Robert Morris — Permission Granted
Alright, the title of today's message is "Permission Granted," permission granted. And I want you to turn to two scriptures. Obviously, Luke 22; we'll start there... Luke 22. And then, put a marker at Job 1. These are the first two points. We're going to go through these scriptures and I'm going to actually turn to the third scripture when we get to the third point, and we're going to go through a lot of scripture in this message. And I believe the scripture is going to so teach us what we need to hear. So the title of the message, again, is "Permission Granted".
Do we ever, as believers, grant Satan permission to come against us or to take us bondage in an area? But we're also going to answer the question in this message does God ever grant Satan permission to take us bondage in an area. And I want you to think about, for a moment, the whole Old Testament... of God's people sinning and God granting the enemy permission to take His people into bondage and His people then crying out to Him and Him releasing them from that bondage, but teaching them through it. Alright?
So I see some raised eyebrows as you're thinking about that. "What does that mean"? Okay, well, we'll look at the word and see what it means. Alright? We've talked about that Satan is a thief and Jesus said he's always looking to come in some other way. Joel said he comes in through windows or he comes in through an open door. I want to tell you, and we're going to deal with this one open door but three definitions of it in this message; but the number one open door that I've seen believers, even mature believers open a door to Satan in this area is the area of pride.
Now, it is amazing to me that when we talk about pride, that many people are proud that they don't have pride. So before you dismiss this subject, let me give you - I'm excited because I feel like the Lord gave me some definitions of pride that when you look at it, you think, "Oh, I might have done that". So here's number one. Pride is trusting in your own strength. Now, look at Luke 22, beginning in verse 31. Luke 22:31, "And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you..". We'll come back to the word asked. "...that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail..".
See, it sounds like when you go through the sifting. "...and when you have returned..". That would obviously indicate that he would fall away. "...when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren". This is an amazing passage of scripture. New Testament, Jesus saying to a believer, "Satan has asked permission to sift you like wheat. But I tell you what... I prayed for you. And when you come back, strengthen your brothers". In other words, you're going to fall. It's pretty strong.
Now, what's amazing about the New Testament is that we know it's written in Greek and Greek, many times, will have three or four words for a word we only have one word in English, like the word asked. This is not the normal word, Greek word, for asked. This word has a strong implication that we need to understand, and I'm actually going to show you the Greek Lexicon definition of this word asked. Here's what it says. It says, "This word asked means to ask for something and to receive what one asks for, to ask for with success, to ask and receive". In other words, this could be translated Satan asked and received permission to sift you like wheat.
The New American Standard says it this ways, "Satan has demanded permission". In other words, he has a right; he has a right in your life. There's an open door in your life assignment. And what would that open door be? I personally think it was that he trusted his own strength. I personally think that he had pride. And the reason I think that is because of the conversation that takes place right before this. Now, Luke actually doesn't record what was said right before this, but Matthew, Mark, and John record it. And let me read it to you and see if you see any pride in Peter. Alright?
Mark 14:27 says, "Then Jesus said to them, "All of you," all of you, "will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written," now he's going to quote scripture to say this. It's already been written so this is going to happen. "'I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered. But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.' Peter said to Him, Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be. Jesus said to him, Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times. But he spoke more vehemently," arrogantly, "If I have to die with You, I will not deny You"!
Now, I think Jesus was trying to say to Peter, "What part of all do you not understand"? "All of you will deny Me". "Not me. These weaklings might, Lord, but not me". So Jesus said, "Okay, let Me just tell you, you're going to do it tonight, three times". And he said, "Nope, not me". Jesus is telling him, and then Jesus said, "Well, listen. There's a scripture in the Old Testament that says that you will". And Peter says, "No, the Bible's wrong". That's pride.
Let me show you a little more pride. Matthew 16:21, "From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and the chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him..". You have to be feeling pretty good about yourself to rebuke Jesus. "...saying, Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You. But He turned," watch this carefully in your Bible, "turned to and said to Peter," said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men".
Now, if that doesn't help open our eyes to something - Jesus looked right at a man and said to a man, "Get behind Me, Satan". He addressed Satan in the man. He addressed him. Whether he was on him, in him, around him, behind him, whatever. You're going to have to deal with this scripture. Jesus said to him, "Get behind Me, Satan". And you've got to remember, this is right before — What happened right before this was Jesus changed Peter's name from Simon to Peter. Now He calls him Satan. Of course, Peter's probably thinking, "No, I like Peter better". But it's arrogance. It's pride. And it's trusting in his own strength.
Do you realize when they came to arrest Him, one of the disciples cut off a soldier's ear? Want to take a guess who it was? Peter. Peter. Do you know why he cut his ear off? 'Cause he missed his head. He was trying to split his head wide open with a garrison of soldiers - We really don't know how many. A centurion, which oversaw the crucifixion of Jesus, a centurion, cent, would oversee a 100 soldiers. There could have been a hundred soldiers there. And Peter is going to take them all on with one sword. That's trusting your own strength. But because of this, Jesus said to him, "Listen; Satan's got, he's got a right. He's coming. He's coming, 'cause you've opened up a door to him".
And then Peter does something like we talked about in the first message, "Under the Influence"... totally out of character for himself, he did not — This strong disciple that's willing to take on a whole garrison of soldiers turns around and denies Jesus to the teenage waitress. And he even curses and swears. He starts using curse words, saying, "I don't know Him. I don't know the man".
Please hear me about this. What I'm going to share with you today, many mature believers fall into this trap. They walked with the Lord a long time and they begin to trust in their own strength to resist temptation. Is it possible this is what King David fell, because he was a very, very strong man? So, number one, pride is trusting your own strength. By the way, 1 Corinthians 10:12 says, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall". 'Kay. So number two, pride is trusting in your own righteousness. Pride is trusting in your own righteousness.
Now, flip back to Job 1, or click to Job 1, however you read your Bible. Just read it. Job 1. And most of us know the story of Job. I had a friend of mine that, right after he got saved, he read the book of Job 'cause he needed one. He said to me, "You know, that book didn't help me much". I told him, "No, read John. Read John. Don't read Job. Read John". Kay. Pride is trusting in your own righteousness. Look at Job 1:6. "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, From where do you come? So Satan answered the Lord and said, From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it".
That's just like we said last week, he goes about like a roaring lion, "seeking whom he may devour". "Then the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and an upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? So Satan answered the Lord and said, Well, does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face. And the Lord said to Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your power..".
I would say that's granting permission. "...only do not lay a hand on his person. So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord". That's a very difficult passage to understand, but it's really not that difficult when you read the rest of the book. For 32 chapters, 31, Job - He has three friends that show up to try to comfort him. You don't want these friends, by the way. But in essence, they do speak a lot of truth. They say to him, over and over and over again, "Job, are you sure there's not an open door in your life? Are you sure there's no cause that the enemy was able to use against you"? And Job says, "Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. I have not done these things and I have done these things". And he lists the things that he hasn't done and he lists the things that he has done. He says, "No, no, no, no".
In chapter 32, there's a young man named Elihu that's been sitting there the whole time, listening. And I don't have time to read all of it, but in essence, this is what he says. He says, "I've held it all I can hold it". He said, "I didn't say anything because all you guys are old dudes and I figured eventually you'd get the right answer. But none of you have figured it out, and so I'm going to tell you what the problem is here". And we'll pick it up at that. Job 32:1, "So these three men ceased answering Job..". Now, watch. Here's the answer to the whole book. "...because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then the wrath of Elihu, the son of" a hard word person, of something else, "of the family of Ram, was aroused against Job; his wrath was aroused..".
Now, watch carefully again. "...because he justified himself rather than God". He justified himself rather than God. He goes on for several chapters. Chapter 33:8-9, he says, "Surely you have spoken in my hearing, and I have heard the sound of your words..". He said, "I heard this come out of your mouth". "...saying, I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent, and there is no iniquity in me". 'Kay, he would have had to be Jesus for that to be true. And then he concludes this. In part of his conclusion, he says in Job 36:3, "I," this is Elihu, the young man, talking, "I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker".
Here's the sin. Here's the open door in Job's life... he was righteous because of what he did, not because of who he knew. His whole discourse is about what he did. "I've done this. I've done this. I've done this. And I haven't done this. And I haven't done this. And I haven't done this". Hear me again. Mature believers fall prey to pride in this area because when we get saved, I want you to think about this, when we get saved, we know that our righteousness comes from God 'cause we weren't righteous and God came, by His grace, and saved us. But ten years later, 20 years later, 30 years later, now we lead a group, now we're a leader in the church, now we don't do all those things and we do these things and we just begin to feel like we're righteous because of what we do. We are not righteous because of what we do. We're righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ the Son alone. That's the only reason we're righteous. And when you begin to believe and trust in your own righteousness, that's pride.
See, here's what Jesus said. Well, it's kind of like the Pharisee, and he was in church praying and a sinner came in and this was his prayer, "God, thank You that I'm not like others. Thank You, Lord". He compared himself. That's what Job does for 31 chapters. He says, "Compare me to anybody. Compare me to anybody and you'll see I'm righteous. I'm righteous". Well, here's the only problem with that is that God showed up. And God said, "Okay, you want to do some comparisons? You want to compare yourself? How about if you compare yourself to Me? Watch what God, just a few things that God said to Job. See if you would have wanted to be in Job's shoes that day.
Job 38:1, "Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge"? Let me put that in a simpler version for you, just paraphrase that. God said, "What idiot is talking right now"? "Now prepare yourself like a man; and I will question you, and you shall answer Me". Watch this. Watch what God says. "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth"? How would you like God to ask you that? "Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements"? And then listen to the sarcasm. "Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Who laid its cornerstone..".
Verse 12, "Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place..". One version says, "Have you ever told the sun when to come up"? Verse 22, "Have you ever entered the treasury of snow..". You know where I keep the snow? "...or have you seen the treasury of hail..". Verse 24, here's a good one for God to ask you, "By what way is light diffused..". Verse 34, "Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, than an abundance of water may cover you"? "Can you tell it when to rain, 'cause I can". "Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, and say to you, Here we are"? One version says, "Does lightning come to your throne and ask where to strike"?
Verse 26, "Does the hawk fly by your wisdom and spread his wings toward the south? Does the eagle mount up at your command and make its nest on high"? And then God ends it with this statement, Job 40:8, "Would you condemn Me that you may be justified"? Can you imagine God asking that? "Would you condemn Me that you may be justified"? And of course, Job repents.
Please hear me. I've seen a lot of mature believers begin to trust in their own righteousness. And here's the point... a lot of 'em really are righteous, as far as their living. And I believe in righteous living, please hear me, because unrighteous living opens the door to the demonic. So I believe in living righteously. But living righteously doesn't make us righteous. Only the blood of Jesus does.
I was talking to a man one time so steeped in pride and trying and trying and trying to get him, and he was telling me about all this trouble he was having in his life, and all these things going wrong. And then he said to me, "And I've always done the right thing". And I just flinched when I heard it. I thought, "No, you haven't always done the right thing". Nobody's always done the right thing. But what he was saying was, "I'm righteous because I've done the right thing".
So pride is trusting your own strength, pride is trusting your own righteousness. Here's number three. Pride is trusting in your own wisdom, your own wisdom. You can figure it out. I'd really like for you to turn back to this passage, and I'll explain it a little bit and give you a little background as you're turning. 1 Kings 22. Just go to the left just a few books there. 1 Kings 22. So Ahab is the King of Israel. He asks Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, to come visit him. Jehoshaphat was a good king. Ahab was a very bad king; a very, very, very bad, very wicked — And Ahab says in this conversation, "Hey, let's go attack the King of Syria and get back Ramoth Gilead, the city that should be ours". And King Jehoshaphat says, "Let's ask a prophet".
And so Ahab calls his 400 prophets that are on his payroll and they said, "Yes, go. Yeah, yeah. God will be with you". And Jehoshaphat says, "Any other prophets"? And let me — We'll pick it up at that. 1 Kings 22:7-8, "And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not still a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of Him? So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, There is still one man, Micaiah..". This is not Micah that wrote the book. This is a different prophet and his name is Micaiah, not Micah. "...Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord..".
Now, watch this. "...but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil". So he said, "Well, let's call him anyway". And they have to bring him out of prison. Ahab had put him in prison three years earlier because he'd already told him, "You're going to die". You know, "You made God mad, so you're going to die". And so, Ahab put him in jail for that. Verse 15, "The he came to the king; and the king said to him, Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall we refrain? And he answered him, Go and prosper, for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king. So the king said to him, How many times shall I make you swear that you tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord"?
In other words, basically, he was saying, "You're going to do it anyway; doesn't matter what I say". "And then he said..". So here's the truth now. "I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains as sheep that have no shepherd". Remember when they had no shepherd, the wolf attacks them. "And the Lord said, These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace". In other words, don't go to war with this king 'cause you won't come back. You need to go home. "And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell you he would not prophesy good concerning me but evil"?
Here was the problem... Ahab trusted in his own wisdom. So you need to understand something. God's in control. And when you open a door because you trust in your own wisdom, that you're smart enough, and you don't listen to people who say, "Stop, stop, stop; you're in trouble..". Let me put it to you another way. There's a demon talking to you and you think it's God because you trust in your own wisdom and not in the Lord. No one can correct you. You're smarter than everybody else. When you're smarter than everyone else, you have pride. When you have pride, you have an open door. When you have an open door, the wolf's coming in. There's no doubt about it.
Let me say this: I want you to remember pride is trust in your own strength, your own righteousness, your own wisdom. Listen. Pride is a trap that the strong, the righteous, and the wise fall into many times. Let me say it again. Pride is a trap that the strong, the righteous, and the wise can fall into if you don't trust in the Lord's strength, the Lord's righteousness, and the Lord's wisdom.