John 8:12-59

Resisting the father of lies

John 8:44-47
In this week’s sermon we have looked at over forty verses. We have unpacked the challenge of Jesus’ true identity and peoples differing responses to Jesus. This is the theme of these chapters as the miracles of Jesus cause people to ask key questions about Jesus.

In this devotional we are going to look at just a few verses and one particular aspect of Jesus’ teaching, the devil! In our passage Jesus makes reference to the devil in his challenge to religious leaders who have allowed there dependence on religious tradition to become a stronghold of deception in their lives. He is exposing the fact that when we are deceived to the point of missing the truth about God, it is the father of lies (the devil) who is ultimately behind that deception.

 The bible does not talk a lot about the devil. Nor should we expect it to. The theme of scripture is God’s plan of salvation, with Jesus at the centre of that plan. We are actively encouraged in scripture to fix our eyes on Jesus, and all scripture points to Jesus. However, Jesus himself does make reference to our enemy the devil. In his great little book “The Screwtape Letters” C.S.Lewis says this about the devil:

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight. “

C.S.Lewis is quite right in this summary and in the implicit warning to his readers. As a pastor I have found that the devil is given most access to people’s lives either through ignorance or unhealthy fascination. How then do we keep a biblical view and balance when it comes to the devil? As ever we rely on the word of God. 1 Peter 5:8 reminds us that the devil is our enemy and that we can resist him. We must remember that that we have an enemy. Spiritual warfare is not part of being a Christian, being a Christian is a spiritual battle. However our enemy is defeated. The devil is not some equal and opposite power to God. Whilst recognising that the devil has some power, we must remember that it is a fraction of the power of the God who created the heavens and the earth and is even now speaking universes into existence. Remember the devil is a created being, our heavenly father is The Creator!

Our enemy the devil is defeated and we can resist him. 1 Peter 5:9 does not say “try and resist” – it says “resist him! How do we do that? There are numbers of answers to that question, but here are three straight from scripture:

  1. Through the word of God. When Jesus was challenged by the devil in the wilderness he resists him, not with a miracle or through calling on angels – he simply quotes the truth of the word of God (Luke 4:1-13). Remember the best way to deal with a lie is to expose it to the truth.
  2. By suiting up and putting on the armour of God (Ephesians 6)
  3. Through community. Spiritual warfare is a team sport. Peter refers to the devil as a roaring lion and lions look for those animals who have become detached from the herd to attack. Unity and being part of a faith filled community is a key way to deal with the devils temptations.

We do not need to fear the devil – he is a defeated deceiver – but we must be on a guard. Let’s keep fixing our eyes on Jesus whilst being alert to the devils schemes.

Apply

  1. How are we making sure that we have the word of God at hand to help us resist the devil in the way that Jesus did when he was tempted? Which key verses might you memorise that remind you of who you are in Christ?

  2. Spend some time in Ephesians 6 considering the armour of God. What might it mean for you to put on the armour on a daily basis?

  3. How are you feeling about Christian community? If community is a key way that we resist the devils schemes how are you making sure community is part of your life?

Prayer

Father God,

Thank you that through the cross and resurrection you defeated our enemy the devil. Thank you that he has no power over me. Thank you that you have equipped us with all we need to resist him. Help me to fix my eyes on you this week and stand firm in my faith.

Amen.
This Everyday Devotions was written by Simon Elliott, our Lead Elder.

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