Today on Summit Life with JD Greer. 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 begins to target people when they begin to be exposed to the gospel. It's why some of our church planters overseas deal with opposition that you've never experienced before because he is putting obstacles in the way. Welcome to another week of solid biblical teaching here on Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer.
As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. You know, for many of us, Satan is just a cartoon villain with little red horns and a pitchfork, and we don't think all that much of him. But is he really just a figment of Hollywood's imagination or is he alive and active in our world today?
And if so, then what does he actually do? Today, Pastor JD dives into scripture to answer those questions, helping us understand our adversary and the battlefield in front of us. We continue our study of some of the most challenging statements Jesus ever made with a message Pastor JD titled, I saw Satan fall like lightning. We are in the midst of a series called the Difficult Sayings of Jesus. Things that Jesus said that don't readily make sense to us, things that may challenge us and shatter some of our preconceptions that we have about Jesus. Thomas Jefferson had that famous Bible. I think it's in a museum somewhere where he had actually cut out the parts of Jesus's life, the ministry that he didn't like. You may not have actually done that to your Bible, but all of us tend to have kind of a version of Jesus that we gravitate toward that is an edited version. Well, I don't like what he says over here, and I don't like it when he does this right here.
You can't do that. You cannot block out parts of Jesus's presentation of himself. And what these statements do is it puts the real Jesus on display through these difficult statements and really confronts you with who he is to ask you how you really feel about him and whether or not you're willing for him to be who he is.
Here's the difficult statement for today. If you have a Bible, Luke chapter 10, would invite you to take it out and open it up or turn it on to Luke chapter 10. We're going to be in verse 17 is where this one is found. Luke 10 verse 17, the 72 returned with joy. Really quick, you're like, who were the 72? It's kind of like the second ring of disciples.
You had the 12 and then you had beyond them. We find out a group, a larger group that included the 12, 72. Many scholars point out that the number of families listed when God scattered the earth in Genesis 11, all the different cultures are 72 different nations and clans mentioned. So in many ways, this is God sending out people to re-bring in all those various tribes and cultures. But at this point in the gospels at 72, going around Israel, preaching the gospel, saying they come back very excited, saying, Lord, you're not going to believe this. Even the demons are subject to us in your name. So he says to them, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I've given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in that, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
Now, why would this one be a difficult statement? Well, first, what does it mean that we have the authority to tread on serpents and scorpions? I mean, is this when our church gets really weird, right? Maybe. First, if the ushers would come forward at each of our campuses and pass out the buckets with the snakes in them, we're going to see who has real faith.
No, I'm just kidding. Of course, I had the only time I've ever really handled a snake. I was 12 years old. My parents had just given me a bow and arrow, and I had spent every day for the last three months practicing it. And I went to a little creek down behind about a quarter mile by to the back of my house. And there curled up on the bank was some kind of snake.
I was probably about 20 yards away. I took that bow and arrow. I pulled it back, shot at that snake. Through some freak accident, I hit the snake right in the head, right in the back of the neck.
Could never do it a second time. Don't think that I'm like Katniss or some version of that. I just pinned the snake to the ground. I thought that was awesome. So I did what any 12-year-old boy would do. I walked over to that snake. I took its head. I took the arrow and ran it all the way down its stomach and carried it home like a trophy to show my mom. I took it out, the arrow out, and it was still alive.
It slithered off and went back into the grass. I have no desire at any point to ever even see a snake again. So that is not what we're a church we're about. Even if you know that Jesus didn't really mean that when he said this and you give us the benefit of the doubt that we're not that weird, you might say, well, is Jesus actually saying that Satan is real?
I mean, really? Like a real devil with horns and a tail and a pitchfork? He actually believed that? Well, maybe not with pitchfork and horns, but you can see from this verse that Jesus most definitely believed that Satan and the demons were real. In fact, Jesus seems to spend his entire ministry engaging with the devil and demonic forces.
I mean, it's nearly every chapter. Satan has mentioned 250 separate times in the New Testament, which means almost once in every single chapter of 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. Satan was one of the highest archangels that rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven as a result of his rebellion. And when he did, the book of Revelation tells us he took a third of the angels with him who became what we refer to as the demons. Now, scripture never gives us a detailed account of that event. You have to kind of piece it together from several different places in the Bible. But Isaiah 14 gives you a glimpse into what happened in that moment. Isaiah 14, this verse is actually, by the way, about another rebellious king, a human king. But what Isaiah does is he looks through that human king and he sees kind of the ultimate rebellious king, Satan, behind that king, influencing what he does. And so Isaiah looks through this human king and he starts talking about the king behind him. And he says this, how are you falling from heaven, O Lucifer, which was not the earthly king's name.
That's why we knew he was talking to the guy behind him. O Lucifer, son of dawn, how are you cut down to the ground? You have said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven. I will set my throne on high. I will make myself like the most high. Now, what do you hear repeated in those verses? I will.
That's right. I will. It's going to be five times in that Isaiah 14 passage, because that's the heart of the satanic rebellion. I will. I'm going to do what I want to do, not what God wants to do, because I will be my own boss. I will choose my way. I will be the point.
I will get the glory. That is the heart of sin. I will instead of God's will, my will be done instead of thy will be done. Well, ever since the fallen angels and Satan were cast down to earth, they've been trying to coerce anything and everything to join in that rebellion of I will.
The theme song in hell is Frank Sinatra's I did it my way. That is what we are doing when we choose sin. We as a race have joined Satan in his rebellion, and so now the Bible tells us, listen, he has a certain authority over us. Jesus said he now dwells on earth as one of the rulers or the ruler of the human race, and he is here to kill, to steal, and to destroy. I told you he was mentioned over 250 times in the New Testament.
Let me show you a few things of what he's doing. I just want you to get a sense of where he is and what he's doing so that you can see how many places the New Testament says this is actually him. Jesus in John 844 calls Satan the father of lies, and 1 Timothy 4 says that he corrupts faith and concocts false doctrines. 2 Corinthians 11 says that he gives false teachers not only the ability to speak persuasively and winsomely, he gives false teachers the ability to imitate divine signs and wonders.
1 Corinthians 7 tells us that he tempts the saints specifically with illicit sex. 2 Corinthians 2 tells us that he turns unresolved anger into bitterness in the hearts of God's people. You ever feel that kind of thing coming up against somebody else in the Christian community?
You understand that is your enemy at work in your heart trying to turn. That's what 2 Corinthians says. That's why Paul said don't let the sun go down in your wrath because you're given opportunity for Satan to actually work on your heart. 1 Thessalonians 2 tells us he puts obstacles in the way of people trying to tell other people about Jesus. 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 planters overseas deal with opposition that you've 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. Romans 16 verse 17 says that he sows discord and division among God's people and he moves in God's people to rebel against their leaders. 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. In fact when Jesus is tempted by Satan in the wilderness, Satan makes this statement to him that when you listen to it it's really astounding. Satan says to Jesus, I can give you all authority on the earth and the glory of the nations because that's been delivered to me and I can give it to whomever I will. That's Satan talking and here's what's amazing. Jesus concedes the point. He never says no no no that's not true. 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. Thanks for joining us today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. Before we continue with today's teaching, I want to share with you once again about our featured resource this month created to help you deepen your relationship with God. It's called the Gospel Flipbook and it's designed to guide you through the four gospels in a unique and interactive way. This spiral-bound flipbook includes a 40-day reading plan that takes you through each gospel, key passages to focus on, important memory verses, and guided prayer prompts to help you pray through what you're reading. And whether you're looking to grow in your faith or if you simply want to learn more about the life and teachings of Jesus, this resource is sure to be a valuable tool for you. And we'd love to send you your copy when you support the ministry today with your gift to us. So call us at 866-335-5220 or visit us online at jdgreer.com and ask for your copy of the Gospel Flipbook.
Now let's get back to today's message here on Summit Life. In 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 attacks 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'll never be able to get out of them. Throughout the New Testament we see Satan causing sickness and sometimes insanity. In the Old Testament we see how Satan directly is involved in Job's misfortunes, in his sickness. Many passages in the New Testament relate physical maladies with spiritual causes. Matthew 12 for example, a demon makes a man both blind and mute. In 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. By the way are you skeptical of this? Can you not look at this world and see something more than flesh and blood at work? You look at certain chapters in human history and you say how could that have happened? How do things like the Rwandan genocide happen? World War I. Do you ever study anything about that war? You look at it you say what was the point of that?
Just this needless bloodbath. 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.
That's the largest one. The famous historian from Yale Marlow 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. Can't you see that? Can't you see there's something greater at work in the world than just human dysfunction, bad decisions, or poor parenting? 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. To quote Tony Campallo, Satan is the one appearing in movies telling us that romantic love and sexual pleasure are the keys to fulfillment. He is the one behind an economic system that teaches us that money is the key to success and happiness. He works in and through governments that coddle people into thinking that government help is the answer. He is the one who sits in the psychologist chair offering ultimate hope in life apart from God. He is the one standing as a professor in our universities touting that science and education have all the answers. He is the one teaching from our pulpits that life is about you, that God wants to make you rich, that hell is not for real, and that the standards of the Bible are for a different time and place. 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. And that means he's happy if he can destroy you even if you never know that it's him doing it.
In fact, in many ways that's advantageous for him. Think of him like a hunter. A hunter is not concerned that the prey know that the hunter is there.
The hunter is only concerned with destroying the prey. It's like I heard my youth pastor used to explain that Satan works like the way they kill a wolf up in the northern parts of Canada. Wolves want to get rid of them because they kill seals and household pets and that kind of thing. So when they want to kill the wolf, they take a very sharp knife. They will dip it in seal's blood because a wolf loves a seal's blood. They do it enough times so that it freezes around it so that you can no longer see the blade.
They bury it up to the handle so that just the blade is sticking out of the ground. The wolf comes along, smells the seal's blood, begins to lick what essentially to him is a blood popsicle stick. As he licks through, he gets down to where the blade is, but by this point his tongue is numb. So as he licks into this blade, he doesn't feel that this blade is now slicing his tongue into ribbons and that the blood now falling on the ground is no longer the melted seal's blood.
It's his blood. And then he wanders off and dies without knowing anything that happened. That is what Satan does in sin. That's why we call him the angel of light. He doesn't come to you saying, I'm Satan. I want to possess you and I want to make you float over top of your bed. 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, which means that he's in the cat family.
I told you cats are demons. That's not the main point of this passage, but I think it's an important observation. The main point is that he's a hunter, that he seeks prey. What happens, Peter says, if you go through life without being even aware? I remember, have you ever seen the movie The Ghost in the Darkness, Val Kilmer?
It's probably 15, 20 years old now. Basically, it's this lion that attacks this settlement in Africa and it stalks around. For a while, nobody really believes that it's happening, but people just keep disappearing. Then Val Kilmer goes over there and saves the day. I made the mistake of watching that right before I went on a mission trip to Africa. That was a dumb decision because everywhere I went in Africa, I'm like, oh, I've seen The Ghost in the Darkness. Where's he going to come? I'm just going to be dragged off into the woods and they're never going to find me again.
That may not have been the wisest choice that I made watching it before I went, but it's probably better to be paranoid about stuff like that than it is to go through time without ever even realizing that there is an enemy that is there to destroy you. What if he was at work in your life right now? 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? Have you ever noticed that some temptation seems so perfect, so perfectly timed? I remember once being on a mission trip. There was one night that I was by myself. I'd just been through something very emotionally difficult. I was very stressed, strained. I was all by myself. Checking into this hotel overseas, there was this girl that started to come on to me.
I'm looking there because it's just all too perfectly timed. It was like in this moment the Holy Spirit gave me this insight, nothing weird or kooky, but it was like I was able to see through her and see that behind this beautiful face was an enemy that was raging and roaring, wanting to destroy me, wanting to destroy my family, wanting to destroy our church. What if he was the one that was behind those temptations? What if he were the one that were trying to make divorce so appealing and reasonable to you right now?
Because there is nothing that destroys family and church and tarnishes the name of Jesus more than an unbiblical divorce. Dads, what if he was after your kids and you weren't even engaged with him or them? He's excited that you're kind of on autopilot with your kids. He's excited that you have them involved in all kinds of sports and all kinds of extracurricular, and the one thing that you neglect is getting them anchored into the people of God and growing in God. He loves that, because you're not even protecting them.
You've just let them as open prey. What if he were the one trying to get you into debt, making it seem like, oh, you just got to have that car because all your friends have got it. You got to have one like them. You got to move into that house that you really can't afford.
You got to have this. Just put it on your credit card. What if he were the one that was doing that? Because debt makes you a slave, and he loves slavery. So why don't he put you into that kind of debt since it's not vilified in our country, and then he can get you to do whatever he wants you to do?
Because when you're in debt, your options for serving God become severely limited. For those of you who are investigating Christianity right now, what if he were the one behind some of the doubts that are popping in your mind? What if he was the one that was suggesting to you things that give you reasons to not believe?
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've given you authority to tread on serpents. Could you think of doing that physically?
Pit of serpents and scorpions, you just go walking across it barefoot? We're talking about the power that we have in Jesus through the Holy Spirit to thwart the devil's plans here on earth, and you're listening to Pastor J.D. Greer here on Summit Life. And if you missed any part of this study or if you want to go back and listen to any other Summit Life broadcast, just head over to jdgreer.com.
They're all online and they're available all for free. Now, J.D., in addition to these broadcasts, we've also had a lot of other resources on our website. Yes, we do, Molly, and even some new resources. In fact, you can sign up right now for our daily devotional.
We would love to day by day be in your inbox. We've also got the Summit Life blog, where we deal with different topics that are related to messages I've preached. In addition to that, every month we have a different free download available. Sometimes it's a study guide. Sometimes it's a background or a set of devotionals and an e-book format that will just help you get more into the Bible you're reading and get more out of the messages you're listening to.
All these resources on our website, they're completely free. And you can access so many of these things digitally, and it's free because it's our privilege to be able to walk with you in your growth in Christ. Most of you are already in good churches. You're growing there, but to come alongside and to amplify and to strengthen so that you go deeper with Christ and farther in your obedience to Him and shine brighter in your witness for Him, well, that's why we literally and figuratively, that's why we get up in the morning. So check it out and let us become a part of that journey with you. I'm Molly Vidovitch inviting you to join us again tomorrow. If you've been given authority to overrule all that Satan intended for evil, how do we exercise that authority? Pastor JD answers that question Tuesday on Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
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