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Knowledge From The Dark Side

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller
The Truth Network Radio
October 15, 2023 1:00 am

Knowledge From The Dark Side

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller

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October 15, 2023 1:00 am

People often try to find an alternative to being accountable to God. Many choose to be involved with divination and other occult practices. In this message about King Saul, Pastor Lutzer gives us three reasons why people try to tap into the occult. Seeking knowledge apart from God traps us in spiritual slavery.

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Sometime in the dateless past, a civil war took place in heaven. Some of God's angels rebelled, and a great darkness began. Satan and his forces were cast to the earth, where to this day they're at war with the people of God, always seeking to destroy what God is building. Through divination, demons seek to lure people into their trap. From Chicago, this is The Moody Church Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching with Pastor Erwin Lutzer.

On this program, Erwin Lutzer continues a series on the invisible world, where battles are lost and won. Later, we'll turn to Deuteronomy chapter 18 and learn about knowledge from the dark side. Pastor Lutzer comes now to open today's service. We just want to say how pleased we are that you're worshiping with us and the fact that you took out time from your schedule. It is the Lord's day, but coming here to Moody Church, we appreciate it very much. And on this special weekend, we probably are having many visitors. We give you a specially warm welcome and are so glad that we may have the opportunity of meeting you later.

And we also welcome the many people who have joined us around the world by way of internet streaming. We're glad for all of you, and we have been trusting and praying that this will be a very transforming worship service for the glory of God. In a moment, we're going to be singing about soldiers of Christ arising.

It is of interest to me that we know that soldiers who fight in a physical battle need a great deal of training and preparation. And yet how often it is that we as God's soldiers fighting spiritually, we think that it can happen simply by osmosis, maybe by going to church once a week. Well, it can't, because we are in a great spiritual battle.

And our topic, of course, is the invisible world. I hope that you spend time preparing your own heart for today's time of worship, and that you've had some quietness before God as we welcome you. Let's bow our heads together in prayer, and after that we shall stand to sing, soldiers of Christ, arise.

Join me. Father, we're aware that as we came into this sanctuary today that we left the common world, and we came here to meet with your people in a special place dedicated to your Holy Spirit and to the ministry of the word and the blessing of your name. And therefore, Lord, we pray that you will take away all of the distractions, all of the concerns and burdens and worries that we brought with us, and help us to concentrate on you in such a way that your name is glorified. We bless you today, and our desire is that through us you'll get glory. We pray also that we shall be the kind of warriors in which you take delight, standing strong against the forces of darkness. Grant us that, O God, now we pray, even as we sing together.

In Jesus' name, amen. In the strength which has come, but through His eternal Son, strong in the Lord of hosts, and in His mighty power, who, in the strength of Jesus' trust, is born and conquered. Stand and be strengthened, with all whose strength they do. And take to our youth for the fight, the penalty of God.

The strength to strength go on, and wrestle fight and reign. Dread all the crowds of darkness now, and we will welcome him. A vision he saves from the Lord, in his name for a win, in his excellent Word, the Lord may be saved. And to you he has said, To you, for heaven, is the Jesus Christ. Here I am with thee, O being of this name, for I am thy God, and you still in the aid. Now strengthen thee, help thee, and cause me to stand, the bell by my voice, and stop me, cause I fail. In truth thy rage shall not, thy back rage shall fly, thy grace so selfless shall, shall be thyself proud. Nothing shall outwork thee, my only desire, thy cross to pursue, and thy goal to be kind. But so that I, Jesus, can think for it all, I will, I will, I'll deserve to be told, that so the world should never to shame, I'll never, no longer, no never forsake. I invite you to follow along with me in your bulletin as we read together selections from Ephesians chapter 3.

Please read aloud with me on the bold print. This is God's holy word. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever.

Amen. O God of Jesus, pass on measure, boundless free, Holy as a mighty ocean, fill his fullness over me. Underneath him, all around me, is the current of thy love. Be on earth, be on earth, to my glorious rest alone. O God, give me the love of Jesus, come on and be of the best.

He is my ocean, that's the best. He is our haven, sing our prayers. O God, give me the love of Jesus, this our heaven has to be. And in this dream come to glory, for in this dream come to thee. Take my love and let it be, us to great and all to be. Take my love and let my days, let them go in ceaseless praise, let them go in ceaseless praise. Take my hand and let them move, and hear no song I love. Take my feet and let them be, safe and beautiful for me, safe and beautiful for me. Take my love, my Lord, my Lord, let my feet in his precious storm. Take myself and I will be, ever only, only, ever only, only. Take my faith and make it mine, it shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is my home, it shall be my home, it shall be my home. Knowledge from the Dark Side, part of our series entitled The Invisible World. People have always tried to bypass God, to find an alternative to the Almighty.

And the reason for that is not hard to grasp because when you deal with God, you've got all these issues of sin and humility and submission, and people don't want that, but they'd like to have some benefits that God might not be giving them unless they are willing to submit. And so in ancient Babylon, as today, what you have is the occult. That word occult means hidden.

People are seeking for hidden knowledge. The way in which most people get into the occult is through divination. Divination means that they are trying to find some hidden knowledge, usually about themselves, that is going to help them along life's way, and if not, then at least in making decisions that they might have some guidance and maybe even manipulate the things that supposedly are to come to pass. So you have people today who are into divination of one kind or another. You have such things as Ouija boards, you have horoscopes.

By the way, people read those. Perhaps some of you do and not know that they are entirely can be shown to be based on lies. You aren't necessarily born under one star, and the formula to work things out is ancient, and it is outdated, but people read it anyway in the delusion of their own minds. And you have tarot cards and all other ways that you're trying to connect and to get knowledge. But there's something else that people seek from the occult, and that is power. When I was preparing this message this week, it dawned on me that I can't cover all of these issues in one message, so I'm going to be preaching another message in this series, and it is going to be power from the dark side, because there's more in this subject than I can possibly take care of today. So people do it, number one, because they want knowledge. They do it because, number two, they want power. And number three, they want to connect with something that is greater than they are and bypassing the whole issue of sin and who they are, and that's why people like Eckhart Tolle are so very famous and popular, because it's another way to get into the occult and to bypass God.

And what does he think of it as kind of a template? I'd like to read a very famous passage from the book of Deuteronomy where God says this to the people of his day as they are entering into the land. When you come into the land that your Lord God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a wizard or a necromancer, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations, the Lord your God is driving them out from before you. That is the pagans of the day. And you shall be blameless before the Lord your God for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune tellers and diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this. All occult knowledge is forbidden and carries within itself its own severe judgment.

Wow. Well, today we're going to look at a passage of scripture that is very unique. It is a passage of scripture that I could describe actually as being bizarre. You read it and you say, did this really happen?

Well, just because it's bizarre does not mean that it's not true. I believe with all of my heart that what we're going to look at today actually happened. But we have to find out why. And as far as we are able, discern what is going on in the passage. The Bible is our guide and we turn today to the book of 1 Samuel chapter 28. Now, just in case you forgot your Bible today, you bring your Bible to church every single Sunday, but today you walked away and you forgot it.

Well, if that's you in the chair that is ahead of you, there in the seat ahead of you, you can turn to page 250 and you can find it there. You have to see this for yourself. We're going to just be reading this story and I'm going to be making comments as we go along. Then we're going to interpret it. We're going to learn the lessons. Then we're going to move on to something else.

And as I mentioned, we shall indeed continue this next time. The story is King Saul, who is really a psychologist's, what shall we say, gold mine. A man with incredible ability, many privileges have been given to him, taller than everybody else, handsome, strong, used by God, and still a man who refused to surrender everything to the Almighty.

Very interesting man. And so the chapter of 1 Samuel 28 opens and it says that Samuel died. I'm in verse 3. And all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put all the mediums and the necromancers out of the land. And he was supposed to do that because God says in the Old Testament that these people should not be allowed to practice.

In fact, in Old Testament times, before this dispensation, things were so dealt with physically, we don't do these things today for reasons that I cannot get into, but witches were actually to be put to death. We don't know how Saul got them all out of the land, but he says no witch is to be in the land. And apparently they disappeared in accordance with Saul's instructions. But now things are going badly in battle. And Saul inquires of the Lord.

He does the right thing. It says in verse 6, And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim. That has to do with the priests and their ability to discern the will of God or by prophets, which are ways in which Saul had connected with God previously. God was saying, Saul, I'm entirely silent, thank you very much.

He's inquiring, God, what shall I do? But he hears not a word from God. Later on I'm going to show you a passage that says that that's why Saul died is that he inquired not of the Lord. And you may say, well, the Bible contradicts itself here. It says that he did inquire of the Lord.

Yes, he did. But what he didn't do is to humble himself, to simply say, God, whatever it is that you show me, I'm willing to deal with it. Earlier, God had said, I'm taking the kingdom away from you and I'm giving it to somebody else, namely to David. What should Saul have done at that point? He should have said, God, the kingdom is yours.

You give it to whosoever you will. If you want me to step down and no longer be the king, God, I submit to your authority. Is that what he did?

No, he hung on until his knuckles turned white. Ten long years, Saul refused to give up the kingdom. It was as if it was his and not God's. By the way, that's the way David differed. David had his great sins, too.

But David said, oh, God, do as seems good in your sight. Saul never said those words. So he hangs on and he manipulates. He's going to keep the kingdom.

And now Saul is in a hard place because the Philistines are amassing against him and he's desperate. And what does he say to his servants? He says, find a medium.

God isn't talking. Verse 7, Saul said to his servants, seek out for me a woman who is a medium that I may go to her and inquire of her. And his servants said, behold, there is a medium at Endor. This is known as the law of the grand exception. I put out all of the mediums in the land.

You can't see any medium, but when I'm desperate, I can. Our politicians often do that. Religious leaders have been known to do that. To say about other people, you can't do A, B, C, D. And then it comes out that they've been doing the very thing that they condemned in the lives of others. And this is Saul now in a moment of desperation.

So now what we read is this. He disguises himself, put on other garments, and he went and they came to the woman by night and said, divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you. The woman said to him, surely you know what Saul has done. Saul, of course, is disguised. So she says, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land.

Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death? But Saul swears to her by the Lord. As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.

Can you imagine the duplicity? He uses the name of God to swear, to swear in God's name that no harm will come to her. Using God whenever it's convenient, but shutting God out whenever he doesn't want God's way and God's will. So the woman said to him, how Saul put out the mediums and so forth.

As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you. Verse 11, then the woman said, whom shall I bring up for you? He said, bring up Samuel. And now what happens is surreal. I don't know whether I've ever used that word before, but it sure fits here.

This is very surreal. Listen. When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, why have you deceived me? She now recognizes him. You are Saul. The king said to her, don't be afraid.

What do you see? The woman said to Saul, I see a God coming up out of the earth. He said to her, what is his appearance? And she said, an old man is coming up and he's wrapped in a robe. And Saul knew that it was Samuel.

And he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage. Then Samuel said to Saul, why have you disturbed me by bringing me up? Saul answered, I'm in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me and God has turned away from me.

And he's not answering my prayers by prophets or dreams. Therefore, I summoned you to tell me what I should do. And Samuel said, why then do you ask, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? And now Samuel goes on and predicts the fact. And this is in verse 19, that the Philistines are going to come against you. And tomorrow you and your son shall be with me.

That is to say, they'll be in the grave. The Lord will give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines. And Saul falls down terrified.

And the prediction is fulfilled. What do we do with this passage? I never thought I would preach on it, but since I'm preaching about mediums, I decided since this is in God's word, we have to look at what's happening here and what the lessons are that we should take home with us as a result of reading it. Some people have looked at this and they've said, you know, there's just no way that Samuel could have come up. Because after all, there's Samuel. He's with God.

He's enjoying God's presence. And now you're telling me that this woman, this woman had the ability to bring up one of God's choice servants from the dead. Impossible. So what they've said is this was all demonic. That God gave Satan the ability to have this apparition that had looked like Samuel, but it wasn't really Samuel at all.

And that's one possibility that commentators have suggested. But there's another possibility, and that is that it was indeed Samuel, and that's the one I take for a couple of reasons. First of all, when you read this account, you find time and time again it is Samuel who is speaking to Saul. Saul speaking to Samuel. And you get no hint here that this is just some kind of a demonic apparition. Furthermore, the devil would have never predicted what Samuel predicted, because the prediction is that you shall die tomorrow and the devil is never that accurate and that specific in his predictions.

And he certainly would not have given Saul a tongue lashing for leaving the living God. So I think that this was an incredible miracle. One pastor put it this way, are you telling me an old hag at Endor can raise up one of God's choice servants and bring him back from the dead? And the answer to that question is, of course, no. All the demons in hell put together could not do that.

I think God intervened and did his own miracle. And as saying to Saul, Saul, because you are a fool, and by the way, Saul admitted that, he says because you are so foolish and you are asking for Samuel, Samuel you shall get. But he's going to give you a message that you certainly don't want to hear and it will be one more basis by which I can judge you. If there's any hope of repentance and submission, this is it. This is the closing call.

After this, you die. What do you think God thought of Saul doing this? Was this something we can interpret and say, well, you know, it didn't turn out too badly. I mean, look at the fact that this miracle happened. You know, there's a divine commentary on this and it is found actually in the book of 1 Chronicles chapter 10. Listen to what the Bible says. So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord and also consulted a medium seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord.

Therefore, the Lord put him to death and gave the kingdom to David. What does God think of consulting a medium or a channeler as they are called today? What you find in the Old Testament is God is repeatedly saying, and he says this in Leviticus, if you go to a medium or you go to what we call today a channeler, I will turn my face against you. Think of the word there in chapter 18 verse 16. Have you ever heard something so terrible where Samuel is speaking and he's saying to Saul, Saul, God has become your enemy. You get into the occult. You seek hidden knowledge from other sources and God becomes your enemy.

What a sad state of affairs. Now I want to talk to you in a more contemporary way about going to mediums and calling up the dead, the channelers. There used to be a show on television, I don't know if it still is, where they used to have people come in whose loved one died and then this channeler would connect with spirits and eventually and then the person would say, yeah indeed that is my uncle. You know that's just like him.

And then they'd go on to somebody else. What's happening there? What is happening there is this. These channelers have what we call a familiar spirit who is familiar with the person who was alive and therefore it is a demonic spirit impersonating the dead.

Let me give you a good example. Back in 1966, Bishop Pike who was an Episcopalian bishop, his son committed suicide. As a result of that there was a poltergeist in their home. Pike would come home and the curtains were pulled exactly the way in which his son wanted them. His boy's books would always be rearranged in accordance with the way in which the boy liked them.

The clothes were being moved in the closet, etc. And Pike said to himself, I think my son wants to connect with me. So you know the story. Pike went to a medium. Years ago, I would never buy the book, but years ago, because of some research I was doing, I went into a library and I bought Pike's book.

I should say I read Pike's book entitled The Other Side and there he documents his experience. And you have heard me tell before how that when he was connecting with the boy, he said to him things like, do you ever hear about Jesus on the other side? That's a good question, but the boy said, no, Dad, we don't hear much about Jesus on the other side.

From my heart to yours today, if you die and you're in a place where you don't hear a lot about Jesus, you are in deep eternal trouble. But Pike was deceived. Oh, it's true the medium knew things about the boy that only some supernatural agency could know it. There are mediums, channelers, who do connect with the spirit world and they connect with spirits that knew those people and people are totally, completely deceived. Yesterday I happened to just open my Bible. I was going to read Isaiah chapter 28 and I was reading some verses where it says that there are people who take refuge behind lies.

Wow, what's going on in these things? What is it that Satan's great desire is? And some of the books that we read about today about people even going to heaven, some may be legitimate, some illegitimate, but what is the devil's agenda?

It's very clear. He wants this generation to believe that it's possible to die without faith in Jesus Christ and have a very happy experience after death. There's no judgment. You can enjoy the other side without believing in Jesus. Pike was a liberal bishop who denied the virgin birth. He denied the Trinity. He denied the fact that Jesus died for sinners. He denied it all, but after that he wasn't afraid of death because he had connected with the other side. Now, I think it's very important that we recognize that God's opinion about this is not neutral at all.

It leads to disillusionment and huge, huge deception, as does all occult knowledge. Now, I want us to turn to another passage. This is the New Testament passage, and then after we've turned to the New Testament passage in the book of Acts, chapter 16, I'm going to give you five very important statements. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts. Acts 16, verse 16.

Paul is in Philippi. As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, these men are servants of the most high God who proclaim to you the way of salvation.

Stop. Sometimes fortune tellers can tell the truth, especially if they're under pressure from God. And this she kept doing for many days, and Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, I command you in the name of Jesus to come out of her, and it came out that very hour. But when her owners saw that all hope was gone, they seized Paul and Silas, dragged them into the marketplace, and they beat them up. Why? Because the hope of their gain was gone.

Another parenthesis. Isn't this absolutely terrible about human nature? Here's a slave girl who is finally delivered from an evil, oppressive, dark, unclean spirit, and instead of rejoicing, all that they can think of is that they're losing money, just like people today in the sex trade. They can sell a girl into slavery or a boy into slavery, and to them nothing matters except that they might get some money. Is there any reason to believe that the human nature that we hear so much about is good?

Well, we can do good things, but just think of the evil and the deception of the human heart. A couple of other comments before we give this very important summary, and that is this. Notice that the Apostle Paul, the Apostle Paul had authority over this spirit, and do you think that this slave girl invited this spirit into her life, this fortune-telling spirit?

I don't think so. You know, just like there's physical slavery that nobody asked for, there's also spiritual slavery that people are caught in, and if you say, well, why does that happen, there are certain entry points, and that's why I'm preaching a second message on this topic because I realize today I may be scaring up more rabbits than I'm able to shoot, so I hope to shoot some of those next time. But please keep in mind that this poor slave girl, physically in slavery, spiritually in slavery, and the Apostle Paul, by the word of Jesus, set her free, and her owners, her handlers, her pimp, if you can put it that way, was unhappy. Now, what I'd like us to do is today, as I mentioned, this sermon developed a little differently than I had intended. I'm going to give you five very important statements that you can think about as we try to nail things down regarding the occult and the terrifying searching for knowledge apart from God. First of all, remember that Satan's knowledge of the future is limited. That's why I don't think that it was a demonic apparition that spoke to Saul.

It's because it was so accurate the next day, according to Sandel's prediction, Saul dies. Satan knows the future much better than you and I do because he knows what is being planned, but he has no idea whether or not it's going to be executed. He knows that Lee Harvey Oswald is planning to shoot the President of the United States back in November of 1963, but what he doesn't know is whether or not it's going to happen. The gun might jam.

Oswald might get caught going to the Dallas Book Room Depository building with the rifle. So he knows more than we know, but his knowledge is limited. Because of some study that I did some time ago, I studied Nostradamus. I smile when our television folks give an entire hour to his predictions. It is humorous.

They should say, laugh here, laugh here, laugh here. How many of those predictions could you have made before the event happened? None. After the event happened, they say, oh, you know, now when we look at it more carefully, he was predicting the assassination of President Kennedy, or he was predicting this. Oh, oh, why didn't you tell us that 200 years ago? Why didn't you make those predictions at that time? Why don't you make predictions now as to what Nostradamus is going to say 50 years from now?

Please find them. Nobody can. I always say it is so much easier to predict the future after it has happened.

It really is. There are all kinds of people who predicted the assassination of President Kennedy after it took place. It's a little more difficult before it does. One year I did this, I would never do it again, but on New Year's Day, I bought some of those magazines with predictions for the new year. Just read them on December the 31st a year later, and you'll find most of them are incredibly wrong. Now, some people, like the fortune tellers and like the seance folks and the chandlers, may be plugged into the devil. Perhaps some aren't.

They may be fakers. But the point is that they cannot predict the future with accuracy. Only God knows all things, both actual and possible. Only God knows the future infallibly.

And that's why he can make the predictions that are so clear and so definite. Look at the predictions regarding the return of Jesus in the book of Revelation. You even have exactly what the antichrist is going to believe, what is going to happen in the world. You have geography when Jesus returns back to earth.

Zechariah chapter 14, his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, which lies before Jerusalem on the east. Think of the specificity of God's predictions because God is right all the time because he knows the future infallibly. Satan doesn't. Secondly, to seek knowledge from the spirit world. To seek knowledge from the spirit world invites the judgment of God. There's a passage in the 28th chapter, I guess it is, of the book of Isaiah where God says, You know what?

I'm going to send you trouble that your charmers and your astrologers cannot charm away. Wow. The next time we see King Saul in the narrative there in 1 Samuel, he is falling on his sword, attempting to commit suicide. He can't quite polish it off, and an Amalekite, apparently, according to the next accounts, runs by and finishes him off. What a deluded soul. He dies suicide because he refused to yield to God.

He will try every single way somehow to manipulate, to control, and to hang on. Do you know how Saul wrote his own epitaph? I don't know if I've ever done this, but someday I'm going to preach a message on writing your own epitaph, what should be on your tombstone. Chapters earlier, the King Saul said this to David, because of an incident we can't go into here, but you can read it on your own. He said, I have played the fool.

Who's buried here? This is King Saul. Notice his epitaph, I've played the fool. Judas, his epitaph, it would have been good for him if he had never been born, the words of Jesus. Paul, his epitaph, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Wow. Saul says, I've played the fool. And if you're involved in any kind of occult activity, whether it is Ouija boards, whether it is horoscopes, whether it is tarot cards, and dozens of other ways to get into the occult, you are following King Saul. There's a third lesson, and that is Jesus delegates his authority to his people. Here you have the Apostle Paul saying to that demonic spirit without the slave girl's cooperation. He didn't even say, now you have to cooperate with me before this demon leaves. Now, if you know anything about demon possession, you know that the participant needs to cooperate. But at the same time, there are people, and Paul certainly was one, who so walked with God who had so much authority, he could put up with it only for a few days. He said to the spirit, come out of her.

And the spirit came out that very hour. The Bible says that Jesus has authority over all principalities and all powers and every name that has been named both in this world and in the world to come. Jesus Christ has won this incredible victory, and he shares that authority with us. Next, we should remember that we must turn to God in submission.

I think that's number four. We must turn to God in submission. There is a passage of scripture in the book of James that says, dearly beloved, submit yourselves to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you. So there are plenty of people who are resisting the devil. The devil isn't fleeing.

And by the way, just because he flees, that doesn't mean he won't be back. You can see that from the life of Jesus. But they are saying, I'm submissive to God. Do something, God. May the devil flee. Listen, if there is sin in your life, if, for example, you hate your parents because you were abused or whatever, and you've never laid down that anger and that lack of forgiveness, if all of that bitterness is in your soul, you can resist the devil, and he'll probably not flee. Dearly beloved, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Don't ever quote that last part without quoting the first. Are you submitting yourself to God? That's the question.

That we need to answer. Number five, Jesus who delivers us is the Jesus who saves us, who saves us. I'm speaking now to those of you who have never trusted Jesus Christ as your savior. You've never believed on him to salvation. Today is your day of opportunity.

Saul bypassed all of these opportunities. As you may know that as a pastor, and it just happens to be a quirk of mine, I've spent an awful lot of time interested in human nature. How could a man with so many opportunities make so many disastrous choices, ignoring all the warnings along the way?

How could that happen? But it happens every day. And I could be speaking to somebody right now to whom it is happening. Even with everything that you know, you've never come to believe in Jesus as the savior of the world, the one who disarmed all principalities and all powers and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

You have never received Christ as your savior. And you and I know that I'm not a poet, but this is coming out right now. There's a little bit of Saul in us all, isn't there? It's the best I can do on the spot. What a lesson. The Jesus who delivers us is the Jesus who saves us.

I have an awesome illustration of this, but I'm not going to give it. I'm going to save it for the next message. Martin Luther was a man in whom I have more than simply passing interest, not because I'm a Lutheran. I disagree with Luther on some points, but I admire his courage and boldness. Can you imagine, he dies at the age of 64, and if you were to take all of the volumes of Luther, there are probably about 55 volumes. I mean, commentaries on every book of the Bible translated the New Testament in about 10 weeks, the Old Testament, the rest of his life it took, wrote on all kinds of subjects. I don't know how he did it. No computer, no stenographer. The only thing I can think of is that he didn't have a television set. That's all.

How could any man do this? But Luther uncovered the doctrine of justification by faith and struggled with depression. Those of you who struggle with depression know that Luther struggled with it too and had some ideas about depression. He always thought that he was battling the devil, and he very probably was, especially when he was there in the Wartburg Castle. And he was thinking, and he could never sleep. That's where he did a lot of work. But he always thought to himself, can you be the only one that is right throughout the centuries?

Has the church been wrong? And so he's battling the devil. By the way, since I'm not going to talk about him again for a long time, I'll throw in this story. Maybe one of the reasons that Luther had such a struggle regarding the devil is because he was named Martin. And he was named Martin because he happens to have been born on Saint Martin's Day. And there was a legend, just a legend, that one day an apparition appeared to Martin. And the apparition appeared to be like Jesus, but Martin knowing that the devil sometimes takes the shape of Jesus, Martin knowing this was going to glance at his hands to see if he was looking for nail prints, whether or not he had nail prints.

And Martin looked at the apparition, looked at his hands, and suddenly as he looked, the apparition disappeared. And Martin never knew whether he was really visited by Jesus or the devil. Maybe that's why Luther sometimes struggled with the whole business of evil. And there holed up in the Wartburg Castle and later on also in another castle, the great Kober Castle, he wrote the mighty hymn, a mighty fortress is our God.

It's really the hymn of the Reformation. And today I zero in especially on the stanza, though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us. We will not fear, for God hath willed his truth to triumph through us. I say to you today, the prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him. His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure. One little word shall fell him. And that word has six letters, C-H-R-I-S-T. Praise be unto God.

And today we sing with utter confidence that Jesus is the victor. You may be involved in the occult. Some of you may not know. You may be, you know, what about palm reading and all? Of course it's occultic. What you need to do is to ask God to show you exactly how you are involved and where the entry point was. You need to renounce that, and that's going to be part of the next message. You need to renounce that with all that you are and all that you have. God is not neutral about this.

It is an abomination to the Lord. Meanwhile, his rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure. One little word shall fell him. When we sing that song, we should sing it so loudly that the tiles in the ceiling begin to tremble. Join me as we pray. Father, I pray today for those who do not know you as Savior, I pray that you might draw them to the only one who is able to give us truth and deliver us from huge deceptions. Pray for those, Father, who are struggling with Satan. Help them to know, Lord Jesus, that through your precious blood the victory has been won, and they overcame them by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. We thank you today that one word fells him, that Jesus disarmed him.

There's no contest. The game is over, and Satan has lost. Oh, deliver your people today. Set them free, we ask. And as we glorify you and your strength, we pray. Grant us your power and grace and wisdom.

In Jesus' name, amen. On today's Moody Church Hour, Pastor Lutzer spoke on Knowledge from the Dark Side, the third in an eight-part series on the invisible world, where battles are lost and won. Next week, join us for part four in this series as we turn to Acts chapter 19 to learn about Power from the Dark Side.

The future of power in this series involves an appointment before Jesus. Pastor Lutzer has written a book on Your Eternal Reward, Triumph and Tears at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We'd like to send it to you as our way of saying thanks for your gift of any amount to The Moody Church Hour. Call 1-800-215-5001. That's 1-800-215-5001. Or write to us at Moody Church Media, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614.

Mention Your Eternal Reward when you write or call. Online, go to moodyhour.com. That's moodyhour.com. Join us next week at this same time for another Moody Church Hour with Pastor Erwin Lutzer and the Congregation of Historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church.
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