“Satan, the Destroyer”

Pt. 3 of the Series: “When the Devil Knocks”

March 24, 2019

 

1 Peter 5:6-11

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

 

It was the autumn of 1944 and Germany had been beaten back behind its borders. The Nazi war machine was in tatters and the repeated bombing raids of the Allies all but assured that Hitler’s forces would never rise again… All across Europe, there was celebration. Parties, dances, speeches all rejoicing in Germany’s defeat. The war was effectively over. The only problem was somebody forgot to tell Germany.  Even as his forces were being shattered and driven back, Hitler was devising a plan for one last onslaught. Underground factories churned out more weapons, armament and ammunition. More of Germany’s young and old men were conscripted and trained for war. And as Europe rejoiced, Hitler planned. The result was the Battle of the Bulge in which hundreds and thousands of soldiers died.  They died because somebody forgot that the enemy still lived and that the war was NOT completely over. [1]

 

From a spiritual perspective that is what we need to understand.  Although Jesus defeated sin, death and the devil when He was crucified on Good Friday, the devil still lives.  He is alive and well and wanting nothing more than hauling as many people as he can into hell.  Paul assures us that the enemy still lives. The war is not completely over and we need to be prepared.

 

We are in the midst of the season of Lent and we are doing a Lenten series about the devil.  So far, in this series, “When the Devil Knocks,” we saw that the devil is a deceiver, and that he is an accuser.  Today, we will see that the devil is a destroyer. 

 

  1.  Satan, the Destroyer Seeks to Destroy You

 

Our theme verse for today is 1 Peter 5:8

 

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ”  1 Peter 5:8

 

The enemy, the devil, is all the time seeking someone to devour.  He wants to devour every last person on earth, but especially Christians.  Now, notice something right from the get-go; the devil is compared to a member of the cat family, not the dog family.  I am just saying.  The devil is compared to a member of the evil cat family.  You cat people out there, you’d better watch those devils in your homes.  You dog people, you are confirmed in your bliss.  Seriously, the enemy, the devil, is all the time seeking someone to devour.  Somebody forgot to tell the devil that the war is over.  Jesus tells us;

 

“The thief (the devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10-11

 

Jesus won the ultimate war but the battle for your soul still goes on.   

 

  1. How does the devil seek to destroy you?

 

  1. The devil prowls

 

The Greek word for prowl means to make use of opportunities.  He stalks around in the high grass ready to pounce.  You don’t know when and where he will attack, but he does.  We might see this in the little twists and turns that change things that seem benign and innocent into something very wrong and dangerous.  We hear from our culture that we need to love everyone.  That sounds benign enough, I mean, we are told by Jesus to love even our enemies.  Yet, the devil twists and turns so that what is really meant is that we are not loving if we challenge anyone’s lifestyle.  As a matter of fact, to do so is considered hate.  We hear our culture argue for independence and autonomy.  Again, it is good to be autonomous.  But then, the devil twists and turns autonomy to mean that we can get along without God, thank you very much.  Somebody does something nice for you.  But then, the devil twists and turns your spirit so that you question their motives so that you think, “What do they want in return?”  You give money to the church.  That is a good thing.  But, the devil twists and turns so that you hold up your giving to God, “God, look how much I am giving to you.  You owe me, God.  You owe me.”  You see someone in a slightly questionable situation.  The devil has you think the worst.  You want nice things.  The devil has you think you deserve them and that God is no good if He doesn’t give them to you.  The devil prowls about, twisting and turning, twisting and turning, ready to pounce.  And        

 

  1. The devil roars

 

Sometimes, the devil’s temptations are not subtle at all.  Sometimes they are right out there, as plain as day.  Greed is bad.  There is nothing secretive about that.  Most people would agree.  Yet Christians get consumed with the roar of the devil and are never content.  Alcoholism is bad.  Probably all people would agree.   There is nothing secretive about that.  Yet, many a Christian has been caught by the roar of the devil in that one.  Prostitution is bad.  Most people, except maybe Robert Kraft, would agree.  Yet, Christians as well as non-Christians get enmeshed in the roar of the devil on that one, too.  How does the devil seek to destroy you?  The devil prowls and the devil roars.

 

  1. When does the destroyer seek to destroy you?

 

  1.  The devil seeks to destroy you in every way, every day

 

Last week, we read Revelation 12:10.

 

“… the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.”  Revelation 12:10

 

Last week we asked how you know when the devil is lying.  The answer is; he is lying when his lips are moving.  How do you know when the devil is seeking to destroy you?  You are alive.  You are a Christian.  He seeks to destroy you in every way, every day.  Satan wants to steal your joy.  He wants to kill your peace.  He wants to destroy your contentment.  He will attack your finances.  He will attack your friendships.  He will attack your marriage.  He might whisper in your ear, “Marriage is too much work.  You can do so much better.  You deserve to be happy and your mate isn’t making you happy any longer.  You’re not in love.  You fell out of love a long time ago.  Just walk away.”  He is attacking the institution of education.  What are militant atheists doing to impact what your children are learning?  What is being taught in school regarding evolution and sexual identity?  Muslims can pray at school but Christians can’t pray at school.  How would your daughter feel if someone who is in the midst of transitioning from being a male to being a female but still has all the male parts, how would your daughter feel if that person demanded to shower in the girl’s locker room?  But, that is the law of the land.  He is attacking churches, creating conflict, scandals, rumors, burnout of pastors and staff.  Look at any controversial topic out there in any aspect of society, any questionable social stance, any ethic that just doesn’t sound quite right and if you look long and hard enough, you will see how the devil is seeking to destroy our culture, how he is seeking to destroy you every day, in every way.  We can be a little more specific.           

 

  1.  The devil seeks to destroy you in the hard times

 

The hard times of life can do two things to your spiritual life.  Hard times can draw you close to God or they can also rip you away from God.  The devil, of course, wants to rip you away from God.  He wants to kick you while you’re down.

 

Maybe you remember the story of Job.  Job had everything.  He was wealthy and had a wonderful family.  Then, the devil kind of made a bet with God that if Job had it bad enough, he would turn his back on God.  So, Job lost everything.  He lost all of his wealth, his livestock, even his family.  Talk about a hard time!  His friends came to counsel him.  They tried to help Job make sense out of all that had happened.  However, they could not make sense out of it and the end result of their counsel was that Job should curse God and die. 

 

That’s how the devil works.  In those bad times, the devil wants to bring you to despair.  The devil wants to destroy you by making you think that God doesn’t love you because if He did, He would not let these things happen to you.  The devil wants to have you curse God, to deny your faith.  He wants to drag you to hell.

 

So, you put money in Boeing stock and, because of the events in the news recently, the stock tanks and you lose everything.  The devil wants you to question God.  What are you doing, God?  Don’t I deserve better?  You have a lot of sickness, one thing after another.  You just get over one thing and you get sick again.  Or, you feel your body deteriorating as you get older.  You get so fed up.  You cry out, “Why God?”  That’s what the devil wants—utter despair.  One bad thing after another happens to you.  Your anxiety is out the roof.  You are so tired.  You’ve done all you can to fix it but you can’t.  You cry out, “Where are you God?”  The devil wants that.  The devil wants to destroy you in the bad times.  But, he also 

 

  1.  The devil seeks to destroy you in the good times

 

When things are good, we don’t worry so much.  That may be when you are most vulnerable.  When you are least aware, that’s when you are most vulnerable.  King David of Old Testament fame is a witness to that.  David was a young shepherd boy when he went into battle against Goliath and won.  This was the start of the good times for David.  He became friends of the king and played his harp for him.  Things were going well.  He became a general in King Saul’s army and went out and fought and defeated Saul’s enemies.  Victoriously, David marched into Jerusalem.  The people threw a ticket tape parade for him.  People held up a sign, “David, David, he’s our man.  If he can’t do it, nobody can.  The newsies selling newspapers on the corner shouted, “Extra, extra, read all about it.  David is our man and we’re gonna shout it.  Extra!”  The women in the crowd sang songs about David.  They would gather in the streets and sing these songs.  Now, my wife does so many wonderful things for me but she hasn’t yet written a song about me.  I think that might be kind of nice.  David marches into town and the ticker tape is flowing and the signs are up and the women are singing and David is taking all if this in.  He is eating this up.  He is starting to believe his press.  Pride is getting to him.  His favorite song was, “We are the champions, my friend.  We’ll keep on fighting to the end.”  The devil was working.  Things were going well for David, his pride was running rampant, and that was when he was the most vulnerable.

 

Later, David becomes king.  His pride increases even more.  He starts thinking he can do whatever he wants, regardless of the consequences.  He thinks he is above the law.  He thinks he is Teflon.  So, he sees this woman taking a bath on her roof.  Her name was Sheba.  Her mother told her, “Go take a bath, Sheba.”  Actually her name was Bathsheba and she was the wife of Uriah, one of David’s soldiers who was out on the battle field.  David knew that.  He knew whose wife she was but David’s pride got in the way.  When things are good, when you are least aware, that’s when you are most vulnerable and David was vulnerable.  David sent for her, had a baby by her, tried to cover up the deed and ended up having Uriah murdered. 

 

Still later, David got the idea that he wanted to take a census of all the people of Israel.  There’s nothing wrong with taking a census, unless God tells you not to.  But, David, took the census because he was full of pride.  He wanted to count up all the good things he had accomplished.  The result was disastrous.  God punished David. 

 

This was the devil’s doing.  The devil works when times are good.  It is in those times, when we are full of pride, when we are so full of ourselves, that there is no room left for God.  Ultimately, pride tells us that we can do it on our own and we don’t need God.  Pride can take you out of leadership.  Pride can take away your credibility.  Pride can hurt your marriage.  Pride can hurt your intimacy with God.  Pride can hurt your friendships.  The devil works in the good times and fills you with pride so that you don’t need God.  The devil seeks to destroy you every day in every way.  He seeks to destroy you in the bad times and he seeks to destroy you in the good times.  “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  You can’t just sit there and let him has his way.  Jesus won the war but somebody forgot to tell the devil.  So, what are the

        

  1. Ways to Defeat the Devil, the Destroyer

 

  1. Humble yourself before God

 

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”  1 Peter 5:6

 

The background of this little text is that when Peter wrote the church was undergoing severe persecution.  Christians were being fed to the lions because of their faith in Christ.  Peter was writing to sure up the faith of those who may have to face those lions.  It was one of those bad times that can move them closer to Christ or which could destroy their faith.  Peter’s word is to humble themselves under God’s might hand. 

 

Humble yourself.  When the devil comes at you, humble yourself under God’s mighty hand.  Humble yourself to Him.  Submit yourself.  When you are least aware, that’s when you are most vulnerable.  When you think you can go up against the devil by yourself, that is when you are most vulnerable.  When your pride makes you think you have the capacity to defeat the devil on your own, or that you don’t need God, that is when you will fall.  Humble yourself.  Admit, I can’t do this.  I can’t do this when the devil comes at me every day in every way.  I can’t do this when he comes at me in the bad times.  I can’t do this when he comes at me in the good times.  The devil prowls.  The devil roars.  The devil twists and turns.  He twists and turns.  I succumb.  I give in.  I indulge my ungodly desires.  I go along with the crowd.  I think I can do this on my own.  But, know that you can’t.  You cannot do this on your own.  Humble yourself.  Get to the point of the AA people where you must admit that you are powerless over the devil’s schemes. 

 

You can’t do this, but Jesus can.  Humble yourself and be dependent on the One who can defeat the devil.  Humble yourself not to the devil.  No, humble yourself, check your pride, be dependent, on Jesus.  Admit it; I need Jesus.  Say it with me.  I need Jesus.  I need Jesus.  I need you guiding me.  I need you directing me.  I need your Spirit convicting me, comforting me, coming to my aid.  I need your Word, that sword of the Spirit, fighting off that devil.  I need you for my next breath.  I need your strength.  I need you every single moment to defeat a devil who is seeking to destroy me every day in every way.  I need you, Jesus.  I need you! 

 

Humility is not a weakness.  Peter says to humble yourself under God’s mighty hand.  When you are humble under God’s mighty hand, you have His strength.  You have His presence.  When you are weak, that’s when you are strong.  You can tell the devil; you have no business here.  Get away from me, devil.  Get away from me.  You weren’t designed to do it on your own.  You were designed to need Jesus.  Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand and at just the right time, He will lift your up.  Humble yourself.  Say it, I need Jesus.  Next 

  

  1. Lay it all on Him

 

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 

 

Again, hard times can drive you away from Jesus or hard times can draw you closer to Jesus.  Take all of your anxiety and lay it all on Jesus.  Think about the meaning of that for Christians about to face the lions.  Take all of your anxiety when you are going through the hard times and lay it on Jesus.  Let Him be God.  Wait on Him.  Seek His will.  Be still.  Know that God has a plan.  Paul tells us

 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him”  Romans 8:28

 

Job lost everything.  The devil came at Job with both barrels.  And yet, it was Job, Old Testament Job, who said, “But I know that my Redeemer lives.”  That’s our Easter hymn.  Easter is New Testament.  Job is Old Testament.  He knew.  He knew.  When that devil came crouching at his door, when that devil came at him, roaring like a lion, Job gave it all to God.  He cast all of his anxiety on Him because Job knew that God cares for him.

 

A few weeks ago we said that it was easier to deny God when you question the goodness of God.  When you go through the hard times, when you know that no matter what will come next, whether good or bad, when you know that God cares for you, that He has a plan for you, that He has your best interest at heart NO MATTER WHAT, you know that God is good and He is good all the time, when you know that, when you cast all of your anxiety on Him, then the devil has no opportunity to make you fall.  The devil lost with Job.  He will lose with you when you cast all your anxiety on Jesus.  So, humble yourself, lay it all on Jesus and next,  

 

  1. Keep your (spiritual) eyes peeled

 

Be alert and of sober mind. ”  1 Peter 5:8

 

Remember, the devil is seeking to destroy you in every day in every way.  He twists and turns, twists and turns.  Be cognizant of that.  Look for the ways the devil is alive and well in every situation.  Bring to your own awareness that the devil uses this, that, or the other to destroy you.  Look deeper.  Examine your motives.  Ask yourself why did you respond that way to your spouse.  Search your heart as to how the devil is working in your sickness.  Ask how the devil might be using your feelings of depression, how he might be stealing your joy.  Question why you are not feeling content with what you have, how the devil is using that to attack.  In the book of Revelation, Jesus condemned the church in Laodicea because it was lukewarm, neither hot nor cold about Him.  Don’t be lukewarm about Jesus and don’t be lukewarm about the existence of the devil.  Be on the alert.  Be self-controlled.  It is a war.  It is a battle for your soul.  Then, lastly,     

 

  1. Join the resistance movement

 

Peter says;

 

“Resist him (the devil), standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”  1 Peter 5:9

 

Resist him.  Stand firm in your faith.  You have resurrection power with which to fight the devil.  This resurrection power is not just what will bring you into eternity.  It will, of course and thanks be to God for it.  But, this resurrection power is available right here and right now.  The resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead, the resurrection power that will raise you from the dead to live for all eternity, that resurrection power is yours to fight the devil.  You cannot do this on your own, but taking advantage of that kind of power, you cannot fail.  Of course, we do fail.  But, the reason we fail is we lose sight of the power.  We lose sight of that great force that is with us and I’m not talking about Star Wars.  When we are aware of that force, God’s force, then, as the Scripture says,

 

“… no weapon formed against us will prosper…”  Isaiah 54:17

 

The devil tempts you but you belong to Jesus and when you belong to Jesus, you can resist, you can stand firm. 

 

Sometimes it is not easy being a meter reader.  One meter reader in Oklahoma had a particularly challenging task.  He had to get into a back yard to read a meter but between him and the meter was a particularly vicious watchdog tied to a chain that was long enough to give that dog sway over the entire back yard and driveway.  The meter reader got through, though.  When he was questioned by his supervisor concerning how he got past the dog, the meter reader said, "That’s easy, boss,... I parked my car on his chain."  [2]

 

Through Jesus, we can indeed park on the devil’s chain.  Through Jesus, and only through Jesus, we can resist the devil.

 

Hundreds of thousands of soldiers lost their lives because the Allies thought the war with Germany was over.  They didn’t take seriously that that enemy was not giving up.  Don’t make the terrible mistake of thinking the devil is not alive and well.  Don’t make the terrible mistake of thinking the devil is not out there tempting you.  Don’t make the terrible mistake of thinking the devil is not out to destroy you, that he is not out to drag your soul to hell.  He is real and he is horrible and he is out to drag as many souls into hell as he possibly can.  But, when you humble yourself, lay it all on Jesus, keep your eyes peeled to the devil’s work and when you join the resistance movement, you can fight the devil.  Notice that in all of these ways, there is one common denominator, one thing that is sure fire, one way that is guaranteed to be successful, one way to beat the devil.  That common denominator is Jesus.  Attached to Jesus, you cannot fail.  Jesus said,

 

“The thief (the devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10-11

 

“the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”  1 John 4:4

 

And it is in Jesus that you can fight that devil, that deceiver, that accuser, that destroyer.  It is in Jesus that you can defeat that old evil foe whenever, “The Devil Knocks.”

 

In Jesus’ name,

Amen 

 

 

 

 

[1] Illustration adapted from sermoncentral.com

[2] From an illustration at SermonCentral.com