Satan’s RAP Sheet
February 24, 2002
You might not believe this, but right now I am sitting inside a tank. This is a British Scorpion, one of the tanks used in Desert Storm. It has all this armor around it and I kind of feel protected right now. In fact, I would like to drive on the freeways in this thing. It would be unbelievable. Hey, you cut in front of me. (Sound of shooting)
Anyway, we need a tank in our lives. We need armor. We need a machine gun. We need a cannon now and then. Why? Because we are involved in a war and this war goes on 24/7. This war is so important that I am going to be talking about it over the next several weeks. Don’t miss a single installment because this whole “Tank U” series will change your life and mine.
This tank is the real deal but, don’t worry, it’s disarmed. We are in a brand new series called “Tank U.” You might be wondering why we decided to call this series “Tank U.” It’s kind of a unique, rather weird, title. We chose this title for three reasons.
The first one is because the Bible says that we are at war. We are at war 24/7, those of us who are Christ-followers. And the great thing is that we have armor available to us to do battle. A lot of believers understand this and some of you really don’t. That’s the first reason why we are calling it “Tank U” and why we are doing this series.
The second reason we are calling it “Tank U” is because we need to sit under the teaching of God’s word, the Bible, concerning spiritual warfare. That’s huge. That’s important. A lot of people here have never really understood the implications of it.
The third reason we call it “Tank U” is kind of a parent/child thing. Parents, remember when your kids were small and they were just learning how to articulate their words. A lot of kids had a hard time saying, “Thank you.” They would look at you, Dad, and say, “Tank you.” Well, as God’s children, we need to look into the eyes of the Heavenly Father and say, “Tank you for the armor. Tank you for the stuff you provided in order for us to do battle and to have victory.”
Let’s face it, as a nation, we are at war. All of us understand that. The difficult thing about this war is that the enemy is difficult to define. The enemy is sort of nebulous out there. Yes, you have some groups. You have al Qaeda, Hamas, and others. But it’s tough to understand and be able to define who we are fighting.
In our spiritual battle, our enemy is not difficult to define. He is nothing nebulous or abstract. He is very specific. The enemy that we are facing makes Osama Bin Laden look like SpongeBob Square Pants. Now, if you didn’t laugh at that, you are not a parent and you are missing out on one of the greatest cartoons in the history of the world.
When you watch these news shows and they are talking about suspected terrorists, they are always showing their rap sheets. They are always showing pictures of them, who they are, what they have done and how they have committed these crimes and all that.
Today, for openers, I want to do the same thing with our enemy. I want to talk to you about Satan’s rap sheet. Now, when I say the word, “rap,” I’m not talking about Snoop Doggy Dogg rap. I’m talking about a rap sheet, who Satan is, how he operates and what he has done.
I have vivid memories as a kid going to the Post Office with my mom. We grew up in Canton, North Carolina. Canton, North Carolina is little town in the Smoky Mountains right near the Biltmore House. Have you ever been to the Biltmore House? That’s a beautiful place. We didn’t grow up in the Biltmore House, but about 20 miles from that. I remember standing in line with my mother at the Post Office and I would always look at those bulletin boards and those wanted posters that were tacked on the bulletin boards. I would look at the mug shots of these criminals. I would read their rap sheets. Then I remember turning around in line, kind of looking to see if maybe someone in line matched the picture. I would go home and be all freaky and scared, because I thought these criminals were chasing me.
We are going to look at Satan’s rap sheet. We are going to look at someone who is chasing us, someone who is hounding us, someone who is wreaking havoc on our lives. His name is Satan.
Some of you when I say that are saying, “Okay, Satan? Ed, you are going to talk about spiritual warfare and the realm of the demonic for the next three weeks? Come on. Haunted houses, ghosts, goblins? You mean to tell me, Ed, that you, an educated man, believes in a personal, sinister, evil force like Satan?”
The answer is a resounding yes, I do. I am a twice-convinced Christian. First of all, I know Jesus is real because I have a personal relationship with him. Secondly, I know Satan is real because he tries to mess me up each and every day. He tempts me. So, yes, I believe it.
Some of you might be a tad cynical. You might be saying, “Let’s talk about something positive. Let’s talk about ten ways to successful living, or why I matter to God, or three ways I can change my marriage.”
All those things are fine and dandy, and good to talk about, but we have got to realize that we are at war. The moment we step over the line and become a Christ-follower, we declare war. Christianity is not played on a playground. It takes place on a battleground. So we better know the evil one’s rap sheet.
Give me an “R.” That stands for Satan’s resume. Who is he? The Bible says, and this is kind of weird, that Satan is a created being. Now why in the world would God create something, someone, who is the antithesis of himself? Think about it. When God created, he took a major risk. We are not robots. We have a choice either to love him or not.
Prior to Satan’s fall, he was called Lucifer. Most theologians believe that his name means “Star of the Morning.” Lucifer, many people believe, was one of the lead worshippers, one of the archangels, in heaven. He carried out God’s plans in the heavenlies. Something happened, though, at some point in eternity past. Lucifer convinced a third of the angels to attempt a cosmic coup d’état. Check out what happened to them in Isaiah 14:12-14, and notice all the personal pronouns.
Are you ready? Beginning in Verse 12, “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
I, I, I, I. Pride was his problem. When he tried to elevate himself above God with his cosmic coup d’état, what happened? God kicked him out of heaven. He took a third of the angels with him and now Satan rules these demonic forces.
We have got to realize something, though. Satan is not omnipresent. He’s not omniscient. He is not omnipotent. He is limited. But it seems like he is everywhere. Why? Because he has these fallen angels all around him messing with you and messing with me. I mean, how do you explain the evil in the world? How do you explain murder? How do you explain child pornography? How do you explain the stuff that goes on each and every day in Dallas/Ft. Worth? A damaged chromosome? A failing public educational school system? Maybe this person’s nursery was painted the wrong color. Their diapers were put on too tight. Come on. You have got to go deeper than that. We are talking about an organized evil force out there. It’s real. We have a problem grasping this in our rationalistic and materialistic mentality, because we think, “If I can’t see it, if I can’t touch it, if I can’t smell it, then it must not be real. Give me something I can put in a lab and study scientifically.”
We know the most important forces out there are things that we can’t study scientifically. How about love? I love my wife. Lisa and I have been married for 20 years this June. But I have never grabbed love out of the air and said, “Oh, here it is. Wow, this is powerful stuff. Lisa, look. Here is my love for you.”
Or, how about the wind? I can feel the results of wind. I can see what it does, but I can’t see it and really study it in a scientific manner. The same is true in this whole spiritual realm. We have to understand this.
So, who is Satan? Satan is our adversary. That’s what the word “Satan” means. The devil, another name, means the accuser.
Let’s look at his abilities. Give me an “A.” His abilities. The Bible says that Satan is like a lion, because he devours. A lion devours.
1 Peter 5:8, “Be controlled and alert.”
God gave me this a couple of days ago about being alert. Alert stands for, you might want to write this vertically on your bulletin, Always Looking Everywhere to Respond to Temptation. That’s being alert. Always Looking Everywhere to Respond to Temptation. That should be your stance and mine as a believer.
Many of you I know right now are not Christians and you are here at Fellowship Church. Good for you. You are at the right place. Keep on kicking tire treads, or in this context, tank treads. Check it out, because I believe God wants to do some great things in your life. Stay open. Seek. Ask questions. Engage maybe someone who invited you about the claims of Christ, because what we are talking about is the only way to live. But I am going to tell you something. Once you step over the line, war will be declared and you will leave the playground and enter the battleground.
So the Bible says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around (That means he’s hungry) like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
This term “someone” refers to a Christ-follower. Obviously, the evil one wants to go after the people who embarrass him the most. So, he is coming after you and he is coming after me. He has methods, the Bible says. He has plans. He has principles in order to trip you and me up, in order to mess you and me up. But he is looking for someone to devour.
What did Jesus say in John 10:10, “The thief comes, the evil one, to steal, to kill and to destroy.”
A lion looks for a straggler. A lion looks for a wanderer, a roamer, an animal that is kind of separate from the flock. That’s why we must be connected into the local church. Every time you see someone who is a Christ-follower in the New Testament, they were connected to the local church.
If we are wandering, if we are roaming, if we are church hopping, shopping and bopping, we are more susceptible to the lion, to the attack.
Parents, how many of you would take your kids down to the Fort Worth Zoo and dump them off in front of the lion’s den and let them just play around? How many of you would do that?
“Son, practice your soccer kicks in front of the lion’s den.”
“Practice, honey, your ballet moves in front of the lion’s den.”
You wouldn’t do that. You say, “Come on, Ed, no parent would do that. That’s ridiculous. That’s crazy.”
Yet, parents, what kind of media choices are you allowing your children to make? What kind of shows, websites, movies, magazines, books are you allowing them to put into their minds? You are allowing them to play in front of a lion’s den.
A lion stalks. A lion is a stealth-like creature. Satan does not come to you or me in a leisure suit with Elvira hanging on his arm saying, “I’m going to get you. You better watch out. Here’s my pitchfork. Elvira, do it.”
No, he doesn’t do that. This guy is smart. He’s been taking believers out for thousands of years. It’s kind of funny. Any time you talk about the realm of the demonic or you talk about Satan, some people just freak out about it. I know some people who see demons behind everything.
For instance, “You know, I ran out of gas today. Must be the demon of forgetfulness.”
No, it’s not. You are just a normal human being who forgets things from time to time. That’s why you ran out of gas. Don’t freak out about it.
As believers, we have got to remember something. We don’t fight for a win. We fight from a win. Did you hear that? We don’t fight for a win. We have already won. When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again, it was over. Satan was defeated. So, we fight from victory. That’s great news for those of us who know Christ. If you don’t know Christ, that will be great news for you one day once you step over the line.
We are rocking now. His resume, who is he? His abilities, what can he do? He’s like a lion. He devours. He’s also like a snake, because Satan will bite you.
If you hang around here very much, you know that I like to talk about snakes. I always have loved snakes. I don’t know why, but I think they are just intriguing creatures. This past August, something really spooky happened around the Young household. I drove home from work and I looked in our flowerbed. I don’t know why I did. Right in front of our front door, there was a brown snake several feet long just coiled up.
I thought to myself, “I am going to catch that snake. I watched the Crocodile Hunter, so I can do it.”
For three straight days, this snake was bold. He would come into our flowerbed and just sit there. I almost convinced myself that he was not poisonous.
I said to myself, “It looks like a bull snake. I’m not quite sure, but I think he is non-poisonous.”
I was talking to Lisa about it and I said, “Honey, do you know what that snake is doing? That snake is eating frogs.” Because we have a lot of frogs around our house. This snake was eating those big old bullfrogs with goatees. He was just waiting for them.
About four more days went by, and I drove home from work, looked over in the flowerbed and this thing had a giant frog halfway in his mouth. He was swallowing it.
I said, “Lisa, I’ve got him now. Hand me a broom.”
She ran to the garage to hand me a broom.
I’m thinking to myself, “He has a mouth full of frog. There is no way he can bite me. I’ll just mash his head down, grab him and pick him up, show him to the kids and all that stuff.”
I snuck up on him and, all in one motion, I put that broom handle down and mashed his head down a little bit. When I grabbed that sucker’s tail, in a nanosecond, and I didn’t know they could do this, he barfed up that frog, and tried to bite me. The thing almost bit me. It was terrible. Then he slithered away into a woodpile.
Let me add something else to the story. This makes no sense to the message, but let me tell you what else happened. You won’t believe this. This thing frustrated me, and I was determined to catch that snake. Here is what I did. The frog was barely living. I got my rod and reel and put a hook through the frog’s lips. I promise you. I dangled him from our steps and left him there overnight. I thought the snake would hit the frog, that he would come back.
The next morning I came out and all the line was gone off my reel. I thought I had hooked the snake. I reeled down and set the hook on him. Then I followed my line and found that he had taken this line around about twenty-five logs and had broken the line. I lost the snake on a rod and reel.
Here’s the point of what I am talking about. Whenever we play with sin, whenever we grab sin by the tail, whenever we believe Satan’s lies and all of his bunk, it’s just a matter of time before he turns around and bites you and me. He’s like a lion. He devours. He’s like a snake. He bites. Don’t mess with him. We have all felt the bite of sin, haven’t we?
Look what the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this age has blinded the minds…”—that’s where the battleground takes place—“of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is in the image of God.”
Right now, Satan is putting doubts and ideas in your heart and in your mind. For a lot of people who don’t know Christ, he has put blinders over your eyes. I have shared the Lord with many people and it’s almost like this guy or this woman cannot see. What’s the deal? What’s wrong? I’ll tell you what’s wrong. The god of this age has blinded the minds of those people who don’t know Christ.
It’s been my prayer for this entire series that the blinders would come off, that you would be sensitive to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and that you would open yourself up to truth.
I’m going to tell you something else. It’s going to be very difficult for you to attend all the installments for this series. Satan will not make it easy for you to show up here. Do you know why? He doesn’t want to be exposed. He doesn’t want you or me to really know who he is and what he can do. But I’ll tell you something. If you show up for every message, this stuff will revolutionize your life. You’ll understand that you fight from victory. You’ll understand that you are doing battle on a true battlefield and not some playground playing Monopoly.
Let’s talk about his plans. Give me a “P.” That’s his plans. How does he do it? That’s pretty good. How does he do all this stuff? Just for a second, picture a plasma television screen. How many of you have a plasma television screen? I don’t but, if you do, lift you hands. Don’t be embarrassed. No one. That’s great. Some of you are lying. Picture in your mind a giant plasma screen television. Picture a remote. You have got two people fighting over the remote. You have the Holy Spirit, if you are a believer, and you have the evil one on the other side. Just picture that for a second.
The first thing the evil one does to mess with you and me is he changes the channel and he shows us just a desire. He shows us just a picture.
He says, “I’ve muted the sound. Just check out this picture. There’s nothing wrong with just looking at it. Just check it out for a second.”
This happens in all of our lives. We have these images flash up.
The Holy Spirit says, “No. Don’t watch that. Look at this channel. Follow this. Live within God’s guidelines and guardrails. God has the best thing for your relationships, the best thing for your marriage, the best thing for your dating life.”
The evil one is saying, “No. Do this. No problems. Do this.”
He doesn’t stop with desire. The evil one has a three-D approach. From desire, he goes to deceit. He begins to crank up the volume.
He says, “Hey! Just check that picture out. Go for it. If you go for it and commit this act, you will feel like a real man. Go for it. Come on. You’ve got to take that money under the table. No one will ever know. God’s holding out on you. If you go ahead and act on it, you will feel what it really feels like to be this awesome person. Go ahead and promote yourself. Go ahead and step on that person as you climb the ladder. Go ahead.”
Satan is the father of lies. John 8:44 says that he is a liar. There is not a truth in him. He speaks lie-eze. He lies and lies. At the same time he is lying to you, the Holy Spirit is saying, “Truth. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Love your spouse like Christ loved the church. Get into God’s word. Talk to God regularly in prayer. Be good stewards of your finances.”
You have this battle going on. But the evil one doesn’t stop. The moment we sin, the moment we look at the image and believe the lie, the moment we step over the line and sin, what happens? He does the third “D,” defeat. He takes his helmet and rams us in the small of our back.
He says, “You are an idiot. God can never forgive you for what you have done. God can never use you again. That divorce? That problem? The way you treated that person, that relationship? The way you treated your child? You can never be used again. What you did is unforgivable. You are worthless.”
A lot of us are walking around still believing the lies that Satan has been telling us for years. We believe it.
Look at Revelation 12:10, “For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.”
That’s what Satan is, an accuser and a liar. Call him a liar. You confess your sins. You turn from your sins. God can and will use you in an awesome way. That’s part of spiritual warfare. That’s what Satan loves to do. He wants us to get locked into the past.
“I did this and, because I did this, there is no way I can do what God wants me to do.”
That’s not true. I grew up in the church. My father is a pastor. I have heard a lot of great sermons in my life. But some of the time, as I have traveled around the country and heard sermons, I have heard a lot of sermons on what to do. They say, “Here’s what to do…” Many times, I have left thinking that’s great. I know what to do but how do I do it? Tell me how. How do I apply this stuff? How do I make it relevant to where I am living? Let’s ask this question about spiritual warfare. Obviously, we are in a battle. We are at war. What do we do? The Bible says we have this armor available to us, so what do we do?
Here’s what we do. 1 Peter 5:9, “Resist him, standing firm in the faith,…” Why? “…because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
One of Satan’s biggest lies is telling me or you this, “Hey, you are the only one fighting this battle. No one else is fighting this, so you are the only one. You are by yourself. You are fighting alone.”
We’ve got to call him a liar, because this is not true. 1 Peter, Chapter 5, assures us that other brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. The same kind of temptations, the same kind of battles. Why in the world do we have church? Why in the world do we have corporate teaching? Because something supernatural takes place when someone teaches from God’s word. Why in the world do we have small groups, little platoons? We have little platoons because it gives us the opportunity to study the Bible, to share our lives with others, to share our struggles, our concerns, our battles. The moment we share our battles in these little platoons, here is what happens.
Other people in the platoons say, “I deal with the same stuff. I’m going through a similar situation. I understand.”
Satan is telling you and me, “Don’t share that because, if you share that, people are going to say, ‘I can’t believe you are going through that. You must be the only one.’”
That’s a lie from the pit of hell. If you are not involved in a small group, if you are not connected to a local church, if you are not in a Home Team, our little platoons, good luck. I feel sorry for you. What’s going to happen when you get the call? A guy in our Home Team, his mom died suddenly on Wednesday. What did he do? He picked up the phone and called me. I’m a part of his Home Team and I was able to help him, pray with him and minister to him. What if he didn’t have the little platoon? I don’t know.
I talked to a good friend of mine on Friday who leads a little platoon, a Home Team at Fellowship Church and he said, “Ed, it’s amazing. Our team is jelling. Our platoon is coming together, because now we are starting to share this stuff and God is doing some wonderful stuff.”
A lot of you are one phone call, one door knock, one Home Team meeting, away from sharing the strength and the power of other soldiers who are fighting the battle with you.
1 John 4:4, “The one who is in you (that’s Christ if you are a Christ-follower) is greater than the one who is in the world.”
How about Ephesians 6:10, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”
We can’t do this stuff on our own. I can’t pull myself up by my own bootstraps and muster up enough courage to do this. I can’t do that. It’s a grace thing. It’s a Holy Spirit thing. It’s a mighty power thing from God.
Verse 11, “Put on the full armor of God so you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
I’ll say it again, against his methodology, against his plans, because he has them specifically for you and me, to take you and me down.
“I understand, Ed, that life is not a playground, that the Christian life is a battleground. I am ready to do battle.”
If you are ready to fight, do you fight like this, outside of the tank? Would you go to war with the tank behind you and you standing here exposed and naked like this? No. You would be crazy to do that. Yet, a lot of Christians say they are ready to do battle for the Lord, but they have got the armor and tank behind them. You don’t fight outside the tank. What do you do? You fight inside the tank. That’s the question that I have got to leave you with. Where are you in this spiritual battle? Are you outside or are you inside the tank? It’s my prayer that you go inside.