Saturday, November 01, 2014
2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 1 part 2: overview of Satan in Bible, discourse on how demonic threats are within church not outside it
SPIRITUAL WARFARE PART 1
February 05, 2008
Anyone who wants to disbelieve in Satan and demons really hasn't paid careful attention in their reading of the gospels. Satan comes to Jesus. People who are demonized come to Jesus. Jesus interacts with, speaks with, casts out demons. He just does and this isn't something He does once or twice, it's not continual, but it is fairly frequent if you read the gospels.
The point there is this is a normative part of Christian life for those who love God, as Jesus did.
Furthermore, everything in scripture indicates that Satan is an enemy of God, it sat war against God, and if we belong to Jesus then he's gonna be at war against us as well. And sometimes his work is marked out by the titles given to him in scripture. ...
[from about 18:33 to 21 discusses names given satan in Bible, how Satan is a created being that does not share God's attributes of omnipresence]
Satan may be bugging Billy Graham, but if he's gonna pick one person it's probably not gonna be you or me, right? He's got more important people to attack. Now you and I could have demonic opposition, to be sure, but Satan and demons are not omnipresent. They're not everywhere.
The source of Satan's fall, as well as demons, is pride. Everything I'm gonna share with you is highly debated but in texts like Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14, it seems to say that: Satan was an angel, he was a spiritual being, and that he became proud in his heart and he sinned against God, he didn't want to worship God he wanted to be worshipped as God, he didn't want to serve God he wanted to be served as God, and in so doing pride is really the source of all that is demonic. I mean think about that. If pride is the source of all that is demonic (Augustine, the church father, said that pride is the mother of all sin, it's pregnant with all of the other sins) then Satan has done a great work because we believe in this day that self-esteem is a great virtue and not a vice and that pride is a good thing and not a bad thing.
I've said it before but even in the canon of western literature there are men like Bill Bennett who wrote the Book of Virtues and it includes all of the great virtuous stories in the Western canon of literature, and the one virtue that's not included is humility because in the Western canon of literature humility is a vice, not a virtue. Pride is a virtue. I mean think about that. If pride is a foothold for Satan, if pride is the mindset of Satan, then our culture is absolutely infiltrated with a demonic value system of pride. Of pride.
Humility is the mark of Jesus and faithful Christians according to texts like Philippians 2. The He humbled himself and we are to humble ourselves, that God OPPOSES the proud and gives grace to the humble is what Peter and James say. And Satan's real issue is pride and he loves to get people filled with pride because it then enables that, him, to incite them to join in his rebellion.
One thing I will say in this as well is as we get into the issue of Satan and demons is that, even as you have knowledge of Satan and demons, even as you have the pastoral capacity to help people who are struggling with Satan and demons, you still need to be very, very careful to maintain a posture of humility. Sometimes demonic and deliverance ministry is so rife with pride and declarations and "Satan, I command you to do this and I command you to do that." and it just, it just reeks of pride. Jesus says, I think it's in Luke's gospel, "Do not rejoice that the spirits are subject to your name." Don't rejoice that you have authority over Satan and demons. Rejoice that your names are written in heaven. That humility, that God loves you, that God cares for you, that Jesus is your savior and you get to use the delegated authority of the Lord Jesus in spiritual encounters and conflicts but, at the end of the day, you're not to grow up and be proud, to rise up in arrogance, saying: "I understand Satan and demons, and I know how to defeat them." That is absolutely demonic in and of itself. The power is Jesus.
25:40 explains that Revelation says the number of demons is set and limited though they are alive and active and well.
26:07 the Bible also talks about human beings working in consort with demons. Satan also has allies in humanity
... False prophets include false preachers. They lead cults, they lead false religions, they promulgate false doctrine. There are false prophets, people who have supernatural ability and power, people who (when they speak) things happen--people follow them, they're very powerful.
Also working with Satan and demons are false apostles. They'll pioneer new ministries, they'll pioneer new churches, they'll pioneer new religions. That's why in the book of Revelation Jesus says that there are some churches that are really synagogues of Satan, that they look like churches but really Satan is the one who is in charge and false apostles and false prophets are ruling there.
There are also false Christians (Galatians 2:4 speaks of)--false Christians really don't love Jesus, really don't belong to Him but they come into a church with the desire (demonically inspired desire) to absolutely destroy. 1 John speaks of this saying some people who were in the church, "They went out from us but they really weren't of us. If they were of us their either would have stayed with us or returned to us." meaning, there are people in the church that, just like Judas getting into the inner circle of the twelve disciples, and then being filled with Satan and inspired to destroy Jesus, there are false Christians who get into churches and they are just divisive, the promulgate false doctrine, they tell lies, they confuse people, right? Because in the church there's sheep and goats, shepherds and wolves.
And Jesus, according to 1 Peter 5 is chief shepherd. A good shepherd is not just one who gives mercy to everyone. `Kay, this has been, this has been a real problem at Mars Hill, that some of you who are shepherding (this will be my fatherly rebuke) you're cowards and you're hurting. You're hurting the church because you, in an effort to be really, really nice, want to shepherd everyone. Well, you don't shepherd a wolf. You don't shepherd a wolf. Part of shepherding is the ability to distinguish between wolves and goats and sheep. Sheep need to be brought to repentance, cared for, helped, loved, served. Goats need to be rebuked and not given the illusion that they're sheep. And wolves need to get shot. Right?
The whole analogy of wolves, it comes up out of Acts 20 where Paul says in his farewell address to the Ephesians elders: "When I leave (and he's prophesying here). When I leave men will arise from your own number, distort the truth, and lead many astray." The greatest threat to the health of any church, including Mars Hill Church, is wolves in the flock. Right? It's not the dark city and the atheists and the homosexuals and the abortion doctors. We want them all to meet Jesus and come to repentance. But the truth is, in a church like Mars Hill, if someone says, "I hate Jesus," they're not going to get a big following of our people. It's the person who comes in and says: "I love Jesus but I don't submit to spiritual authority, I don't submit to sound doctrine. Listen to me, not to them. I have my own issue, my own agenda, seeking my own ministry, my own cause, my own fame, my own glory, my own power." Just read various manifestations of spiritual pride, which is demonic, and then people are confused by that because wolves love to eat sheep. Paul says they will distort the truth and lead people astray. They'll plant their own church, start their own ministry, begin their own doctrinal instruction, whatever it may be.
When the church was small, I was able to shoot wolves. I cannot tell you the hundreds of hours that I have had just going at it with somebody who was a wolf and just telling `em: "look, you've gotta go. You are not welcome here. You're a false teacher, you're a false prophet, you're a false apostle, you're a false leader. You keep nominating yourself to have power. We don't see you the humility, and the character, and the doctrine that the scriptures require." And as the church gets bigger and as it spreads you have to guard the gate. I can't do it. I can't do it. I can't keep track of all of the campuses and all of the heretics and all of the false teachers and all of the false leaders and all of the people that Satan is sending in to distort the truth and lead many astray and to be as wolves among the flock. For those of you who are shepherds at this church you have to guard the gate and it can't be, "I give mercy to everyone who comes." Because if it's a wolf feeding the wolf only allows them to be stronger so that they can devour more sheep. You're goal is not just to be nice to people and to care for them. You're job is to be discerning and to ask yourself, "Goat or sheep? Wolf ... or shepherd?" It takes discernment. It takes a tremendous amount of discernment and the longer you make an erroneous evaluation of someone the more influence they have, the louder their voice, the deeper their following, and the more painful, the more painful it will be to deal with them. `Kay?
This will be--it's not that it will be it is an ongoing issue. we are the 15th fastest growing church in America as we split to multiple campuses. Now we have conflict and war on multiple fronts. We have many new Christians. We have many non-Christians. We have many people that are just coming to an understanding of the Gospel. We would be the perfect place that Satan would love to send, would LOVE to send false teachers, false prophets, false apostles, false leaders with false doctrine. You have to assume that. You HAVE to assume that. That could get our church astray, the churches in our Acts 29 Network that look to us for leadership, that would also include the churches nationally and internationally that look to us, right? We're the fifteenth most influential church in America. There's a lot riding on what we do.
I think one of the great myths that has come about (it's a demonic lie) is that myself, the executive elders, the senior leaders we don't care about people. I was the only one who did ANY counseling until we had 800 people. We still do tons of shepherding, counseling, spiritual warfare, conflict. But we try to do so in a way that is humble, that isn't "and here is who I served and here are the demons we cast out and here's the list of people that I've healed." That's demonic. The truth is I love the people as much--actually, more than anyone in this church. And the senior leaders, the campus pastors, the departmental leaders, the executive elders love the people in this church as much or more than anyone else in this church. And one of my great concerns is not just, "Can you hold hands and help sheep?" but "can you also flip the staff over and defend against a wolf?" You HAVE to have that discernment, that courage, and that ability to tell someone: "You are in sin. That is false doctrine. You are not qualified to be a leader. If you do not repent you are not welcome here. And I will speak truthfully to those who want to follow you because my job is for the well-being of the sheep."