2018 11 11 am Satan John 8:44

Congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ,

Two Wednesdays ago, lots of children dressed up in Halloween costumes to go trick or treating.  And one of the most popular Halloween costumes is some red horns, a black cape, and a Trident, which supposedly means a person looks like the devil.

Well, there is a devil; Jesus refers to him in this verse.  And if you were here last Sunday, you might recall that when we came to this verse, I said that we would come back to it today to think specifically about the devil.  So this will be a topical sermon about the devil that will take us to a number of places in the Bible.

And we do this because while many people see the devil as a kind of cartoon character like Dracula or ghosts, the Bible speaks about him as our adversary or enemy opponent.  So in the same way that a wise athlete will study the opposition player/team to work out their strengths and weaknesses in order to defeat them, we need to study what the Bible reveals about the devil so that we are able to resist him.


So the two major parts of this sermon will be What the Bible tells us about the devil and his work, and the devil’s relationship to Jesus Christ and the believer.


  1. We begin then with what the Bible tells us about the devil and his work.
    1. And in terms of who he is:
      1. He is a fallen angel.
        1. Before creation, just the Triune God existed. And we know this because we are repeatedly told in the Bible that God created all  So this means that the angels are created beings.  And because they are created beings, they were created sometime during creation week, even though we are not specifically told when, because the focus of the creation account is the material universe and earth and mankind.
        2. We are also told that at the end of creation week, “God saw everything that He had made and behold it was very good.” So at the end of creation week, all of the angels were good.
        3. But when we get to Genesis 3, the devil appears in the form of a serpent to tempt Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. So sometime between the end of creation week and the Fall, something drastic had happened within the angelic world.
          • So turn with me to Jude 1:6, which is where we get a brief explanation of what happened (p. 1027). “And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he [God] has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day.” 2 Peter 2 mentions this event as well, describing it as when the angels sinned.
          • So the sin of the devil and the angels that fell with him was rebellion against God. And this is why we read Ezekiel 28 It is a lament about an actual king of Tyre.  Tyre was a nation to the North of Israel.  And there was a time when it was ruled by a murdering, prideful King who committed all sorts of evil deeds in that region.  But this is also double duty language because the sin of the King of Tyre is being likened to the sin of the devil.  And this makes perfect sense in light of our text in John 8:44 where we read that the devil is the father of lies and a murderer.  All our sin is a reflection of the devil’s sin.  And this was true also, of that King of Tyre.  But there is language in Ezekiel 28 that seems particularly appropriate to the devil.  We read about him being “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.  You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering …You were an anointed guardian cherub.  I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.  You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you … so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.  Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.  I cast you to the ground…”  So because of the pride and rebellion of the devil and those like him, they were dismissed from their permanent dwelling in heaven to become troublemakers on earth.
          • Revelation 12:3 pictures the devil as a great red dragon. We are told that “his tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth.” And this could well mean that 1/3rd of the angels joined the devil in the rebellion against God.


  1. Well, thus far we have referred to this fallen angel as the devil. But he has a name – Satan.
    1. You may have heard him referred to as Lucifer, but that is not the devil’s name. Lucifer comes from the Latin translation of Scripture and even though it is found in the KJV of the Bible, it is not a name that the Bible gives to the devil; it is basically a mistranslation.  The devil’s name or title is Satan.  And the word Satan means ‘adversary’ or enemy opponent; Satan is God and our adversary or enemy.
    2. He has other titles in the Bible; summarizing Eph. 6:10, he is the Prince of darkness and the Prince of the power of the air. He is also called the Accuser, which we shall say more about in a moment, the prince of demons, the beguiling serpent, the deceiver, the father of lies, as it says in our text, and, as we have already mentioned, the Great Red Dragon.


  1. Well, one last point in relation to who the devil is, and that is that we simply do not know what he looks like. We know he took the form of a serpent in the Garden of Eden.  2 Cor. 11:14 tells us that “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”  So he is able to appear in different forms that accomplish his deceiving purposes.  But we do simply not know what he looks like in and of himself.
    1. The image of a horned devil comes from the Middle ages. Back then, because very few people could read, images and stage-plays were used to teach people.  And an obviously recognizable character was needed to represent the devil and the character chosen was a character from the pagan world – a monster with horns.  And it was argued at that time that this image was supported by the Bible.  You see, in a prophecy in Isaiah, a creature is mentioned that roams about over a destroyed Babylon.  The Hebrew word for this creature is Sair.  And in some early translations of the Bible, the creature was called a Satyr, which is half human, half goat.  So that is where the idea of the devil being a horned being arose from, but it is entirely made up.


  1. Well, putting all this together then, the devil is a fallen angel, his name is Satan, and we do not know what he looks like. But what does he do?:
    1. We have already seen that he is the adversary or enemy opponent of God. Satan is opposed to and trying to destroy every work of God.
      • This was the case in the Garden of Eden when he tempted Adam and Eve.
      • It was the case all the times in the OT when enemies and armies tried to destroy individuals or even the whole Jewish nation, in order to prevent the coming of the Promised Messiah.
      • It was the case when Herod tried to kill all the male infants under two years old in the Bethlehem area after the birth of Jesus.
      • And it was supremely the case when Jesus was crucified, even though that turned out to be the great victory of the Lord Jesus over Satan!
      • But it is still the case today also: When you hear about persecution or a split in a congregation or a minister who falls into sexual sin or preaches false doctrine, that is Satan at work, either within the church or from outside the church to destroy the church or limit its impact in the world. He is God’s adversary.
    2. But Satan is also our personal adversary. He uses every kind of tactic he can to keep people from turning to Jesus or to turn away from the Lord and destroy themselves.
      1. And he does this, for example, by tempting us to sin.
        • He did this with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and you boys and girls will remember that he attempted to do this with the Lord Jesus in the wilderness.
        • But the devil also tempts you and me to sin. In 1 Cor. 7, husbands and wives are told not to deprive one another of sexual intimacy, except for a short time to devote themselves to prayer. But then we read, “But then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
        • So temptations come from Satan. They could be directly from him, or from his demons, or from the thinking of the world that is in line with him as the father of lies, or from the evil desires and lusts of our own flesh, which accord with sin and Satan, and not with the law of God.
      2. But another tactic of Satan is to accuse.
        • In Zechariah 3, for example, we read about someone “standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.” So it is right for us to think of Satan as our accuser on Judgment Day. But he and his demons already accuse us now.  And they do this by continually reminding us of or sin and guilt.
        • Those present here for the Reformation Day prayer meeting will remember that I told you about Martin Luther and his spiritual depression . ML describes seeing the devil and hearing him list his sins, which led him to feelings of overwhelming guilt and doubt. In fact, if you visit the Wartburg castle where Luther was more or less imprisoned for a time, you can still see an ink stain on the wall from where ML threw his inkwell at the devil during one of these accusation sessions!  But ML was greatly troubled by his sin and guilt.
        • And all believers will have had this experience to one degree or another. Every believer will have times when they are very conscious of their sin and guilt, and doubts about their salvation. That is the devil at work, accusing.
      3. But another tactic of Satan arises out of our text in John 8 where he is called the father of lies. Satan uses lies and deception and falsehood and trickery to accomplish his evil ends.
        • What were his words to Eve when he was tempting her to disobey God? “Has God really said…?” And then he lied to Eve and told her that if she ate the fruit she would be like God.
        • And he does this with us to: We know God’s rules. But Satan says, “Has God really said…? And then he lies to us and tells us that it is fun to break God’s rules, or that we are missing out, or that doing this will feel so good, or that we have rights, or that that rule is not fair, etc.
        • But Satan does this also in the area of doctrine. 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 speaks about those who preach false doctrine. We read, “Such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
          • I have told you before that Charles Spurgeon said that “discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong, it is knowing the difference between right and almost right.” I trust that all of us would react strongly to someone in this pulpit saying Jesus is not God and He did not physically rise from the dead.  But where countless denominations, including those that were once our sister churches, have started going rotten was through teaching like The account of a six day creation in Genesis 1?  Oh, that’s just a poem; it’s not scientific; you don’t have to take it literally; it can mean billions of years and evolution.  And those bits in the Bible that limit office and leading worship to men?   Oh, they are just a cultural requirement for the church in the days of the apostles; they don’t apply to us today.  And the arguments can sound so plausible and loving and inclusive.  But do you hear the voice that is speaking?  It is Satan, saying, “Has God really said…?”  You see, if he can convince you that what you read in the Bible is not actually what God means, well, then the door is open for you to be taught anything.
          • But Satan is also at work in the wider world with issues like homosexuality and transgenderism. What is being rammed down our throats is that if two people of the same-sex love each other then surely that can’t be wrong? And people should be free to choose whatever gender they like.  And anyway, all this is just genetic.  And  if you disagree with this you are an intolerant hater!  (Chile.    Coming soon to a state school near you).  But behind it all, I hope you can hear Satan saying, “Has God really said…?”  We know better than God.  Put your Bible away.
  1. The key point in all of this is that the devil works to keep people from coming to faith in Christ and to make them abandon Christ or be less useful servants of Christ than they could be. So you must always be asking yourself, How might the devil be using people or things or circumstances, or technology or the media, or music or arts or sports, or ideas, or apps to keep me in unbelief or to lead me into sin or being less useful to Christ than I could be?


  1. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” And in 2 Corinthians 2:11, the Apostle Paul explains that what he and the Corinthian believers had just done was “… so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.”  So knowing that the devil is God’s adversary and our adversary, we too are not ignorant of his designs and better able to resist him.  But what best helps us resist the devil is understanding his relationship to Jesus Christ and the believer.  So this is our second and last and much briefer heading.


  1. And we begin with Colossians 1:15. Let’s turn there together (p. 983).  Of Jesus – “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things were created through Him and for Him.”
    1. Do you see the astonishing truth in this verse? Satan was created by Christ and through Christ and for  We have spoken about Satan as God’s adversary or enemy opponent, but he is not equal to God.  It is not as though God and Satan are battling for the universe, like two cosmic boxers, and the outcome is in the balance.
      1. No, God is the Creator; Satan is a creature.
      2. We speak of God using the three omnis – He is omnipresent (He is everywhere), He is omniscient (He is all knowing), and He is omnipotent (He is all powerful). But while the devil has power, his power is limited.  And while he can move about in ways that you and I cannot, he can only be in one place at one time.  And while he knows a lot, he does not know everything.
      3. And this is a great encouragement for us as believers – It is God alone who is sovereign; Satan is ultimately a servant of God.


  1. But there is encouragement for believers also as we think about salvation history:
    1. In OT times, Satan had massive influence in the world. Genesis 3-6 describe a world of wickedness and sin that God destroys with the global flood in ch’s 6-9.  But wickedness continues n ch’s 10-11.  So God then chooses one man, Abram, to begin the line of salvation.  And from Abram come the Jews who by and large are the only ones who live in covenant with God for the whole OT period.  So for thousands of years, there is salvation just in Israel.  But even Israel had fallen into great wickedness and unbelief when Jesus was born.  This is why when the devil tempted Jesus he said that if Jesus would just bow to him he would give him all the kingdoms of the world.  And Satan could offer that to Jesus because pretty much the whole world of that time was in unbelief.
    2. But turn now to John 12:31 (p. 899). Jesus was talking about His soon to occur crucifixion.  He said, “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.”  With the death and resurrection of Jesus, Satan was defeated; his influence was massively limited because of the gospel!  So now, the church age began and Christ stared to gather to Himself a people from every tribe and nation and language.  And that is the time we are in today.  And the church of Christ will continue to grow until Christ comes again.
    3. Turn next to 1 Corinthians 15:24 (p. 961). About Jesus, we read, “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.  For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.”
      1. Students of WWII will be familiar with D-day and V-day. V-day is Victory day.  It refers to May 8, 1944, when the German Army surrendered.  D-day stands for Departed Day and it refers to the beginning of the Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944.  You see, once the allies won the battle of Normandy, the war was over.  But the Allies still had to travel to Berlin and deal with the German units they encountered along the way until the official surrender was signed on May 8.
      2. Well, Jesus’ death and resurrection was D-day in the battle with Satan. As the hymn goes:

The strife is o’er, the battle done,

the victory of life is won; the song of triumph has begun.  Alleluia! 

The powers of death have done their worst,

but Christ their legions has dispersed; let shouts of holy joy outburst.  Alleluia!

  1. Christ has decisively conquered Satan! You and I live in the time of His mopping up operations, as it were!  Right now, Christ is destroying every aspect of Satan’s influence until the time when He comes again to deliver the kingdom to His Father.  Isn’t that a wonderful encouragement?


  1. Or could it be that you are thinking to yourself, Well Pastor, that all sounds very nice, but 12 people were shot and killed in a Miami night club this week, and there is war in Syria, and the NZ govt is considering making abortion up to birth legal, and my Grandmother has cancer, and I had a fight with my wife or husband yesterday, and I am struggling to control my temper or my lustful desires, and my son or daughter says they don’t care about God… I like what you have said about Christ conquering Satan and but it sure     doesn’t    feel      like     it!!!
    1. And it is true; there is still enormous personal and family and national sin and suffering in the world. And Satan is behind all of it.
    2. But what we have seen today, and I know this is a great and difficult mystery, is that only God is sovereign. Nothing that happens, including all of Satan’s activity and the sin and suffering that he causes, happens outside God’s will.
      1. In the incredible doxology of Romans 11, Paul says, “For from [God] and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be glory forever.”  And all things includes Satan and his work.   So even the activity of Satan and all the suffering he causes brings glory to God and advances His good purposes for His people.
      2. We may not understand how this can possibly be so, with this circumstance or that event, but it is what God has told us in His Word, because He wants us to trust in Him.


  1. So, let’s conclude with this story from the OT. There was a time when the King of Syria decided to kill Elisha, the prophet of God.  So he sent horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city where Elisha lived.  When Elisha’s servant got up in the morning, he went outside the gate and saw that the army with horses and chariots was all around the city.  So he ran back to Elisha and said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”  But Elisha said to him, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  And then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.”  So the LORD opened the eyes of the servant and he went back out and looked again and behold, the mountain was full of an angelic army and chariots of fire that surrounded Elisha.
    1. Now, I cannot pray so that you can see the armies of God! I cannot tell you how God is bringing good out of whatever it is that Satan is doing in your life or the life of a loved one.
    2. But I can tell you that Jesus Christ is the conquering King! And I can point you to His words in 1 John 4:4, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
    3. How about we finish by saying together, “ Come, Lord Jesus!” Shall we do that?  Let’s all say, “Amen.  “Come, Lord Jesus!”