Purchased and Won from the Devil

Pastor Ross preached over how we are purchased and won from the devil. This was part of the Purchased and Won series done in conjunction with St. John's and Calvary.

Readings from Scripture:
Isaiah 14:12-20
1 Peter 5:6-11
Mark 1:12-15

Christ Victorious over the Devil. Early Christian mosaic.

Christ Victorious over the Devil. Early Christian mosaic.

Grace, peace, and mercy to you from God the Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let me relate a story I once heard about the Devil: "The Devil went down to Georgia / He was lookin’ for a soul to steal / He was in a bind / ‘Cause he was way behind / And he was willin’ to make a deal.” That of course is the start to The Devil Went Down to Georgia by the Charlie Daniels Band. Many of you probably know the rest of the song. The Devil challenges Johnny to a fiddle contest. The stakes, a golden fiddle to Johnny’s soul. Johnny accepts and to the Devil’s chagrin, Johnny wins. It’s a catchy song. And, who doesn’t rejoice that the devil loses?

But, it illustrates a bigger point. We don’t take the Devil seriously. Scripture clearly warns us that, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). Now, my experience with lions is through seeing them at the zoo. But, I think it is no mistake that Peter refers to the Devil as a large cat. We don’t have the time here, but I have a whole sermon based on this text on why cats are evil. And that is exactly what a lion is, a large cat. Here is the other thing I know about lions: there is a reason that there are so many safety precautions between a lion at the zoo and me. They aren’t there to keep me from the lion, but the lion from me.

In our society the Devil has taken on a caricature. He’s red, carries a pitchfork, wears a cape, has a Van Dyke goatee, and has horns on his head. He wants to tempt us into sin, but he is easily dismissed. Heck, a large part of Christianity doesn’t even think that the Devil is real. He is some bogeyman made up by superstitious uneducated people from antiquity. Just merely a personification of general evil and bad things, a literary device, nothing more. Certainly not real by any means.

Scripture, on the other hand treats Satan very seriously. Why be “sober-minded” and “watchful” if he can be so easily dismissed? Peter also talks about Satan causing us “suffering”. (1 Peter 5:9). The answer is that the Devil is not some childish notion, but a serious threat.

However, we must be careful to not go to the other extreme. We should not be so frozen up with fear that we kowtow to Satan’s demands. We must not make him so great that he is equal to God, as many others do. In the longer accounts of Jesus temptation found in Luke and Matthew we find that the Devil is nowhere near Christ’s equal. This makes sense, how can part a of creation be equal to the Creator? Instead, he is rebuffed time and again by the correct application of Scripture until the Devil leaves for a, “more opportune time.” (Luke 4:13).

They say that opportunity doesn’t knock twice. Satan, however, knocks a thousand times in a thousand different ways. If he does not cause you to sin in one way he will try another, and another, and another. And, as those sins pile up he will start to whisper in your ear. “You’re not good enough. How could God love one like you? You know what you have done and you know it was wrong, yet you did it anyway! Did you really think God could love somebody like you? Ha! There is about you to love.” And, the Devil will keep at it. He will continue to whisper such lies, for he is the Father of Lies (John 8:44), until you despair. He won’t stop there though. He will hound you until you come to hate God. Until you revile Him for holding out a false hope, a love that doesn’t belong to you.

But, my dear friends, Satan does not tell the truth. Our Gospel passage tells us, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel!” Believe in the gospel. The gospel that God loved the whole world, including you, so much that He sent His Son into our flesh to bear our sins and be our Savior. The gospel that, “God shows his love for us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8). Turn from your sins, turn to God and believe.

Christ came to rescue us from the Devil. At every turn Jesus showed the limitations of Satan on the faithful. He healed “all who were oppressed by the devil," as Peter preaches to the Gentiles in Acts 10:38. His purpose was, “to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8). He came that, “through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” (Hebrews 2:14-15). God, “rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,” through Christ. (Colossians 1:13).

My brothers and sisters in Christ, I tell you the truth: Lucifer stands judged and condemned in the sight of God. But you, you stand redeemed in the waters of your baptism. Washed in the blood of the Lamb. Forgiven. Let Satan not trouble you with his lies. Instead, listen to the promises of God. Whatever you have done, your past, it is washed clean. Satan no more has any power over you. You are free for Christ has purchased and won you from the Devil by His blood.

In Christ’s name, amen.