Luke 4-5, Psalm 114
Satan is real and has been popularized by the media for a long time. In the 1960's the Rolling Stones produced the famous song, "Sympathy for the Devil". In the 1970's, the phrase, "The devil made me do it" was made popular by comedian Flip Wilson on his TV show. In the 1980's, Dana Carvey, playing Church Lady, on Saturday Night Live, would usually use the name Satan during the skit to evoke laughter. Recently, there is a popular TV series called Lucifer, in its 3rd season. In the synopsis, the main character, Lucifer Morningstar, bored with his job in hell, leaves that domain to live in Los Angeles. It says in the summary, "with his experience and abilities he tries to help humanity, in his view of perspective, to bring out people's inner thoughts and deepest desires." Unless, we think this is all in a light hearted, media driven, innocent fashion; in Detroit in 2015 in a Satanic Temple a 9 foot, 2000 pound statue of Satan was unveiled for worship. Satan is real and powerful, but no match for God. The opposite of Satan is not God, but Michael or Gabriel. God is Creator, the angels though powerful, are created.
When we are coming off a spiritual high, that's when you can expect Satan to attack. Notice in Luke 4, Satan tempts Jesus immediately after His baptism. Satan has 3 plays in his playbook, which are effective, and used over and over again. In 1 John 2:16, we read, "For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world. Notice in Luke 4:3, "If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.", and Luke 4:9-11 he uses the lust of the eyes and the pride of life to tempt Jesus. Remember back to the Garden of Eden that he used the same things to tempt Eve and it worked. He lies to Eve in Genesis 3:4-5, "...You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Eve relying on her logic falls, as we read in Genesis 3:6, "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate." While Eve relying on her own strength and logic failed, Jesus relying on the Word of God succeeded in defeating Satan. We read in Luke 4:4,8, and 12; Jesus quotes the book of Deuteronomy 3 times and defeats Satan. But notice how this passage ends in Luke 4:13, "Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. Notice that Satan never admits defeat and leaves, he only has ceasefires, planning for his next attack.
Jesus defeated Satan using the Word of God. We live in a Biblically illiterate society which leaves itself defenseless to the attacks of the devil. In 1 Peter 5:8, we read, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." How do we fight him? By putting on the armor of God discussed in Ephesians 6:10-18. Notice the fighting instrument in our armor in Ephesians 6:17, "...and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." To defend ourselves we need more than a few choice verses or books; we need the entirety of Scripture at our disposal. Notice Paul told the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:27, "For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God." Satan is powerful, but when we fall, we are not innocent victims but play a part in it. If we choose to remain Biblically ignorant we choose to remain defenseless; this is a conscious decision. In James 1:14-15, we read, "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." In this verse, we see that we should never entertain, flirt with, or put ourselves in a position to fall. Being in a certain church, etc doesn't protect us. In Luke 4:33, there is a man in the midst of the synagogue, unnoticed by the rest of those assembled who was possessed by an unclean demon. So Satan is real, but his power is nothing compared to the power of God. If we lean on God and His Word, his attacks will be thwarted. Trust on His strength, not our own.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: