When Christians Believe the Devil, Pt. 1

When Christians Believe the Devil, Pt. 1

Scripture: Jude 1:24, Revelation 12:9, Revelation 19:20
Date: 01/12/2019 
Some people want to be Christians but they believe the wrong source. Part 1 of 2

Did God Create the Devil? - Paper or Digital Download

Did God Create the Devil? - Paper or Digital Download
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Doug Batchelor: Jesus said in Revelation chapter 2 and 3, "To him that overcomes, to him that overcomes, to him--" He says it seven times. Why would Jesus say to him that overcomes if it wasn't possible for you to overcome? The question is do you believe Jesus? Or do you believe the devil?

I don't know if you've ever heard about a nefarious character by the name of Grigori Rasputin. Sometimes known as the Mad Monk. He was a--started as a Russian Orthodox believer, but he kind of went on a spiritualistic pilgrimage and became sort of a self-proclaimed holy man by the time he got to St. Petersburg, and Moscow and some of the Russian capitals. He was embraced and during that time in this high society he somehow came in contact with the king and his families. Tsar Nicholas II. The Romanov family had been ruling in Russia for 300 years. That dynasty.

Well, they have a son named Alexei that struggled with hemophilia and Rasputin claimed to be able to heal him. And it seemed like that when he did his incantations or hypnosis. They're not exactly sure what happened. The boy improved whenever he was having some episode, struggling with bleeding. And or he was anemic and the parents were very anxious then to keep this holy man around. Well, he enjoyed the attention, the prestige. He was in the press quite a bit. And everyone was fawning over him.

And over a period of months and years, it became where he invaded the family, began to manipulate the family and control the affairs of the state. And many believed that it was because of his evil influence as Czar Nicholas was making bad military decisions during World War I.

Eventually the Communists overthrew the czar and his empire, and a lot of it can be traced back to the bad counsel they have from Rasputin. Rasputin was assassinated. The Communists arrested the Romanov family and eventually they were all executed. They believed the wrong source and it destroyed an empire, not to mention the family. So we need to guard against believing the wrong sources.

Remember the devil is a wolf who dresses up in sheep's clothing to deceive sheep, and his tactics have been very successful. When Christians believe the devil, it would seem like that would be a contradiction. Christians are Christians because they don't believe the devil. Well, there are many who want to be Christians that sometimes believe the wrong source. Matthew Chapter 7. Jesus said, "Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and cast out devils in Your name, and done many wonderful works in Your name?' And I will declare to them, 'I never knew you. Depart from Me you who practice iniquity.'" Here are believers who thought they were listening to the Lord, but they were listening to the wrong voice.

Go to the end of time. Look in Revelation 12. "That great dragon." Who's that? That's the devil, Satan, "Was cast out who deceives the whole world." There are so many who believe the enemy. Revelation 19, verse 20, "The beast was captured, and with him the false prophet--" and Jesus warns us there'll be many false prophets in the last days, "who worked signs in his presence by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worship the image." Now, so much of the warnings that we read about in the Bible are warning Christians against believing the enemy because he is a--he's a deceiver.

Now, the story I'd like to use as a template for the points I want to make today is found in the Book of Numbers. So if you have your Bibles, you might join me by going to Numbers 13. And I'll be setting the stage for you here. Numbers chapter 13, here the children of Israel are on the borders of the Jordan River. Originally, God's plan was save them from Egypt. He miraculously fed them on their way to the Mount Sinai. There at Mount Sinai they got the Ten Commandments. He gave them instructions on building the sanctuary. They built the sanctuary, better understood the plan of salvation, and then go on into the Promised Land. That was God's plan.

But there were some distractions along the way. Something went wrong. As they got to the borders, right there at the threshold of the Promised Land, the Jordan River, and can look across the river and see the Promised Land. They're right there. It's right within their reach. And don't forget, the reason it's called the Promised Land is because God promised to give it to them. But they began to doubt the promise. And so they said to Moses, "You know, nobody has been there in a long time."

I mean, you think about it, who were the last Jews that were in the Promised Land at this point? When Jacob and his family came out over 200 years earlier, there's no record of any of the Jewish people going back from Egypt to visit or vacation in the Promised Land. They had not seen it in over two centuries. And so they said, "You know we're going to take this land, but we don't--nobody here has lived, nobody in this two million people that came out of Egypt know anything about it. We need to send some spies over and take a look at it." So the Lord gave them permission.

Now, when you read it here in Numbers 13, it sounds like it's God's idea. But you read in Deuteronomy chapter 1, and it says, "The people came and said, 'Let's have some spies.'" They started having second thoughts. So they went up and they spied out the land. I'm in verse 21, Numbers chapter 13, "From the wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob, to the entrance of Hamath. And they went through the south and they came to Hebron, Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were there." Anak was this giant king. I think he had a bed that was 13 feet long. Now, keep that in mind, Goliath's only 9 1/2 feet. So he was the giant of the giants.

Then they came to the Valley of Eshcol and they cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes and they carried it between two of them on a pole. And it says, "They brought some of the pomegranates and the figs. And the place where they cut down the grapes was Eshcol, because the cluster that the men cut down." And that means cluster. "And they returned from spying out the land after 40 days."

Now, I'm going to stop here and just let you know that there was soon discovered a different attitude between two of the spies and ten of the spies. And it unfolded something like this, after they crossed over the Jordan River and the first big city they saw there was Jericho, Joshua and Caleb said, "Look at all the palm trees. Look at the size of the dates. Look at the spring--" later known as the Spring of Elisha. And Karen and I and some of us here were there this year. And they saw the waters and they saw this is like the Garden of Eden. It's beautiful.

But ten of the spies said, "Are you guys out of your mind? Look at the walls. How could we ever conquer a city with walls that are that thick and that high and that well fortified? Look at the thickness of the gates. How are we ever going to conquer a fortress like this?" And two of them, they said, "I don't know, that's God's problem. He'll work it out. I mean, look what He just did for us. He brought us out of Egypt. Have you forgotten all the miracles?" A year hadn't gone by since the ten plagues fell on Egypt. They had overcome the greatest empire in the world.

So Joshua and Caleb said, "Well, I don't know how God's going to do it. But hey, He's God. He'll do it." Believe the Lord. He said, "It's the Promised Land." He made a promise. Let's believe His promise.

Ten of them said, "There's no way." They go up to the area of Hebron where the Anakim live, the giants. And from the bushes they looked and they saw the giants coming in and out of the gates. Bumping their heads every time because they're so tall. They said, "Man, we're like grasshoppers in their sight."

And Caleb, he said, "Wow." He's sticking his hands in the soil and pulling up this rich human soil. He said, "You can grow anything here. This is great. Look at the springs, the southern exposure. Look at the size of these olive trees." And Caleb and Joshua were thinking, "What a beautiful country." And the other guy said, "You guys are out of your mind. How can we ever conquer a nation of giants? Had nobody like this in Egypt." They said, "Well, I don't know. But it's God's problem." And it just kept happening like that.

As they went from place to place over 40 days, ten of them kept looking at the obstacles, two of them kept looking at the promises. And two of them refused to be discouraged by the pessimism of the majority. Now, keep in mind they were all church members. Two of them believed all things are possible with God. Ten of them did not believe that. Ten of them were believing the devil, who is whispering doubt and fear to their minds all the time.

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Doug: Now, this is just an old story. It would have nothing to do with us today, right? So after 40 days, It says, "They returned--" this is verse 25, "From spying out the land." Verse 26, "And they departed. They came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. And they brought back word to them and to all the congregation." The congregation is--they're looking through their binoculars. They didn't have binoculars. So they would do this with their eyes. They're looking down the road and they keep waiting for these spies to return. And finally they see some figures on the horizon coming in that they say, "They're coming." And they blow the trumpet. All the congregation comes together. They want to hear this report. They've been waiting over a month to find out. You know, we've come out of Egypt for this moment to go into the Promised Land. We don't know what it looks like. This is the closest thing we're going to get to video or, you know, a newspaper of what's there. And so they come back and all the people gather.

But evidently, I think that two of them outran ten of them. Because it seems like the report changes. So they came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the Children of Israel, and they brought back word. And they showed them the fruit of the land. See, I think Joshua and Caleb were the ones to--the grapes were carried between two of them. Ten of them thought, Oh, why bother? We're never going to eat these grapes. We'll never have this land. But Caleb and Joshua said, Oh, we've got to show this to the people. And knowing how negative their friends were, I think that they outran them even though they're probably surrounded by fruit flies because they've got grapes and it says figs. And they've probably got pomelos and pomegranate and sticky dates in their pockets. And Joshua and Caleb, they're just thinking about the fruit of the land.

They've come and they bring the report and they come. And here's verse 27. This is Caleb and Joshua. "Then they told them, they said ‘We went to the land where you sent us and truly it flows with milk and honey, and this is the fruit.’" And you can just hear it all the congregations going ‘Ooh!’ You know, they’re plucking off these grapes and they're tossing them and saying, "Incoming." Tossing the fruit to everybody and everyone's going "Yes." They're rejoicing and things are really positive until the other ten came dragging up.

And here's where you have the majority report. You have to decide today if you want to believe the minority report or the majority report. The majority report was, "Nevertheless, the people who dwell in the land are strong. And the cities are fortified and very large. Moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there--" the giants, "And the Amalekites dwell in the land to the South, and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites and the Termites, they dwell in the mountains. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea along the banks of the Jordan." And the next verse says, Caleb quieted the people.

Now why did Caleb need to quiet the people? What do you think was happening when the ten finally caught up and they began to say, "Ooh, they, the people are so big and they're so many and their cities are fortified. And they're trained and ready for war, and they can defend it. And the giants lived there." And they had nothing good to say. Did you notice that? The second part of the report, nothing good to say.

And so Caleb saw that the opinion was changing and the people were becoming discouraged, and he quieted them. Now, this is the crux of the whole story. This is really, really important that you catch this next passage. Verse 30, Numbers 13, verse 30. "Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and he said, 'Let us go up at once.'" He said not only can we take it, we can take it today. And he had just gone 40 days. He said, "Let us go up at once and take possession for we are well able to overcome it." Based on what?

How could he say that? Based on what had already happened over the last year. God had provided everything for them. He had given them victory over the most of--these are the people who built the pyramids. There's nothing that was in the Promised Land like what you find in Egypt. God had overcome the Egyptians. He says, "This is nothing for God. We're well able." He had faith based on past evidence.

Now does God want us to have faith? Does He want us to have blind faith? All real faith, I believe, is based on evidence. Why did David think he could kill Goliath? Did he tell Saul? He said, "When I was a boy, a bear came. And I went out after the bear and I smote it and killed it. And then a lion came. And I went out after the lion and I smote it and I killed it." I believe Goliath will be like the bear and the lion. God showed me that He can use me to kill animals that are bigger and stronger than I am. I think I can kill the giant with God's help. So he had evidence.

Has God ever giving you evidence to believe? Has He ever given you any victories? Have you had any answered prayers upon which to base your faith? Caleb said, "We're able." He wasn't just having some kind of irrational warm feeling that made him think it. He said, "I believe based on the evidence of all God has provided for us on all the deliverance we've received and the victories we've received." The Amalekites that attacked them in the wilderness. They got victory with Joshua when Moses held up his hands. That was behind them now. They had that evidence too. Said, "I believe that God will give us victory." But the other ten spies said, "We are not able."

Now here you have it, friends. "We are able or we are not able." Which is it? Do you know you have the same decision to grapple with today? Now, don't miss these are all church leaders. Isn't that right? Now what is the giant? Are we at war against the Amalekites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Anakim? No. It's the devil, right? In his many forms. And some believe that Christians are just forgiven, that we can't overcome. And others believe, no we are able to overcome. And Jesus said in Revelation chapter 2 and 3, "To him that overcomes, to him that overcomes, to him--" He says it seven times.

Why would Jesus say to him that overcomes all these promises if it wasn't possible for you to overcome? The question is do you believe Jesus? Or do you believe the devil? "Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." Jude commends his book with a benediction saying, "You can surrender yourself to the one who is able to keep you from falling."

How did the children of Israel ultimately take the Promised Land? One day at a time. And, you know, it didn't happen in one day or one week or one month. It was over a year. It was several years. But they did take it. How are we able to be victorious in our battles with the devil? The same way. One day at a time. Sometimes it's one little temptation at a time. Moment by moment, you are able.

Now, was it true that the Canaanites were better armed? Yes. Were their cities better fortified? Yes. Were the people there physically bigger and stronger? Yes. Were the people more numerous? Yes. Did that matter when you're fighting with God? No. Because the Bible says one of you will chase a thousand. This is why Joshua--I'm sorry, why Jonathan could be victorious when he and his armor bearer went against the Philistines. He said, "There's no restraint with the Lord, whether to save by few or many." So the two of them went against 20 and they won.

One person with faith in God is a majority, whatever the problem happens to be. So we've got to decide, do we believe or not? The just shall live by faith, faith in God. Faith is not faith if you see the obvious. Faith becomes important when it doesn't look like you're going to win, but you believe in an outside power that's greater. F. B Meyer said, "Unbelief puts our circumstances between us and God. Faith puts God between us and our circumstances."

When you've got faith in God, you might see a mountain. And you go, "I don't know how we're going to get over that mountain." Well, don't look at the mountain. Put God between you and the mountain. And that might be a mountain of temptation or sin or whatever the problems are in your life. That's what makes a Christian a Christian. "A weak faith is weakened by predicaments and catastrophes, whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them,"

Viktor Frankl said. Someone else wrote, "Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible, receives the impossible." So you've got one group says, "We can do it." The other group says, "We can't do it." I want to go to verse 32 of chapter 13, just finish this chapter out. "And they--" the ten spies, "gave the Children of Israel a bad report of the land that they spied out, saying, 'The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours the inhabitants.'"

Isn't it, isn't it amazing how two groups can look at the same thing and see something so different? They're looking at the same thing. One group is saying, "It truly flows with milk and honey and it's sweet and here's the produce of it." And the other one says, "It eats up the inhabitants." Well, which is it? Have you ever heard the little quip that says two men looked out of prison bars, one saw mud and one saw stars. Depends on where you're looking.

I heard about this guy that worked with a Christian lady. And she was just always so positive. He was negative. He was an atheist. And she was a Christian, and she was a believer. And she was just always so positive. No matter what happened, she'd always turn it around and say something positive. And it used to irritate him. He tried to get her to join him in his bad news and complaining about the government and the job and everything else, and that they could commiserate together. But she'd always turn around make him feel bad because she was always positive. And he thought, "I got her. She's a Christian." So he went to her one day. He said, "What do you think of that old devil?" She said, "Well, he certainly is busy isn't he?" Always saying something positive no matter what.

So these--ten of these spies, they couldn't think of anything nice to say. "And we were like grasshoppers in our own sight before the children of Anak." The devil will make you feel so puny. "So the congregation--" chapter 14, verse 1, "all the congregation lifted up their voices and they cried. And the people wept all night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses--" they took it out on the leaders, "they complained against Aaron. And they said, 'If only we had died in the land of Egypt.'" Be careful what you pray about. "Or if only we had died in this wilderness. Why has the Lord brought us out to destroy us and our children by the sword, that we should be victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?"

So they said let's select a different leader and return to Egypt. They said let's find a leader that believes like us. They didn't want one that would tell them the truth. They said let's find one that'll tell us what we want to hear. "And Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before the assembly of the congregation of the Children of Israel. But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, they tore their clothes and they spoke to all the congregation of the Children of Israel saying, 'The land through which we passed to spy out is an exceedingly good land.'" It's not just a good land. He said, "It's an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in one--" says "it's a land that devours the inhabitants."

Well, if it devours the inhabitants and how did all their enemies seem to be thriving? "If the Lord delights in us, He'll bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows in milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord or fear the people of the land, for they're our bread. We'll eat them up. Their protection has departed from them. And the Lord is with us." This is why Caleb and Joshua, they can look right out there. Here they are complaining God's never going to bring us into the Promised Land. Are you aware that right there within sight they could see the Shekinah glory above the tent? And they still were neglecting the evidence of God's presence.

You know I'm convinced that all you've got to do is listen to the devil for five minutes. You might have 50 years of miracles. You will forget those 50 years of miracles in five minutes of listening to the devil. The ones who believed that God could save them were saved. The ones who believe they would make it to the Promised Land made it to the Promised Land. It doesn't say that Joshua and Caleb were smarter than everyone else. It doesn't say they had bigger muscles than everyone else, they had more self control than everybody else. They had more faith than the others. Their faith, their trust, was that God could do it for them. And God did it because they believed.

Do you associate with positive people? He that walks with wise men will be wise. He that walks with complainers will complain. You know, I think it's important for Christians--and we all have friends that might want to, you know, bend our ear with a problem. And you can pray with them. And we want to encourage each other. But, you know, I think we ought to search out, we ought to try to be people of faith and encouragement. People who believe in victory, that God can give us victory not just always talk about grace and defeat.

I believe that God forgives sin. I thank God for His grace. But if we're always focusing on Jesus on the cross, and we don't focus on Jesus risen, that He can live a new life in us, then it's always about just being forgiven, and it's not about victory. And Christ wants His people to be a people who believe in old things are passed away. All things are made new. I am a new creature. I am born again. It's the new birth. This is the power of the gospel. Amen.

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