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by Rev. John Samuel Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, July 29, 2018

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Peter 5:8, 9).

To be a disciple of Christ is to embrace a life of conflict. It is a life of conflict because the disciple of Christ has an enemy. That is not something that most people say these days. Some people believe that there is no evil in this world. Some people believe that we only have misunderstandings, not enemies. But that is not what the Bible says. The Bible says that the followers of Christ have an enemy. Before going into a conflict, it is important to know who the enemy is and how he fights.

“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked [one]” (Ephesians 6:16).

Before the creation of man, there was a time when everything was perfect. There was no sin. There was no conflict. There was no suffering. There was only God’s goodness and wonder in the perfection of Heaven. But something happened. In the perfection of Heaven, there occurred a betrayal. Turn with me to Isaiah 14:12,

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isaiah 14:12-15).

Lucifer was a beautiful angel in Heaven. He was given a place of authority in Heaven. The Bible calls him the “son of the morning.” But Lucifer saw the glory of God and thought that he could overthrow God from His throne. This glorious creature of light and beauty rebelled against God and recruited one third of the angels of heaven to his cause. Turn with me to Ezekiel 28:14,

“Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee” (Ezekiel 28:14, 15).

Lucifer’s pride and rebellion was the first moment of evil. It was the first moment of conflict and war in reality. Lucifer rejected God and turned against Him. The sanctuary of heaven was defiled by Lucifer’s appetite for power and glory. Lucifer stoked the embers of pride and rebellion in his heart until they flamed with violence and hate. Look at Ezekiel 28:16,

“By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee” (Ezekiel 28:16-18).

But God could not be overthrown. Lucifer was cast out of Heaven along with the angels who rebelled with him. Jesus said,

“I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10:18).

And so this angel of light became the Devil himself. And the Devil would not repent. He would not ask for forgiveness or redemption. Instead, he committed himself to being the enemy of God. He is full of hatred and deceit. The Devil’s purpose is to steal and to destroy (John 10:10). The Devil tries to undo the glory of God in creation. The Devil is the manifestation of rebellion against God. The Devil is tricky and cunning. His purpose is to hurt you and even to destroy you.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8).

There is evil and hatred and anger in this world, and the Devil is the leader of it. You must not be fooled into believing the Devil is not real or that he cannot hurt you. He destroys lives on a daily basis, and has been doing it for generation after generation. He hates Jesus and he hates you for following Jesus. The Devil tries to trick people into believing that he is not working and that he is not real.

In the United States, he has convinced the world that the United States is sterilized, and clean, and safe. The Devil fools people into believing the demons are not real, and so the people do not pray. The Devil fools people into believing their place in the world is clean and safe, and so they do not prepare for spiritual warfare. But God tells us that the Devil is real. God tells us that the Devil is at war with us. God tells us that we must prepare for a fight.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).

The Devil works behind the scenes. He raises calamity and destruction. The Devil is dangerous and deadly, but he can be defeated.

When Hitler summoned his fighting force to conquer the world, most of the world thought he was a man who could be reasoned with. They thought there was no reason to fight Hitler. Any disagreements that were present could be understood and worked out and negotiated. But Winston Churchill recognized the face of evil working in Nazi Germany. Churchill could recognize the dark forces of the Devil moving the armies of Germany. And so Churchill could not bring himself to negotiate or appease the Devil. Instead, Churchill fought, and he would have fought to the death, and because by the grace of God he would have fought whatever the cost. Hitler and the Devil lost the war. Churchill said, “The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we’re spirits – not animals… There’s something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.” You have a duty to resist the Devil and to stand against the forces of darkness.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Peter 5:8, 9).

That is why we tell you to buy a Scofield Bible and read it. That is why we tell you to read a sermon every day on our website. That is why we tell you to pray and seek Christ in a real conversion. Only the power of God in Scripture, in prayer, and in salvation can keep you safe from the Devil. Turn to Jesus Christ and trust Him. Christ alone can save you from sin and bring you safe through the storms of life!

Please stand and sing hymn number 2, “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?”

Am I a soldier of the cross, A follower of the Lamb;
And shall I fear to own His cause, Or blush to speak His name?

Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace, To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight, if I would reign; Increase my courage, Lord!
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain, Supported by Thy Word.
   (“Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).

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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” (by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).