CityLight Church – Blog

Experience Love. Grace. God.

, , ,

Satan’s Defeated State

The following is an adaptation of the sermon ‘Satan’s Defeated State’ preached by Pastor Mike White on Sunday, 12/28/2014, at CityLight Church. To listen to the full podcast please click here:

Satan’s Aim and Purpose

I don’t contribute much time to spiritual warfare. Yes, I’m fully aware that I should put on the whole armor of God (Eph 6:11) so I can stand against the devil. However, those of us in the church seem to have lost the understanding that Jesus already won the battle. Our prayers lack confidence, as if God hasn’t already promised us that He hears our petitions and grants them (1 Jn 5:14-15).

The fact of the matter is this: Satan has already been defeated, once and for all. There is no battle left for us to fight. I will admit there are struggles we must overcome, and there is often suffering we must endure. However, we do not need to fight for victory; but rather from victory. That is our starting point when it comes to talking about Satan. Satan has always sought to destroy Jesus Christ, and he will always seek to destroy us. Yet we must know that his techniques to wrest our position of righteousness from us can never succeed: unless we let them.

The Beginning

John receives vision for the church in the Book of Revelation. I seldom preach from the last book in the Bible because it is so often misinterpreted. Yet God sends a very clear message to us, His church, through the Book of Revelation that we cannot ignore:

Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. – Rev 12:1-6

Here we see the New Testament church, equipped with the power and truth of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, seeking to give birth to a greater revelation and understanding of who Jesus is for all the world to see. We see that Satan is prepared, waiting and ready to devour Truth as soon as He is born.

But Satan’s plan backfires. Jesus is untouchable in heaven, and the church is protected. Satan is denied access to the church by God. Yet the church is left in a state of hunger. That is where we find ourselves as the New Testament church: a place of hunger, knowing there is more, but also in hiding, because we are afraid of Satan and his capabilities. But what if we didn’t have to be afraid? What if we knew with full confidence that whenever Satan sought to destroy us, God guaranteed victory on our behalf? What if we knew that every one of Satan’s schemes and plans would backfire, and actually work out in our favor? What if we got a hold of the revelation that whatever Satan intends for evil, God will turn into good?

Satan originally enticed us to sin in the Garden of Eden. Now I know you and I weren’t physically there, but I say “us” (instead of Adam and Eve) to remind us that we are part of the human race. If you or I had been in the Garden instead of Adam and Eve, we would have fallen just as fast. If you or I had been an observer as Jesus Christ was hoisted up on the Cross, we would have condemned Him just as quickly. We must face our sinful nature if we are to overcome it by the blood of Jesus. We must take responsibility for the actions of our ancestors and thank God that His mercy extends to the thousandth generation (Deut 7:9).

Satan enticed us to sin, but God used it for good. Instead of leaving us in a state of sin, God provided us with a Sacrifice so each and every one of us who calls on the name of Jesus could be restored to a place or righteousness. Instead of sin, we were left with salvation! And this is the pattern God intends to repeat: if we get out of His way and give Him the chance.

We see Satan’s plan backfire again as Jesus is tempted in the wilderness:

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. – Matt 4:1-11

Satan again sought to overthrow Jesus and win a decisive victory. Instead, Jesus overcomes Satan’s schemes by relying on Scripture. Instead of winning a decisive victory for himself, Satan builds the church’s testimony in the wisdom and power of Jesus Christ.

Instead of defeat, we’re left with a powerful template for how to respond to Satan every time he tempts us: always respond with Scripture! As Jesus was tempted, He did not rely on His own thoughts. He responded only with God’s Word. If even the Son of God relied completely on Scripture when responding to His adversary, how much more should we?

The Power to Succeed

Satan could not take Jesus’ life, because it was not in his power to do so. Christ’s life can never be taken away; only given:

“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” – Jn 10:17-18

Satan was not aware that he was fighting a futile battle. Jesus Christ can never be defeated unless He gives away His life: and that is something He has already done. He gave his life once so that the church – His body – could enjoy eternal victory. Now that His blood has been poured out once for all (1 Pet 3:18, Rom 6:10), it will never be poured out again.

All believers are meant to operate with the understanding that our lives in Christ can never be taken from us; they can only be given away. The Bible makes our inheritance, and our rights as children of God, incredibly clear. Satan only gains a foothold when we give it to him.

When I was growing up, our family had a dog. He was a mix between a black lab and a German shepherd. He was terribly behaved. If we ever left food out on the counter, he would eat it. If we ever left something he could grab within his reach, he would sink his teeth into it. We spent countless Christmases watching the tree to make sure Sterling wouldn’t steal ornaments and tear them to pieces. We came home to countless messes after he had gotten into something we never should have left within his reach.

Sterling was a destructive dog, and horribly behaved. But it wasn’t his fault! It was our family’s fault for not corralling him better. It was our fault that things were destroyed and torn to pieces – and food was eaten off tables – because we didn’t teach him proper boundaries. It was our fault for leaving things within his reach. It was in his nature to find and destroy everything he could possibly get a hold of, and we didn’t respect that.

Many of us in the church suffer from exactly the same problem. It is in Satan’s nature to find and destroy everything he possibly can. We have our nice, neat Christian homes, and he infiltrates them and rips everything to pieces. But should we get angry at him because he’s simply doing what is in his nature to do? Or should we be fed up with ourselves because, although we know his nature full well, we continue to allow him to get into our lives and destroy everything within his reach?

Satan does three things. He comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). What makes our job easy as Christians is that Satan doesn’t stay quiet about what he does. He “…walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet 5:8). He’s not quiet, and his intentions are clear. So why do we give him access to our lives?

When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, Satan suffered a final, ultimate defeat. Jesus knows it, and Satan knows it. We should know it too. Satan only has room to maneuver when we give it to him. So what’s keeping you from shutting him down?


Preparation versus Fear

The Bible calls us to be prepared for Satan, but never afraid of him. We should only fear God, and only in a reverential and worshipful way. Our fear of God should come from a place of confidence in what God is able to perform; never from a place of shame because of what we are unable to perform.

We should be prepared that Satan will try and destroy us, but confident that he can never achieve victory. The rest of Revelation 12 details what will happen to Satan after his assault on the church:

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” – Rev 12:7-12

Satan was cast out of heaven for his attempt to destroy Jesus and His church. Now, he turns to us as a consolation prize. But we must always resist him (1 Pet 5:9) with full confidence that he is already defeated.

We are a people made in God’s image (Gen 1:27). His Holy Spirit lives inside of us as a guarantee (2 Tim 1:14). Alone we are weak, but through God we become incredibly strong. We are the recipients of a divine inheritance that Satan would love to have, but can never possess. And he knows it. Do you?

Resist Him

Satan doesn’t always attack with a full frontal assault. In fact, some of his most effective weapons are the most subtle. Two of those that run rampant in the church today are lack of awareness and apathy.

Lack of awareness materializes because we do not understand what is rightfully ours. We fail to grasp hold of the truth that heaven has given us an inheritance that can never be stolen, but only given away. And apathy sets in when we don’t care whether we cling to that inheritance with everything we have, or give it away entirely.

As apathy sets in, we easily settle for a moralistic, powerless brand of Christianity that ultimately bears no fruit. Paul called the church’s present condition a form of godliness that denies power (2 Tim 3:5). We convince ourselves that Jesus is only one of many ways to heaven; that He was just a good moral teacher. We fall short in understanding that He Is the Son of God, and we are made in His image.

But the Bible never intends to leave that option open to us. Jesus cannot simply be a good moral teacher without being the Son of God. Either He was who He says He Is, or He isn’t at all. There is no middle ground. C.S. Lewis put it best:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

As apathy sets in, we tone down our faith so as not to offend anyone. Now, there is admittedly a fine line that needs to be drawn here. Our faith should never be offensive simply for the sake of being offensive. However, we must remember that as we stand up for Biblical truth and hold our ground, Jesus promises us that offenses will come (Lk 17:1).

Many Christians have settled for religious pluralism: the idea that all religions will take us to the same end, and no one religion is better than any other. But we must realize that embracing both religious pluralism and Christianity is a position that is intellectually inconsistent. We cannot claim to believe in Jesus Christ, a man who says He is the way, the truth and the life, and also believe that any other belief apart from Him will get us into heaven.

The example used over and again is the elephant analogy. Professors of religion in secular universities use this all the time. A paraphrase goes something like this:

There are four blind men who discover an elephant. Since the men have never encountered an elephant, they grope about, seeking to understand and describe this new phenomenon. One grasps the trunk and concludes it is a snake. Another explores one of the elephant’s legs and describes it as a tree. A third finds the elephant’s tail and announces that it is a rope. And the fourth blind man, after discovering the elephant’s side, concludes that it is, after all, a wall. Each, in his blindness, is describing the same thing: an elephant. Yet each describes the same thing in a radically different way.

Religious pluralists – those who argue for equality of all religions – insist that each blind man is simply finding one of many ways to describe an elephant. When it comes to religion, the argument is that any one religion can only discover part of the truth. It follows, therefore, that no single religion should claim to know the whole truth.

Yet religious pluralism is even more presumptuous and assertive than any major religion. The elephant analogy above says that no one religion can see the “whole elephant,” and denies any one faith the ability to see complete truth. But the perspective required to see the “whole elephant,” and judge all major religions as unworthy, claims the very knowledge that religious pluralists say no one else has! In order to see the “whole elephant,” there must be a divine vantage point: you have to be a witness to a point of view you say no one else can have. While branded as an unassertive point of view, religious pluralism is actually the most aggressive and assertive point of view one can have!

The elephant analogy above fails to explain that all of the blind men were wrong. No single one of them found the truth. Jesus Christ is the One Man who shows up and rattles us awake to the fact that any time we ignore Him, we are missing the big picture! He alone has knowledge of absolute truth, because He is God. And the only way to see the world as He sees it is to give up on yourself and trust fully in Him!

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. – John 10:7-10

Living From Victory

When we trust in Jesus Christ, we understand absolute truth. When we humble ourselves and rely on Him, we are exalted in His name. And when we embrace and understand the final victory He won on the Cross, we will be free to live out our lives in freedom.

We are not simply called to be conquerors. We are called to be more than conquerors:

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Rom 8:37-3, emphasis added

We are not fighting for victory; we are fighting from victory. We are not purchasing new territory; we are simply repossessing territory that God has already given into our hand. Payment has already been provided! We are simply collecting what God already owns. Everything pronounced over our lives for His glory will come to pass, and Satan cannot do anything about it.

– by Pastor Mike White

© Michael D. White and CityLight Church, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael White and CityLight Church with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Clean Notebook is a captivating Full Site Editing (FSE) theme that beautifully captures the essence of simplicity and minimalism.

Main Pages
Useful Links

Copyright © Clean Notebook, 2023. All rights reserved.