Robert Jeffress - War Of The Worlds
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Did you know that there is an all-out war raging in the world today? No, I'm not talking about the wars and conflicts taking place in the Middle East. I'm talking about a war that began in the Garden of Eden. I'm talking about the spiritual battle that satan is waging against every single Christian. And if we aren't wise to his tactics we can easily become spiritual road-kill. Today, we'll uncover satan's three-fold plan to oppose God and destroy God's people. My message today is titled, "War of the Worlds" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
If you grew up in church probably as a child you learned the old hymn "This is my father's world". Remember that hymn? Now theologically that hymn is true. This world really does belong to God. But sometimes that's hard to believe, isn't it? When you look around at the terrorist attacks, the wars, the natural disasters that attack this planet and when you look at the attacks in your own life, your own world, it's really hard to believe God is still in control. Perhaps cs lewis had a better description of this world, at least for right now, when he said, "Enemy occupied territory. That's what this world is". How did this world come about like it is today? How was it transformed from the Garden of Eden into a war zone?
We began talking about that last week in our series on spiritual warfare. We saw it all began with a conflict in a galaxy far, far away, many years ago when God's chief of staff, satan, instigated a rebellion against his Creator. And because of his rebellion against God, remember, God cast Lucifer out of heaven. By some accounts a third of the angels followed with him in his rebellion. But satan hasn't given up. Satan is right now trying to build a rival, a shadow kingdom that will one day overtake the Kingdom of God. And this battle between God and satan is being played out right now in history in three very distinct rounds and we're going to look at those three rounds of satan's battle against God in today's message, "The war of the Worlds".
If you have your Bibles, turn to Genesis chapter 1. Round one of this fight I'm calling "Deception". Deception. And we find it described in Genesis chapter 1. When satan and his angels crash landed on planet earth, perhaps they got here just in time to see God's crowning act of creation. We find it in Genesis 1:26, "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image according to our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth'. God created man", now underline this, "In his own image". Then underline it again. In the image of God he created man, male and female he created them. And then verse 31, "God saw all that he had made and behold it was very good".
Now I want you to note that phrase, God created man in the image of God. Now think about that from satan's point of view. If you hated God as much as satan did, filled with resentment over what God had done to him, if you hated God as much as satan did the only thing worse than having to look at one God would be having to look at a multitude of little Gods. Or at least people that resembled their maker God. And so satan saw this first couple, Adam and Eve, who resembled God the Father and he was filled with hatred. But that hatred gave way to a sinister thought. As he heard God proclaim, "This is not only good, this is very good"! Satan had this diabolical idea. "What if I could transform these newly created servants of God? What if I could deceive them into becoming my servants instead"?
And so Adam and Eve were deceived into believing that life apart from God is possible and preferable. They said exactly what Lucifer had said in his heart many eons earlier, "I want something different in my life than what God wants for me". What was the result of Adam and Eve's rebellion? Not only did it affect the first couple, it affected every human being since their time. It affects you and it affects me today. How is that? How does what Adam and Eve did eons ago affect us today? Turn over to Romans 5:12, here is the consequence of Adam's initial rebellion against God. Many people have never looked at this verse in depth. Look at it with me. Paul writes, "Therefore just as through one man", now that's a reference to Adam. "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men. Why? Because all sinned".
Now Paul has said a mouthful in this simple verse. No one is born into this world morally neutral. We've all been infected with sin and we are born into this world as a part of satan's kingdom, not our kingdom or God's kingdom. What was the result of this first sin that was committed? You know God could have turned his back on creation. He could have said, "Well if that's the way mankind wants to operate, fine. I will abandon them to suffer the consequences of their sin". But that is not what's happened. The Bible says when God looked down on the plight of that first couple who had been deceived into sin, the Bible says something was stirred within the heart of God and that stirring was the stirring of compassion. Instead of feeling hatred for the race that had rebelled against him, God was moved with love and compassion.
Turn over to Ephesians 2:4-5. Listen to how Paul describes it. He says, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, he made us alive together with Christ. For by grace you have been saved". Let me ask you this morning, why did God save you? Why did he save me? The truth is the Bible says even when we were dead in our transgressions and sins, God for no other reason but because of the great love with which he loved us, he sent Christ to die for us.
Hear me this morning, ladies and gentlemen. Your salvation had absolutely nothing to do with you. Nothing. It has everything to do with the goodness, the compassion, the mercy of God. By grace we have been saved. That is the Gospel message. And so when God saw our predicament, he saw our lost-ness, not just with the first couple but everybody who would be born after that first couple. God instigated a plan to save us. And that leads to round two of this eternal battle between God and satan. I've entitled round two "Deliverance". God instigated a deliverance plan to save us.
November 27, 2003, thanksgiving day, is a thanksgiving 600 soldiers who were stationed in Iraq at the time will never forget. On that Thursday morning, these 600 soldiers were ordered to assemble together in a makeshift commissary at Baghdad's International Airport. Little did they know of the elaborate preparation that had gone on for that thanksgiving meal. It had actually begun 15 hours earlier in Crawford, Texas, when president Bush left his house in the middle of the night. He got inside an unmarked car. He drove up I-35 to the airport, and he boarded Air Force One for an all night trip to Baghdad. He would be the first United States president to ever visit that war torn country.
As Air Force One approached Baghdad, the captain of that Air Force One turned off all the interior lights of the aircraft. The passengers were told to pull their window shades. And he took that plane and made a steep corkscrew descent into Baghdad's airport to avoid enemy fire. Meanwhile, back at the commissary, U.S. administrator Paul Bremer assembled the soldiers together and he said, "Now I have a proclamation to read to you from the president of the United States". He paused for a moment. He said, "Now it's custom for the most senior official present to read the president's proclamation. So let me ask this morning, is there anybody in this room more senior than I"?
And on cue, president Bush stepped out from behind the blue curtain and the crowd went wild. The soldiers started applauding and clapping and stamping their feet. They got up and stood up on top of the tables. They wouldn't stop applauding. They couldn't believe the president was there with them. Later on the media asked president Bush, "Why did you go to all of that trouble to visit Baghdad"? And this is what he said, he said, "It's got to be lonely for them. I thought it was important to send that message that we care for them".
You know for thousands of years, God had been sending a message to humanity, "In spite of your sin, I still care for you". He had been sending miracles and messages through the prophets. But then, 2,000 years ago, he did the unthinkable. In an elaborate scheme that had been formed before the foundation of the world, God decided to visit planet earth. Jesus Christ left the comfort and security of heaven. He gave up his rights as God and he came to this war torn planet. But I want to suggest to you today that Jesus' visit to earth differed from president Bush's visit to Iraq in two important ways. The president's visit was planned so that he might escape death. I mean after all, no temporary morale boost for the troops was worth losing the life of the commander in chief.
So, very rightly, they planned his visit so that he would escape death, but Jesus' visit to planet earth was planned so that he might experience death. That's the difference. You see that was part of the plan from the very beginning. Jesus' death was not some accident. It was a part of God's plan in order to bring about our rescue from the domain of satan. Listen to what Peter said in Acts 2:23. Peter was talking to the group of people who had just crucified the Lord Jesus a few weeks earlier in Jerusalem. Listen to what Peter said, "This man Jesus was delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, and you nailed to a cross by the hands of Godless men, and you putting to death". Peter was saying, "You're responsible for the death of Jesus, but it was all a part of the predetermined plan of God".
Why would God plan for the torture, the excruciating death of his own Son? Because it was the only way to save us. And that leads to the second difference between president Bush's visit to Iraq and God's visit to planet earth. The president came to reassure the troops. Jesus came to rescue the troops. That's why he came. Look at Colossians 1:13-14, "For God rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son, in whom we have redemption", underline that, "the forgiveness of our sins". The reason Jesus came to experience death was so that we could be redeemed. We could be transferred from satan's kingdom into the Kingdom of God. And Easter Sunday became D-day for every Christian. Aren't you grateful for that? That's what God did for us.
Listen to what the apostle Paul does when he describes what God has done for us in Colossians 2:15. He says, "For when God has disarmed the rulers and authorities, he made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Christ". Easter Sunday in a very real sense of the word is D-day, deliverance day, for every true child of God. But let me ask you, on that Easter Sunday morning, at the empty tomb, did satan wave the white flag of surrender? Did he say, "I give up, God. You can have it. I've failed. I belong to you". No. There was no surrender at that time. There's still one final round in satan's attack against planet earth and I've entitled that "Desperation". Desperation. Read today's headlines.
Look at the struggles of your family members and your friends. Look at the crises that you face every day in your own life. And it's hard to believe satan's been defeated, isn't it? Remember that book Hal Lindsey wrote a number of years ago, "Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth"? Well that title's really only partially true. It's true that satan is alive and it's true he's on planet earth, but he's really not all that well. Okay? The truth is, he suffered a mortal wound at the cross of Jesus Christ and the date of his execution? That's already been placed on God's calendar. In fact we get a sneak preview of that final execution in Revelation 20:10. Remember, we looked at that chapter a few months ago.
Listen to his final execution, "And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are also. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever". Stay with me on this. Satan was disarmed where? At the cross. He is going to be ultimately judged at the end of the millennium when Christ returns and after that final rebellion. But right now you and I are living in that middle time in history, that time between satan's initial disarming and his final destruction. And for those of us living in that in-between time, we are both witnesses to and also the victims of, satan's final attack against the Kingdom of God.
What is it that satan's trying to do right now out of desperation? Remember the plan? He's trying to build that rival kingdom that will one day defeat the Kingdom of God. And so he's trying to marshal as many human beings as he can to join with him in that final rebellion against God. What is his ultimate strategy in that rebellion? Write down two things. First of all, his first attack is to blind unbelievers to God's offer of salvation. The first prong of his two pronged strategy is blinding unbelievers to God's offer of salvation. That is, satan wants to prevent those people who are a part of his kingdom right now, and by the way it's that work associate who sits across from you every morning.
It's that person who goes to maybe a good church but has never personally trusted in Christ as Savior. It's that child or grandchild you look at every morning across the breakfast table. Anyone who has not personally trusted in Christ as Savior, whether they realize it or not, they're a part of satan's kingdom. He has control of their life. And most importantly, he has control of their eternal future. We have to be involved in God's rescue plan to help rescue them out of the kingdom of darkness so that they might become a part of God's kingdom of light. God uses people just like you to throw out the lifeline, to offer people a chance to be saved. But know this, satan is going to do everything he can to minimize his losses, to hold on to those people who are already a part of his kingdom.
And so how does he do that? Remember the passage we read? Jot it down, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. We read it a few moments ago. Paul said, "And even if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the God of this world", that's satan, "Has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they may not see the light of the Gospel or the glory of Christ who is the image of God". Have you ever tried to share the Gospel with somebody and they say, "I just don't understand it. I just can't see it". They're telling you the truth. They can't see it.
And the reason they can't see it and understand is not because the plotline of the story is so difficult to understand, okay? Anybody can understand the Gospel story. The reason they don't accept it and believe is satan has blinded their eyes where they cannot see the truth of the Gospel. And when you share with somebody the truth of the Gospel. Satan's going to do everything he can to keep you from inviting that person you know you should invite. He's going to try to make you fearful, "What will they think of me? I don't want people to think badly of me". Or he'll try to discourage them from coming. Satan does not want them to hear the Way, the only Way, they can be saved.
But there's a second prong in this two pronged attack against the world and that is persuading believers that we are still under satan's control. You see, satan hasn't given up on those of us who have gone over to the dark side, so to speak, and become a part of God's kingdom. He knows he can't have our soul eternally, but he wants to do everything he can to convince us that we are still under his control. Even though God has redeemed us, he has purchased our freedom, we're servants of God and not of satan, satan makes us think we're still under his control. And he does it in a very crafty way.He says, "Yeah you're saved, you're going to heaven, but you still have this sin nature inside of you. And as long as you have that sin nature inside of you, you can never have victory this side of heaven. You have to obey that evil nature. You have to give into that anger and to that lust and to that greed. You'll never be free from it until you get to heaven one day"!
Ladies and gentlemen that is a lie out of the pit of hell, okay? Sin has no more control over your life if you're a Christian than you choose to allow it to have. The same power that reached down and raised Jesus up from the dead, that same power of the Holy Spirit is in your life right now, giving you the power to say no to sin and yes to God. But satan doesn't want you to discover that truth. He wants you to think, Christian, you're still under his control. Why does he want that? Because he wants to rob and destroy everything valuable in your life. If satan can't have your soul for eternity, listen to what he wants to do. He wants to rob you of the joy that comes from being in a right relationship with God. He wants to rob you of the benefits that accrue to you in this life from following God. He wants to rob you of the influence that you have in expanding the Kingdom of God. He wants to rob you of the eternal rewards that can be yours for obedience to God.
Jesus got it right about satan when he said in John 10:10, "Satan is nothing but a thief who has come to steal, kill, and destroy". You may wonder, "Well how is it that satan excerpts so much power if he suffered that mortal wound at the cross? How does he excerpt so much control over unbelievers as well as Christians"? Remember what I said last week? When satan was thrown out of heaven he surrendered his position in heaven, but he surrendered none of his attributes. He was created with wisdom, splendor, and beauty. He still has splendor, beauty, and wisdom. What that means is satan is still exceedingly appealing and he is also exceedingly crafty. And because of that, he is exceedingly dangerous. If you're a Christian this morning, understand this. Satan hasn't given up on you yet. He still has an x on your back. He has Marked you for destruction. He has a personalized plan to destroy your faith, your family, and your future. And next time we're going to unroll satan's blueprint for your destruction.