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The Devil and Demons (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
June 25, 2022 4:00 am

The Devil and Demons (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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June 25, 2022 4:00 am

The Bible is clear that Jesus defeated Satan at the cross of Calvary. So why do we still need to be concerned about the Enemy? Learn what Scripture says about the devil and how to resist him. Join us on Truth For Life Weekend with Alistair Begg.



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The Bible makes it clear that Jesus defeated Satan at the cross of Calvary. He is a vanquished enemy.

So why do we still need to be concerned about Him? We'll find out today on Truth for Life Weekend. Alistair Begg is teaching from 1 John chapter 5 verse 18. However, he begins with a story from Matthew chapter 4. Matthew chapter 4 verse 1. Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.

Jesus answered, It is written, Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. If you are the Son of God, he said, Throw yourself down. For it is written, He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. Notice, incidentally, how well the devil knows the Bible.

He is able to quote the Bible to Christ. Jesus answered him, It is also written, Do not put the LORD your God to the test. Again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.

All this I will give you, he said, if you will bow down and worship me. Jesus said to him, Away from me, Satan. For it is written, Worship the LORD your God and serve him only.

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Father, I pray that as we look again at your Word tonight, that the Spirit of God will be our teacher, that you will save us from error or any kind of wrongful overemphasis or underemphasis, that you will help us to be biblical in our grasp of Scripture and in our commitment to it. For we pray in Jesus' name. Amen. What we ended up saying this morning was that in relationship to everything, and especially to this whole subject of demonism or to Satan or to the occult or to the devil, it is imperative that we are biblical.

That demands—to be a biblical Christian demands not only that we believe and affirm all that the Bible teaches but that we also learn to hold what the Bible teaches in the balance which the Bible gives. Every so often we meet people who, it becomes quickly apparent, have an emphasis. Indeed, one of the things that intrigued me in coming to America ten years ago now was to be out with ministers and have them ask me, What's your thing?

I remember the first time I was ever asked this. I was playing golf, and the man said, What is your particular thing? I said, I'm sorry? He said, Yeah, you know, your emphasis.

What is your emphasis? And he must have thought I was a crazy person or that I was being rude, but I hadn't a clue what the man was on about. And I said, Well, what's your thing? And then as he began to explain to me what his thing was, I found out what a thing was, and then I told him, I don't think I have one of these. He then suggested that it was really important that I get one, because if you don't have one, then you'll have no real reason, you'll have no raison d'etre, and you won't be able to explain to people what your church and your ministry's about. Having played a few more holes and then determined that maybe could the Bible be my thing, he said, No, that was not sufficient. It had to be more specific than that.

So, for the last ten years I've been going around without a thing, and happily so. Indeed, I'm actually, on the reverse of that, I'm trying to stamp out things all over the place. And every so often you meet somebody, and their thing is demons, or their thing is the devil or Satan or whatever it is, and you haven't spoken to them for more than two or three minutes about any subject under the sun, and they're there.

The demons are out, or the devil's here. And it quickly becomes apparent that this is the framework through which they view just about everything else that takes place in the Christian life. And they will say, The reason I do so is because I want to be biblical. Now, to be biblical, I say to you again, does not simply mean that we affirm all that the Bible says, but also that we affirm it in the way that the Bible affirms it. This is a basic principle of understanding your Bible. This is what happens when you read, for example, the Acts of the Apostles. You read the Acts of the Apostles, and somebody reads this and says, Oh, you know, I heard that somebody was playing with poisonous snakes and standing on dreadful things, and so I went out and bought myself a couple of poisonous snakes and began to grab them, and do you know what?

I'm so fortunate that we have such a wonderful place as university hospitals. Otherwise, I'd be a dead man. Yes, exactly, you'd be a dead man. What a foolish notion! Where did you get that from? Oh, I read it in the Bible.

Aha! Well, don't you realize that certain things in the Bible are descriptive, not prescriptive? Well, says somebody, how do we know which is which? Well, when you read the Acts of the Apostles in a vacuum, you can come up with all kinds of ideas, but when you read the Acts of the Apostles in light of the letters that were written by the apostles who appear in the Acts of the Apostles, they clarify for us what the main things are.

And that is why when you read through Acts and you find yourself saying, Well, I'd like to emphasize this or I'd like to emphasize that, the way we determine what we can justifiably emphasize or not is the balance of Scripture itself. And whenever you find a funny group of people under the name of church, I can guarantee you, they've got a thing. And they have determined that this thing is the key. And they will ask you whether you also understand this.

And if you don't, don't worry about it for a minute, okay? We need, then, to be aware of two emphases in relationship to the devil and his hosts. One, the danger of overemphasis, and two, the danger of ignoring the idea completely. These are the two extremes that we constantly come up against.

People say, Oh, I don't bother with any of that stuff at all. And then on the other side, you have somebody who cannot say a single thing without their emphasizing it. John Calvin, in his Institutes, says this, We have been forewarned that an enemy relentlessly threatens us, an enemy who is the very embodiment of rash boldness, of military prowess, of crafty wiles, of untiring zeal and haste, of every conceivable weapon and of skill in the science of warfare. We must, then, bend our every effort to this goal, that we should not let ourselves be overwhelmed by carelessness nor faint-heartedness, but on the contrary, with courage rekindled, stand our ground in combat. Wish I had written that, don't you?

That's terrific. If we had all the rest of our lives, then probably a few of us could write a statement concerning spiritual warfare that is as succinct and helpful as Calvin was able to put it there. Satan is not a figment of the imagination. He is real. And he is not some vague embodiment of evil.

He is personal. And that is why we've read here from Matthew chapter 4, and that is why Jesus speaks concerning him in the way that he does throughout all of the gospel records. For example, Luke chapter 22 and verse 31, Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you. Satan, the real Satan—Satan, not some vague embodiment of evil but a personal Satan—says, I'd like to take hold of Simon Peter and bring him under my control. And Jesus says, Satan has actually been inquiring about you, Simon, but I've prayed for you that your faith may not fail, and when you turn back that you might strengthen the brothers. So the introduction that the Bible gives us to the question of Satan, Satanism, the devil, and demons is very, very different, as we said this morning, from the devil of fiction.

The devil of fiction is a creation of the evil one, so unbelievable as for millions of people to reject any notion of him at all. And some years ago now, I came across this little poem that was obviously written in an earlier generation, because it's largely prosaic, and I may have quoted it before, but most of you will have forgotten in any case, and it is entitled, Devil, Who Does the Mischief? Anyone remember this poem? See, if I had this as my thing, then you would have remembered it, because I'd be quoting it every Sunday, all right? Now, here is how it goes.

I don't think the poetry's great, but the point is super. Men don't believe in a devil now, as their fathers used to do. They've forced the door of the broadest creed to let his majesty through. There isn't a print of his cloven hoof or a fiery dart from his bow to be found in earth or air today, for the world has voted it so. But who is mixing the fatal draught that palsies heart and brain, and loads the earth of each passing year with ten hundred thousand slain? Who blights the bloom of the land today with the fiery breath of hell? If the devil isn't, and never was, won't somebody rise and tell? Who dogs the steps of the toiling saint and digs the pits for his feet?

Who sows the tares in the field of time, wherever God sows wheat? The devil is voted not to be, and of course the thing is true, but who's doing the kind of work the devil alone should do? We're told he doesn't go about as a roaring lion now, but who should be held responsible for the everlasting row that's to be heard in home, in church and state, to the earth's remotest bound, if the devil, by a unanimous vote, is nowhere to be found? Won't somebody step to the front forthwith and make his bow and show, how the frauds and the crimes of the day spring up?

For surely we want to know. The devil was fairly voted out, and of course the devil is gone, but simple folk would like to know who carries his business on. And as I mentioned before, I say again, the world tonight scrambles to explain the dreadful mess we're in, doesn't it?

Absolutely goes to the end of itself to try and give an explanation as to what in the world is going on here. In the sixties, it was all going to get better—at least, that's what Lenin and McCartney said. In fact, he went as far as to say, You've got to admit it's getting better. The prime minister of Britain went on record as saying, We have never had it so good.

And we're in an unbelievable state of affairs, aren't we? Now, at least the Bible provides for us a worldview that is cogent and rational. Let me give to you, with some scriptural references this evening, certain facts concerning the devil. First of all, the Bible tells us that the devil is a fallen angel, exalted in rank and power above all other fallen angels. There are two Old Testament passages that are directly referring to the evil one, and you may want to make a note of them. One is Isaiah 14, and the other is Ezekiel 28.

This is not the exclusive list of Old Testament passages, it just happens to be two. In Isaiah 14, we read in verse 12, How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations. You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven, I will raise my throne above the stars of God, I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain, I will ascend above the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.

But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit. Ezekiel chapter 28, Isaiah-Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel 28. In a word that was spoken to the king of Tyre in a prophecy against him, in which he is almost, it would seem, embodied as Satan's emissary, this is what the sovereign Lord says, verse 11, 12, verse 12, You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden the garden of God. Every precious stone adorned you, ruby, topaz, and emerald, chrysolite, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and beryl.

Your settings and mountings were made of gold. On the day you were created, they were prepared. Notice, incidentally, that the devil is a created being. Don't fall into the trap of getting into dualism in your thinking, the idea that there are two eternal sources—the good source, God, the bad source, the devil. Only God is eternal.

The devil is a created being. You were anointed, verse 14, as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God. You walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade, you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth.

I made a spectacle of you before kings. In the New Testament, in the second-last book of the Bible, in Jude, we read these words in the sixth verse of Jude. And the angels, who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—namely, heaven—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great day. If you go back a couple of books to the second letter of Peter—2 Peter chapter 2 and verse 4—"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment," and so on, and then he applies that notion. So, when we take the Bible and begin to understand it, we find, first of all, that the devil was a created being. There is great mystery in this, admittedly, but nevertheless, the devil fulfills the very purposes of God. He is a fallen angel. The second thing that the Bible makes perfectly clear is that this devil is defeated.

Now, once again, I'm going to lead you through some verses here. First of all, it is clear that the devil had no power over Jesus. He had no power over Jesus. He has no power over Jesus. John chapter 14 and verse 30. Jesus says, I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming.

He has no hold on me. He's powerful, but he has no influence or power over Jesus. If you just turn back, I'll give you one or two verses. John chapter 12 and verse 31. Now is the time for judgment on this world. Now the prince of this world will be driven out.

But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw men to myself. Jesus says the devil and his hosts are about to be defeated radically and powerfully. The time is coming for his judgment to be declared, and it is directly related to his being placed upon the cross. John chapter 16 and verse 11. And in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. Okay?

Stay with me now. Just keep your Bible going here. Hebrews chapter 2 and verse 14. This is like sword drill from the old Sunday school days. If you never did it, it's the same as someone who never learned their tables.

If you never learned your tables, you are stuck with a calculator. If you never learned the books of the Bible, you're stuck with an index. Hebrews chapter 2 and verse 14. Since the children have flesh and blood, he, Jesus, shared in their humanity, so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by fear of death. Now, notice the phrase that by his death he might destroy him, the devil, who holds the power of death. The only way that he can hold it is because God allows him to hold it for a wee while.

If God wants to take it back, then he can't hold it. Colossians chapter 2. Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians chapter 2, and in verse 15. Speaking of Jesus, and having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

That is the significance, then, of what we're told concerning what it means to be in Christ in the first chapter of Ephesians, where it says in Ephesians 1–20, about the power and the mighty strength of God which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every title that can be given not only in the present age but also in the age to come. And in Romans chapter 16, we learn that the devil is in deep trouble concerning not only his defeat but also his ultimate destiny. Romans chapter 16 and verse 20, the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

He is going to be crushed. So the reason that I take time to emphasize this is because it is imperative that we understand that the devil is a defeated foe. Checkmate has already occurred on the chessboard of life. At the cross, Jesus played the checkmate. There are moves left on the board, but they cannot reverse the fact that checkmate is certain. Those of you who play chess understand this.

We can spend the last twenty minutes or so playing it out, but they've already seen the end. That is what has happened at the cross. He is going to be crushed under our feet. He was defeated at Calvary. He has no hold on Christ. He has no hold on the Christian. Therefore, we are told not to be casting him out or casting demons out, but we're told that the devil is to be resisted.

Okay, are you with me? He's a fallen angel. He is defeated. He is to be resisted. We are not to be ignorant of his devices. That's Paul's advice to Corinthians 2.11. We noted also Ephesians 6.13. We are to be armed for battle.

We've been given the warfare armor. And what we didn't notice but referred to is James chapter 4 and verse 7, where James, in one of the most practical letters in the New Testament, reminds his readers that it is very important that they resist the devil. James 4 and 7, submit yourselves then to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

It is because Satan has no hold on Christ that, if we are in Christ, he also has no hold on us. An eye-opening message today from Alistair Begg, you're listening to Truth for Life Weekend. Now what better way is there to resist the devil than by affirming key truths found in the Bible? This year at Parkside Church, Alistair Begg is doing just that as he leads the congregation week by week through the New City Catechism. This is a statement of faith, and today you can purchase a copy of the New City Catechism in an easy-to-use flipbook format. Each page contains a question about biblical truth along with the corresponding answer, 52 questions and answers in all to take you through a full year.

And if you have children, there is even a children's answer for each question. The New City Catechism was an extremely popular item when we offered it a few years ago. You can view an image of the flipbook online at truthforlife.org slash store. Now as Alistair mentioned in today's message, the devil knows the Bible.

He was able to quote it to Jesus, and he's able to twist the truth to make us doubt God's goodness if we're unfamiliar with Scripture. That's why here at Truth for Life we teach the Bible every day. Our mission is to help you understand what God's Word says and how it relates to your daily life so you can stand firm in the middle of spiritual battles. Along with Alistair's messages, we select books with great care and with our mission in mind that we can recommend to you. We're recommending today a book called Gospel Shaped Marriage, Grace for Sinners to Love Like Saints. This is a brand new book designed to help Christian couples view marriage in light of the gospel. It explores biblical truth about marriage and describes how marriage is designed to emulate Jesus' grace-filled relationship with the church. You can find out more about the book Gospel Shaped Marriage when you visit our website at truthforlife.org. I'm Bob Lapine. Thanks for listening. Is it possible for a Christian to be demon-possessed? Find out when you join us again next weekend for the conclusion of today's message titled The Devil and Demons. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-29 18:00:19 / 2023-03-29 18:09:18 / 9

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