Jack Graham - Dark Angel
The most important thing we can do to begin winning life's battles, you are in a spiritual battle. If you are a believer you understand the Christian life is, you know, not just putting a flower in your hair and speaking of peace and love. We are called to a battle. The Christian ground, Christian life is not a playground; it is a battleground. And we are in the battle! If you are a follower of Jesus, you wear a target and you are targeted by the enemy. Thank God, in Christ we can defend ourselves. We can be protected, but we need to be warned, because to be forewarned is to be forearmed! This is why the first step we need to take in winning life's battles is to acknowledge our adversary.
So I want to take some time this morning to expose the enemy of our soul, Satan, who is very, very real. Not a Saturday Night Live skit, not a caricature, you know, a devil and pitchfork with long horns, tail on a side of a can of potted ham; not a cartoon character, but a very sinister, seductive and powerful created being who leads a revolt against Almighty God and whose desire is to cast your soul into hell! Jesus taught us to pray deliver us from the evil one; literally, deliver us from the evil one. He is called in the Scripture Satan which means the adversary, the opponent, the one who comes against us. He is called the devil, which means the accuser. He's described in the Revelation as the accuser of the brothers and sisters.
Three times in the Bible the devil speaks, I mean, literally speaks. His presence is seen, the shadow of the enemy is in the Scriptures, but three times, he verbally speaks and his words are recorded. One, in the Garden of Eden when he slandered God to man. He slithered into the Garden, the serpent, Satan himself, and he said, "God is holding out on you, Eve. Has God said...? God knows that if you eat of this fruit that He has forbidden you, that you will become as He is; you will become as God". He slandered the character and the nature of God to man. The second time that Satan speaks is in the book of Job. Remember this? When Job was living a righteous life for the Lord and Satan was given permission to appear before the throne of God and at that point he slandered man to God. He said, "Job serves You for nothing. If You take away everything that he has... Sure he lives for You! He's got a great family, he's got a great life, he's making lots of money, he's living for You only because You give him all these things. Take away all of this and he'll be gone". And God gave Satan permission to try Job, buffet him, and he did indeed. But when he spoke he was lying and accusing and slandering the man to God. First, God to man and then man to God.
The third time that the devil speaks, the accuser of the brethren is when Jesus is tempted in the wilderness, and Satan spoke to Jesus Himself and said, "If You worship me and bow down before me, I'll give You the kingdoms of this earth". This time Satan is slandering the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. He's the accuser of the brethren. He is on the attack. He is Lucifer as we'll see in a passage in just a moment, which means the son of the morning, the angelic being who became the angel of the night. He's called in 1 John 5:19, "the evil one"; 1 Thessalonians 3:5, "the tempter"; in John 12:31, "the prince of this world"; 2 Corinthians 4:4, "the god of this world"; 1 Peter 5:8, "a roaring lion". He's known as the serpent. Jesus said in John 8, "he was a liar, the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning". Satan! His M.O. his method of operation has not changed through the centuries. And that is why Paul says, "I don't want you to be unaware, I don't want you to be ignorant; you can't be blindsided by the devil. You need to know his schemes, his tactics".
So we're going to take some time to expose him; some of his schemes, some of his methods, his operations to destroy, to divert, to deny, to twist, to mislead, to ultimately Jesus said, to kill and to destroy! He specializes in subversion and perversion and diversion and destruction! Bottom line: he wants to destroy your soul! And with you, your family, your friends, your church, your children! And he is prepared to use every tactic he has. Every tool, every weapon in his arsenal he prepares to use. And again, all of us are in involved in this invisible war. We cannot go AWOL. We cannot sit because to sit is to be a sitting duck. You will be a target of the enemy! It is a covert operations much like a terrorist operation. It is a cosmic collision. Behind the scenes is this cosmic battle that is going on between good and evil, light and darkness, Christ and antichrist, heaven and hell, God and Satan.
How did this all begin? What is the source of evil? Why is there such evil in the world? What is the explanation for evil in the world? We take you back to eternity-past in Isaiah 14. Take your Bibles, turn to Isaiah 14. We're going to put this on the screen for you, but it would be so much better if you opened your Bible and looked with me to Isaiah 14, and mark these verses and note them, because we get a glimpse of how it all began. I mean, little children, little first graders ask the question, "Mommy, Daddy, how did the devil become the devil"? "Why did God make the devil"? We have a glimpse, just a glimpse of what happened before time began in the eons, in eternity, in the infinity of the past. Here's what happened, Chapter 14, verses 12 to 14: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn"! Lucifer, meaning Day Star, son of Dawn. "How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God. I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'"
Lucifer, the son of the morning, was a created being; he was swollen with pride. He said, "I will be like the Most High". Before there was ever rebellion on earth, there was revolt in heaven! Please remember this: Satan is not equal to God; he is a created being by God, an angelic being that was created by God, the son of the morning, the Dawn Star, the Day Star. But God, this is a mystery, the Bible speaks of the mystery of iniquity. But one thing is for sure; God gave angelic beings a choice. And Satan and his minions chose to rebel against God. Notice the temptation in heaven was the temptation first on earth. "I will be like the Most High"! Satan ended up saying to Eve, "If you eat of this fruit, you will be like God"! His desire is to rule: always has been, always will be! This is why Jesus called him the god of this age, the ruler of this world!
But there is a clearer picture, perhaps, in Ezekiel chapter 28. This is another passage in the Old Testament that takes us beyond time, into the invisible, eternal world of the past! The first ten verses of Ezekiel 28 have to do with an earthly king by the name of the king of Tyre, or the prince of Tyre. He was a literal, physical king that existed in the ancient world. But something turns in verse 11 and obviously the writer beings speaking of something beyond an earthly presence, and earthly king.
"Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me", and he speaks of this power beyond the throne of the prince of Tyre. He speaks in terms that could only describe an eternal powerful being. Verse 12 of Ezekiel 28: "Son of man, raise a lamentation", that means cry out, "over the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord: "You were the signet of perfection (this angelic being was a perfect being as created) full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, (Now we're moving from eternity into Eden) in the garden of God; and every precious stone was your covering (He mentions) sardius and topaz and diamond and beryl, and onyx and jasper, and sapphire, and emerald, and carbuncle; and created in gold with your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were (watch this) created (Again, created) as an angelic being they were prepared. You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you in the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones you walked"'".
Ezekiel 28 described the powerful timbrel, the voice of Satan. There is indication that Satan himself may have been the leader of the angelic hosts of praise, and this is why he is so allergic to praise and the worship of Jesus today! He runs when he hears the name of Jesus in worship. That's another message. He was a powerful angelic being and force! Paul describes him in the book of Corinthians, even now as an angel of light. He disguised himself as an angel of light. Now listen to me, if Satan manifested himself in this room right now, right here, right now you wouldn't go running out of the auditorium like an old horror movie! You know, remember those screaming horror movies? People went running out the doors! You wouldn't go running out the doors, terrorized by his presence!
If you saw Satan as he is right now, an angel of light, you would be tempted as even Jesus was to bow down and worship him. A powerful, beautiful, angelic being! But something happened. He chose rebellion against God, to be like the Most High, to ascend above the throne of God! And as a result of his rebellion, God casted him out and all who followed him. Apparently one third of the heavenly hosts in this cosmic construction of history left with Satan, were dismissed from the presence of God in heaven. Verse 15 says: "You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you". Verse 17, "Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you".
That's the title of this message, "Dark Angel". He is a dark and devilish spiritual being. This means that not everything that is spiritual is good! Not everything that is supernatural is of God! We must know the enemy; we must prepare! Satan is called the ruler of this world, the prince of this world, the ruler of the world system. Second Corinthians 4:4 says this: "In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers". You wonder why your friends do not believe, do not receive the Gospel? Their eyes are blinded by this enemy to keep them from seeing the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God. He is personified in personal evil. His power is dark and deadly. He is filled with hate and rage and revenge and envy. He wants to capture souls. He presides over strongholds and structures even of governments, of principalities. He looks for footholds to develop strongholds on our lives; thus we have addictions such as drugs and alcohol and pornography and fear and anger; behaviors that are controlled by the devil!
Jesus went about doing good according to the book of Acts and healing those who were oppressed, in bondage to the devil. He is a very real, decided foe and decided fact of an enemy. You're primary problem, therefore, is not with people, not with your circumstances; you're primary issue, if you're having a struggle in life, is not with your spouse, not with your kids, not with your addiction, not with pornography, not with abortion. The problem is this satanic powerful force, these sinister beings behind. This happened with Jesus and Simon Peter. When Jesus spoke of going to the cross on the heals of Simon's great confession, "You're the Christ; the Son of the Living God"! When Jesus spoke of the cross and dying on the cross, Simon began to say, "No! No, Lord, don't do that"! And Jesus immediately said, "Get behind me, Satan"! He wasn't talking to Peter! Peter was just a puppet! He was talking to Satan himself. And all the lies, the schemes, the sinful behaviors, everything that embattles us in life, this comes from the evil one.
Satan is not co-equal with God! God is Almighty; Satan is not almighty. The devil cannot be everywhere as God is omnipresent and everywhere. Satan is not all-knowing as God is all-knowing; he is not God! He is created, and even now, controlled by God. And our focus should not be primarily in life on the poise of Satan, but on the power of God! Our authority in Jesus! While he is roaring, roaming lion, he is a lion on a leash! We are given power over the works of the enemy because of the cross! When Jesus died on the cross, He cried out, "It is finished"! The demons of hell were shrieking and screaming, "He is finished"! But He was not finished; His mission was finished! He gave Himself to die on the cross for our sins! This is our victory!
When He was buried all hell celebrated; that's the end of that! But on the third day Jesus rolled away the stone and came out holding in His strong mighty hand the keys to life and death and heaven and hell because He is Lord! And this is our victory! A mighty fortress is our God; the great I AM is our victor and our victory, and therefore, we have authority! If you watch a football game there are powerful athletes on the field, running up and down. But there are some weaker men on the field, some smaller men typically who have a whistle and a yellow flag. Now they don't have as much power as these mighty athletes, but all they need to do to stop control the action, to make adjustments in the game is to throw a yellow flag. And those men, therefore, have authority over that game.
That's the difference that we have in Christ; the difference that Jesus makes! We are not as strong as Satan. We in and of ourselves would be destroyed by the power of the enemy. But we have authority and that authority is in Jesus! This is why we say we don't fight for victory; we fight from our victory in Christ! I've illustrated for years with a silly illustration, but it's a little vivid so you may want to hold your first-grader's ears, alright.
When I was a little boy, I wanted some Easter chickens. And down at the Montgomery Wards in our little town they were selling these little Easter chickens. They were red and yellow and blue and pink. They were beautiful. And I asked my grandfather to buy these chickens. And a grandfather can't say no to a six year old grandson so he bought me these chickens. I Loved the little chickens, made pets of those little chickens, had Easter with the little chickens. It was fun. But you know it wasn't long till all the color had grown off those chickens and they were just big white chickens running around our yard. And we didn't have a farm; we just had a yard! And so one day my grandfather, Grandpa Sims, decided that we were going to have chicken and dumplings.
Now to this day I'm not certain why he wanted to teach me this vivid lesson except maybe to tell this story and to illustrate this point, (thanks, Grandpa- and this is the part you close the eyes of your kids, alright?) You know I thought about this early, I said, maybe I shouldn't tell this chicken story. But I've got to because it's such a perfect thing of what I'm trying to tell you about the devil. You know I've been telling you the devil is real, the devil is powerful and he is, and we're in a battle and we are. And yet, you know, now I'm saying, we have victory in Jesus! The war is over but we still have battles to fight! Okay? But we are fighting against a dead chicken!
My grandfather took one chicken in one hand and another chicken in the other hand there in the back yard (my eyes are getting wide as saucers!) and he begins to do this: faster than this! (Am I making my point without being too vivid?) Alright. And those chickens are now sans their head, flopping all over the yard, to my amazement! They don't have a head, but they're bouncing all over the yard! Blood squirting everywhere! It was amazing! Those chickens were dead and didn't even know it! So when I think about the devil and what Christ has done, I think about those chickens, flopping around, a lot of noise, a lot of excitement, a lot of gore, but Satan is a defeated foe; defeated in the power of Jesus! And we claim that authority when we claim the power of His name, His victory!
Revelation 12:11, "They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony. They loved not their lives unto death". How do we win life's battles? We claim our victory in Christ. He (Colossians 2:15) "Disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them"! Like a Roman general with a stripped down, defeated opponent, chained to his chariot, the applause, the excitement of a great victory! Back in the Roman legions, coming back home. Those enemies, those generals, those prisoners chained to the chariot! Satan is stripped of his power and his authority over us because our King Jesus has won the victory! Accept, acknowledge, appropriate your victory in Jesus!
Hebrews 2:14: "Since therefore, the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil"! Therefore, stand in the face of the enemy! And in Jesus name claim your victory in Him! You don't have to be the devil's plaything! You can be strong. Now you know I don't believe in swagger here, you know. Don't get your swagger on, you'll get your head knocked off! But be strong and steady; dependent upon God! And as you prepare yourself and stand in Christ and His righteousness, your victory will be assured, and the enemy has no right or authority to claim you, to control you, to corrupt you because you have victory in Jesus.