Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Testimony God gave about the Devil

The first epistle fo John tells us about what we have. It's a great epistle to read.
6No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
7Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.
1 John 3:6-8 (New International Version)

We think a lot about the testimony God gave about His Son. All the gospels testify Who Jesus is, what he began to do and to preach, what he accomplished. But the Bible also gives us a testimony about the devil. Although the devil was sinning from the very beginning, most of what we know about the devil comes from the new testament. Truth is, the folks in the old testament didn't need to know much about the devil because they couldn't do anything even if they knew because they didn't yet have the authority against him. They could follow the law and the law would protect them. But that was pretty much all.

So many things happen in the old testament that people blame God for. But it's possible that the devil was working in those situations. For instance, we read about the woman whose son died. She blamed God and Elijah for hurting her son. It was probably Jesus. But the old testament doesn't tell us much about how the devil works or how to bind and loose him or how to have authority ...because authority against the devil came only through Jesus Christ.

In the New Testament, we are told a lot more. Why? Because Jesus is the perfect son of man. He is sinless, and he is the new Adam. Satan told him, "All the splendor of this world is in my power." Well, it probably was. Because man had turned over the dominion of the world to Satan. But then Jesus came. A perfect man, an obedient man. What the old Adam lost, the new Adam gave to us. And then some! The old Adam only had authority over the earth, creation, and his own flesh. As the psalms say, "The heavens are the lord's but the earth God has given to the sons of men." But then Jesus said, "I saw satan fall! I have given you power and authority." Now, we have authority over certain demonic elements on earth. We have no authority over evil spirits in the heavenlies so we shouldn't be even challenging spirits there. Evil Spirits get very vindictive when folks start warring in the heavenlies. We can only bind spirits who use their power against us on earth. What we bind on earth, God will bind in heaven. But we can't go binding stuff in heaven. Christians who talk about warring in the heavenlies are asking for trouble.

Jesus showed himself to be son of man by being able to walk on the water. I suspect any redeemed man -- or Adam in the beginning-- could walk on the water. That is dominion over an earthly thing. But Jesus is also son of God.

We have many treasures in our spirit. Treasures in earthen vessels. Christ in house, the hope of glory. We have the mind of Christ, for example, and when we speak in tongues the wisdom inside us comes into our human minds. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. We have the peace that passes all understanding. We are more than conquerors. We have overcome the evil one. The Bible tells us that we are not ignorant of the devil's devices.

We should be insightful about ourselves, the world, the flesh, the devil. The Lord has told us that we are insightful. When I got mad at my neighbor I should have caught myself and said, "Ah, this is a typical snare of the devil! He snare us with anger and justice and resentment." But I didn't. It amazes me that we know so much about the devil and yet we behave as if we are in the old testament and don't know we have power against sin, sickness, and the devil. We must be alert because our enemy the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. The wise woman whose son died and who went to Elijah didn't talk about her fear. Somehow she knew that to speak her concern was dangerous. Yet we, who have a greater knowledge of the devil's slickness, don't seem to realize the power of our words. The devil roars. We speak our fear about the roars. Just like that we are ensnared by the words of our mouths.

And there are so many other devices of the devil that we should know about. So many snares. Remember, Jesus has destroyed the works of the devil. Let us read our Bibles and see what those works were. So we won't allow the devil to make fools --or devils-- of us. So often we acquit ourselves of some sins but we are guilty of others. Hatred, for instance. Lord knows. I HATE my mother-in-law. Is that enough to make me not inherit the kingdom of God?

16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

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