Jack Graham - Crushing Satan
- Prayer Request
Take your Bibles and turn with me to the book of Romans, chapter 16, and the title today is quite bombastic, "Crushing Satan". Who wants to crush Satan? Are you in? I do! And God has given us a prophecy and a promise that one day Satan will be totally and completely crushed, destroyed, broken, devoured. Crushing Satan. Paul is saying goodbye, and as noted in the last several weeks, he spoke of the believers in the church, precious to him, precious to all who knew him. Individuals, team Jesus, and there's a whole lot of love, hugs and kisses. He even says "Greet one another with a holy kiss". But love not only greets, but it protects. And Paul in these last verses of Romans, before he says one final goodbye, wants to show his love by protecting and making sure that the church is united in faith; guarded against those who destroy it and protected in the love of Christ.
And so he gives a strong and urgent warning. He uses words that are descriptive of imploring someone, begging someone, pleading with someone. And these words begin in verse 17. So look at it with me. Verse 17, Romans 16, "I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you".
Love does not hesitate to confront evil and to protect those you love against it. Love does not hesitate to call out evil as well as confronting it. And the danger and the deception of false teachers is the subject of this passage. When you love someone, you do everything possible to guard them, to protect them, like a parent with a child. Medicines and machinery have warning labels on them. And so this message is a warning label! It is a serious and sobering message. Not necessarily a feel-good message, but it is such a needed message today for the church of the twenty-first century. Because first and foremost, I want to speak to you about the dangers of false teachers and those who would ruin your souls and wreck your lives and families.
The Church is under attack and the battle is most often not from without, the enemies that come from without, but from within! Insiders who would disrupt and divide and destroy the work of Christ. This is the reason that Paul takes time before he says goodbye to warn all of us from generation to generation, because this is a battle we all fight until the Lord comes again. He says mark these and avoid these false teachers. This is so very important that Jesus addressed it in Matthew chapter 7, verses 15 and 16. We want to put it on the screen for you right now. "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles"?
So Jesus Himself began this warning process that Paul picked up along with virtually every apostle in the New Testament, from Peter to John to Paul and of course, straight from the lips of Jesus. First John, chapter 4 tells us that we are to test every spirit because not every spirit, even supernatural spirits, come from God. The Bible tells us that we are not to be seduced by spirits or by demon spirits; doctrines of demons. So be warned. Now our current version of deception and dangerous divide in the church is what you can call progressive Christianity. Progressivism. Through the years the enemies that have divided the church have divided either over legalism on one side or liberalism on the other. And the latest version of liberalism is progressivism.
And so I speak of this with the deception of false teachers. We've talked about just a little bit the danger of this, but let's talk about the deception of this because the goal of false teachers in our generation, remember, within the church, not outside the church, but it is the goal of these progressives to redefine Christianity. Redefine it and redirect it. And it is a cancer in the church because progressives want to align, not with the Word of God, but with the culture, and they are driven to deliver a new message that is more sophisticated, a new kind of Christianity. This is why Jude tells us in verse 4 that we must "always earnestly contend for the faith", that we must fight for the faith earnestly, fervently, devotedly.
How do we detect these false teachers within the church today? Progressives deny the authority and the sufficiency of the Bible, the Word of God. That's where it all starts! In fact, Satan's lies are never new. It all began when the serpent slithered in, the shiny one, into the Garden of Eden and put a question mark on the Word of God. When Eve was tempted and at first rebutted the temptations of the enemy, the devil said, "Has God said"? That is always the lie! To deny, diminish, dilute the Word of God. To question the authority of the Scripture. The battle for the Bible rages in every generation. This Book that we believe is the inerrant, infallible, authoritative, accurate Word of God is always in every generation under attack!
And the progressives put that question mark right where the devil puts it, on the Word of God, to twist and distort the truth of God’s Word. You can name the issue, whatever the issue. Issues like sexuality, focusing on the latest satanic moral compromise such as gender identity. They deny the biblical distinction of male and female, they embrace, these progressives, remember within the church, not without. We're talking about the church, not the culture. But they embrace same-sex marriage; they are pro-choice. This is progressive Christianity. The progressive also focus on social justice rather than biblical justice. We believe in God’s justice but in the search for social justice the progressives neglect the justice of Almighty God who is holy and righteous and require salvation in Christ and Christ alone.
The salvation is not in education; it is not in social improvement, but it is rather in Christ and Christ alone. The danger is that progressive Christianity (Do I have your attention?) is a one-way ticket to hell! This is the danger of this deception. And I say this in the midst of the battle with a burden for those who are on the other side. Because to reject Jesus, to turn from the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus is to condemn yourself to eternal judgment and hell! I think, and I weep over all the persons and great people, so many, who are in liberal progressive churches; never hear the word of God, authoritative, persuasive and powerful. Thirty-seven percent, only 37% of pastors in America have a biblical world view.
Think about that. The number among youth pastors in America unfortunately is even worse. To follow secularists and progressives and unbelieving false teachers is to destroy your own soul, and that of your children. This is why I would ask in this generation, "Why would you subject your children to secularists, to a secular university or a secular church whose goal it is to either redefine your child’s faith or destroy it all together"? This is the reason that the Bible contains so many warnings about this. That we should wise up. This is why he says I appeal to you, brothers, that those who divide, contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught "the faith once delivered" He says do two things in verse 17: Watch out for them. The word is a word which means to scope. You hear the word telescope and the word that is used right here, a microscope, to see it. He said, "Get your eyes on this! Scope them out! Detect them"!
And then what did he say? Avoid them! Walk away. Get out of there. The reason the Bible includes so many warnings is because the human heart, the soul is so precious to God. Here’s another warning: Galatians 1:6-9. Let’s put that on the screen. Galatians 1:6-9. This is Paul once again. He said, "I’m astonished that you’re so quickly deserting Him who call you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel, another gospel. Not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the Gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed". Let him be damned. That’s what Paul is saying.
Now I can already hear someone thinking, "Well, that's so full of hate. There's no love in that. That's what's wrong with you Bible-believing Christians. You're just so belligerent and bullish and hypocritical, and all the rest. You're angry and judgmental". NO! Love protects! Love cares! And Paul along with the apostles say it again and again and again and again. And these passages are often neglected in the preaching of God's Word because it seems so hard, it seems so harsh, but souls are at stake, families are at stake! Another gospel, preach it at your own peril because with it comes the curse of God. So many churches the Christians led by these liberals and progressives are just asleep, or to use another metaphor as Jesus used, He said, "I would that you were cold or hot, but you’re lukewarm"!
You’re just tepid; you’re soft! Paul makes a very great statement here in, he talks about verse 18, I don't want to miss this. He says describing these, he says they, "are persons who do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetite. (Literally, their own bellies to satisfy themselves) and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve". They’re not paying attention. And so he says they are just swept up in this and caught up with the latest glib, personable, winsome, sweet-talking guy. He says expect it and detect it and reject it! And he says in verse 19, "For your obedience is known to all", this is a great church; this is a glorious church, the church at Rome. But Paul knew the power of the enemy and the persuasive ability of false teachers, so he’s saying even though you are obedient, you are known to all, yet be wise and be warned.
And so we must always be on guard. He says, "I rejoice over you", as I do you, Prestonwood. But he said I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. Wise in what is good and innocent, it literally means don't even begin to think about evil. People think "I have to experience a little bit of evil in my life to what it is". No you don’t. You ought to be innocent concerning some things. Say, "I need to experience some things to know what is right, what is wrong; what is good, what it bad". You don’t have to stick your head in a sewer to know what it is! And so he said, "Be innocent in some things". I wish we could keep out children more innocent of evil.
The only way to do that as I see it is just fill them with the Word of God and prepare them to counterattack rather than to be attacked. Moral relativism without absolute truth in your faith means that anything goes. And the progressives are all about "your truth" and "my truth"; "the truth as you see it" and "the truth as I see it". But there's no real absolute truth. Therefore, anything goes. It's like the book of Judges where it's said of that generation "Every man did what was right in his own eyes". But "God is not mocked. Whatever we sow, we reap". And what is happening in the world, what is happening in our country with the collapse of the culture, the moral collapse of our nation is that we are now reaping the results of our sin. "You sow the wind, you get the whirlwind".
Dear people, it's now the whirlwind! Satan is the father of all lies. That's what Jesus said. "He's a liar and a murderer from the beginning". And it is my responsibility as I see it, a big part of my responsibility in these days to protect the flock of God against the works of the enemy! Paul said it in Acts chapter 20. Just go ahead and turn in your Bibles with me to Acts chapter 20. I want to show you some verses and then we'll close the message. But this is so very important to me what Paul said to the Ephesian elders, leaders of the church as he is departing, after spending around 3 years with them as their pastor.
He says, Acts chapter 20, verses 27 to 32:27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. Discernment is so desperately needed among God’s people today. Wisdom.
So a couple of closing words: Number one, be prepared to defend your faith. We want to do everything that we can to help you on the offensive as well as the defensive "to give a reason for the hope that is in you". As the Scripture says, be prepared to defend your faith. Then we should not only be prepared to defend our faith, but we must refuse to shut-up or stand down. We should be courageous. We will clearly and creatively share the Gospel of Christ! We will align with the Bible on every issue of sexuality, on the sanctity of life, on purity, on morality! We will love and live the truth! Not leaving it up to someone else's truth, but God's truth! The truth of Jesus Christ!
Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father but by Christ". There are many roads to hell but there's one road to heaven and His name is Jesus! "There's no other name given among men whereby we must be saved". And this is the message that we will proclaim; that we will know the Gospel, not another gospel, not a progressive gospel but the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. And from this pulpit and from these pews we will declare our convictions without compromise. This is the essential Gospel!
One final word. This is not only a prophecy of what is soon to come. Soon, I don’t know when, but we are to be prepared always, always. It’s soon and very soon we’re going to see the Lord. He said soon He will crush Satan, so that will happen. That’s future tense. But it's also a promise to live in today, in that because of the cross, Satan and the works of Satan have been defeated in our lives, and therefore, the calmest, the most courageous people on earth right now should be Christians because we know the battle is won in Christ! And it will be eventually be done when He comes again. So we live in Salome; we live in the peace of God, the God of peace.
Romans 15:13: "May the God of peace fill you with", or the God of hope rather, "fill you will all joy and peace in believing by the power of the Holy Spirit that you will overflow in hope". We live in the battle. It won't be over until we see Jesus. So we overcome him now and everyday in our own lives by the word of the Lamb and the testimony of our faith. By the blood of the Lamb, and the testimony of our faith. Satan is under His feet. And what is under His feet is, therefore, under your feet. In Jesus you have the power and you have the victory to win in life.