Old Scratch

‘Old Scratch’ meaning. It’s a folk name for Satan. Likely from the Old Norse word skratte which means wizard.


2015 - series - Screwtape letters.

In 2015, we did a series on the Screwtape letters talking about devils and demons, and I don’t know why but every once in awhile I just get intrigued by the devil and kinda how the spiritual realm affects our everyday lives.

This - type - sermon - hesitate to preach.

This is the type of sermon that I hesitate to preach on, b/c I think it can weird people out. And so I don’t want to be weird of freaky at all, but I want to say for the record, that I believe that we are all influenced by things that we don’t see. Both good and bad.

And just like I always say I believe God is working even when we don’t see it, I believe that that’s just one side of the coin. That’s there’s also a devil that really hates you, and really hates your family and will stop at nothing to hurt you. - I believe that.


In any great story, is there any way to understand good without the contrast of evil.

‘The Lord of the Rings’.

If you think about something like ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Can you imagine if all Frodo did was just hang out in the shire and drink his hobbit beer? And they just dance and sing hobbit songs. And that’s the end.

Every great story involves the conflict between good and evil.

That’s not just true in Christianity. That’s true across all cultures.

I think the reason is: I think we’re wired to know that if there’s good, and light, that there’s also evil and darkness.


U2 - CD: Rattle and Hum

Don't believe the devil
I don't believe his book
But the truth is not the same
Without the lies he made up

Is anyone else disappointed that that didn’t rhyme?

I think that kinda sums it up. If you don’t have the devils lies and opposition, then the story is incomplete. So that’s what we’re going to do tonight, just briefly is look at the other side of that story.


Introductory statement: We are in the middle of a cosmic war.

Born into. You and I were born into a struggle that was going on long before any of us got here. - Between good and evil. That has always been at work, and continues to be at work.

Whether or not we WANT to have anything to do with this war, whether or not we choose a side, we’re involved and it affects us.

Throughout scripture, esp in the New Testament - you’ll see tons of talk about the demonic and the battle that we’re in.

It’s in the words of Jesus, it’s in the writings of Paul, and also in the early church writings.

People are always acknowledging spiritual warfare.

For some - silly. I know there may be some people in here, to hear me talking about the devil and demons, that that all seems a little silly to you. Maybe a bit mid-evil to you.

It’s very easy for those of us who live in West, in the comfort of north america, to not believe in real evil. Most of us are so sheltered into our little live of : Family, Work, Media ; that we rarely if ever have to face really obvious evil.

Are you aware that almost universally outside the US, almost everyone believes in some form of this supernatural struggle.

True in Latin American culture, African culture, Indian culture.

Whether people follow Jesus or not.

They believe there is a life outside of this one.

Almost everybody believes this but us, and I think we’re insulated for this overt evil in a lot of ways.


Christian Culture

C.S. Lewis - The Screwtape Letters My opinion - the most profound and clear book explaining how evil works. It’s totally fictional. But there’s more truth in this fictional book than 100 non-fiction books about demons, I think.

Anyone ever read ‘this present darkness’ - Frank Peretti? Weren’t those awesome?! It came out in 1986.

And you were just cruising along, and you didn’t have any enemies. And by the time you were done with those books, I mean, you were casting demons out of your furniture.

Growing up in the church, it always seemed like the church would make weird knock off copies of everything in the world. - And this was certainly true of rap.

So instead of ‘bustin a cap in cops eye, it would be about busting a cap in the devils eye.

T-Bone.

So instead of grangster rap, we’d have people like T-Bone.

The Redeemed Hoodlam. / The Lyrical Assassin

Put out like 15 CDs. All about slaying demons. Drive by shootings w/ demons.

Lyrics

Cause Ima straight up pyscho sick in the head
Lynchin them demons wit a bat
Cause them Christians understand

I be that straight up pyscho
Lynchin them demons wit a bat, rat ta tat tat

Goes my gat, when I be pushin up
on that trigger that be on my steel
And thats for real, I be knockin them demons out like Holyfield

Well buck buck buck, yea them demons be gettin struck
Cause a demon tried to do my wrong

He's lyin to me tryin to tell me
that Jesus didn't love and He wasnt real

So I stole up on his grizill
I got up on my knees and startin
lynchin that demon wit a spiritual prayer


Secular Culture

The Exorcist My story about seeing the exorcist late at night and bringing my bible with me to the bathroom. Always exorcism movies coming out.

The Last Exorcism. I respect at least for the fact that it’s trying to ask big questions about real faith vs pretending.

‘The Conjuring?’ Did anyone see ‘The Conjuring?’ By 2 Christian brothers who’s purpose was to get people to consider that there’s more happening in the world than meets the eye, and they wanted to tell a story where evil is strong, but God is stronger.

But I think it’s all around us.

Vatican - announced - training more exorcists. I don’t know if you’ve heard but in the last few years the Vatican has announced that it’s training more exorcists. And I don’t know. On one hand, I totally believe in it, yet somehow my posture is almost always skepticism.

My point: When it comes to the demonic in the media, you have people all along with continuum. Anywhere from ‘Let’s get together and watch all the exorcism movies on Netflix!’ To ‘That’s completely ridiculous and stupid. To ‘Get that crud away from me. I aint watching that devil stuff no matter how much you pay me!’

And I think the same thing happens during a sermon on the devil (like this one), you have people on that same continuum. Some of you are thinking ‘Woohoo! Love me some devil talk!’, and nothing would make you happier than for us to become the ghost busting church. Like we’re just casting down territorial spirits. And coming in here and doing exorcisms. Others ‘That’s completely ridiculous. I thought you were people were sane’ and then there’s others that are just wishing you didn’t come tonight b/c now you’re gonna have nightmares.


There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. (C.S. Lewis)

Here’s my goal tonight, I want to go through some scripture and see what the Bible really says about Satan and demons and just see what we can learn.

I just think that there’s a TON of bad information about the spiritual world, especially in Christianity. And if you don’t start with a basic understanding of what the Bible says about it, you can really get taken advantage of.

So my heart is to introduce you to some of these things without us getting weird and silly.


Scriptures:

Ephesians 6:11-12

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11)

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of evil.

We’re all in this battle. If you’re waiting for a season in your life where there’s no conflict, you’re gonna be waiting a very long time.

Two quick points here:

1. Our battle is not with God.

A lot of people think that God is out to get them.

And I think a lot of the ideas we have about God, actually look a lot more like the biblical depiction of the devil.

Is it too simple to just tell you that God’s not out to get you.

2. Out battle is not with people.

The Number 1 lie that has kept people off mission for the last 2000 years of Christianity is the belief that another human being is your enemy. Paul will tell us: The very moment we believe that our enemy is another person you've already lost the fight. Our only real enemy is what Paul describes here. We can say it plainly: 'THE DEVIL' and his minions.


2 Corinthians 2:10-11

Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, (2 Corinthians 2:10)

in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

his the the exact reason we even have to talk about this stuff. B/C if we don’t know about it, then the Bible says that if we’re unaware of the devils schemes, we’ll get taken advantage of by them.

And I think with the help of the Holy Spirit, that we can get to a place where we start to recognize things, not in a spooky way, just in a very real way, that there’s this handful of stuff that we tend to fall prey to over and over and over. And just the recognition that that’s not a coincidence, can be a huge point of turn around for you.


1 Peter 5:8

Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NRSV)

I think people in churches when we read this scripture that ‘Satan goes around like a roaring lion’, we tend to think ‘Alright fine, we’re gonna say a special kind of prayer, where instead of talking to God, we talk to the devil’. And we cast him down, and boom! We’re just won the battle.

I love that Peter when talking about Satan going around seeking someone to devour. He doesn’t send us on a prayer demon hunt, he says ‘DISCIPLINE YOURSELVES’.

And nobody wants to hear that!

Everybody wants a once per lifetime encounter with the devil where we pray the magic prayer, and vanquish him forever.

As opposed to the lifelong process of Disciplining Yourself so that you’re able to resist him.

That’s not sexy preaching.

That’s like saying to get in shape you have to eat better and exercise more.

Isn’t that a bummer?! But most of us think ‘But isn’t there a way that I can just get on a machine that giggles my fat really fast and that will make it disappear. And all the trainers in the world and saying ‘Nope. It’s the food and exercise thing.'

But I think we want a shortcut.

I think again of the spiritual disciplines: Fasting, Reading Scripture, Meditation, Prayer.

You know what they all have in common? Discipline.

And let me plead with you tonight, that if you find a way to live a disciplined life, where you pray, and read scripture. It will benefit you 1000 times more than reading Frank Peretti novels.

Bob Larson. If you discipline yourself, it will benefit you 1000 more than going to that weird Bob Larson TV excorcist guy who has those events in hotel ballrooms.. I’m personally skeptical of any exorcisms that happen in a hotel ballroom, but that’s just me.

If you can just be a Christian with self discipline, you’re gonna do a really good job at resisting the evil one.


Lastly: James 4:7

James gives the most practical advice in the entire bible on how to deal with the devil.

Some of you might be thinking: “I bet it has something to do with casting down, or calling out or something.’

There’s definitely a place for all that, but if you don’t get this, I submit that none of the other stuff matters all that much.

James 4:7

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

The most important thing I’ll say all night is this: In scripture: Submission is Warfare.

The most important thing when it comes to dealing with the devil, is not putting on war paint, and army fatuiges, no it’s submitting to God.

I believe in all the stuff

I don’t know how many of you have ever read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. I completely agree that there’s some crazy stuff that happens in this world. I believe that there’s people who are so influenced by the devil that there’s almost none of them left. Supernatural acts of strength, talking in different voices, I believe in all that stuff.

I believe in demonic possession.

But I think that we can watch too many exorcism movies and we start to think that the way we fight that is by having more crosses in our houses.

I think so often we want a shortcut to having to give our entire lives to Jesus.

It’s like ‘yeah, I hear you, is there’s any way to NOT do that?'

Just for me personally, it’s HARDER for me to submit certain areas of my life to God, than it is just to say ‘Satan, I’m gonna bust a cap in your eye.'

“I’m a lyrical assassin, I go buck buck buck, another demon gets struck”. I can do that all day long.

That's easier. It’s easier for me to do that, than to take areas of my life, that I’ve held back for myself, and give those to God. That’s the hard stuff.

But Submission is Warfare.

And it’s not just straight up sin, there’s a lot of us that have areas in our life that we don’t invite Jesus into b/c we’re afraid he’s gonna tell us to do something different.

Let me be clear: I do believe there’s powerful places we can go in prayer, where we’re able to fight the devil back, but I just think outside of disciplining yourself, and submitting to God, that all those victories will ultimately be temporary.

And let me say this: It can actually make people worse off in the long run.

Matthew 12:43-45

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. (Matthew 12:43)

Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. (Matthew 12:44)

Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” (Matthew 12:45)

People aren’t going to like this: But when we just try to vanquish the devil in one encounter, instead of developing a lifestyle of submission to God, I think it really hurts us.

Lose weight. - Again, I’m sure none of you have ever tried to lose weight. But wouldn’t it just be easier to just go and get some one-time procedure, liposuction or something, and then BAM, no problems with weight ever again. No, we know that’s not how that works. B/C the weight just comes back with 7 of his friends.

And the same is true in our spiritual lives.

Me - Counsiling - demon possessed. I’ve met with people who come in to the church, and they’re positive they’re demon possessed. And then just want to meet with me one time, and have me take care of that. And that never works of course. What these people really need is to develop a life of discipline and submission.

Submission is Warfare.

Do you know that preachers make up statistics? We do.

And I know that you know that. That’s why I always site my sources when I’m giving you hard facts.

So I’m gonna give you a scientific statistic that I really believe, but I have no data for it. I just made it up. But I really believe it. This is my personal statistic.

99% of spiritual warfare is Submission.


What does submission to God look like?

Ok, so what does submission to God look like?

1. Submission means not just coming to God when you need something.

Not just coming to God when you need him to bail you out.


2. Submission means giving God more votes than we give ourselves.

I love this litmus test: If God thinks one thing, and you think another, who wins?

But a lot of us live our lives like this: “Yeah I hear you God, but I’m not interested.” - Forgive? Yeah I don’t think so. Give freely? Yeah not gonna happen. ‘Respond in kindness’ over my dead body.


3. Submission means loving God for who he is, not for what he can give you.

I think we can be horribly guilty of this.

Man - wife cancer This past week I met with a man who has a wife who is dying of cancer. And basically he’s at this place of: “We’ve prayed and done everything we can think of. And we learned that we’re not supposed to ask God to heal my wife cancer, but instead we’re supposed to talk TO the cancer, and command it to leave’ and listen I know there’s a place for all that, and the last thing I’d ever want to do is to be combative with someone who’s in a situation like that, but I just told him that God isn’t a force that we can harness, he’s a loving father.

But so often we basically give God an ultimatum. “Heal my mom, or dad, or whatever. And if you don’t, you’re dead to me!”

God loves you, and the world is broken.

He’s not the cosmic slot machine.

This isn’t Harry Potter where if you want God to move, you have to learn the secret spell with the magic words.

No, he’s a loving father. And part of submitting to him is loving God even when things don’t go your way.


Close

Close w/one more scripture. In Luke 22, we find the disciples fighting over who’s the greatest. And Jesus responds like this:

Luke 22:31

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. (Luke 22:31)

But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.” (Luke 22:32)

Do you know how much theology is wrapped up in this verse?

  1. Jesus is super aware that there’s more happening than meets the eye. That there’s an evil force against your life that wants to hurt you, wants to hurt your family. He knows all of that.
  2. Jesus knows you can’t make it on your own. So he’s wanting to help you. What a beautiful idea what Jesus would be praying for you.

When I submit, I fall into alignment with the prayers that Jesus himself is praying over me.

I don’t know if you have any people like this in your life, but I have people that when THEY pray for me, I feel like ‘Yeah that ones gonna get through! Like regular people, they can pray for me, but if THAT person prays for me, yeah that’s gonna work’

Well just imagine the prayers that Jesus himself would pray for you.

You think Jesus is qualified to get a prayer through? He has connections. He knows people. And when I submit to him I’m falling into alignment those prayers.


Prepare - Communion

Submission is Warfare.

How do you fight back against what the enemy is trying to do in you? How do you fight back against what the enemy is trying to do in your marriage? Submit to God. Give your life totally to him,.

Is there anything in my priorities that is out of whack.

Is it a social thing? Is it a family thing?