The following is a transcript of Pastor Randy’s sermon from 5/15/22.
Morning. Good to see you. Another big day here at Summerville Baptist. We get to worship, we get to be together, we get to celebrate what God's doing. My name is Randy. And especially, thank you for viewing out there. I want to give a special shout out to a gentleman in North Charleston. His name is Tommy. So Tommy, thank you so much for watching. Love to hear back from you and hope you have a fantastic day also. And everyone else who is either first time watchers or you're here with us every week, and also in the room, I've met some first time guests we have, and you're the honored VIPs of the day. We're so glad that you're here. Hope to get to know you a little bit better in the tent afterwards. Your job's just to relax and worship the Lord and to continue to do what we're trying to do here. And that's hear god clearly enough to know how to spend our lives.
We know from sociology and psychology studies, that there are three great needs in our society. There are the need for purpose, the need for meaning, and the need for community. The problem is our crumbling society does not have an answer for any of those three. In the trajectory that we're being exposed to day after day, those three are all missing. Our society seems to be too busy trying to redefine truth. So, what that's leading to, I think is a whole world of people who, if you could get inside their head and they were honest, they would say, "You know what, I'm not sleeping very well. I'm not resting well. I'm not eating that well some days."
I got concerns about things I should not even be worried about. I'm racked with anxiety, borderline depression, and all of those worries that seem to have none of them are world changers, but they are what we call accumulative effect. I'm not sure quite where my tipping point is, but because what if I have lived my entire life and I have chased my dream as hard as I can only to find out that I have built my life on a bunch of lies? So I think today is very timely because we're going to look at a being who does exist and he exists solely to block God's plan for me and you. He is to be the antithesis of everything that God is. And every plan that God has for you, he has an opposite plan. So I guess I feel like I ought to go ahead and apologize to our graduates for talking about Satan on graduate recognition day.
James plans well in advance so you can't blame him for this. I plan well in advance too. So I guess I'm the one to blame about this, but as we... I also made me think earlier this week, y'all I don't know if you agree, I always thought final exams were of the devil, but that may not be true. So I think those, we get into our discussion. If I do a decent job, you'll see that maybe this is in fact providential because this level of learning, this level of higher knowledge is a great thing. And it may be that God is going to also try to make us, as I said earlier in the prayer, wise to go along with the knowledge. And that in this old world makes you a dangerous commodity against the one that we're going to be talking about today.
John 10:10, the reminder, many of you know that verse, Jesus said, man, "I've come to give you life. I didn't come to waste your time and to leave you hopeless and purposeless and meaningless, I came to not only change your life, but to give you a whole new definition of life." John eight, we're in John chapter eight today. So grab your Bible and turn the New Testament. We're going to look at a lot of other... I'm going to mention a lot of other scripture too. So you might want to leave it with you. And thank you out there for tuning in also to whatever form scripture you got there at your disposal. What's going on in John eight? This is days, probably maybe weeks, ahead of the cross. Jesus is having a conversation actually with people. It says, who believed in him, but they're confused.
They're seekers, they're honest in their questions. They've asked questions and he understands that. So he's being very patient with them and diligent, but it boils down to what is really truth. How do we know truth? Because Jesus just gets through saying a few verses earlier, then verse 42, "You'll know the truth and the truth will set you free." And that creates a whole lot of questions. Well, how do we know this? How do we know that? So then with that, he launches into, let me just read it through. Verse 42, "Jesus said to them, if God were your father, you would love me. I came from God and now I am here. I have not come on my own, but he sent me."
Now, at this point or a little bit earlier, Jesus knows some other people have come into the discussion. They're not believers. They're cynic, they're skeptics. They're the self-professed smartest guys in town. So now he changes his tone. Verse 43, "Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language for he is a liar and the father of lies." If you like to mark your Bible or write in the margins, this verse is the key verse of this whole section, verse 44. And we'll come back to that.
Verse 45, "Yeah, because I tell you truth, you do not believe me. Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?" Now, think about the gravity of that statement. And we'll come back to this too. He's openly challenging a whole group of people who are the scholars of their day biblically and legally to say, "Hey, go for it. Can you find me guilty of one single sin?" Verse 47,. "He who belongs to God," here's what God says, "the reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." Jesus comes and his model was, I'm not going to get into the political arena. I'm not going to raise up an army. I'm not going to try to get into banking and the economics and turn it that way. I'm not even going to become a college president and say that knowledge is the end all because the real war is against truth. So I'm going to come as the absolute 100% pure high quality truth.
Let's pray. God, would you block out what we allow to distract us and would you open our minds, but also our souls to what you have for us today? My belief is whether we're watching out there at home or whether we are in the room, we came here for a purpose. We did not come to waste our time. We came to be different. And that requires a work of your spirit. So we give this to you in Jesus' name. Amen. There's a movie a good many years ago called The Usual Suspects. It's one of those murder mysteries. Kevin Spacey is one of the lead characters. And he's talking about another character in the movie whose name is Keyser Söze. How's that? Keyser Söze. He's talking about this potentially evil person. He's talking about before that, he says, "Can people be influenced by Satan if you believe in Satan?" And he says, "I believe in the devil."
Then he says, he's talking about this guy, "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he did not exist." And I thought, how great of a lead into today? The greatest weapon the enemy has is to deceive and to say, "Nothing to see here. No problem back here. Don't worry about what's behind the curtain. You just live your life." It's one of the most hideous lies ever. So we're going to look at who and what and how this morning. So you may want to jot down some notes and some scripture as we get in. So first thing, who is this creature? Let's go back to verse 44. Remember, Jesus is speaking, he's lecturing, and he's telling this group of people who are the cynics and working against him actively, "You belong to your father, the devil." That word, diablos, meant accuser.
That's one of many adjectives that go along with devil, and you want to carry out father's desire. Here's another descriptor of Satan. He's a murderer. That's pretty strong language. He's a murderer recently? No, from the very beginning, holding to the truth, not holding. Because there is what? No truth in it. We're learning a lot about this being just from this one verse. He's a liar, he's a murderer, he is an accuser, he's a condemner. And when he lies, he speaks his native language. And then he goes on and says, let me give you one more title. He's the father of lies. He's the head liar in other words. He is the originator. He's the inventor of lying. He is, I believe and I believe the scripture bears it out, a personal being. He is a real being.
My main argument to present to you is that Jesus claims that repeatedly. Jesus experienced him. Jesus knew him. Jesus described him. And there's nowhere in any of these discussions did Jesus say he is a symbol of evil. So we see some of those adjectives there. He's a tempter. He's got some favorite weapons. Deceit is one, to divide people out is another, to create doubts. Remember the very first couple, he saddles up to them and said, "Did he rarely say that you'll die if you eat that fruit? Come on, come on. He rarely say that. Were you listening well to that?" The doubt. To divide out. He's famous for doing that even within the family of God, is he not? And the deceit, he says has been doing that from day one, but let's not overlook the fact that he is a murderer.
He doesn't want to mess up your life. He wants to end your life. Quick question. It is actually attached. When's the last time you saw an adult with down syndrome around? Might be recently for most of us. I bet you spend quite a while. Hasn't it? 67% of pre-born babies who have been diagnosed with down syndrome never are born, they're aborted, 67%. Now in Europe, it's 90 something percent. He is the father of lies and he's also a murderer, coldblooded murderer. Let's not underestimate him. Let's not scoff at him because he is the most powerful creature on this earth other than God.
So to take him on as a Christ following person is always going to end up on the losing end. But the good news is, even way back in Mark 1:13, Jesus comes into the Jordan river, he's baptized. In Mark 1:13 says "He has led out into the wilderness to fast, to be by himself for 40 days." And to be what? Tempted. Tempted by the enemy. So Jesus gives us so many models all through the Bible of how to deal with him. And we'll get to that a little bit later. He is terrifically powerful, but he is, y'all, he is limited. Job chapter one, the enemy approaches, Satan approaches God and they're having this conversation. We don't understand all the implications of that, but God decides then to say, "Hey, if you're having your way down there, how do you explain Job?"
Job's got his act together. Job's doing really well. Job's a righteous man. And of course, saying immediately, says, "Hey, let me add him and he'll turn from you." My point being there, is God allows some of that, but he always restrains him. He always restrains him. And that's still the effect today. So how did he even get here? What's the origin? What's classically used is Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, especially Ezekiel 28. Old Testament teachings from two different prophets, and the description of this being falling from grace and sinning and being cast down to earth to live this beautiful creature who was close to God, but no longer close to God. It fits perfectly with who we call Satan. Now, I've got to be Hermeneutically, I've got to be true to y'all and honest with y'all because I've tried to teach you. I still am learning how to use context and the historical context of that and what's before it and what's after it.
If you read the whole chapters of those and you read around it, I got to be honest with you, that's talking in one instance about the king of Babylon and the other one, the king of Tyre. It's not talking about Satan, but I still believe that's what happened because I'm reading now from the expanse of the scripture. When you bring in the New Testament to that conversation, the description of Satan that he's alluding to in the Kings, it still fits. It's as if the writer, the prophet is saying, "Hey, I'm talking about somebody in real time, the king who's making our life miserable, but I'm also going to mix in a little metaphorically of how Satan got his and he's already been casted this earth."
That's where I believe it is. I do believe he was an angel. I do believe that he fell from grace. He decided to make a run at the top authority and had to be cast out to earth with a whole bunch of other fallen angels. That's just my rendition of that because Jesus does nothing again to disprove that either. Now, I know some of you at this point are like, I don't buy into a... I think he's a symbol of evil. Check this out. The majority of identifying Christians in this country agree with you. 60% of people who identify as Christians say Satan is not a real figure, he's a symbol of evil. As a side note, that's why I stopped identifying me and you as Christians a long time ago. I'd rather say, let's be a Christ follower. Because if you're following, you're actively desiring to obey the teachings of Christ and the behavior of Christ.
It's easy to identify as a Christian, but then believe what you want. But my point is, oh, and here's the other thing, some of you right now, we're processing very well. You're saying, that's okay. The Holy Spirit will take care of that. Well, the same poll says they also, about 50 something percent don't believe in a real Holy Spirit either. But let me tell you the good news. The good news is, Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil and he came out of the tomb. He also said, "Truth shines light into the darkness." And it doesn't take long to expose the darkness, then you never want to leave the light. So I'm just acknowledging if you are in that camp, I'm not trying to pick a fight with you. I'm so glad you're here or so glad that you're watching.
All I'm asking you to do today is have a very open mind and heart to the whole expanse of the scripture, especially the whole teachings of Jesus Christ. Because if we get on track really clearly and really solidly, no holds barred with the person of Jesus Christ, he's certainly changed a lot of opinions I've had over the years. Let's move on because he is here to block our plans that God's given us. What is his future? We just talked about his origin. What's the end of the road look like? So for that, look over to back of your Bible, Revelation 20. Revelation 20:10, "And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They could be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
I could talk the rest of the day about this one verse and all the different legs we could take and run with it, but I'm going to go right to, thrown into the lake of burning fire. This was another descriptor of what we believed to be held that we talked about a couple of weeks ago, which we believe also is a real place, a reality for those people. He will be thrown one day. So, that will be his final destination, case closed. So what's the deal with that? Why has that happened? Well, we know that all the way back to Genesis three, he was cursed. He comes in, he creates the doubts. He deceives the first couple. They sin, God moves into the scene. He starts the process of restoring the humans. He turns toward the figure of Satan do, and he curses him and he says, "It's pretty much permanent. It's going to be into eternity."
You can check that in Genesis 3:14, we're dealing with a curse guy, but he's also already been conquered. This is where I want you to listen really closely. And this is what I enjoy talking about. He has already been defeated. He's been conquered. My favorite verse for all of this, of many, is Colossians 2:15. This is worth looking at. I think it's on screen actually, Colossians 2:15. Now this is Paul, a guy Paul, who is very smart and very good with a pen and very articulate. He's talking about this whole subject. So in Colossians 2:15, and he says, talking about Jesus, "And having disarmed the powers and authorities," which is the evil spirits, namely Satan, "he made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them," how? "By the cross."
Let's break this down just for a second. He disarmed. In those days, everybody knew this type of language and they had read about it in the Old Testament. The Roman military was everywhere. They had their armor on. If they thought there was going to be trouble, they'd have the shield. They always had a sword at their side. They had other equipment and weapons also, most of them were highly trained. When you went into a battle in the old days and you lost, the conquering group, the conquering king would bring, if he was still living, bring the king in front of him. For many reasons, one, was to humiliate him. They'd work down the line of the captured troops, the enemy troops, and they would systematically take their weapons away and pile them up. And they would take their armor.
Reminds me of the old Western. Do you ever see one of those old westerns where the Calvary, the military of that day, somebody messed up and he's getting dishonorably discharged and they yank his stripes off of his shoulder? Remember that? They take his sword and he's got a tear coming down and his lip's quivering. He's being dishonored in front of his whole company and everything. That's the description here. It's one of humiliation. And then it says, "He made a public spectacle." The other thing they would do in those days is the king would come back into the capital city, leading this massive parade, and everybody would be just upside down excited. And then there would be in chains, typically, all the conquering soldiers, especially the king, if he's still living.
They're just stripped down, they're usually beaten up, they're in shackles and they are following this king on a horse and the visual of that. And then the army, the good guys, they would see the army would be all right behind them coming in as the conquering force. Sandwiched in the middle, was a humiliated, defeated, now a public spectacle of ridicule enemy. He says it happens by the cross. Can I add one more visual? Between the king, which in this analogy is Jesus, and the conquered force, which is evil in Satan, you've got this float and you've got to cross on it. So that for the entire walk, they got to stare at that cross as the reminder you lost. He lost 2,000 years ago. There's still some battles going on.
The revolutionary war Yorktown happened in 1781. That is pretty much acknowledged as the end of the war. There was a surrender formally at Yorktown of the British, by the British. But there were fights and battles that went on until 1 83, one or two of them was in this state. That's what's happening spiritually today. He's already aware of his future, but he's still fighting like crazy. Now, Jesus acknowledged a great power in that day over and he still has that power. Remember, so many stories of demon possession where he's exercising, one of them is in John 12. One of the best ones is in John 12. And John 12, this guy's really bad demon possessed comes up and Jesus, of course, casts out the demon that sparks off a debate and everything. Jesus actually explains the whole deal. And you know what? It's incredible to me.
He doesn't say, well, Hey, I'm the son of God. What do you expect? I'm divine. That's easy stuff for me. He says, none of that. He says, "I was able to do this by the power of the Holy Spirit." Woo! So if he is relying on the Holy Spirit, when he was walking this earth, how much more do we need to be careful to try to be in the Holy Spirit and dominated and submitted by the Holy Spirit? And so, that's a good lead in to the next thing, but let me close this point out by saying, you do that by the word and by the spirit. One without the other is not quite good enough. The word without the spirit is cold, dead, orthodoxy, and it doesn't change anybody's life really. You acknowledge, but you don't have no wisdom, right?
The spirit without the word is more emotionalism. And I feel like this is the right thing to do or something scares me about this, so I'm not going to do it. And it has really nothing to do with truth, but the two together, that's what we're looking for. That's what we're looking for. You ever heard of the Flynn effect? F-L-Y-N-N. Do you know who the researcher was that is famous for the Flynn effect? It's a guy named Flynn. The questions get a little easier as we go along. Psychologist, New Zealand, a few years ago, he came up with this study and the Flynn effect basically says, he's proven. He said that since 1960, the IQ of us humans is getting lower and lower and lower and lower.
It's a huge finding, man. That thing has been beat to death as the gospel. The problem was, about three years later, another team of researchers came along. They studied him and said, you know what, he was terrifically environmentally biased in the way he did this. Almost as if he was just hoping he could find a way to prove what he believed. They did a new set of studies, a new set of findings. And they said, they said, oh, I'm sorry. I reversed it. His findings was since 1960, IQs are going up. They're going up. We know more. We're much smarter than we were ever. That's why the deconstruction of everything. We got to go back and redefine history and redefine truth and all this. Because they were pretty dumb and we're a lot smarter. Now he comes along and he says, "Actually since 1990, the IQs are dropping like a rock."
Now there's more authenticity to their study than the Flynn effect. Although the Flynn effect's still quoted and not so much this other one. So why do I even bring this up? I know some of you graduate recognition, some of you parents are saying, "I just spent 100 and something thousand dollars and they might be dumber than they went in at four years ago." That's not it. That's not my point. My point is this, word and spirit, word and spirit. We have got to be smart enough to know that we're not very smart and able to handle the spiritual forces and the tempter coming at us. So there's my last point. And this is how do I deal with the enemy?
James 4:7, real quickly, James 4:7. That's one of the gold standards, I believe, for this talk. James 4:7, "Submit yourselves then to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you." Sounds pretty simple. Doesn't it? Resist the devil and he will flee or run from you. Submit, we overlook that one. It doesn't do you any good to resist him if you're not submitted to someone who is stronger, more powerful than he is, who is God. So what's submit mean? That literally meant with that word, to put yourself under the authority of somebody else, almost like a servant. Where'd we heard that before? I'm going to submit myself, I'm going to place myself under somebody much better to protect me than I have to do that. And then he says resist. That means to take a stand.
I'm going to stand on this truth and I'm going to take my stand here and I'm going to anchor myself and I'm going to brace for whatever comes at me because I'm resolved by the power of the one who's got more authority than I do and more power than I do. And actually, more power than the one that assaulted me too, that he will take care of this situation. And when the one who comes at me sees I'm standing not on me and my intellect and my goodness and my willpower, I'm standing on Christ himself, which is the rock, the only place left to go is to flee.
When Jesus's casting out demons, they all knew who he was and they all end up fleeing. Don't they? So we stand now on the name of Jesus and by the blood of the atonement, not ourselves. We actually have this guy who's coming in and fighting. He's already fought for us. And he's reminding the enemy every single time of that. The tempting of Satan is not irresistible. First Peter was an authority. He fell a lot and he got it right a lot. And then first Peter five, he says same thing. He says, "Basically, if we are in Christ, he doesn't have a chance." We don't worry so much about him. He will have to flee. He cannot stay in the room when Jesus walks in the room. There's never an exception to that.
C.S. Lewis says there is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan. Hear that? Every square inch of this universe is a battleground. And we are the spoils of that battle, if you will. So what are weapons? Really quickly. There's four things you can do. I would challenge you to write these down and try to fix your rhythm of life where you can do it. One is remain. I'm using John 15, remain in me, stay attached to Christ. Spend time daily reflecting, thinking, listening, praying, reading about God, namely through Jesus Christ. Remain in him. If tomorrow is Monday, that means that's your assignment, is to remain in Christ. Another is to understand. Ask for discernment. Ask God to speak truth versus error. I love Roman 16. The verse in there says, "May you be wise toward what is good and ignorant toward what is evil." I love that verse.
May I have a discerning heart. Knowledge is not enough. It's got to be wisdom with the knowledge. The third thing, there's no substitute for this either, y'all. It's called fellowship, community. We are created to have communal relationships. COVID did a number on a lot of those. Our job is to be in community preferably with other Christ followers. Not because we all want to be indoctrinated, but because we all want to challenge each other and inspire each other to continue to grow in what? Following Christ. Community is not aimed to be static and to rehearse what we already knew. Community is intended to go somewhere and to take territory that we've never taken before.
The last thing is love. I overlook this too much. Jesus said, "I know you tell me you love me, but here's the test. Do you love each other?" John 13: 34 and 35. "The people out there will know you're my followers if you," what, "love each other." That's the real test. Regardless of their behavior, regardless of their background, regardless of their political party, regardless of their brokenness, regardless, regardless, regardless, we are to love one another. That defeats the division that Satan would love to bring in. We're going to remain, we're going to understand, we're going to fellowship, and above all, we're going to love. Jesus was so sold on that. He said, "This is not a suggestion. It's a command. It's a command." Satan is alive and well. And his purpose statement would be to, I want to completely block everything God has for you and I'm going to kill a lot of people along the way.
Talked about the villain all day. So let's talk about the hero. We talk about him every week. The hero also has a purpose statement. John, one of his followers, said this about him. And I love this first, 1 John 3:8. John says, "Do you want to know what he is all about. I'll tell you what he's all about. He came to destroy the work of the devil." He didn't say stop it. Did he? He didn't say beat him, 14 to 13. He said destroy. That's exactly what the future looks like. And for now, he's active and he's really at it, but he is defeated because he knows as well as Jesus does. Oh, your day's coming. Your day's coming me.
Let me describe him very quickly. This hero looked anything like a hero for his entire time on this earth until maybe like the last 40 days. Born to peasant parents. They're on a road trip. They're trying to come up, scrape up some tax money that they've been hit with. They're 75, 80 miles away from home. Boom, the labor pain start, and there they are. They bed down in a cattle stall, the stable. They do the best they can. They're first born is born. How humiliating should that be for a dad, a first time dad that wanted to provide everything he could for his wife and his son? Look at where they are. Doesn't get much better because fast forward a certain period of time, the king in charge decides, I think genocide of all the males in a village would be a good idea here because he's paranoid by now about the rumors that he's hearing. And so up in the middle of the night, they got to flee. Where do we go? The only place we got it to go is Egypt. So they become immigrants.
First time peasant parents, with a maybe walking by now toddler. Oh, and by the way, we're immigrants. We're going to a country we don't even speak the language and we got to walk through a desert to get there. And then after a certain period of time, finally able to go back to the hometown. So you learn to trade, you become a partner, not a theologian, not a master's degree, not three or four PhDs. Become a carpenter. And nobody really, we can tell ever heard of him until at 30, he comes to be baptized. He's immediately assaulted by the enemy for 40 days.
He continues his ministry and often is misunderstood for the enemy, which had to hurt. Oh, you're devil. You're demon possessed. That's how you're so powerful. Oh, and by the way, you look like you're a drunkard and a blasphemer. He never does anything but good and serve and loves and leads that way. At 33, he knows his arrest is coming and there's another fierce battle in the garden of Gethsemane with Satan himself. He withstands somehow that. Angels come in and minister to him. He's then taken off and killed, though he was perfectly innocent. Remember verse 46. "I dare you to prove me one sin you've ever seen me do." They were not able to, they still were able to put him on a cross and torture him and kill him. And he's buried as dead as anybody has ever been. Third day later, we see angels again, they're at now an empty tomb and they're letting everybody know something supernatural has happened.
He spends the next 40 days telling them what to believe, how that happened, and then he leaves. And then there's the day coming and that's what next week is about. Huh, there's the day coming. Angels will not be selectively seen and heard. They will be seen and heard by everyone on the face of the earth because they are announcing that coming king. He's leading the parade and trailing behind him, staring at the cross, is a humiliated disgraced figure we call Satan. That is the rest of the story. And that is how it ends, but it ain't yet happened. Our job is to follow as obediently and as faithfully, this king as if he is here today and we'll be okay. That's why we celebrate with invitation times.
I'm going to challenge you to do one more thing for this invitation time. Personally, start with what is in me that doesn't need to be in me. That's called confession. I know we always clench up. We clutch when we hear that. Can we put this on the screen? Let me remind you, everything that you do not admit to God, he already knows. So what's holding us back? If he knows all the truth, that's where we start as being a Christ follower. However that needs to look. If you need prayer in that area, we're here. If you need to celebrate a membership, but everything stacks up. Membership coming to know Jesus, rededicates, all that stuff we talk about every week, that really stacks up on the, I got to admit who I am first. Not to beat me up, but to be a better Christ follower because he stands here with a grace container to pour it over you.
"I'll pour a grace over that. I'll give you some grace over that. I'll give you some grace over that. I just need you to own it." That's what he says. I just need you to own it. So why don't you stand and Eddie's going to come lead us. Let's pray. Lord, as we get ready to come and to acknowledge what you already know, help us to be people who care more about pleasing you than each other. And more about following you than whatever the pressures of the world are. And more about honoring you than fulfilling our own desires. We ask all of this in Jesus' name. Amen.