Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Many Christians have given the devil a foothold in their lives, and the result is often tragic. Believers who are burdened by satanic influence need not remain in bondage. They need to know that there is an antidote for the serpent's evil poison. 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 currently in a series on God's Devil, the incredible story of how Satan's rebellion serves God's purposes. Pastor Lutzer, I hope today you have some good news.
Tell us about a cure for the serpent's poison. Dave, I have to say that the good news always revolves around Jesus Christ and his victory over Satan. And you know, we can perhaps put this in different words, but I always like to use this illustration.
If you want to get rid of flies, get rid of the garbage. Satan uses sin in our lives to exploit our weaknesses and to lead us astray. That's why this ministry is so important because what I want to do is to be able to enable people to stand against Satan.
Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts so the ministry of Running to Win can expand. Here's what you do. Go to RTWOffer.com.
When you're there, click on the endurance partner button or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. I'll be giving you that contact info again. Let us listen carefully as we once again understand the victory of Christ over our enemy. Let me ask you something. Would you be offended?
I hope you're in a good mood. Would you be offended if I were to say that you probably have some of the same characteristics as the devil? Because believe it or not, you and I very probably do. Because let us remember that a little drop of his rebellion has fallen on every single human heart. I want you to take your Bibles and turn for just a moment to Galatians chapter five. Galatians chapter five, where we have the works of the flesh that are listed. Always remember that even if Satan were banished from this planet right now, we'd have many of the same sins committed, still read many of the same headlines.
We would still be in much the same predicament around the world because we have enough sinfulness in our nature to do many terrible things. Galatians chapter five lists the deeds of the flesh and it says, they are, verse 19, immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. Quite apart from the devil, these are the things that we are capable of doing.
One of the things I want you to notice is the diversity of the list. It is everything from sorcery to drunkenness to outbursts of anger to all manner of impurity. Something else about this list that is striking, let's think of every one of these sins as branches on a tree.
Actually, God has cursed the whole tree. See, perhaps you look at this and think, oh, I would never be involved in drunkenness. That's not my temptation.
I don't drink. Well, that's wonderful if that's true of you, but is there envy? Is there dissension? Are there factions? Is there impurity? It's not as if we can pick and choose in that sense because God says I hate the entire tree. It is all cursed. Now let me answer another question.
What is the root of the tree? What is it that really is what lies at the heart of the evil that is within us? And the answer to that in a single word or a hyphenated word is self-will. Which is, of course, Lucifer's sin. I will be like the most high. This happens to be number seven in a series of messages on Satan, the serpent of paradise. And we learned that it was because of that pride, because of that desire to be number one. It is then that sin began and the whole sordid story began to be told. Now what I'd like to do today is to make, first of all, some parallels between us and Satan.
Yes, that's what we're going to do. Maybe you didn't expect that coming into church, but that is what you are going to be served in this message. But then afterwards, what we're going to do, by God's grace, and it does take God's grace, is to put the axe to the very root of the tree and deal with that thing that we call self-will, which is the playground of the devil.
That's the agenda. First of all, some of those similarities, some of those parallels, and for this I'm going to be quoting verses of scripture. I will give you one verse. We may not turn to all the verses.
You simply jot them down and then you can read them later. First of all, verbal slander. Verbal slander. A very interesting passage occurs in 1 Timothy 3, verse 11. That's the verse to write down, 1 Timothy 3, verse 11, where the Apostle Paul is talking about the qualifications of leadership. And he says this about the wives of deacons. Now if you're a deacon here at the church, listen up at this point.
And if you're an elder, listen up. And if you're a staff member, listen up, because it really refers to all those who are leaders and all believers in every era. This is what Paul says. He says, I exhort the wives of deacons that they be not, my translation says, malicious gossips. The King James says, slanderers. But do you know what the Greek says? I exhort them not to be diabolos, devils. That's the Greek word that he uses, because the word devil means slanderer. That's the way it's translated in the New Testament. Whenever you have a reference to Satan, it is diabolos.
And the plural of diabolos is diabolous. I exhort the women that they be not devils. What is he talking about? He's saying that if you slander someone, you are doing the devil's work. That's his job description. That's what he does day in and day out. And you speak ill of others, and you are on his playground, on his turf.
Of course, slander refers to making accusations that are false in order to ruin the reputation of someone else. Have you ever had that? Oh, I know that you have. We all have. Have you ever had that good feeling of being able to tear down somebody else, especially in an area in which you are strong?
That's when it feels the best. This is not my problem. Think of what he is doing. Slander. I was with a young pastor recently in another state who was having a conversation with one of his staff members. And they weren't getting along very well.
And eventually, I think one or the other is going to have to go. But anyway, he was telling the staff member, here are three things we need to be reconciled about. Go home and pray about it. Then come back, and tomorrow we'll talk about it.
The young staff member went home, called all of his friends. The pastor's phone is ringing off the hook with all of these false accusations. My dear friend, that is the devil's work. Do not be a devil. Don't you dare pick up that telephone and call someone who is neither a part of the solution nor a part of the problem and slander someone else. Now I have a question for you. What is the difference between Satan, whose main business is slander, in fact that's what his name means, what is the difference between him and some carnal Christian who goes about stirring up strife, slandering other believers? Well, there may be some difference, but a drop of Satan's rebellion has fallen on every single human heart. When we slander, we do his work.
Well, number two, you're getting seven of them, so we need to go quickly. Number two, the refusal to publicly confess Christ. The refusal to publicly confess Christ. Someone says, well, you know, I can talk about the World Series. I can talk about politics.
There's lots to talk about politics. But the problem is that I cannot speak about Christ to anyone even if God opens the door. My tongue is tied suddenly. I had a Christian man tell me, he was sitting in a barber chair, and the barber actually began to ask him questions about what he believed about Christ and the whole bit. I mean, it was as if the barber was saying, here I am, tell me about Jesus. And the man said he couldn't open his mouth. Now, you know, it's interesting, in First Corinthians, chapter 12, verse 3, First Corinthians 12, verse 3, the Apostle Paul is talking about speaking in tongues. Remember this, the devil wants your tongue.
We learned that about slander just a moment ago. You say, well, what is the most important part of my body that the devil would want? Answer your voice box, your tongue, because that's the way you can best do his work. Well, he wants to use your tongue to slander people, but he wants to make sure also that your tongue is not used to witness for Christ. And Paul says that no man speaking under the inspiration of an evil spirit will call Christ Lord. Demons never confess Jesus Christ as Lord unless they are forced to. Well, but there are believers who are not willing to publicly confess Jesus Christ as Lord. Now, maybe I'm being a bit hard on us because certainly there is a difference. A believer would love to be able to confess Jesus Christ to be Lord, but maybe he doesn't know how to do it.
Maybe he needs some training. He has to overcome fear, and so there is a difference. But there may be this similarity, that whether it is Satan who will not confess Christ Lord or a Christian who is afraid to confess Christ Lord, the similarity is that both of those actions stem from a lack of fervent love for Christ. We love to sing, oh, for a thousand tongues to sing, and God gives us a good one that really works, and we find we can't use it to witness for Christ. Secondly, the refusal to confess Christ publicly. Third, uncleanness, uncleanness. Twenty times in the New Testament, at least, the Bible uses the word uncleanness to refer to evil spirits. For example, in Luke chapter 9 verse 42, it says Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit. Now, we're not talking about physical uncleanness. We're not talking about that. You know, according to a poll, I think a majority of Americans actually believe that the expression cleanliness is next to godliness is from the Bible, and that is rather humorous.
I want you to know that that is not found in the Bible, and I already know that I'm telling you something that you already know, so we can hurry on. We're not talking about physical uncleanness. Cleanliness may be next to godliness in America where we've got lots of soap and water, but it may not be that way in other parts of the world. I'm talking about moral uncleanness. Second Peter chapter 2 verse 10 uses the very same word uncleanness that is used for evil spirits to speak of the lust of uncleanness. That's the same kind of uncleanness. A woman in whose heart God had done a wonderful work of transformation, she had come to a crisis in her life and finally dealt with an issue that had dogged her spiritual life for years and years and years. She had to burn more than 300 trashy novels.
She said it was like taking a file drawer, opening it up, and then turning it upside down and allowing all that trash to just fall away and cleaning this file drawer. And that's what she referred to it as cleaning because the novels were uncleanness. You want to know what uncleanness is?
Turn on the talk shows on modern day television. Uncleanness, movies, videotapes, that is, and what do I want to say, CDs, certain kinds of music filled, filled with uncleanness and impurity. I have a question for you. What's the difference between an unclean spirit and a carnal Christian with a very cluttered unclean life? Both are the fruit of self-will. Well, hurrying along, number four, a passion for control. A passion for control and there are so many passages that could be used here you can just simply write down Mark chapter 5.
Mark 5, that will do. Remember the demon who wanted to control that man who was there in the tombs? And he did a pretty good job until Jesus Christ came along and cast the demons out and they went into the swine.
Now listen carefully. This passion to control is demonic. It is a characteristic, first of all, of cults. There are false cults who say, you come to us, we will train you. We cut you off from your family.
You can't talk to anybody who disagrees with us. We want you to no longer have association with your friends and anyone else and your church because we will tell you the whole truth and then they stick with you all the time. You can never really be alone because you must come under their authority and they will tell you what to wear, what to believe, who you can speak to and they'll do it under the name of scriptures and say, well, this is just obedience to elders and what they want is demonic, satanic control. Get out of a cult like that if you happen to be in it. Get out.
Don't believe their lies. Here in the Chicago area there was a man many years ago who in effect left an evangelical church and belonged to a cult and he wanted to meet with me for some reasons and at the end he wanted me to come under his authority. I was supposed to be totally dominated by him and then I was to kneel at his coffee table and repent basically of my unwillingness to submit to his authority. You know what I felt?
I felt that if I had knelt at that coffee table it would not have been to God, it would have been to him. I can still see those beady eyes saying I want to control you. Devil, devil.
You know that we can see the extremes but what are some of the non-extremes? Do you happen to live with a person who is always right, who has to win every argument and every fight? I wasn't expecting any amen so I'm not surprised that I have all of this silence suddenly. Somebody who's always right, he has to be. He has an ego need to prove that he's right. I need to control.
I need to hang on to who I am, this macho. Oh my, how God has had to drag some people from one briar patch to another to humble them, to finally break them and smash them and I've seen people on their deathbed finally admit to their families that they had been wrong. Think of what it took to get a confession like that out of their mouths until God finally took all the control away until something serious was happening in their lives that they could have no control over whatever. They were dying and now suddenly they say I was wrong.
What a tragedy to wait until a time like that. Or somebody who hangs on to his possessions. Same thing, control, power.
God gives them the opportunity to earn money and they think that when we have an offering at church that they are really doing God a favor by giving something when in point of fact, number one, we are always only giving back what God has already given to us. But there's no joy, there's no generosity, there's no hilarity, there's no willingness to take risks with giving because they want to play it safe. Control, control.
I want it to be mine. Ownership, demonic ownership. Now what's the difference between Satan who wants to control others and someone who maybe can't control others but he wants to control himself and his wealth and all that he is?
There may be some difference but in every case it is the fruit of self-will. Number five. And here's one for you.
If you haven't been hit yet, it's coming. Just wait, we're only now at number five and we still have three to go. Number five, the love of praise. The love of praise. Matthew chapter 4 verse 9, Satan takes Christ and shows him the kingdoms of the earth and says if you worship me, I will then give them to you.
Just worship me, notice me, admire me, bow before me. Have you ever been miffed because you have been overlooked and not properly thanked, admired and appropriately praised? I was working on this sermon and you know you've heard me say that my sermons do me a whole lot more good than they ever do you but I remember in first year Bible school my roommate was elected to be class president and he was a fine enough chap but I thought to myself what a wrong decision that the class made. I thought this guy's roommate would have been much more qualified for the position. I also remember that this guy's roommate later on was elected student body president two or three years later and thought well it was about time somebody recognized the gifts that God had given him.
Oh I'll tell you something. Envy, the love of praise. Can't you see my gifts? Am I being properly thanked?
Am I being properly honored? What a, what a, I want to say the word though I'm over stressing the point, what a demon in all of us that must be slain. The love of praise. Oh Satan wants it and you and I want it too and sometimes God takes us through circumstances where we are stripped from that just to see what's there just to make sure that we have come to a death to self will which is what we're going to talk about in just a moment.
Number six, lawlessness. Lawlessness and here 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 8 says that Satan or Antichrist is that lawless one. 2 Thess 2 verse 8 but here you can also put John chapter 8 verse 44 you are of your father the devil. Notice those characteristics Christ said of the Jews of his day.
He says the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and he was a liar and you murder in your heart if not literally and you lie and you deceive and that is the devil's work. That is characteristics of demons. And finally we must hurry on number seven self-deception.
Self-deception. You see Satan was deceived about himself because he thought that he could rebel against God and things might in the end go well with him. I think he expected God to kind of tap him on the wrist so to speak.
In fact in the first message you remember we emphasized that point. And so he was self-deceived about himself. He was deceived about God and now he wants to lead us into deception. You know the scriptures talk about Satan's ability to deceive. 2 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 3 Paul says I fear that just as Satan deceived Eve that your heart should be deceived from the simplicity which is in Christ.
Listen very carefully. Did you know that if you were deceived you don't know it? You don't know it. Because if you knew it it would not be a genuine deception. Well this is Pastor Luther that certainly makes us think doesn't it?
The fact is that we might be deceived and not know it. You know I'm so thankful for the ministry of running to win that goes into 20 different countries in three different languages. I'm holding in my hands a letter that we received from someone in New Mexico. They talk about the fact that they are just learning what it means to be a new believer living on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico. The reason that warms my heart is I was there perhaps 25 or 30 years ago and I recall a woman who came up to me and said that she takes care of animals cows I think it was out on the range and she listens to the ministry of running to win on her transistor radio.
Remember back then when we all had transistor radios. You have a part in the lives of these people who are blessed as a result of running to win. Thanks to the many of you who support this ministry running to win continues to expand. Would you like to become an endurance partner? Of course you need more info. Here is what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. When you're there click on the endurance partner button. That's rtwoffer.com the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337.
You can write to us at running to win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, Illinois 60614. The devil can do lots of damage when believers let him gain a foothold. Slandering others is only one of the said results. Believers need to rid themselves of every evidence of these strongholds. Otherwise much damage can be done to the cause of Christ next time on running to win. Dr. Lutzer will continue his message on a cure for the serpent's poison and he'll talk about how we can be deceived for Dr. Erwin Lutzer. This is Dave McCallister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-04 11:39:16 / 2023-06-04 11:48:10 / 9