Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. It's not that you need to figure out the spirit that's speaking into your head, you just need to ignore it. And you need to get a louder voice ringing in your ears. And that is what Jesus has declared over you that I have chosen you. I have called you for my purposes to give you a future and a hope and you need to drown out the voice of Satan with a louder voice of the gospel. Welcome to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.
Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. You're joining us today in a teaching series called The Difficult Sayings of Jesus. And if you missed any previous messages, you can catch up for free at jdgreer.com.
And be sure to listen until the end of today's program as well to hear about our featured resource this month available to our Summit Life family. Now, today we're dealing with a difficult statement in Luke Chapter 10, verses 17 to 20. Jesus said to his followers, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall hurt you.
That's a huge promise. But what exactly does Jesus mean? And what does it look like for us today? Well, here to answer these questions is Pastor J.D. So open your Bible to the Book of Luke and let's join him now. Well, first, what does it mean that we have the authority to tread on serpents and scorpions?
I mean, it's nearly every chapter. Satan has mentioned 250 separate times in the New Testament. Here, Jesus is giving them very clear instructions about how they are to engage with the demonic realm. So if you're going to take Jesus and the New Testament seriously, listen, you've got to take this seriously because it's a major theme that runs through Jesus' life. And if you're ignorant of this or you just ignore it, you're missing a big part of what God has for us as disciples of Jesus.
Well, who is he and what exactly does he do? This verse gives you a clue as to where he came from. I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. You ever been trying to share Christ with somebody and just the most bizarre things start happening to them? Distractions, things that make them doubt.
And you're like, why? It's because Satan is putting when he begins to target people when they begin to be exposed to the gospel. It's why some of our church planners overseas deal with opposition they never experienced before because he is putting obstacles in the way. Revelation 12 10 calls him the accuser of the brethren, which means he loves to what? Accuse you and remind you, which means that voice in the heart pointing out your sin is not always the Holy Spirit.
A lot of times it is your enemy trying to remind you of the mistakes you have made, the failure that you have become so that he can paint for you a very bleak outlook about your future. You ever notice how critical people are of Christian leaders that God has put over them? There's a reason that that is one of the biggest targets for everybody, and that is because Satan loves to do that. 1 John 3 10 calls Satan the father of hatred and murder that is at work in the rulers of the world.
Think about that. That means that Satan is moving in the highest levels of earthly power. The highest financial, the highest military, he's moving in those turning them to kill, to steal, and to destroy. 1 Timothy 3 6 Paul says that he puffs up Christian leaders with pride so that they will fall. And then in 2 Timothy 2 24 that he brings to the minds of unbelievers the pride and the faults of Christian leaders so that they will not take the gospel seriously.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4 4 that he blinds the mind of unbelievers and in 1 Thessalonians 3 5 that he attached faith wherever he finds it. Ephesians says that Satan ensnares unbelievers in their sin so that they become addicted to their sin with this feeling that they will never be able to get out of them. Throughout the New Testament we see Satan causing sickness and sometimes insanity. 2 Corinthians 12 Paul would call his physical affliction. He had a thorn in the flesh that afflicted him physically and Paul called it a messenger of Satan to afflict me. So is he real?
Is he active? If Jesus knew what he was talking about the answer has to be yes. You look at certain chapters in human history and you say how could that have happened? How do things like the Rwandan genocide happen?
How do you get there? How do you get to the levels of cruelty you see today in the Sudan or the Taliban? How did slavery happen in our country? How is the abortion epidemic still happening in our country? How does child pornography, the sex slave trade, how do these things gain traction? And these are not things by the way that just take place in remote parts of the world without education.
You know that the hub of the sex slave trade is Atlanta, Georgia. The famous historian from Yale, Marlo Unger said, History is littered with the story of powerful men and women whose infliction of destruction and death could only be described by two words, insane or diabolical. Did you know there are three times in the Bible, only three, where someone is said to be directly filled by Satan? And all three times they are completely sane. They're not rolling their eyes in the back of their head and floating six feet above their head like the exorcist. All three times that Satan fills somebody they are completely sane but they are murderous and they are out to destroy Christian faith. So is he real?
You better believe it. You say well why then is he not more obvious? I read the gospels and it seems like demons and Satan are a lot more visible back then than they are today. Listen, this is really important. Satan is not after your recognition. He is after your destruction. He comes to you as an angel of light saying, follow this.
This is what you want. This is how I am going to destroy you. 1 Peter 5.8, Be alert and of sober minds. You keep your eyes open at all times because your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. First, notice that Peter calls Satan a lion. He's a hunter. That he seeks prey.
And what happens, Peter says, if you go through life without being even aware? What if he was at work in your life right now? What if he was in the temptations? What if he was the one, sir, that was hovering above your computer at night beckoning you to just enjoy yourself for a few minutes before you go to bed? What if he was the one that was providing you with those really easy opportunities for you to get ahead in business by just cheating a little bit?
What if all that was happening and you were completely unaware of it? You encouraged yet? You encouraged? Here's good news. Let's keep reading. Verse 19, I saw Satan fall and I've given you authority now to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall hurt you.
That's an amazing promise. I was out with a bunch of guys just passed away fishing on the French Broad River. They have these little holes in the side of the river or in the bank where they put their hand in there and we did not do that. But we were talking about who thought of that first?
Who thought, I'm just going to reach my hand in there and let a catfish try to bite my hand and then pull it out and that's how I'm going to catch the fish. I would not do that. I certainly would not look at a pit of snakes and scorpions and just go trotting across a barefoot. Yet Jesus is saying that that's exactly what you're going to do, metaphorically speaking. You're going to look at that and you're going to walk across it knowing that it's not going to be able to actually hurt you. Nothing shall hurt you. By the way, listen, that does not mean Satan cannot afflict you.
How do I know that? Paul said he had a thorn in the flesh that was a messenger of Satan. Satan was afflicting him, was he not? So it wasn't like just because Paul was an apostle, Satan could not mess with him.
Nothing can hurt you means that nothing that Satan does can stop the forward progress of what God is doing in your life. Here's what God did. God took that messenger of Satan, 2nd Corinthians 12, and he turned it into an instrument for Paul's good. That's what God does with Satan in your life. He takes the afflictions of Satan and he says, I'm actually going to reverse those and I'm going to use what Satan intends for evil. I'm going to use it for your good. You have been given authority to overrule all that Satan intended for evil in your life.
And to say, I declare that God is going to use that for good. You say, well, how do we exercise that authority? That's a great question. Before we get to it, let me answer a couple of practical questions that people ask me when I teach on something like this. First one they ask is, I got a situation, say for example, sickness, and I don't know if there's a spiritual reason behind it.
So what should I do? You know, we know so much now, even more than they did back in the days the Bible was written. We know the science of medicine and God gave us that knowledge and he expects us to use that knowledge to the fullest. And yet we know that there can be spiritual reasons behind sickness.
Paul in first Corinthians said that there were some who were sick and even died because of their disrespect of the Lord's table and communion. So he's like, well, how do we, what do we do in that moment? Part of the problem, listen, is that we like to draw neat lines between the natural and the supernatural. But the supernatural, listen, this will blow some of your minds, the supernatural can work in and through the natural. For example, can God send a storm? Yes, we see that happens in the Bible. Does that mean he did not use the normal forces of nature to cause that storm?
Not at all. The supernatural can be in the natural. Or here's another one, I teach my kids that they were created by God.
Is that legitimate? Psalm 139 says they were created by God, that God created them as a plan for them. Does that take away the fact of the biology of how Veronica and I created them?
Not at all. The supernatural works in the natural and you're not supposed to try to separate those all the time. That means, practically speaking, when you're dealing with a situation and you suspect there may be some supernatural purpose behind it, my counsel to you is that you address both the natural and the supernatural sources as you seek healing.
You should exhaust every natural remedy at your disposal and then be sensitive to spiritual reasons that may be behind it as well. I'll give you an example of this. Did you know that the apostle Paul traveled with a licensed physician? His name was Luke. He wrote the book of Acts.
Paul traveled with him. In fact, at one point, he calls him the beloved physician. In fact, one of the things that entertains me as I read Paul's letters is that I love it when Paul gives medical advice to people that he's writing to.
Have you ever seen this? We assume that he got that from Dr. Luke. When he would minister to people, he would use both the natural and the supernatural.
The point is, one does not have to exclude the other. So when someone is sick, call the doctors, always. But if you begin to suspect something really different is at work, then while you are consulting the doctors, you should call, James 5 says, the elders of the church to pray because that is also dealing with the spiritual things behind that. You're listening to Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. As we take a brief pause from today's teaching, I want to share with you about a fantastic resource that's available to you free of charge each day. It's our daily email devotional, and it's a great way to develop a daily habit of keeping yourself grounded in the word of God. These devotionals even follow along with the current teaching series here on Summit Life, and they include a scripture reading, a devotional thought and a prayer prompt to help you start your day on the right foot.
It's completely free, and you can sign up today at jdgreer.com slash resources. We hope that these devotionals will be a source of encouragement and growth in your walk with Christ. And remember, our resources are made possible by the generous support of listeners like you. So sign up today. Now, let's get back to today's teaching with Pastor J.D.
Greer here on Summit Life. Here's another question that I get. Can a Christian be demon possessed? Interestingly, the Bible never uses the term demon possessed, period. That's actually a poor translation of the Greek word diadzimai.
It's not a good translation. Literally, diadzimai means demonized. Can a Christian be afflicted by a demon?
Yes, absolutely. One of the things we teach here is that if you get drowsy while I'm up here teaching, that's a sign of demon afflicting you. So if the person next to you looks like they're getting a little drowsy, I've told you, reach over, take their forehead in your hand, and as loud as you can, yell, demons out! And I promise you, whether the cause is natural or supernatural, the spirit of slumber will depart from that person, okay? I'm just kidding. But can a Christian be demon possessed?
No. Any part of you, however, that is not surrendered to Jesus and placed under the protection of his blood can be demonized. Your soul can never completely be taken over since. If you're a Christian, your soul belongs to Jesus. But whatever part of you you have not brought underneath the lordship of Christ can and probably will be demonized.
Which leads me to the final question. How are we supposed to engage against the demonic? How are we supposed to engage against the demonic? Well, this passage does not give you a lot of detailed instruction. But notice what Jesus says in verse 20. Nevertheless, he says, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you.
Rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Here's a side point that I'm actually going to go to somewhere else in the Bible to really develop. Jesus consistently directs people away from preoccupation with the demonic.
Consistently. In fact, he never, not one time, ever tells us to go out demon hunting or to approach the world like an exorcist. There's really only one passage in which the Bible outlines for us what a strategy for spiritual warfare should look like. And that strategy is found in Ephesians 6. In Ephesians 6, it's where he lists out the weapons of our warfare. What's interesting, listen, and might be disappointing for some of you, is that none of the weapons that he gives us are really that weird. The helmet of salvation.
That's one of the first ones he mentions. Which basically means, let your thinking be saturated by the gospel. Take the shield of faith. Faith in what? Faith in God's promises. Put on the belt of truth.
Which is good news because you never wanted to go into battle with your pants down. But what is the belt of truth? It is believing what God's word says. Have your feet covered with a readiness to declare the gospel, with a readiness to preach. Take in your hands the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. Know how to quote scripture.
Pray at all times in the spirit. Can I summarize all those things for you? All the different weapons are actually different ways of saying the exact same thing. Yes, I grew up in Sunday school. We had the flannel graph.
I know how to put on the different pieces. I get that there's a bunch of different pieces mentioned, but Paul is actually just rephrasing the same concept over and over again. And that is, be saturated by the gospel. Put faith in the gospel. Cover yourself with the gospel. When every part of you is covered by the gospel, Satan cannot touch you. You see, when I was on the mission field, when I served overseas, there were many who believed in what they called territorial spirits, which is basically like some hierarchy of demons that control various places.
And if you're going to do effective warfare here, you've got to find them and bind them. So you've got to figure out what his name is or its name is, and you've got to cast them out in Jesus' name. Paul never, never instructs us to do that. In fact, listen to this.
And again, this might disappoint some of you. Paul gives us three model prayers in the book of Ephesians, where he talks about spiritual warfare. Three model prayers. In none of them is he binding or casting out any demons. 1 Corinthians 1, when Paul is addressing the division, listen to this. When Paul is addressing the division in the Corinthian church, do you remember when I went through that list, one of the things that Satan does is he causes division in God's people. And 1 Corinthians, the Corinthians are like, they're like the worst church division ever. So if there were ever a place that Satan was at work, it was in the church in Corinth, right? I mean, because they're like the Jerry Springer show of churches. Do you ever read that? When Paul is counseling them, Paul never tells them to rebuke the spirit of division.
He doesn't. He tells them to be united in their minds around the gospel and to be charitable to each other in response to the gospel. He tells them to do exactly what he told them to do in Ephesians 6, cover yourself with the gospel.
1 Corinthians 5, when he talks about the problem of immorality in the church. You've got some guy sleeping with his mom, which is bad. And some scholars say, well, no, it was his stepmom. That doesn't matter.
If you call her mom, take her to the prom, that's just bad news, okay? When Paul addresses that situation, he doesn't tell them to rebuke the spirit of incest. He urges the Corinthians simply to believe the gospel, exercise church discipline, and encourage the guy to repent because of what Jesus has done. The point, again, listen, get grounded in Jesus and Satan will not be able to touch you. You focus on the fullness with Christ, not on the demonic. Luke 11, here's where Jesus made this really clear.
Luke 11, he tells a story about a guy. He uses a metaphor. A guy has a house and a demon lives in it with him, which is bad news. Evidently, the demon's pretty messy and stinky because the guy's house is kind of messy and smelly. So he asks the demon to leave and the demon does. So the guy cleans up his house.
He's super excited because now he's got a spic and span house. The demon, meanwhile, goes out and gets six of his friends, comes back, says, hey, clean house, something else for us to destroy, and they all move in. And so Jesus says the last state of the man is worse than the first. Then Jesus goes on in that chapter to say you've got to have a stronger man that possesses the house before the demons will not come back and fill it again. And so his point is, listen to this, if you want to keep the devil out, you need a stronger resident who, when the demon comes back, he can't take over from the stronger man. The irony is if you want to fight the demonic in your life, don't focus on the demonic at all.
Just let Jesus be large in your life. C.H. Spurgeon said it this way. He's the pastor emeritus of the Summit Church.
C.H. Spurgeon, the preaching of Christ is the whip that flogs the devil. You're like, pastor, how do you keep Satan out of your church? I just preach Jesus.
That's what I'm trying to do. Just preach Jesus. Why? Because Satan hates it. I'm preaching Jesus, and it's beating the heck out of the devil. I could probably get away with saying beating the hell out of the devil. Could I not right there?
I think I could. I preach Jesus, and it does whatever you want to say. He leaves. He cannot possess where Jesus is large. We want the stronger man. We want the Holy Spirit to possess every part of you. We want the gospel to saturate all of you, and then the demonic cannot touch you. You see, when Jesus died, he destroyed any power that Satan has over you. Any power.
Right? See, Jesus did not merely die for you. He died instead of you. And because Jesus was taken to the cross in part by Satan, he can never do that to me because he's already been burned. The wrath has already been given, so in him there's not a thing, not a hand, that he can lay on me.
In fact, here's how you say this. Christians fight from victory, not for victory. Christians fight from victory, not for victory.
Here's why I say that. I hear a lot of Christians say, I'm just fighting for victory over Satan. You don't need victory over Satan. Jesus had victory over Satan.
You just stand in him. You rest in the finished work of Christ in that spot where it's already been burned. And there's not a thing that Satan can do for you. The answer to overcoming the demonic is not to obsess about the demonic.
The answer is to get filled completely by Jesus. So is Satan filling your mind with discouraging thoughts? Is he telling you you're a failure? You're never going to be used by God? There's nothing but failure in your past?
There'll be nothing but failure in your future? Then you need to counter that with the truth of the gospel. It's not that you need to figure out the spirit that's speaking into your head.
You just need to ignore it and you need to get a louder voice ringing in your ears. And that is what Jesus has declared over you, that I have chosen you. I have called you for my purposes to give you a future and a hope.
I have ransomed you. I have made you who was not my people, my people. There is nothing but goodness and mercy in your future. And you need to drown out the voice of Satan with the louder voice of the gospel. The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures. Satan loves to whisper in your head. Listen, I know he does mine all the time. Remember, he's called the accuser of the brethren. You need to drown out the voice of the accuser with the louder voice of the gospel.
Believe the gospel from head to toe and the accuser cannot touch any of it. You think Satan is messing with your marriage? You think he's messing with your spouse?
You think he's messing with your kids? You get the presence of the stronger man all over your marriage and Satan cannot touch it. Whatever belongs to Jesus, Satan cannot touch. On the other hand, listen, believer, whatever has not been submitted to the lordship of Christ and brought into that circle of the blood of Christ is wide open for satanic attack. And that one area that you have not brought into that circle is the area through which Satan will destroy you.
C.S. Lewis said, Pastor JD and I recently had the chance to talk about this teaching series called The Difficult Sayings of Jesus. And he told me what he is hoping listeners will take away from it.
Well, let's all just be honest. There are moments when we find the words of Jesus bizarre, confusing, sometimes just plain offensive. So what we're doing in this series is we're seeing how these difficult sayings of Jesus, some of his toughest teachings are actually the places where we can find gospel life, sometimes other places where he imparts the greatest wisdom. So I found this particular series very rewarding, both personally and also in the feedback I got from the church.
I'm hoping you are as well. There's a lot more that we have to get into. And I think you're going to find it. I think you're going to find it fascinating. And I think there's a lot of gospel truth there for you. Along with that, we're providing a resource that will just help you read the gospels better. So we've given you a 40 day reading plan that will take you through the four gospels. And we are pairing with it this gospel flip book that gives you not just the passage in the gospels that you're going to read. It's going to give you a key gospel insight or a prayer or some background information that will make the gospels really just come alive. So reach out at jdgrier.com and let's start that relationship. The gospel flip book is a great tool for sharing the good news of Jesus in a simple and engaging way. To receive your copy, we simply ask that you make a donation of $35 or more to support this ministry.
You can call us anytime at 866-335-5220 or visit our website at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch. Join us next time as we begin to wrap up our series on some of the hard sayings of Jesus. We'll cover the controversial subject of the end times prophecy, a topic that trips up even the most mature believers. Pastor J.D. Greer helps us understand yet another difficult question Wednesday on Summit Life. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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