EXPOSING THE ENEMY
February 9, 1992
Most of us are keenly aware that we live in a dangerous society. There are people out there who will harm us, who will steal from us, who even will take our lives. We like to protect ourselves, to put up barriers, to put up some protective agents around us so we will not be victims of crime. Some have alarms on their car. In fact, the other day, I was walking to get into my car and I had to shimmy around another car and a voice from the car said, “You’re standing too close to the car. The alarm is getting ready to sound.” I kind of jumped back and looked. Sure enough, the car was actually talking to me.
We buy guard dogs. Lisa and I used to have a 150-pound Rottweiler when we lived in Houston. We put bars on windows. We take self-defense classes. Women carry bottles of mace around in their purses. Usually, we try to park in an area that is lighted if it’s dark outside and we take the keys out of our pocket early. We look around and make sure everything is clear. We want to take precautions because there are people out there who will harm us.
Now, what if I told you that there was someone who has a rap sheet like you’ve never seen who is personally assigned to your life to assault you, to attack you. In fact, right now as I speak, they are lying in wait to get at your life, to kill you, to maim you, to destroy you. What would you say? You would say, “What’s his name? Who is this person? Why are they after me? Am I vulnerable in any area? What can I do to protect myself?” The Bible calls this person “Satan,” the evil one.
Right when I made that statement, some of you were saying, “Ed, I want to hear about 10 steps to successful Christian living or how God forgives us or some more about self-image. I don’t want to talk about Satan, about ghosts and goblins and haunted houses and aliens and all of these different things. I want to talk about something else.” And we try to tune out a little bit. But folks, this is one of the most important subjects we can take time discussing because during the next three weeks, we are going to attempt to expose Satan, to see who Satan really is, because I’m a twice-convinced Christian. Number one, I’m convinced that Jesus Christ is real because I have a personal relationship with Him. Secondly, I know there is an evil force who attempts to attack me, to tempt me, to take me away from God’s purposes of my life.
Satan’s favorite tactic is to encourage us to sit back and kind of laugh at him and say, “Well, you know he’s not really real. I’ve never seen someone come up to me with a pitchfork and a little goatee and say, “I’m gonna get you.” But the Bible says in the book of Ephesians Chapter 6, Verse 12, that our struggle is not against flesh and blood; our struggle is against the unseen forces, the principalities, the rulers of the air. The battle takes place not at Texas Stadium, not in a board-room in a beautiful high-rise office complex; the battle takes place in the mind. So this morning, during this opening session, I want us to briefly look at Satan’s rap sheet.
Now, we like to watch these shows—Real Cops, America’s Ten Most Wanted. As a child, I used to love to go to the post office with my mom and see all those mug shots of criminals that would describe them and their habits. A good law enforcement gentleman or woman will look at a person’s rap sheet, a habitual criminal’s rap sheet, and they can pretty much tell what areas they will attack or what crimes they lend themselves to.
So today, very briefly, I want us to look at Satan’s rap sheet, his history. Now, this is an acrostic. It spells RAP. Not (rapping sound) that kind of rap. I mean a rap sheet.
R – represents Satan’s resume, his background.
A – symbolizes his abilities, and
P – talks about his plans, his purpose.
So R-A-P, Satan’s rap sheet. Because if we are going to expose him, if we’re going to see his reality and understand his methodology, we’ve got to look at his rap sheet, his resume, his abilities, and his plans.
Let’s look briefly at his resume, his background. People have asked me often, “Why did God create Satan?” Now why did God create someone who is the complete antithesis of Himself? It seems as though it would save God a lot of heartache, it would save me a lot of pain and pressure, if God would have just skipped over that creation. Because the Bible says that Satan was and is a created being. But we have to remember, when God creates us, we have a freedom of choice.
Satan, in his original form, was called “Lucifer,” Star of the Morning. He was one of the top angels and he was in heaven taking care of business. He was worshipping God. He was also carrying out God’s purposes. But Satan got together a band of angels, and they attempted an angelic coup against the throne of God. In fact, Satan tried to elevate himself from the creature to the creator. God punished him because of his arrogance. This account takes place in Isaiah 14, Verses 13 and 14. Write that down, Isaiah 14:13-14. You’ll see Satan’s words, the personal pronoun “I” is used five different times. Satan tried to elevate himself, remember, above God. God casts him down to earth, and Satan took with him some fallen angels. These fallen angels are the demonic.
Now, our problem is, in our very materialistic, physical culture here in the United States, we just want to talk about things we can see. We want to talk about things like this music stand, like this stage. But the most powerful forces in the world are things we cannot see. Have you ever seen the wind? There’s the wind. Here’s the wind right here. How about love? Wait a minute, there’s my love for Lisa, my wife, let me catch it right now. There it is. Same way with Satan. Same way.
So, his background. Now, the moment Satan was cast out of heaven, a war began. Every time God would want to do something and every time he would have a purpose or plan, Satan would try to undermine that. The battle, Ephesians 6:12 tells us, takes place in heavenly places, but that battle affects your life and my life. So that’s his background. That’s his resume.
How about Satan’s abilities? Turn to 1 Peter 5, we’ll look at Verse 8. The Bible compares Satan to a lion, a snake, and the Bible also says Satan blinds us. How about Satan’s abilities, his power? How does he use his power? 1 Peter 5:8. Verse 8 says, “Be self-controlled and alert.” Now the word “alert” here in the original language had to do with watching for sin, watching for someone who is trying to pounce on you. It’s a wildlife term. If you’ve seen a gazelle, a gimsbuck in Africa, or maybe a white-tail deer, when they’re feeding, when they’re going through the routine tasks of a day, they will constantly look, sniff, and smell the scent. Their ears will be perked up, attentive. They’re alert because they can become prey just like that. Man or some other animal can kill them quickly, so they’re watching. Wild game constantly look up and make sure that everything is okay, and that’s the word for the Christian.
We are to be aware, we are to be sober-minded, we are to be alert of the enemy because 1 Peter 5:8 says we are to be “self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Now the word “someone” refers to Christians, because Satan likes to attack those who embarrass him the most, that’s who he likes to attack. So this is a roaring lion, this lion is hungry.
You ever watched Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” with Marlon Perkins? Marlon will be back in a nice air-conditioned tent. He’ll say, “Watch Jim Fowler as he gets closer to the lion stalking the gazelle.” And Jim will creep through the briars and the grass and there’s a giant lion and he’s watching, he’s looking, he’s checking the flock out. Now a lion’s smart because he usually inches closer and closer and closer to his prey. He picks out that one that’s a little bit damaged, small, sickly, frail, and he pounces on that one! (I scared a couple in the front row, they jumped.) He pounces. That’s what the evil one does in your life and my life. He examines us, he looks for our weaknesses, he takes advantage of us and then all of a sudden, we’re going through a routine task like a gazelle—drinking or feeding—and Satan comes and attacks us. The Bible says, “he swallows us, he devours us.”
The word “devour” comes from Jonah 1:7 in which the great whale devoured Jonah; it took him down. And that’s what Satan wants to do to all of our lives, so we have to be aware of it. He wants to steal, to kill and destroy, your relationships, your marriages, and your lives. And if you give him some type of toe-hold, he’ll nail you.
The Bible also compares Satan to a serpent in Genesis 3. Now a snake is an odd creature, a deceptive creature. A lion devours, but a snake deceives. How many of you have ever held a snake before, one of these reptiles? Raise your right hand. How many like snakes? Well, I used to like snakes. I was really into snakes (I love wildlife anyway), and one afternoon we caught this snake, put him in a jar, and my parents said, “Ed, don’t touch the snake. The snake could be poisonous because he has a triangle head. You better not touch him, Ed, because in a couple of hours we probably need to kill him because he’s been around the yard.” That’s when I was a little child with my brothers and everything.
Sure enough, I didn’t touch the snake for a while, but mom and dad, they walk in the house, I had my girlfriend with me (I was in the fourth grade. She was a beauty, Tina Airwood), and all the neighborhood kids were around, so I said, “Tina, put the yard gloves on me.” So, she put the yard gloves on me. I slowly opened the jar and there is this harmless snake about this long, and so I reached down like Jim Fowler’s done so many times, and picked the snake up with the yard glove. Sure enough, the snake is docile. I’m holding the snake and everyone’s going “Wow, look at Ed, what a snake handler!” And I’m showing everyone, “Look at this snake. I told you he was harmless. There’s no way this thing is poisonous whatsoever. I know snakes, and I’ve read about this in the World Book Encyclopedia.” I said, “Tina, take off the yard glove.” And they go, “Wow, you mean you’re gonna touch it with your bare hand?” I said, “That’s right.”
So she takes the yard glove off and the moment I take my bare hand and just touch this innocent snake, this snake turns that evil head and latches on. In fact, he bit me right above that freckle and he hangs there. I couldn’t get him off. I was going ballistic. I was going crazy. This snake was hanging! “Get him off! Get him off! Get him off!” I started to shake him and shake him and finally I shook him down and I lost it. I just started stomping on the snake and killed the snake. It was not poisonous, but blood was everywhere. I found that out later because I’m still here today.
But I thought about Satan and temptation because that’s the way a lot of us do. We play with sin. We take Satan and say, “Yes, Satan, I can play in your ballpark, no trouble.” And he deceives us; he lulls us asleep and he says, “Take the yard glove off, everything will be okay.” And the moment we play in Satan’s ballpark, we get comfortable, we make a pet out of sin, and we say, “This temptation can’t happen to me,” he’s got us. He devours. He deceives.
Also, the Bible says, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Satan blinds. Turn there, 2 Corinthians 4:4. Have you ever wondered, when you shared Christ with someone, talked to them about Jesus, why some people seem to have blinders on? They cannot hear the truth? I can think about three or four people that I’ve known during my life whom I’ve prayed for year after year. I’ve given them books, I’ve told them what the Bible says about knowing Christ. I’ve explained the difference between religion and Christianity. Religion is “Well, I’ll do all the good works, then I’ll know God,” but biblical Christianity says “You know God, He’ll give you the power to do the good works.” And I’ve explained it to them, talked to them, prayed, but the blinders are up, the blindfold is on. “Why?” I think, “Why does this occur?”
Here’s the answer right here, 2 Corinthians 4:4. It says, “The god of this age”—and the god is small “g,” that’s Satan, and Satan is second in power behind Christ, and don’t ever forget that). “The god of this age has blinded the mind.” Not the eyes, not the ears, the mind. That’s the battleground. He’s blinded the minds of unbelievers. And folks, Satan will try to put every excuse, every outside thought into your mind, into my mind as we study the enemy over the next three weeks. He hates to be exposed. There’s no question about it. He’ll give you an excuse not to attend here. But I’m telling you, as we expose him, the Lord will do some great things in our lives. So, he blinds the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is in the image of God.
Now, the Word of God tells us that we are to be alert. We are to watch out for Satan. The word “alert,” remember spiritually alert, does not mean to become a demon-duster. A lot of people take the word “alert” and take what we’re talking about the demonic to the greatest scenario, the outer edge of the spiritual universe and they begin to see demons in everything. “Well, I’ve got to pray because there may be a demon of the shoe that could slip off my foot, and there’s a demon of this wire right here. There’s a demon of the headache. There’s a demon of this….” That’s not biblical, that is not from the Word of God. We are to be alert, yes, we’re to watch for the tempter, for the deceiver, for the accuser, for that lion, for that serpent, but we’re not to freak out for the Bible says, “Greater is He who is in me (who is in you if you know Christ) than he who is of the world.” And the Bible also promises us that God will never put us in a temptation that He is not going to give us the strength to get out of. So remember that promise.
But let me go back to this verse, 2 Corinthians 4:4. This verse became so real to me four years ago. I’ll share the story with you. A young couple came into my office for some marriage counseling. In Houston, I was an Associate Pastor and did a lot of marriage counseling and weddings. And this couple, they were very, very handsome—I’ll never forget it—they both had blond hair, were 26 years of age, their life before them. They both told me they were Christians and everything was great. But I sit down behind my desk and these two folks sit down and the guy opens up his mouth and says, “I want a divorce.” His wife begins to cry and I begin to talk to them—three different sessions. I find out there is no other party; there are no affairs going on to my knowledge. There’s no physical abuse. We counsel, we talk things through. I made sure that both were Christians; they said “yes” and the wife said, “I’ll do anything it takes to make this marriage work. I don’t care what it is, I’ll do anything.” But of all the people I’ve ever spoken to, I’ve never met a person to this day who had his eyes and mind and ears just covered and blinded by the evil one like this particular person. It was like talking to this wall.
So, finally, the last session, I expressed to him (because the man should be the spiritual leader of the relationship), the word “husband” comes from two Anglo-Saxon words which means “houseband,” to band the relationship together. I said, “Sir, do you think that Jesus wants your marriage to stay together?” He said, “Yes, I believe that.” I said, “Do you think the evil one, Satan, wants you to get a divorce?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “So, the bottom line is, because we’ve covered everything from finances to illicit relationships to communication, the bottom line is, you’re either going to choose Christ’s way or Satan’s way. Which one?” He looked at me in my eyes and said, “I’ll go Satan’s way.” Are you believing this? His wife broke down; she collapsed. I never saw them again.
You see, we’re not talking about “Monopoly” or “Tiddlywinks.” Satan plays for keeps. His resume, his abilities, his power. How about his plans, his purpose? Turn back to 1 Peter Chapter 5. Let’s look at Verse 9. What are Satan’s plans? How does Satan really utilize his power? Well, Satan is the master of putting on hats, different hats. I know that hats are really vogue, they’re hip for women. And also, guys, we like to collect these hats—Jerry’s Fish Camp, Daytona 500, some slogans I cannot mention from the platform. But Satan is the kind of guy that likes to put on hats and he puts on three major hats. The first hat he puts on is the hat of a Tempter, then the hat of a Deceiver, then the hat of the Accuser.
Here’s what Satan does. Remember the battle for our lives goes on in the mind? I want you to think about your mind just for a second as a giant screen television, a Sony, the biggest Sony screen, in fact, like this brand new screen. Isn’t this great? I’m telling you what. Let’s say this is our mind, a giant picture in our mind, and Satan and the Holy Spirit are vying for control. You know the changer that you always lose? Now, the Holy Spirit wants us to see pictures that glorify God, of godly relationships, of honesty, of putting Him number one in every area. But Satan, he likes to come and kind of edge Him out of the way and say, “Hey, sit back. Relax. Let me cook you some microwave popcorn. I want you to watch my little advertisements, my commercial. I want you to watch some Satan TV. And he’ll show us pictures (without the volume) of lying, of an illicit relationship with someone else, using your money in this way to gain an edge or really rebelling against your parents. Satan will say, “Just look at the pictures, no volume, no big deal.” Because Satan knows that as we think about these pictures, then the next step is we act on them.
But most of us are intelligent. We’re saying, “Ed, I’ve got you, man. I’m a step ahead of the game. That’s Satan changing the channels.” But you say, “I know how to get rid of that.” I’ll just change the channel back to what the Holy Spirit wants me to watch, the good things, the things of righteousness.” But Satan’s not through. He takes the temptation hat off, throws it behind his back and he puts on the hat of the Deceiver. He begins to follow this picture now with a steady stream of lies. He turns the volume up and he says, “Hey, come on, just this one time. It will really make you free. You’ve been thinking about this for so long. Go ahead and act on it. God will forgive you. Just this once. No one will ever know. A lot of people have done this, no big deal.” He’ll begin to rationalize, he’ll begin to lie to you and all of a sudden, you’ll think about those lies. You’ll watch the picture and get up off the couch and you begin to act and fall into sin.
Now Satan likes to attack us after a spiritual high point. He sometimes will attack us when we’re emotionally or physically drained. You remember he attacked Jesus Christ? How did Christ resist his attacks? He hid the Word of God, I’m talking about the Scriptures, in His heart. And because He knew the Scriptures so well, when temptation came, He was able to stand against it. But when we are deceived, we believe the lie. When we fall into sin, Satan doesn’t stop there, he puts on the final hat and this is the “hard” hat. This is like the Riddell football helmet. He takes his helmet and jams it in our back—talk about a late hit—he keeps hammering us over and over and over again.
And he accuses us. He says, “Hey, what are you doing on your face praying? What are you doing asking God for forgiveness? He’s not going to forgive you. You’re not worth a thing. You think you can mean something now to the Kingdom of God? Do you realize what you did?” The Accuser—he accuses us day and night, day and night. And I know so many people who are being robbed of their spiritual life because they’re still believing the accusations of Satan of the sin they committed 8 to 15 to 20 years ago. Satan says, “Hey, you’ve got to keep on asking forgiveness.” And the moment we feel a little forgiveness from God, Satan says, “Oh, man, you’ve got to ask forgiveness again for that, again for that, again for that.” He takes that helmet and keeps bashing us and bashing us and bashing us, so we just spend our entire lives like this, never getting up. That’s how Satan works. He’s a tempter. He’s a deceiver. He’s an accuser.
We’ve got to call him a liar, that’s what he is, The Father of Lies. Christ said in John 8:44, “There’s not an ounce of truth in him.” You ever wonder why our world is falling away at such a rapid pace? Ah, I sometimes wonder why it isn’t worse? It’s because of the Lord. You’ve got to realize Satan is pulling the strings in about 95% of the people’s lives. You all watch television advertisements during the key hours in which our children watch television. Incredible! Homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, like no big deal, you know. Like that’s just a normal part of life.
Watch MTV or another music video channel; it’s violence. I saw a video the other day by the rap group Public Enemy in which it shows them assassinating political figures in Arizona. Are you believing this? I just shake my head. About a third of the movies released deal with the occult, New Age or Satanism. Oh, yes, they’re disguised under the big heading “horror films,” but again, folks, you play in Satan’s ballpark. I’ve seen it. I can give you a list of a thousand names if you wanted—
junior high students, high school students, single adults, married couples. You play in his ballpark, he’ll get a foothold, and he plays for keeps. He’ll hammer you, and that’s what his agenda is.
So you say, “This is pretty tough stuff we’re talking about, man. How can I resist this. How can I resist this onslaught? Satan firing all these darts at my life. How can I do it?” Let me list for you briefly three steps that we need to take every day, and next week I’ll get into this further. This comes from 1 Peter Chapter 5:8-9. The first thing we’ve got to do is, we’ve got to respect Satan’s power. You know, Satan is a lot like Rodney Dangerfield, “Hey, I get no respect.” Most people don’t respect him. They don’t realize his power. You see, he’s subtle, he works so slowly, inconspicuously, he comes under the auspices of this person, of that, works so subtly. So, we’ve got to respect his power.
We’ve got to resist him. Now, look at Verse 9. 1 Peter 5:9 says, “Resist him.” How do we resist him? It says, “Standing firm in the faith,” not standing firm on our own. “Well, you see, God, I’ve got these great cleats, these turf cleats, and they really grip well. I’ve got these new Nike golf shoes and I can really get a good grip.” No, he’s saying, “Resist him standing firm….” In what? In the faith, in the Word of God. Hiding this word in our heart, memorizing it, meditating on it. Then he says, “Because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” You know what the evil one will say to us? “Hey, you’re the only one going through this. It’s a solo act.” But that’s where a band of believers is important. We can share our struggles, we can share our temptations, we can share our victories, and there’s something powerful about this.
We’ve got to respect him, we’ve got to resist him, and finally, we’ve got to recognize who he is. We’ve got to recognize him. He’s a master counterfeiter. The great pastor, R.G. Lee, told of talking to a very affluent gentleman who was living life in the fast lane for over thirty years about Christ. The guy would always put him off, “No, I’m just not ready for that. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s all fairy tale stuff.” One afternoon, Dr. Lee received a telephone call that this gentleman was on his deathbed and he called for Dr. Lee. So Dr. Lee rushed to his side and was able to lead this dying man, five minutes before he died, into a personal relationship with Christ. He received Christ. But the last words this man spoke, he articulated barely to R.G. Lee, were these words. Listen to this profound statement. He said, “Dr. Lee, for the rest of your life, wherever you speak, I want you to tell your audience that the devil pays in counterfeit money,” and he died.
That’s the truth. Satan does pay in counterfeit. It looks so good! I can get all that. And when we take it, we fall into it, and all of a sudden, it’s counterfeit. It’s phony, it’s not for real. What are we talking about? I’m talking about building barriers. Putting safeguards in your life and my life that will enable us to resist the evil one and that will give us the strength and the power to claim and keep on claiming the victory that the Lord Jesus has given us. Satan’s out there; he’s lying in wait. Put on the armor of God, hide the Word in your heart, and the Lord Jesus will give you victory over temptation.