Posts Tagged With: devil

Of Slugs and Kings

creationNot to be clichéd! But if the words, “Mission Accomplished” ever meant anything to anyone in any situation, they absolutely apply here in John 17.

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, this is the moment, courtesy of John, now forever frozen in time.

The singular moment toward which all of human history, going all the way back to the Garden of Eden, had been slowly but steadily building.

The seminal moment from which the remainder of human history, down to our present day, has been rapidly descending.

The consequential moment when Jesus could literally look up to Heaven and finally acknowledge,

“I brought glory to You here on earth by completing the work You gave me to do.”

Such mystery, such majesty, in these few words.

Indeed, a Mission — the Mission — Accomplished!

That mission that Jesus Himself defined when He said in referring to Himself,

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10).

Which, as you are about to learn, means far more than pulling people out of Hell. Indeed, infinitely more!

When the biblical writers, as well as Jesus, use the words “save” or “saved,” it means far more than whether we are going to Heaven or Hell when we die. Sadly, most of our Gospel-presentations focus almost exclusively on that locational / destinational dynamic.

However, a most compelling fact emerges from the first few words of Jesus’ prayer here in John 17.

As we are about to learn, if one’s view of his or her salvation centers primarily upon the notion that salvation is basically a “Get Out of Hell Free” card, we miss so much precious truth. So.Much.More than our finite minds can even begin fully to appreciate.

But try to appreciate it, we must.

So in an effort to appreciate it, let me take you on a bit of a journey, far back in time, to a faraway place, in order to show you where and why this journey originally began. All the way back to what is arguably the single most important verse in all of the Bible.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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Jesus’ One Worry Concerning YOU (and Me)

john17-24On this Thursday night of Jesus’ final week, mere hours before the crucifixion, Jesus was worried about His disciples.

And as you are about to hear in this PODCAST, He was worried for a very good reason.

I don’t know if you have ever associated the word worry with Jesus, but as you will hear, in this case, at this time, in this place, that word worry is most appropriate.

Don’t worry (pun intended). I’m not trying to get all psychoanalytical on you. I am not fluent in psychobabble. And I’m not about to subject Jesus to a psychoanalysis.

But let us not overlook the fact that this is one of those rare glimpses into Jesus’ mind and heart on this — the single most traumatic night of His storied life.

What we see is a most-endearing picture of Jesus in all of His humanness on full display before disciples. I say endearing because the fact of the matter is this:

Jesus is equally worried about you. And that for the exact same Very.Good.Reason.

So what did Jesus do in response to His loving concern, His worry, His anxiety about His disciples? His loving concern, His worry, His anxiety about you?

Here’s a hint: What He did was AMAZING!

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Sheep and the Goats

51-fcimi7fl-_sx303_bo1204203200_Let me tell you! If you want to see in crystal-clarity the character and the heart of God, this is it. Right here, right now, in real time, in this PODCAST.

This in a breathtaking public display for all the world to see, at which the whole world will marvel. The broken heart of our God whom Peter described as “not wanting anyone to be destroyed (a word that means to destroy fully, to bring to nothing) but (who) wants everyone to repent.”

This portrait of our God — Who persistently pursues everyone in every way, making every effort to bring every sinner to repentance — comes at very end of Olivet Discourse in Matthew 25.

Here we will see, in this parable of the end of the age, the eternal separation of committed Christ-followers from those who defiantly and unrepentantly want nothing to do with Jesus. Plus, we will see their ultimate eternal destiny in what Jesus called “the eternal fire prepared for devil and his demons.”

An unpleasant topic, to be sure. But a #Most.Important.One, because we are talking about the eternal destinies of multiplied millions of people.

Specifically, what did Jesus mean by eternal fire? For whom is it intended? What happens to those goats (in contrast to His sheep) who are sadly, tragically, yet-justly cast into the eternal fire?

And of course, at the heart of this entire discussion sits this all-important and all too-common question: Does the loving God of the Bible — who defines Himself as not wanting anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent — really send people to Hell?

Allow me to set up this discussion in this way: I find it most-intriguing, and most-ironic in a most-purposeful sort of way that Jesus’ Hebrew name Yeshua, means “God Saves.” That’s right out of first chapter of the New Testament (Matthew 1:21): “Mary will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Yeshua, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Now watch this. Only God could create this wonder of the words. This, as you are about to hear, is not coincidental.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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Demystifying the End Times (Part 3)

Revelation-of-saint-john-devine-600x401Picture him there, a grizzled, stooped, aged apostle, marooned on an island of rock, confined to a cave.

See him in your mind’s eye, with quill to parchment, writing fast and furiously in a mad dash to record everything that he is now seeing and hearing.

Our old (and at the time of his writing Revelation) very old friend, the beloved apostle John.

Writing, as you will hear in this PODCAST, what sounds like fantastical tale in specific, yet an all-too-plausible scenario in the abstract. A story that brings to a climax the epic collision that has plagued this planet and every person who has ever trod its blood-soaked soil since the beginning of history.

The climax of the collision of good versus evil.

As we were so graphically reminded just last Thursday in the south of France.

Here in Revelation both good and evil are personified.

Here the wellsprings of good and evil are identified by name.

Here this human-history-long all-out war finally, mercifully coming to its end, thankfully with good as the victor, and evil as the loser.

When I mentioned a moment ago that this epic tale sounds fantastical in the specific, understand that we are talking about spirits, angels, demons, devil, Jesus. A unique combination of physical and spiritual forces fighting to the death that sounds like the kind of stuff ready-made for a Hollywood blockbuster.

I wouldn’t blame anyone for rolling their eyes and curving their lips into a smirk that says, You don’t really believe all of this, do you?

+ Just this week, I was listening online to a TED talk (Technology, Entertainment and Design), brings together elites, the intelligentsia of world, during which a TED talk presenter mercilessly mocked and ridiculed people of faith who believe in things like you will hear when I read to you from Revelation 16.

I will be the first to admit that what we are about to outline in this podcast indeed sounds fantastical — in the specific. But in the abstract, no one can deny that there is operating in our world today two distinct colliding forces: one for good, and one for evil.

About that, nobody laughs.

Whether its on the grand scale of someone in a van mowing down innocent pedestrians gathered in the south of France for a Bastille Day celebration. Or as modest as a child throwing a bit of a temper tantrum because he or she doesn’t get what they want.

Let the record show that a good many TED talks are devoted in one way or another to just that collision.

It is as though we are caught between two worlds: One of unbridled evil in which people do to people horrifically unimaginable things. While at the same time, others of us try our best each day to surrender to our better angels, as even TED Talk presenters will sometimes call them. And when they do indeed invoke that phrase, our better angels, no one in that elite audience of the world’s intelligentsia laughs. (I guess its OK to invoke the image of angels in the abstract, just not in the specific.)

Well, in this study, we will invoke the image of angels, good and evil, and a whole lot more, and will do so without laughing because this is deadly serious.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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Forcing the Devil to Flee

resistIt is, without a doubt, one of the most precious truths in all of the Bible. From the lips of Jesus Himself to the seventy upon their return from their first mission’s trip, in this PODCAST you will hear Him say,

“I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.”

Fact: Satan is a fallen foe.

Fact: The devil has been defeated.

As we have discussed for the past two weeks, Fact: Satan is not losing the war; he has already lost it.

There is a day coming, sooner rather than later, when in the words of John,

“The devil who deceived them (will be) thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20).

There is a day coming, sooner rather than later, when at the mere mention of Jesus’ name,

“every knee will bow (including the devil and every one of his demonic minions)… and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” (Philippians 2).

The day has already come when, in the words of James,

“the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror,” (James 2).

So yes, Satan IS a fallen foe. The devil IS — right now, in real time — a thoroughly defeated foe.

Consequently, there is a verse. Or more accurately, a part of a verse. A half of a verse. One that is buried in the very back of the Bible. In the Apostle John’s first letter, chapter 4. Fourteen words (in the NASB) to be exact.

One sentence we will now highlight and underscore and amplify. A precious truth that perfectly frames any discussion of spiritual warfare and our vulnerability to what Paul described as

“all the schemes, strategies, and deceits of the devil.”

A fundamental fact of our faith that you will now hear, and cherish, in this PODCAST.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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Slamming the Door Shut on Satan

3-12-13-mainLast week, when talking about Jesus “watching Satan fall from heaven,” we were encouraged by the fact that Satan is a defeated foe.

As you will be reminded in this week’s PODCAST, Satan isn’t losing the war; he has already lost it.

Be that as it may, however, the devil is winning his share of battles, and the destruction he causes is painful in the extreme.

Of all of the names of Satan I shared with you last week, of which there are many in the Bible, arguably the most personally troublesome is the one found in Revelation 9:11. Speaking of the demonic realm,

“Their king is the angel from the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon—the Destroyer.”

I say “most personally troublesome” for three reasons:

1. There is a suffix added to the adverb translated “in Hebrew,” as in “his name in Hebrew is Abaddon,” which makes this term particularly forceful. As if to say that Satan is the ultimate destroyer going all the way back to the very beginnings of the Bible.

2. His “most personally troublesome” name because the word means to destroy, corrupt, to exterminate, or to kill in battle or in prison, as in a prison of addiction.

3. His “most personally troublesome” name because, as you well know, it is painful enough for us to personally experience the devil’s devastation in our own lives. But it is exponentially more painful to watch when he has his way in the lives of those near and dear to us. It is one thing for us to suffer personally the consequences our own regrettable choices. Indeed, to have to stand by and watch helplessly as those whom we love suffer the consequences of their regrettable choices? That is agonizing beyond description. And I don’t need to add a suffix to that word agonizing to make it more forceful. You know how much that hurts.

Yes, his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon—the Destroyer.

Yet, with all of that, as will be illustrated and demonstrated, underscored and emphasized in this PODCAST, Satan is a defeated foe.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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Lightning Strike

lightningYou and I are embroiled in a cosmic collision of good and evil, a spiritual war that is taking place in real time, in the present tense, on a scale of epic proportions.

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, there can be no doubt in any thinking person’s mind that this war is real, and that it has a profound affect upon our world and our lives.

Even an atheist who denounces the existence of God as a delusion, the reality of Satan as a myth, and the authority of Scripture as a collection of fairy tales, cannot deny that operating in our world today is a force for righteousness and a force for unrighteousness, and the daily-if-not-hourly collision of the two.

This is how the Apostle Paul described this to the Christ-followers in Ephesus:

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”

Words that are downright sobering, if not outright chilling. But words that are equally revealing and encouraging.

Sobering and chilling because who are we to stand firm against an unseen enemy like that? Specifically, the Devil and his many demons?

Revealing because this does indeed describe exactly what we are witnessing in our world on a daily basis.

Encouraging because as Paul made clear in Ephesians 6, as Jesus made equally clear and His 70 messengers indeed experienced here in Luke 10, this war is eminently winnable.

Indeed, as you will soon hear, this war has Already.Been.Won.

We are less than 6 months from the crucifixion. Jesus will spend these final days visiting every town and village in the South of the Land: Judea and Perea. In anticipation of His visits, Jesus sent out 70 emissaries to prepare the way.

He sent them out as gentle lambs in the midst of ferocious wolves, an unmistakable allusion to the hostile spiritual climate they were about to enter. This was but the latest skirmish in an ongoing spiritual war.

The battle lines were drawn. The harvest was ready. Even as they stood on the cusp of the Crucifixion, there was a godly remnant primed and ready to hear and receive their message:

God’s peace could be theirs.

So off they went, on a several-weeks’ excursion into enemy territory, all to bring God’s message of peace to the tormented souls just trying to survive day-by-day.

Back to Jesus they finally returned, in order to give Him their reports and to debrief their experiences. Which is where we join the narrative here in Luke 10:17…

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Demoniac of the Decapolis

GeraseneDemoniacWhenever I talk about Satan, demons, spiritual warfare, or anything remotely related, the numbers of distractions in the room increase exponentially.

This is a pattern I have documented over 40 years of ministry. Regardless of time of day, day of week, season of year, or venue in which I teach, it’s as if the devil himself does not want anyone (including you) to hear what the Bible teaches about our (and God’s) archenemy.

That was certainly true at Safe Haven when I recorded this PODCAST.

Coincidence? Don’t know for sure.

What I do know for sure… What I can say without fear of contradiction is that the principles you will learn in this message from the life and ministry of Jesus to a demon-possessed man, Satan does NOT want you to hear.

Don’t be surprised at the numbers of distractions that you will face when you try to hear this.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it might take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen. And PLEASE share a link to this podcast with your family and friends.

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We are ALL in the Same Boat Together

rembrandt-van-rijn-christ-in-the-storm-of-the-sea-of-galilee-c-1633-oil-on-canvas-1363556207_bEver feel spiritually inferior? Like you don’t measure up? Like you can’t measure up?

Then you are in the right place. This message is for YOU!

In this PODCAST, we bid a fond farewell to the parables.

I cannot put into words how much I have enjoyed our study of each of them. The seven parables of Matthew 13 speak so clearly to us, revealing to us exactly what Jesus said the spiritual climate in the world in which we are now living would be like. With pinpoint accuracy, He said it would be so. And it is.

So somewhat sadly, we turn the page and move immediately into the next phase of Jesus’ ministry.

I do say “immediately” because we read this in Mark 4 (as we harmonize the four Gospels and present Jesus’ life and ministry in chronological order)…

… And I’ve got to tell you, I cannot help but to chuckle when I read this:

“Jesus taught them using parables; privately to His disciples He explained everything. On that same day when evening had come, He said to them, Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.”

#Oh.My.Friends, you have NO IDEA — and there #Is.No.Way that I can adequately convey to you the idea — of JUST how terrified AND terrorized disciples were to hear this.

But I will try.

Now, before I get into all of that, a couple of thoughts… Thoughts that you will hear in this podcast.

Trust me, you are in for a treat. This is one hoot of a story.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen.

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The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

wheat fieldReady to have a somewhat sobering, definitely enlightening, and #Oh.So.Encouraging discussion?

Then welcome to this week’s PODCAST!!!

An encouraging discussion, certainly to me personally, and hopefully to you, because Jesus’ 2nd parable, The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (the 1st we discussed last week, The Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seeds) is spot-on as far as Jesus predicting with pinpoint accuracy EXACTLY what would be taking place in our contemporary Christian culture and communities today…

…And why!

A thought-provoking portrait upon which you and I need to gaze with insight and understanding.

This is one of those messages that puts so much into its proper perspective. Honestly, I can’t wait for you to hear it.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

GOD BLESS YOU AS YOU LISTEN!!!

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