THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 1-2-05

LESSON TITLE: "FROM HEAVEN OR MEN: THE REALITY OF SATAN AND EVIL"

WELCOME

Happy New Year and welcome to our first program of 2005! We are excited to have you with us today for the Living Word Program. What a wondrous Lord's Day morning it is.

As always it is an honor and privilege to have you with us. We are thankful you have chosen to join us as we commit this time to the things of God. It is our hope and prayer this morning that we may each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before Him and according to His Word. Now let's begin by talking to God through prayer!

(Short Prayer)

I always love sing songs about Heaven and Eternal life! This morning, let's begin with a song that reminds us of God's promise to those who remain "faithful unto death!" Won't you join in with the congregation as we sing together, "I'll Fly Away."

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

Believe it or not, here we are in a New year, January 2, 2005. Certainly, there are many important things which we could focus on at the beginning of a new year. Such as how wonderful it is to have the opportunity to study God's Word whenever we want to. As well, we have the privilege of doing God's Will, according to how He has taught us. But today I would like to encourage us with making the most of every day which we have been blessed with from our God. In this new year, I hope we will take advantage of every day and strive to live more and more as God would have us to. Saying only those things which are for good and to His glory and doing only those things which are proper in His sight.

As I think about these things I am continually reminded of how important it is to show forth our Lord in everything we do. We must be examples before this world and let all see Jesus in us. In fact, this is exactly what Paul was talking about in 1 Timothy 4:12. There he told Timothy, "...be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." The question is, "are we being that type of example in our daily lives. In the society which we live today we have more the "dog eat dog attitude," or "what's in it for me." How hard it is to always say what is good and do what is right. However, we must realize that if we want God to be pleased with us, we must always, "do to others as we want them to do to us," Matthew 7:12. But how far must we go? What about those we don't like or those who we consider to be our enemies? Read with me what Solomon said in Proverbs 24:17, there it says, "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles." The wisest man who ever lived said that we are to feel the hurt of our enemy and empathize with his problems in life. Even Jesus proclaimed this same idea when He said, "I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you," Matthew 5:44. God says we are to be lovers of all men, no matter who they are or what they have done to us. So my encouragement is that we all realize that we must love and do good to all men, because by doing so they see that we are better than they. Why, because Christ is in us! Jesus says to hate the sin, not the sinner! Are you showing forth Jesus in everything you do and say.

As far as our study of the day, we will be dealing once again with the series entitled, "From Heaven Or Men." Our specific topic today will be the "The reality of Satan And Evil." So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with this study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "Home Of The Soul!"

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Today we will study the reality of Satan and evil. It's beyond me how many in the religious world today who claim to be of a religious affiliation now discount and actually discredit the fact that there is a such thing as evil or Satan. I don't understand how that one could read really even portions of scripture and not come out with the clear idea that certainly God has clarified for us that there is clear presence of that which is good and there is a clear presence of that which is evil. There is that which is righteous and on the other hand, that which is portrayed as unrighteous.

In fact, we can go back even to the Garden of Eden. We can find ourselves back in Genesis chapter 3 looking at the fall of man and how that there it was man who was introduced as being one who was affected by something that was evil. And what was that thing? It tells us there in verse 1, "the serpent," and it tells us that the serpent was more cunning than any animal of the field or beast as he was referred to there in that verse.

And it is this serpent that we are later really having reference to that is cursed by God, but yet even in the New Testament that is referred to as being Satan or the devil himself. One book that helps us very clearly identify that fact is Revelation chapter 12 and verse 9 when it talks about the great dragon that was cast out saying, "the great dragon was also the serpent of old," and the other clarification is that he was called, "the devil and Satan."

So certainly we find here that this word "devil, Satan," that the concept of the "dragon, the serpent of old," are all synonyms. They refer to the same being that as we will further find in our discussion of the morning certainly is clarified as being that one that has not only evil but characteristics that is identified as some type of a being or a person.

Furthermore, I'm reminded of things such as that wise men of old said. Individuals like even Job as Job proclaimed in Job 14 and verse 1 that "a man who was born of woman is," as he says, "of a few days and full of troubles." Certainly life of all years and all centuries and all ages is clarified for us in the events of the Bible as being that which at times was wondrous and glorious and eventful and exciting and on the other hand at times that which was burdonsome and really problem-filled, really having so many things that would really be of a sinful nature applied to those individuals and thus separating as Isaiah said, "an individual from his or her God." So therefore again, it's important that we understand that evil certainly does exist. Certainly it is something that is real and something that can be confirmed well in scripture.

Now as we understand then that evil is something that the Bible talks about, let's look further at this idea of Satan. How is it that he is referred to in one of the gospels? If you'll turn with me that is to John chapter 8, we'll read together verse 44. It is Jesus Christ, the son of God Himself, that identifies Satan. Let me remind you this would be after other events and concepts like even in Matthew chapter 4 where it is Satan that came to Jesus and spoke to Jesus and tempted Him. Here we see where Jesus Himself in a literal way dealt with Satan and spoke to Satan. Here he is also in verse 44 of John 8 referred to as the "father of lies." Read with me if you will what the Bible says. "You are of your father, the devil, and the desires of your father, you want to do for he was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him and he who speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources for he is a liar and the father of it." Here we learn about the liar as the writer of Genesis, Moses, said again in Genesis 3, the deceiver, one who used the things of God in a deceitful way and lied thus so and was really rejected not only by God, but furthermore really that God encouraged His followers to reject Satan.

Well we can see that early on after man had been created, that certainly then the sons of men such as even Cain and Abel, that Cain certainly was one who chose the way of Satan. Then we go on and find in every case those such as Esau and on and on and on, those individuals who chose the things of Satan and the ways of self rather than of God. So in all of these things, we again should find great strength, great encouragement, to know that evil was a reality. Evil did exist, and it's certainly something that was there from the beginning.

In fact, if you'll look with me now a few ideas, we want to establish then who is the devil. Let's say a few things that maybe he is not as scripture confirms for us. He's not faith. He's not really that which is the personification of evil only in and of itself. There's more to him than that. He's influenced and really referred to in scripture in many different forms, taking many different forms as we saw in our story there in Genesis 3. And as well he is not simply a mere man or a human or an individual that lived. There was more to Satan. There is more capability as we find to even have those under him and servants and those that follow his wicked and his evil ways. He is a distinct personality. I want you to notice with me what Paul said, that is the inspired Paul, in the book of Ephesians chapter 2 and there beginning in verse 2 as he talks about not only Satan but his workers. It says there in verse 2, "In which you also walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience." Notice these other ideas here. The prince of the air. The concept of the power of the air. The spirit of disobedience. And even the sons of disobedience. Well, the Bible always talks about the sons of God and those who are obedient to the Word and the Will of God or the sons of God, and then on the other hand, those who are not are the sons of, as it says here, that evil or the wicked spirit, the prince of power, that one who is the liar from the beginning, the father of lies, the evil one himself who really from the beginning has been seen to bring about these things.

What are some other ideas that are used there? I like the verse there in 1 Peter chapter 5 and verse 8, a verse that we'll make reference to again later in our talk, but there in 1 Peter 5:8, he is referred to as "an adversary," really an enemy of ours as he is referred to clearly there in verse 8 as it says, "be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour," as a cunning beast once again, as one who wants to destroy another. He's seeking to destroy in a very cunning and a crafty way and so therefore watch out for that adversary, that enemy, and beware, be steadfast, be strong, be sober, be vigilant, and make sure that you are ready to withstand, as the Ephesian writer said there in chapter 6, "the fiery darts of the devil." That's why we put on the great clothing that God has said, the great things that certainly identify us again as being of God.

Well then if we look where Satan came from. There certainly are a lot of differences of opinion on this. I think one of the most simple things that we understand about him is that he certainly was possibly an angel. I say that because really when we go back to even the very beginning, we find that Satan was there in the garden as a serpent. So wherever Satan was from, he was there from the very beginning and even it seems before. I would like to remind you that there is only one eternal God that I know of and that is our God and if there is something else eternal in nature we might need to understand what that is because we might need to obey and follow it. If Satan is eternal, is he not god-like? The Bible never teaches of the eternal nature of Satan. But the Bible does teach in John 1 that "all things that were ever made were made by God, that is Jesus according to the will of the Father. Nothing was made," he says, "that was made without Him." So there could have been nothing made, again suggesting the angels or whatever else, except it be from God because God alone is God and God alone is eternal. The rest has been made to His glory, for His service, and for His purpose.

Now we also find places such as 2 Peter chapter 2 and verse 4 that talks about angels in Heaven, not on earth, not messengers on earth, angelic beings in Heaven that fell at one point or another. We further find that this evidence is confirmed for us and given to us in revelation chapter 12 where again it seems to talk about in a heavenly way again a problem that was involved between angels or angelic beings, actually a war almost it seems. Now although the book of Revelation is apocalyptic and is really revealed to us in a way that is very difficult to understand, it still is something that teaches us, as we've already looked, the old serpent, the devil, and that even the dragon are one in the same. It still has pertinent information that certainly is applied in a way and understood in a way that should be very helpful to our overall understanding. So certainly Peter was not writing in a apocalyptic way there in 1 Peter and he says that, "there were angels who were cast out, who were not faithful, who did not obey and follow their God." In fact, if you'll look with me there in 2 Peter chapter 2 and verse 4, it says that, "God did not spare the angels who sinned but cast them down to Hell and delivered them into the chains of darkness to be reserved for the judgment," the same ideas again that are revealed even in the book of Revelation. And then go with me to the next verse, verse 5, where it says, "He did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah." Whatever this was with the angels was even before the time of Noah. So I might suggest to you the possibility, it doesn't have to be so, but a possibility, this concept of a fallen angel.

Another verse I think that helps us with this is found there in the book of 1 Timothy chapter 3 and verse 6 as it talks about the devil there and how that he fell into condemnation. For one to fall into condemnation or damnation, what does that mean that you had to have been in before? It means that you had to have been in good grace or in an acceptable fashion. To fall into something, you have to be on something. We've discussed that before. Certainly if the devil fell into condemnation, he was not in condemnation until he fell into it. So where was he before? Well I think a good suggestion again would be that he might have been an angel and could have loved preeminence and could have wanted as it says there, "to have dominion as a young individual" in comparison as to what God had, he wanted that, and that desire caused him to be cast out of heaven and God to condemn him. Therefore, according to God's ultimate plan, he was there in the beginning in the garden and the opportunity was presented. Satan was not made in the beginning, even if an angel, to sin. Eve was not made to sin. Adam was not made to sin. But God in creating all things had to provide the opportunity except we would be robots. He had to provide the opportunity that we could choose between good and evil and thus we read about the tree that they ate of of the knowledge of good and evil. And so when they ate of the tree, they then knew. They then had the opportunity to choose what they would do, who they would follow and how they would really find themselves pertaining to God.

Now I'd like to end with our last few minutes in understanding a few facts about the Bible's references to who Satan is and where he is and what he is all about. We see that he is active on the earth today. In fact, Matthew chapter 12 and verse 26 talks about his kingdom, that Satan himself has a kingdom, a territory in the earth. In fact, John chapter 12 and verse 31 says, "Now is the judgment of this world, now the ruler of this world will be cast out." Here again, he has a kingdom in this world. He rules against this world. He casts fiery darts at those who follow God, again Ephesians chapter 6 and verse 11.

He also has subjects. Those subjects are referred to as we have seen in different ways: as fallen angels. He has subjects who are people of this earth who have chosen to reject the Will of God, who are sons of disobedience. He has those as we have read in Acts 26 and verses 17-18 who are delivered to Satan such as the Gentiles who have chosen the way contrary to God. In 1 John 3: 9-10, he talks there about the concept of the children of God as well as the children of the devil. The children of God are manifested in that they strive to do righteous things. The children of the devil are manifested in the fact that they choose to do wicked or evil things. Here again, identifying Satan as a true, a real and a being that certainly is clearly one to be afraid, clearly objectionable in the fact that we need to wait and that we need to be sober, we need to be vigilant, and that we must be prepared.

I want to encourage you today to not believe what I say or what another man says, but believe what God says. Don't buy into the concepts the world presents in trying to teach that maybe there is nothing to worry about because there is no such thing as evil. The Bible says there is. And Satan seems to be at the top of his game when we believe somehow that he can't affect us. You must choose today to serve God and in choosing to serve God, know that He has promised that He will be there every step of the way to make sure that you are able to endure even the hardest and fiery darts of the devil. In fact, He will even give you a way of escape as we are told in the book of 1 Corinthians. Will you today choose to be a son of God as opposed to a son of Satan?

(SONG # 3 - "Jesus Is Coming Soon!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.

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May we accept the truth of God's Word concerning the reality of Satan and Evil. Furthermore, by doing so, may we ever prepare ourselves to withstand those things that would ever jeopardize our pure relationship with God our Creator!

(Program closing)