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Ten Doors That Let The Serpent In Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
February 14, 2022 1:00 am

Ten Doors That Let The Serpent In Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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February 14, 2022 1:00 am

Some think ghosts are merely “ectoplasmic energy.” Other’s fear ghosts constantly. Let’s learn the facts about haunted houses, ghosts, familiar spirits, and other forms of demonic influence, and why Christians must shun them all like the plague. In this message, we’ll clarify the three stages of demonic control or enslavement. When we begin to identify the doors that Satan uses to get a foothold into our lives, we can boldly stand in Christ.   

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Some who watch movies think ghosts are ectoplasmic energy. Here's a reality check. Ghosts are very real. Today, the facts on haunted houses, ghosts, familiar spirits and other forms of demonic influence, and why Christians must shun them all like the plague. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. We're in a series on God's Devil. Pastor Lutzer, you say there are ten doors we need to keep shut.

Tell us about them. Well, Dave, in a moment I'm going to answer your question, but first of all, I want to remind our listeners today is Valentine's Day. And even though we always think of it in romantic terms, and we should, the fact is that it is an opportunity to remind ourselves that we should bless someone today. We should reach out to those who have needs, tell someone words of encouragement, pray for them, and let them know that really the essence of the Christian life ultimately is love.

Now, it is a tough love at times, but let us use this day to remind ourselves that we have the opportunity to encourage and to touch the lives of others. But now, Dave, back to your question. The answer is yes, prophets are absolutely real. Satan is real. And you asked the question about the doors that allow Satan into our lives.

There are about ten of them. And in my book entitled God's Devil, the incredible story of how Satan's rebellion serves God's purposes, I have a chapter with all of the ten doors listed. Number one is rebellion, which is as the sin of witchcraft.

I'm thinking also of number two, it has to do with anger. Paul says, let the sun not go down upon your wrath. Do not give place to the devil.

So there's another example of how Satan wants to use our emotional lives to entrap us. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. You go to rtwoffer.com. And thank you, by the way, for supporting this ministry.

Or if you prefer, you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Join us now as we consider from the scriptures once again the reality of Satan and the triumph of Christ over him. Here in Chicago, there was a con artist who worked like this. He came to a client and said, I want to give you a good deal.

Give me a few hundred dollars, and after you've done that, I will return all the money with a great increase. And so the con artist did that. And the client bought the deal and gave him some money, and weeks later, the con artist returned with the money and with a generous increase. A few weeks later, the con artist showed up again. This broker said, if you give me some money, we'll be able to invest it and it will end up being very, very valuable again. And that's exactly what happened. This went on for a time until the amount that the client kept getting him was greater and greater until finally the client gave him $50,000, and that was the last time they met.

Here are some things that scam operators will tell you. Number one, never lose sight of your long-term goal. Your long-term goal is the enslavement of your client.

Don't ever lose sight of it. Number two, do all that you can to develop confidence so that the client will not fear you. If possible, do not arouse suspicion. Use attractive bait, but keep the hook well hidden. Show what you have to show, but hide what you have to hide.

Have as many lures as there are interests among the masses, different strokes for different folks. You know, the Bible teaches that we have guardian angels. I believe that. I believe Matthew 18, where Jesus Christ says, or is it 19, where Jesus Christ talks about little children having angels. He says, they're angels.

He says, behold, the face of my Father is in heaven. And because Satan is the great imitator, it is my suspicion, though I can't prove it biblically, that what he really does is he imitates what God does, and he assigns to us specific spirits whose sole responsibility it is to observe us, to watch us, to look at us, to know what is happening, to try to make maximum use of any opportunity they might have to cause trouble and to cause us to stumble into sin. What I'd like to do first of all today is to give you some of the stages of demonic control, some of the stages of demonic enslavement. First of all, at the lowest level, we could say there is temptation. Temptation means that we are presented with an opportunity to sin because remember, as we learned last time, it is always Satan's desire to make sin look good to us. One day there was a couple eating together and they were having breakfast, probably some bagels, maybe even some cream cheese, and they said to one another, you know, we would like to appear spiritual because there are people in the church who are selling their property and they're giving it to the church and they're considered to be heroes.

Let's sell our property and give the money to the church too, but we will withhold some of the price and give the impression that we're giving it all because we want to be spiritual too. Kind of a half lie. Well, you know the story in Acts chapter 5, they did it, and later on God sent Peter to them and said these words, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?

Listen carefully. What Satan does is he puts ideas into our minds that we think are our own. We think that they are our own. Because, you see, if we thought for a moment that they came from Satan, we'd be terrified. Can you imagine Ananias and Sapphira having breakfast, eating their bagel, and a demonic spirit appear and say, sell your land and give part of it to the church but hold part of it back.

They'd have been terrified. But he didn't do that. He put it in their minds and they weren't afraid of that idea because they thought it was wholly and totally theirs. I believe that as Christians, Satan cannot read our thoughts. There is protection, but it does appear as if he can drop ideas into our minds.

And certainly in the case of the unsaved, he has more opportunity. In fact, Jesus said that when the word of God is preached, it is snatched out of the mind. And when the disciples asked an explanation, you remember what he said, he said it is Satan that comes and snatches the word of God out of their minds. People who have difficulty memorizing scripture. They can memorize some of the cub batting averages. Admittedly, the numbers may not be that high, but they can memorize some of those things. But one thing they cannot do and that is they can't remember scripture. Because there's the battle of the mind. Satan comes and snatches it out of the mind, the level of temptation.

There's a second level and that is we could call it by a number of different names, obsession, oppression, a stronghold. A couple of weeks ago I was at a conference and a couple made an appointment to see me. Fine Christian couple reared some real nice Christian kids and now they have a grandchild who is one year old and this dear Christian woman who never had a problem like this with her own children now can't be left alone with the baby because she has these horrid thoughts, gruesome thoughts of wanting to kill the child with a knife. Just awful, awful thoughts. Christian woman. Do you think that those are her thoughts?

This grandmother who loves her little baby so dearly, these are really her thoughts as a woman? Now those thoughts are injected by Satan and yet when you try to analyze you wish that you could always find out the exact reason, the cause and I asked all of the right questions was never really able to uncover the real source. Satan takes advantage of all kinds of things.

He is not a gentleman at all and therefore does not play by the rules. But you see once you begin to identify and you begin to say, you know, these thoughts are really not my thoughts. They are injected by an evil spirit. You can deal with it much more easily once you understand its source, obsessions. I've had people tell me that they are in church singing a song and suddenly some of the most blasphemous thoughts that one could even imagine just foist themselves upon the mind. And some of you who have various addictions you know the word obsession and its meaning. Then third of course you have actual invasion. This is demonic invasion, demonic possession as it is called in the New Testament.

Many examples of that perhaps the clearest is found in Mark chapter five and though we will not turn to it, it is a passage that you should read and think about. Here's a man who is among the tombs and he is there and he's cutting himself. He's trying to commit suicide. He is in despair. He lives alone. He doesn't want people around him.

He wants to live in isolation. And Jesus Christ cast legions of spirits from him and set him free. Interestingly, you remember the spirit said, let us go into something. Let us go into the pigs and Jesus allowed them to go into the pigs and does it not say that 3,000 of them ran and drowned themselves in the lake? You say, well what happened to those demonic spirits after the pigs drowned?

Well then they were free to roam trying to figure out where to go next, getting instructions where they could do more mischief. And some of them might have even returned to the graveyard where the man was. Maybe he had a familiar spirit.

That expression is used in the Old Testament when it comes to seances. You want to talk to the dead, you talk to a witch who has a familiar spirit. The word familiar means a spirit that was especially familiar with a person who has died and therefore can take on those characteristics, knows his history, and that's why there is so much deception when it comes to talking with the dead.

Nobody talks with the dead. They talk to spirits who impersonate the dead and a familiar spirit is one who knew the dead and sometimes those spirits may return to the point of death and therefore you have haunted houses. Just the other day my daughter was telling us that in her school there's someone who says, well you know there's this woman who died many, many years ago and she still lives in our house and she shows up but she is a kind, nice woman. When I was in Banff, Alberta a number of years ago and saw these stairs, the hotel I was in was haunted. They said that there were two rooms and the Calgary Herald had just run an article on that topic. And as we were in this dining room area where a young woman was giving us a tour of this beautiful hotel in Banff, I noticed that there was a stairwell of marble staircase with potted plants on every one of the stairs.

You couldn't go up the staircase so I asked. And she said, well a young woman was married here many years ago, fell down the stairs on her wedding day, hit her head and died here and her spirit lives here and she said, you can talk to the people who work here in the restaurant in the bottom of the hotel and they will tell you that they frequently see her. She comes back.

So I said to this young woman, I said, I would like to give you a biblical interpretation of this data. And I said, first of all I want you to know that this young lady who died here has never been back. She's gone to wherever but it is not she who returns. Number two, there are familiar spirits, evil spirits, demons actually who knew her or perhaps even possessed her and they sometimes hover in the area of where the person lived.

And I'll never forget, I mean, she was a little surprised at this explanation. She looked at me a little bit incredulous and said, I don't like the word demon, I prefer the word ghost. You know, like Casper, you know, the friendly ghost. I want you to know today, just for the sake of the record, there are no friendly ghosts. There are no friendly ghosts. Ghosts there are, haunted houses there are, poltergeists.

You read the stories of dishes breaking. Some of you have had experiences like that. There are demons in the world and they are very real. One story from a couple that used to attend Moody Church many years ago, one of the people in the family who happened to be, I believe, this lady's father, a very ungodly man who clearly was into the occult and demonism, he died. Now what happens to those spirits when a man who is inhabited by spirits dies?

Well, they need to go somewhere else. They began to attack the family. And to make a very long and interesting story short, they actually had to put to death in their family both the cat and the dog who went absolutely berserk after the death because evidently spirits came and even inhabited those animals. And that sometimes happens as proven in the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Mark. What we'd like to do today, you'll notice the sermon topic is, I believe, ten doors that let the serpent in and that could be misinterpreted.

So let me give you a couple of explanations. Number one, when we go through these ten doors, I don't want to give the impression that if you open this door you are possessed. I simply mean that this is the way in which Satan gets a foothold.

This is the way in which he gets an obsession. This is one of the doorways that he uses to harass us. Secondly, some of these doorways are sins.

That shouldn't surprise you. Sins of the flesh. I've already told you that sometimes you can't tell the difference between the work of Satan and the work of the flesh because they converge because Satan exploits the works of the flesh and uses them for his own ends and therefore we cannot always make that clear differentiation and we don't have to because the cure, whether the sin is of the flesh or whether or not it is exploited by Satan, is usually the same. And then finally, I want you to be aware of the fact as we go through here that we are not speaking, as I mentioned, about possession as much as we are talking about strongholds.

Because of the length of time that we have together, I'm going to basically list these. Today's message is not an expository message. It is a topical message and for each one I will give you a brief explanation and almost always a verse of scripture to go along with it that you can jot down to think about and to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance. Number one, rebellion. Rebellion. It says in 1 Samuel 15 verse 23, for rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is like rebellion and idolatry.

It's like occultism. Now, the context is, of course, Saul who disobeyed God and those are the words of Samuel. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. The first sin ever committed was a sin of pride. It was a sin of rebellion when Lucifer says, I will be like the most high.

Now, I know that everyone who is listening to this message today thinks to his self or herself. That's not me because you're not rebellious. You wouldn't be listening to this message if you were rebellious.

You think. Actually, it just means being disobedient. Whenever we are disobedient, whenever we know what God wants us to do and we don't do it and we in effect say, God, I know that you want A, B, C, and D but I'm going to do X, Y, Z, that is rebellion against God. And beware lest there be in you and in me a root of rebellion that does not submit to the lordship of Christ and the sovereignty of God. Rebellion, rebellion. But you and I recognize extreme forms, don't we? We know what it is like to have ministered to families and to people where there may be children that are very rebellious and just antagonistic to any form of authority.

Watch it. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and Satan will use it in your life. Secondly, there is anger. Ephesians chapter 4 verse 27, it says, when angry, do not sin. Do not give the devil an opportunity. Don't let the sun go down upon your wrath. When Rebecca and I were first married, we said that we would never go to bed angry and I think we kept that rule. Although, Rebecca, wasn't it true that one summer we didn't go to bed for two weeks? Wasn't that the case? I'm just joking, just joking.

Now listen to me very carefully. There are some people who become violently angry at the smallest irritation. They almost become different persons. They love to smash. They love to break. They like to put a fist through a wall.

I was eating with a young couple one time and noticed calendars in the oddest places. I asked for an explanation and they told me, anger, anger. Watch it. Watch those of you who just blow up and you just become so violently angry you could just do some very, very terrible things in your fit of anger.

You could become a murderer in your anger. The Bible says do not give the devil a tapas. Don't give him an opportunity. Don't give him a place.

That's what the word tapas means, place. Don't give him a place to have his foot, so to speak. Thirdly, and related to this, is hatred and murder. You remember early on in this series of messages I quoted 1 John 3 verse 12 regarding Cain and Abel and why did Cain kill Abel?

John asks. Well, the answer is because he was of that evil one, that evil one, hatred. And what did he have to be angry about?

Well, just the fact that he was offering sacrifices that God was not receiving and God was receiving Abel's sacrifice, but God said to him, look, all that you need to do is to offer your sacrifice like your brother is offering it and then you will also be accounted righteous. But he became angry, inflamed with anger. I want to just kill him. Just the satisfaction of seeing him dead is worth any consequence. That's what you think before you do it. After you do it, you have second thoughts.

Watch that. Number four, fear. I'm thinking of particularly here irrational fears, irrational fear and paranoia such as the case of Saul that we spoke about briefly last time. Also in Luke chapter 22 I find this very interesting, verse 31 where Simon, Simon, Satan have desire to have you that he might sift you like wheat. And Peter ends up being unable to witness for Christ and unable to identify himself with Jesus Christ because he's terrorized. He's afraid that if Jesus Christ goes to the cross, he may have to go to the cross. And therefore when a servant girl comes and says, don't you belong to his company, he denies it three times and ends up swearing.

He ends up lying. But notice that the devil was involved. Irrational fears, sometimes even rational ones where there is in Saul's case, this tremendous overwhelming sense of jealousy.

The feeling that everybody is against you, the interpretation of events that make you fearful beyond all rationality and comprehension. Well, my friend, this is Pastor Luther. We certainly have a lot to learn from the scriptures, don't we? And it's always a reminder of the fact that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this age. Satan wants access to your mind. I'm thinking, for example, of Ananias and Sapphira who decided to lie. And later on, Peter said to them, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? Well, perhaps you've already heard me say how important it is for us to realize that that couple, when they were discussing being deceitful, they had no awareness that they were under Satan's power.

And yet look what happened. In my book entitled God's Devil, what I'd like to emphasize is the sovereignty of God in our war with Satan. I believe that this book will be of a tremendous blessing. It will help you to pray effectively.

For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. And while you're going to find a pencil so that you can write this down, let me say in advance that we are so deeply grateful for the way in which many of you support this ministry. We stand together against the wiles of the devil. Well, here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com. Or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. The Bible says Satan is like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour, but he can't get in unless the door is open. Believers can either open the door or slam it shut. Next time on Running to Win, more doors we must keep closed, beginning with door number four. We'll focus on setting the deadbolts securely. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-05 01:56:35 / 2023-06-05 02:05:24 / 9

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