hates us because of our love for Jesus Christ.

He hates us because of our desire to propagate the gospel around the world. But again, we thank you tonight that greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world. We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. So strengthen us and fortify us, our God.

Help us to have a healthy fear of our adversary. Help us to put on the armor of God that we might be able to stand in this evil day. And help us, our God, as we continue to study through the book of the Revelation. Lord, we believe that first and foremost, this is a revelation of Jesus Christ. And we thank you that even as we've considered the devil himself, we've also considered Jesus Christ who triumphed over him on the cross. Thank you for the victory that you've given him. Thank you for the victory that's been promised to those who trust in Jesus Christ. We thank you for this passage again tonight in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-19 14:26:17 / 2023-03-19 14:39:02 / 13

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