359 The Gates of Hell – Part Two
When Jesus introduces the concept of Church (Ecclesia in the Greek) to the Disciples in Matthew 16:18 he reminds them that the Church will be empowered to break down every gate of hell, and that Hell can never have defences – no gates stronger than the Church, ever! But the Church has been having a problem with its understanding of the strength of “The Gates of Hell” and running from the Devil when it should have been facing and fighting the Devil. So in these messages on Spiritual Warfare, I want to help us to see how we can face those evil gates without fear, and break them down. Be sure to get your copy of part one of this message entitled The Gates of Hell.
Today’s sermon is part two.
Last time we discovered that the Devil has Seven War zones. The Gates of Hell stand if you like in these areas.
- Global 2. National 3. Regional 4. Local 5. Racial
- Generational and 7. Personal.
and I want to return today to focus on the whole area of “personal warfare”.
Demonic spirits are real, they are sent by the Devil to destroy us, for the thief comes to steal kill and destroy, but the devil cannot destroy you without your participation. If he could he would have taken out every Christian before now. Yet he can destroy our lives if we allow him, either directly or indirectly, but remember that he cannot take us out without our participation, our agreement or our surrender. In order to effectively operate in your life Satan needs your co-operation. Unlike God He is not all powerful, demon spirits have no power,
but that we yield to them by listening to what I have called their devilogic – that is any logic that comes from Satan. He very deceptively works on you, trying to get you to fall for his suggestions, his ideas, his images and if he can get you to follow his logic, then in that way he gets into your life and into control. You can be saved, but if you do not renew and guard your mind he can get access there. So we need to break that down.
Ephesians 6 is our foundation scripture for this series and v10 begins: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
So the devil comes against you with wiles – strategies and schemes. He is scheming for your life right now; he is strategising your defeat, your demise, your sickness, your poverty your destruction, and so on, and in order for you to defeat him, you have to be wise about his strategies. He rules nations and whole continents by demonic strategies, and more than anything else, he wants to be listened to. He has no power over us if we do not listen! So he can be seen simply as a talking head; – all he can do is talk. You have never been slapped by the devil, but you may have been slapped by someone with the devil in them.
Now there are case manifestations of demonic possession where spirits can cause serious damage, but this kind of control is usually only active in those that have willingly and wittingly sold out to him. But that’s a whole other subject and I’m not prepared to get into that right now, – suffice to say that
the majority of us will only ever face the deceptive voice, the deceptive suggestive promptings of his temptations to sin.
So Satan effects your life by talking.
If you turn to Matthews Gospel and Chapter 4, You will find Jesus after his Baptism where the power of the Holy Spirits anointing came on him, – afterwards led into the wilderness to be tempted. In v3, Satan SAID … remember all temptations come via suggestion. Now you may say “wait a minute Pastor, I was tempted with drink, with sex with theft…” The action is not the temptation; the temptation comes first in a thought. You are tempted by the suggestive voice of the adversary – all he has working for him is his mouth. When we pray “Lead us not into temptation” we are asking for strength to be able to deal with it; you cannot pray yourself out of it, but you can pray for yourself in it. Most of us do not hear spiritual voices, not audible voices. While God can speak audibly and so can Satan, most of us hear with the inner ear, not a sound wave but as a thought.
So when you are getting tempted or tempting thoughts these are evil communications. So now in Matthew 4, Satan says “if you are the son of God turn these stones into bread” Now while it was a temptation to the senses, for Jesus was hungry, he had been fasting for 40 days, it was also as I have said a few weeks ago, a temptation to his identity. Jesus knew who he was and did not have to perform for the Devil, and He knew that his power was to minister, not to provide for himself – but to provide for us.
Satan was suggesting to him, that he would die with hunger. So Jesus uses the word from Deuteronomy 8:3, to counter attack and wins the battle and Divine provision shows up in the form of angels and they sustained him: v11. So when Satan gets you to doubt that God will provide for you, he is after Gods word in your heart and Gods will in your life. Whatever God has promised you – Satan will fight you for it. Jesus taught us in Mark 4:15 that Satan comes immediately the word is sown. Immediately you get the promise or the revelation, he comes immediately to steal it from your mind or memory before it can get into your heart, and down into your spirit. How does he do it? – He speaks doubt and fear, and most of us in the Church today were raised on doubt and fear, because we were raised in hard times!
Remember too that Satan is not omnipresent nor omniscient, as God is, and while Satan may not himself have ever had a personal encounter with you, you most certainly have had encounters with demon spirits. I may say that “the Devil is after me” but I usually mean his demonic spirits in the evil system that works for him. Every one of you have demonic spirits assigned to your life. But you need not fear unnecessarily. Remember that all of Gods Children have angels encamp about them, and a personal angel assigned to your life also!
“Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world”.
1 John 4:4
When the Apostle Paul says “all things work together for our good” Romans 8:28, he is reminding us that even if there is some evil working against us, the sting has been removed. The Devil may well be that “snake in the grass” but his venom, his sting has been removed by the blood of Jesus.
Praise God for evermore. Yet as soon as the word is preached, Satan will try to steal that word, immediately from your mind. He doesn’t wait until after Sunday Lunch, he steals the word as quickly as possible and he does so only as we listen to the
suggestive, corrosive voice of the enemy.
Lord protect our heads, protect our thinking.
The devils voice is any thing that raises opposition to Gods word; we need to discern his voice. Many of you have joyfully received the word in a Church service and walked out in the glory, victory and peace that it gave you, but woke up the next morning and couldn’t even find a praise. What happened was that Satan robbed you before that word or revelation had gotten down into your heart and down into your spirit.
Turn now to Luke 4, and v 13, … all the temptations now have happened and Jesus is in the wilderness and the Devil has been trying to mess with his head, his thinking. If you let the devil play with your mind you will worry and fret and fear even though that bill is not due for 6 days, the devil will have you believing for bankruptcy, and sick, with worry, and I mean sick! God created the world in 6 days and he can get you £100 in 6 seconds if he sees you need it. But the Devil is at war with your head to mess up your mind, and rob you of the peace that belongs to you. He can take your mind to a place of terror, that if you receive it, he will bring that trouble to you. Job said:
“For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of, is come unto me”. Job 3:25
There’s an old song that says “if you let him ride, he’ll want to drive, don’t let him ride”. Allow the Devil in your car and he’ll soon be driving it carelessly, recklessly, foolishly, dangerously and get you killed and others with you. That’s what he wants, so keep him out of your car, out of your house, out of your business, out of your church, out of your workshop, out of your factory, out of your life! Keep Him Out.
Access to your mind will give him access to your emotions, and that will end up in actions. Luke 4:13 says that when the Devil had ended the temptations “he departed from Jesus for a season”.
In the Greek it means for a more opportune time. Satan knows when you’ve let your guard down and he knows your weakness – your Achilles heel. He may leave you for a while,
but mark my words, he’ll be back soon.
Now while we are not to neglect the assembling, the gathering of ourselves together as the Church so that we might grow corporately, yet we must build your own defences, we must build your own faith, we must build your own lines of attack against the Devil and not be relying on the Church or on others to pull you out of trouble every time. There are people that run to the Pastor or Priest every time they fall, seeking prayer for deliverance or healing, because they have no strength in their own soul, no word hidden away in their own hearts. They are prisoners of hope, always hoping to get victory but never taking the right steps to get there. Most of the time when Satan shows up, you are going to be on your own, no one watching, no one listening, no one judging, and you are going to have to fight that battle alone, from your own resources, but if you have neglected the word of God and strayed from the ways of God, you will be defeated every time … every time!
You cannot go playing with fire every day and praying “God forgive me” in the morning and carrying a box of matches around in your pocket waiting for nightfall. You must repent, and turn away from sin, before God can step in and take over your life and your heart. There can be no Salvation without repentance. You cannot work for the Devil six days a week,
and expect God to bless you on Sunday. That kind of living will cut no ice with God. God is a jealous God, he must be Lord of All, or not Lord at all! You better believe it!
As I said last time, quoting from Romans 12:2, we need to “renew our minds” – renew our way of thinking!
We must win, no more wishing and hoping and talking, we need to walk in victory and we need to renew our minds that we may prove what is of God. The reason why the mind must be renewed is for discernment. If the mind is not renewed you won’t be able to discern between what is of God and what is of the Devil. If we don’t renew the mind we cannot know the will and the word of God. The reason why the Satanic is so strong in our world is because most are not saved, and Ephesians 2 tell us:
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
Paul is saying that Satan had you, he trained you – all of those dispositions or propensities to evil that worked in you before God got you, were demonic, Adamic. Your Carnal Adamic nature (from Adam) was formed by Satan. When Adam sinned he lost connection to God, and understand that we have to be connected to a source, we are not self made or self sufficient, we were created to be connected to God, but the fall has left us connected (naturally- by nature) to the Devil. That’s why the Bible refers to us as “Children of the Devil” 1 John 3:10
This is why men act like the Devil, – pride, arrogance, selfishness, wickedness, murder and so on come from the nature of the devil. If those things are not in you, its likely because you were born “sheltered” you were born perhaps under the prayers or under the protection of a Christian home or a Godly grandmother? Without that shelter, you could easily have ended up just as much a child of the devil as any serial killer.
Thank God if you were born “sheltered” – that’s why we should not judge people, we don’t know the things that they have been subjected to. We all have the capacity to great wickedness.
The only reason you don’t do what others do, is opportunity – there is no such thing as “I wouldn’t do that” when you are connected to God. No Drug Addict, No Practicing Homosexual, no Prostitute, no Murderer knew beforehand how they would turn out, and no one in Prison today ever expected to be there when they were happily playing games as children in School. Life has dealt most of these bad blows, they have often been without shelter, without sound advice, without care and without real love, and but for the grace of God, that could be you or me. We must judge all things, judge what is right and what is wrong, – but that does not mean that we judge people –
God is their judge, not you!
Now that we’ve been born again, we unplug from Satan, and get plugged in to God again, and the only problem is that there is no
delete button on life’s story and I sometimes wish that there were. So if we don’t renew our minds, Satan will still work that old programme the old nature, and you’ll be left wondering why you are saved and still eager to return to old paths, old ways and return to the old habits – and you will still have a difficult fight. But remember that the only battle we have is in the mind,
in our way of thinking, – so renew your mind.
We cannot pray the Devil away, we cannot fast him away, we have to out-grow him. We fight as Jesus fought, we speak the word. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of the Devils strongholds.
2 Cor 10:3-5
Determine that you are not going to be beaten for the rest of your life, you have to become master, you have to master this thing called temptation. You have to kick down the Gates of Hell, you are not going to be sick your whole life, broke your whole life, in slavery to porn your whole life, hooked on dope your whole life, you have to fight to get back your life.
You have to fight the same way that Jesus fought, and you can only fight Satan’s deceptive words with Gods Divine Words.
Words trigger memories, and Satan can trigger your old nature.
That’s a reason why your past keeps tripping you up because of the way you think about it, For you to break that, you have to break the trigger – the way you think about it, – change your mind. Sometimes we don’t like the truth because it conflicts with how we have been programmed. The word and way of God is always in conflict with the word and way of Satan.
We must not flirt with the world, or flirt with the devil,
we are supposed to be fighting not flirting.
We need to serve notice on The Gates of Hell today that we are coming in after every devil and demon that has stolen life from us. Give us back our stuff, give us back our families, give us back our children, give us back our finances, give us back our future and our faith. We are coming in after our teenagers to pluck them away from the grip of cynicism and fear. We are coming in after the prostitutes to save them from lust and teach
them about love, we’re coming after the homosexual community to give them real and lasting affection in Christ, and to teach them that they can belong to God, coming in after the cruelty of child abuse to save the children and give them back their innocence and their right to play. Coming through the gates of hell to tear down those structures that have been put in place to imprison our fellow human beings in fear and poverty, and we are coming in to set men and women free, free to live and free to love again, free to breath in fresh air. Free to sing again a new song, free to rise again to new heights and free to reign again in a new world under the Leadership and Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Satan can no longer “accuse the brethren” (like he did Job) on the streets of heaven. Calvary put a stop to that, and the Blood cleansed that very spot in heaven (Hebrews 9:23) So he cannot accuse you to God, but he can accuse you to you, if you let him, so stop him. When he comes to accuse me, saying, … I saw you lose your temper, I saw you lose your grace, I saw you lose your testimony, … I reply, “Stop looking at me and look at Jesus. God sees me in Jesus. Don’t try to silence me, I’m not finished”.
The Church is not finished, the Church is not dead, the Church is not a museum piece, but the Church of Jesus Christ will
rise up in these days as it did 2000 years ago, and the gates of hell shall not ever prevail against her. Come on Church,
its time for the fight to enforce the victory that Jesus has won for us. Its time to get back our children, get back our stuff!
And may Almighty God stand with us in the fight.
God Bless you … Amen.