Michael Youssef - The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, But Why? - Part 2
C.S. Lewis wrote an introduction to his novel, "The Screwtape Letters" and in fact, in that introduction he said, "There are two extremes. One is believing that the devil does not exist and the other is excessive fear of the devil, especially for the believers. Both are equally erroneous". It is not surprising therefore, my beloved friends, that the Bible tells us that one of the reasons why Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, one of the reasons why Jesus came to our earth is to destroy the works of the devil. I'm going to come to that in a minute.
Now, we began an advent series on why do we call Christmas the most wonderful time of the year? In fact, it's the most wonderful time ever, the greatest news period. And we saw in the last message that Jesus came from heaven according to the Word of God to deliver us from sin and from the power of sin and from the wages of sin. And today, we're going to see another reason why Jesus came from heaven and I want you to turn with me please to 1 John. As they say in England and Australia, 1 John, 1 John 3:8, 1 John 3:8. And what I want to do, I want to give you a homespun translation, my translation, my paraphrasing if you like because it's not really exact translation. You ready? "He who habitually and without qualms sins is of the devil. Because the devil is a sinner from the beginner. Yet the purpose of why the Son of God appeared was so that he might destroy the works of the devil".
So question, what does it mean when John said, "The Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil". It's works, in the plural, of the devil. It means that he came to eviscerate the devil. That he came to disarm the devil. That he came to remove the fangs from the old serpent. That he came to knock out the teeth from the roaring lion and we will see in the next message how Jesus also came in order to prepare the final church, the last church for its final triumph.
When the Apostle John who leaned on Jesus's shoulder was inspired by the Holy Spirit of God to pen down these words, that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, he and the early church were facing one of the greatest challenges that the early church, the first church, ever faced. No, it was not the Roman persecution, they already had that. No, it was not the false accusations by the religious leaders. They already had that. No, it was not even the fact that they had been despised and rejected by society. They already experienced that. But none of these really threatened the church.
Listen to me, none of these things threaten us. In fact, these things strengthen the church. Persecution strengthens the church. Rejection by the world strengthens the church. But their biggest and the most hideous and the most dangerous, insidious threat to the first church was within from within the church. It was coming from false teachers and false preachers in the church. It was coming from false prophets in the church. It was coming from false church hierarchy.
One of the earliest and deadliest threat to the early church, the first church was a heresy known as Gnosticism. The Gnostics were those who viewed themselves as more knowledgeable than the Bible itself. They viewed themselves more intellectual elite of the church. They viewed themselves as those who know more and better than the Bible believing disciples. Gnostics saw themselves as too sophisticated to believe all that stuff about Satan and evil. Gnostics saw themselves to be above this fundamental, Biblical faith. That is why I personally believe with all my heart, and this is personal, that we have come full circle. The very falsehood that had threatened the first church is now threatening the 21st Century church. It is my personal conviction that the Lord is preparing his bride for the return of Christ. The Lord is purifying the church. The Lord is separating the remnant from the rest.
Indeed, he is now separating the wheat from the chaff before our own eyes. He is now separating the sheep from the goats. Listen to me, goats have always been in the sheep pen, always. But they now are being separated. They're becoming clear. Some of the goats used to look like sheep and tried to talk like a sheep, tried to sound like a sheep, but now they're not pretending anymore. We're going to see more about this in the next message but for now let's look at the text. Look at the text with me. Jesus came to do what? Beloved, the Bible makes it very clear, very clear that Satan is the author of evil in the world. That Satan is the perpetrator of all the suffering in the world. That Satan is the sower of discord and disunity and division in the world.
Have you ever seen greater division in families that we're saying with our own eyes today? I've not. Satan is the one who is now blinding the eyes of men and women, boys and girls, to stop them from seeing the truth and they bought into the lies of this culture. Satan is the instigator of sin that brought death. These and a whole lot more is what the Bible called the works of the devil. Satan knows that humanity was created, we were created in God's own image, and when God created us, he placed in our hearts, I'm talking about every human being in the face of the earth, every human being that ever lived that were created with something inside of us that we have to believe in something, that we have to believe in someone.
Of course, God's original intent in creation placed that in our hearts that the original intent for us to believe in God. But because Satan knows that he cannot stop that desire of believing, he provides them with false gods. He provides them to believe in other things and make no mistake about it, listen to me, secular humanism is a religion. Atheism is a religion. And do not ever forget that God calls Satan a liar and a father of lies. No wonder dictionaries now contemplating a new word, post-truth, post-truth. We're in post-truth time. It's your truth, my truth, his truth, everybody's truth, and how can you confuse people more than that? But Jesus came to do what? Jesus came to reveal to us the devil's destructive work. He came to expose the devil destructive modus operandi. Jesus came to unmask his despicable and deceptive nature. Can I get an amen?
Question, if Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, then why in the world is so much suffering in the world? Why as Satan continues to operate freely in the world? Well, great question. It really is a great question. As long as people are willing to follow and obey and the lies of Satan, he will have a hold over them. This is why you hear me often say and I'll say it once again. Satan has no claim on the believer unless the believer hands him the keys. Let me show you how the devil works. I can give you dozens of examples that relate to us as families and different relationships in our family. This miserable character comes to a married couple who as soon as they have an argument which is normal, everybody does, every married couple have an argument. If you don't have one in your home I want to talk to you.
In my home because I'm a pastor we have to use sanctimonious language. We don't call it argument. We call it vigorous discussion. But as soon as the argument is not resolved biblically, when the argument is not resolved quickly and biblically, the miserable devil is going to slither his way into the marriage, and he'll whisper, "Your spouse is not fair to you. Hello. You deserve better than this. You shouldn't put up with this. You deserve someone who really appreciates you or superlative qualities". Right. At that point the Christian spouse has a choice, has a choice. He or she could say, "Devil, get lost. I want to obey the Word of God". Or say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, thank you for the sympathy. Huh, you're right". Miserable creature then would say to the spouse, "You know Snookums up there, you know, or down there, or next door, or wherever Snookums is. You know that Snookums is always telling you how good you look. He will make you happy. She's going to make you happy".
Let me tell you something, nobody can make you happy. I love my wife with all my heart, she does not make me happy. Only Jesus makes me happy. God forbid that anyone makes you happy than Jesus. God forbid. What happened in the end the marriage dissolves. Why? Because a Christian said yes to Satan and they swallowed his deception, hook, line, and sinker, but remember Jesus came, why? The home and the church is where all these thorny issues must be discussed and the revealing of the enemy's dirty tricks and destructive nature must be openly discussed in the homes and in the churches. For if we go along with the works of the devil instead of claiming the victory of Christ that is already ours, it's already ours. We will wake up one day in deep despair and destruction. Why? Because we said yes to the works of the devil that's already been destroyed by Jesus.
Jesus came to do what? They tell me that a good fisherman knows what kind of bait a certain fish, whatever they're working, fishing, likes. They know exactly what appetite, to what bait. That would make Satan a great fisherman. He really, really, really is. He knows exactly what bait that he puts on the hook for you, and you, and you, and me. I just wonder how many Christians really ignore Satan's tempting ability, ignore his tempting ability, and they dash through the tall grass of life, thinking that Satan may go for the wooden leg but remember Jesus came to what? Jesus came to destroy the effectiveness of envy, and jealousy, and lust, and hatred, and pride. Jesus came to destroy betrayal and fear of rejection. Jesus came to destroy all types of fears and anxiety. Jesus came to give us victorious life! Will you claim it today?
Someone may ask, "But how are we going to deal with others whom have been misled by Satan"? Biblical strategy here is very clear, pray for those who despitefully use you. Let me repeat this. Pray for those who despitefully use you. Bless those who falsely accuse you. Love those who hate you. The opposite of course is true. Every time you fall in Satan's traps, he tightens his grip which Jesus came to loosen. Every time you go against the Word of God, you are saying yes to Satan's works and you are handing him the key. Here's a very important fact, Jesus did not come to restrain the devil. Jesus did not come to limit his power. Jesus did not come to neutralize the power of the devil. No, he came to do what?
One more thing, the word "destroy" means to dissolve or loosen completely and it's often used to describe a ship that is fallen apart into pieces. In other words, Jesus came to make a wreck out of Satan's power. He broke his chains asunder. He smashed his grip to smithereens. He destroyed hatred by his love. He destroyed lawlessness by his righteousness. He destroyed the power of death by his resurrection. He destroyed eternal death by offering us eternal life. And that is why Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. Now, beloved, victory is not some elusive unattainable dream. Victory actually is ours. When we refuse to open a door or a window for any of the works of the devil.
Now, let me tell you this as I conclude, it's a true story that I would love to tell. It's about a missionary who was away from home for a few weeks and then he came back home and as he opened the door of his house, he discovered a huge python inside the house. How did it get there? He couldn't understand. So, he ran back to his truck and he grabbed his .45 caliber pistol and went back to the house and he entered very slowly and very carefully. Then he aimed with precision and fired one single shot at the snake's head. While it was mortal blow to this reptile, it did not die instantly. That missionary at that moment went out of the house, stayed outside, and listened as he heard noise of destruction of some of the furniture in his house as the snake began to thrash violently. The tremendous power of the snake's movement broke and damaged many items in his home.
So he waited until the noise subsided and then again very slowly, and very carefully, he began to go inside the house to find the snake to be dead, but the interior of the house looked like a hurricane, or as they say in the far east, a cyclone has come through the house. The snake unleashed it's most violent fury in the last moments before it's death. We're seeing his violent fury before his death and being thrown into the lake of fire. How? They say lying now is a form of truth. Who did Jesus say the liar and father of lies? The devil, he's succeeding, but because of the cross of Jesus's death, he dealt with Satan, a fatal blow in the head, because now Satan is dying, and these are his dying days, and because now is wreathing in pain of defeat. He is unleashing his last remaining, destructive blows, but he can only affect those who try to nurse him, invite him in. He can only be affective for those who carelessly listen to his ugly voice. But to those that walk in the power of the cross. Those who take cover in the blood of Jesus. They know that his fate is sealed. That his power is foiled and that his work has been destroyed.