Spiritual Warfare 3:Defeating Satan
Spiritual Life #31
Spiritual Warfare 3: Defeating Satan
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
We started out last year talking about the crisis experiences that bring us into a full relationship in Jesus. And now we’re beginning to discuss the individual parts of the personality and so we’ll be talking probably for the rest of this year and maybe a little of next year, talking about the spirit and the different parts of the spirit. So it’s in connection with that loved ones, just as an introduction to that, that we’re now talking about spiritual warfare.
Normally, we only talked about it for one Sunday but I did sense that there was maybe a great deal of lack of knowledge in many of us about spiritual warfare and so the first Sunday we talked on passivity, last Sunday we talked primarily about some of the lies that Satan tells us, and this Sunday I’d just like to talk a little about defeating Satan in our lives. And so this would be the third one on spiritual warfare, though really we could just talk about it for a couple of years easily. So we’ll try to talk a little about defeating Satan.
May I just remind you why you’re here, why you’re on this earth? Maybe you’d look at it in Romans 8:29. That’s why you and I have been created, loved ones. Romans 8:29, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren.” So that’s why you’re created: to be conformed to the image of Jesus so that Jesus might have a lot of brothers and sisters like himself. That’s it, and so that we can live together in God’s trinity family forever in peace and fulfillment.
Now, that’s why you’re here so it would be good to establish that in your own mind. You’re here for Jesus to be fully formed in you. Now, it is important for you not to be repelled by that thinking, “Oh, I’m going to be wiped out, I’m going to be wiped out.” Well no, do you see you’re unique, there’s nobody like you. In the other three and a half billion people in this world, there’s nobody like you and Jesus wants you to cooperate fully with him so that the beauties of his personality and the beauties of his attitudes can become yours through your willingness and through your full cooperation.
So I used to be put off when I heard that verse. I thought, “Oh, they mean just wipe me out.” Well no, not wipe you out — but transmit to you the beauties of Jesus so that Jesus is expressed in a different way in you than he is expressed in any other person in the whole world so that when we all come together there will be many, many pictures of Jesus and that’s how he will be glorified. And so it’s you, loved ones, there’s a unique picture of Jesus that is to be created in you.
Now, Satan is determined to destroy that. He is determined to make you live just to reproduce your own image and that will eventually be an image like Satan’s, full of discontent, full of hatred, full of irritability, full of lack of contentment. And Satan is determined to prevent that. Now, may I point out to you that Satan is not terribly interested in the ordinary fallen men and women of the world, he isn’t. Because, they aren’t living depending on Jesus’ Spirit at all. They are just living as Ephesians said, you remember, “Living by the desires of body and mind.”
That’s the way the great majority of people live. They live by the desires of the body and mind. They get up each morning wondering, “What will I eat this morning and how will I get more to eat
before the day is out? And what clothes shall I put on? And what better clothes could I get that would make me look nicer? And how important can I be in the eyes of my peers this day? And how much happiness can I get today from a better car, and a nicer apartment, and nicer furniture?” And most men and woman live that way so Satan doesn’t even bother with them.
They’re just not interested in receiving God’s Spirit into them; they don’t live depending on God at all. They live depending on the world, and things, and people so Satan isn’t interested in them. Nor is he interested in those who are born of God’s Spirit but believe they have a veto over God. They are carnal Christians. They are people that Paul said in Romans, “Live as ordinary men.”
So they have Jesus’ Spirit inside them and Jesus’ Spirit is trying to get out, trying to get out — but they just clamp him down. When he wants to be tender with somebody they just clamp him down and they’re rough and crude with the person. When he wants to be patient with somebody who has said something silly, they just crucify them again inside them and they retort in sarcastic terms that show that they’re cleverer than the other person.
So they’re carnal. They have a conflict inside them because inside they sense the urging and the drawing of Jesus’ Spirit — but they live by the outside feeling that they get from people and things. They live still to get the security, significance, and happiness that the world can give — so they are carnal Christians. Now, it is maybe important because some of you might be like that – and it’s important to see, loved ones, that you’re not much use to Jesus. Do you see that? You’re not much use and Satan isn’t terribly interested in you because he knows he can get you bad tempered at the drop of a hat.
He knows that he can make you discontented by taking some of your money away from you because you’re utterly dependent on the feel and the input that you get from outside things, and people, and circumstances. He knows that by bringing a flat tire to you — in a moment, just sending a little demon down and plunk, a nail goes through the tire and you’ve a flat — that he can just destroy your whole day so he doesn’t bother much with you either.
Satan only is concerned with a person who makes a full surrender of their life to Jesus. Who makes a full surrender, dies to what they can get from people and things, and turns to Jesus only and is baptized and filled with his Holy Spirit. Satan is concerned about those people. So I’ll just very quickly put this diagram up on the screen so that those of you who weren’t here before see it. That’s a diagram of the spirit, soul, and body. [Diagram is of 3 concentric squares with spirit at center, then soul, then body outermost.]
God wants to make us like Jesus by us receiving his likeness through his Spirit into our spirits through communion in prayer and Bible study so that we know by intuition what he wants us to do. Our conscience then is obeyed and constrains our will, which directs our mind to understand what God has told us. Our mind then directs our body to express it to the world and our emotions express the joy of our friendship with God. But the world is lived the other way. It lives without God and so really the spirit has died completely and they have only souls and bodies and so they live by the desires of the body and mind, or body and soul.
They lack the love of God and therefore any security, or significance, or happiness and so they try and get all those from the world outside. So they pervert everything to that purpose. So a good accountant ceases to be concerned about the joy of doing his accountant work well and he becomes concerned with being the best accountant in the office so that he’ll get significance amongst his
fellows. Or, he perverts the good skill that God has given him to make his main aim in life getting more and more security by gathering more and more food, shelter, and clothing to himself.
So the majority of men live that way with a dead spirit. When a person finds that out and determines to turn their lives over to God, his Spirit comes in and makes their spirits alive. And the Spirit of Jesus tries to get out through them but they are still living as carnal Christians in this way so there’s a conflict that is right there. And of course, the only way to solve that conflict is to come to a place where you allow that perverted personality that works from the outside in to be crucified with Christ and you allow his Spirit to work right through you.
That’s the baptism with the Holy Spirit, or being filled with the Holy Spirit. And it’s only after that happens that Satan is really interested in you. And it’s only then that you enter into spiritual warfare because before then he can keep you out of the business of being conformed to Jesus’ image simply by the way you live off the world, and things, and people to get love from it instead of from God. So loved ones, remember that it’s after you’ve made a full surrender that Satan is interested in you.
Maybe I should comment. Some of us use the term being “baptized with the Holy Spirit”. I think a lot of us think that that’s just speaking in tongues. I think it is speaking in tongues — that’s one of the gifts that God gives, though he doesn’t give that to everybody. You remember it says in 1 Corinthians 12 that, “God gives the gifts as he will.” He distributes as he will. Implying, do all speak in tongues? No, all don’t speak in tongues. Do all prophesize? No, all don’t prophesize. These are gifts that God gives.
But, the primary mark of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit that is love, and joy, and peace, and long suffering, and gentleness, and goodness, and faith, and meekness, and temperance. And the baptism with the Holy Spirit involves being filled with the Spirit so that you have those fruits in your lives and being anointed with the Holy Spirit on the outside so that you have power for service. Gift of being able to speak God’s word at the right time through prophecy, gift of tongues, gift of interpretation of tongues. That’s the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Now loved ones, some of us who come from, for instance Baptist backgrounds, or Lutheran backgrounds, or this miserable old Methodist from a Methodist background, we just shy away from the baptism with the Holy Spirit and we think, “Ah, it’s tongues, it’s emotions, it’s rolling in the aisles. I don’t want that.” So it’s important for us to see that the heart of the fullness of the Spirit is being filled with Jesus and emptied of self. That’s what it is. It’s the fullness of the Spirit of Jesus.
It’s coming to that place where there’s a freedom from conflict within where you’re free from that terrible cry of despair, “The good that I would I cannot and the evil that I hate is what I do.” It’s freedom from that. It’s freedom from internal struggling so that you can be all together like Jesus and do his work in the world. It’s when you’re free to do that that Satan attacks you.
While you’re concerned with the inner struggle, while you’re fighting bad temper, while you’re fitting selfishness, while you’re fighting sarcasm, and criticism in your own heart, Satan knows you haven’t given over to Jesus. You haven’t really died. You’re just playing around with Jesus, obeying him when you want to obey him. But he’s not Lord at all because he’s not Lord OF all and Satan knows that. And so he knows he doesn’t need to bother with you. You haven’t given over to Jesus and it’s only when you have that you’re a threat to Satan.
So it’s maybe good just to clarify those things and maybe you want to ask about them at the end. So Satan is only concerned with you after you’ve made a full surrender of your life. If you’re a dear Baptist you’ll say, “Full consecration,” after you’ve made a full consecration of your life. If you’re a Pentecostal you’ll say, “After you’ve been baptized with the Holy Spirit.” If you’re from some of the churches that teach the victorious life, you’ll say, “After you’ve come into entire sanctification.”
But you see the heart of it? It’s when there’s no longer any yes to self and sometimes yes to Jesus. It’s when there’s yes all the time to Jesus and that’s the moment when you begin to be able to be used by Jesus to change the outside world. And you remember, that’s what I shared last Sunday, we badly need. God desperately needs men and women who have settled the internal battle. They’ve settled, “I’m going with you Lord.” Not, “Well, Lord I don’t know. Well, I think I’ll go with you today. No, I don’t feel like going with you because it will mean I lose some face in front of my friends here. No, well, well, yes I will go with you today.”
No, God can do nothing with soldiers like that. Those are chocolate soldiers — that’s all they are. They’re not soldiers of Christ. Soldiers of Christ are people who have died to getting anything out of this world for themselves and are set to be used by Jesus for his glory wherever and whenever he wants them.
Now loved ones, that’s what God needs and those are the kinds of people that change the world. And that’s what the world needs, it needs changed people. You know nine hundred and fifty million are available to us now. Nine hundred and fifty million in China, you know it. You know it because they’re now even supporting, they’re giving money back to the capitalists who lost their land and their property before the revolution. The thing is swinging around tremendously.
And who knows how many Christians there are in China waiting to welcome many of us who are prepared to give our lives for them. So loved ones, this is an exciting time in history and don’t carry on with your own things. You are not your own you were bought for a price and Jesus has worked for everyone of us in this room and it’s work that will be exciting and fulfilling.
Now, when a person is ready for that, ready to stop looking, “Oh well Lord, I want three babies — two boys and a girl. And, I’d like a twenty one inch screen TV, I think, twenty one inch, and I’d like a portable, and I’d like a Camaro.” Whenever you give that stuff up, that silly stuff – you need those things but God knows you have need of them and he knows you don’t need to concentrate on them — but when you stop preoccupying yourself with that stuff and preoccupy yourself with Jesus and with him being what he wants through you, then Satan attacks and that’s what we’re talking about this evening.
So don’t sit there and say, “I’m glad you’re talking about spiritual warfare — because I have trouble with my temper.” That isn’t spiritual warfare, that’s selfishness. That’s downright selfishness and carnality. It’s not spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare is what a soldier wages who has given himself wholly over to Jesus, has victory in his own life and is ready now to change the world and to change circumstances through the power of prayer, and obedience, and faith. So that’s what we’re talking about, loved ones.
Now, it might be good to look first of all at some of the facts that we see about Satan and maybe you’d look at John 14:30. “I will no longer talk much with you,” Jesus says, “For the ruler of this
world is coming. He has no power over me.” “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming.” Now, that’s who Jesus calls Satan: the ruler of this world.
I don’t know if you know it, but there are spirits, angels, and then there are human beings like us and spirits have no bodies. And we human beings differ from spirits in that we have bodies and we’re able to relate in a physical world like this. But do you know that there were spirits or angels in charge of different parts of God’s universe? Did you know that? Now, you can see it in Daniel 10:13. “The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; but Michael, one of the chief princes,” as we know, one of the angels, “Came to help me, so I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia.”
So do you see there was a prince of the kingdom of Persia? And Michael is called a chief prince, a chief angel. So there was an angel that was responsible for the kingdom of Persia. Now, probably Satan, you see, was responsible for this world, this planet and that’s part of the reason that Jesus calls him the prince of the world, or the ruler of the world — because he was given this area. And God, of course, used his rebellion then to make available the test of free will for us. But probably it was because Satan was given charge of this planet that Jesus calls him the prince of the world. Also of course, because great numbers of people in the world obey Satan.
Now it might be good to look just briefly at where Satan came from. And loved ones, an awful lot of our beliefs about this come more from Milton’s” Paradise Lost” than from scripture so you really need to watch what people say about the origin of Satan. God’s word is so good; he gives us truth in the right proportions and so God’s word doesn’t go into great detail on this evil person but He does tell us something about it in veiled images really, in the Old Testament. And one of them is in Isaiah 14:12-15. And there are just two outstanding passages like this that talk about Satan’s origin and talk about it in imagery, loved ones.
And of course, this is Babylon that is being discussed but of course every nation is just a front for Satan and as always, the prophet talks about the temporal situation and then he seems to see beyond it and he seems to burst out of time and into eternity. That’s the way the Bible works, have you noticed that? They talk about the temporal situation and then suddenly they seem to be rising above it and they’re talking in terms that don’t actually fit the temporal situation and you realize that they’re seeing into eternity and they’re seeing into the realities that lay behind the apparent realities of this world. So that’s what happens here.
It begins to talk about Babylon you see, and then goes into terms that don’t fit Babylon. Isaiah 14:12, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God.’” Now, Babylon did not say that, you see; that’s where it begins to go beyond Babylon. “I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the pit.” And there’s the sense there that Satan rebelled against God in pride; as one of his angels who had part of the universe under his control he determined, “I will ascend on high. I will make myself equal with God.”
Then the other passage, loved ones, is Ezekiel 28. Here the prophet Ezekiel is talking about the king of Tyre but again begins to talk in terms that don’t fit an ordinary human being at all and you begin to see that Tyre, of course, is only an image, or an expression of Satan, the ruler of the
world. Ezekiel 28:12, “Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘You were the signet of perfection.’” Now you see, that’s where it goes beyond the king of Tyre because that wasn’t him at all. “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.” And then, “You were in Eden,” well no, the Tyre wasn’t. “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering.”
So, “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.” And the suggestion is that Satan was a perfect angel and yet used his free will to rebel against God. And then of course, having this world under his control he began to approach us human beings. And of course, God took this opportunity to give us the chance of exercising our free will for him and against one who had rebelled against us.
Now, it might be good for you to really receive this. Satan has no power. Now, you really need to believe that, loved ones. Satan has no power. Now, let’s look at a verse that contradicts that, Acts 26:18. Because I think a lot of us here are timid about Satan because of very successful deception by him on this point. Acts 26:18, “To open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” So we just said that Satan has no power and there it says in scripture that, “They may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.”
Now let me show you it. There are two words for power, translated power wrongly really in our Bible. One is “dunamis” which looks like that [writing Greek word on board], and you can see it becomes “dynamite”. And that is the word that really does mean “power” and it’s the word you get in Acts 1:8, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” Now, that’s the word for power that is not the word used here in Acts 26 for the power of Satan. That isn’t the word used there.
The word used there is a word “exousia” which looks like that in Greek [writing Greek word on board] – it’s the same word as is found in Romans 13:1. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Now, the word for “authority” there is “exousia”. That’s the word that we have here in Acts 26.
In other words, Acts 26 says, “That they may be saved from the authority of Satan.” Satan has authority but here’s the amazing thing: he has the authority only the way everybody else has authority. Only the way God has authority, only the way you have authority. He has authority over those who are willing to submit to him. Now, do you see that, loved ones? Satan has no power, he has only authority — and he only has authority over people who are willing to submit to him.
So when someone says, “Oh, I’m under the power of Satan,” they are willingly under the power of Satan because Satan has no power except in the sense of authority. He has no power to bring things about. He has only authority, and that only over anybody who will submit to him. That’s why he has a kingdom. I agree with anybody here who says, “Hasn’t Satan a kingdom?” Yes, there is a huge money kingdom here in the world. There is a huge gambling kingdom. There is a huge human love kingdom. There are all kinds of kingdoms that Satan has set up through getting people to submit to his authority.
But the kingdoms themselves have no power. They have just the authority of Satan — and that
authority can be taken away in a moment. And that is of course, why Luther you remember, had that hymn, “One little word will fell him.” All a person has to do to stop Satan acting in their lives is to refuse, to say no. But, Satan has spread a great lie among us that he has some power. He hasn’t. He has authority over anybody that submits to that authority. To anybody who says, “No, no I don’t want to submit to it,” he cannot do a thing.
That’s interesting you know, Satan is bound by the same limitations as you and are. He can have no authority over anybody who is unwilling to have him exercise authority over them. Now loved ones, that applies to the littlest, weakest child of God here this evening. You can reject Satan simply by saying, “No.” And believe me the trouble you have saying no is not because of some power of Satan, because he has none. It’s usually because of strong carnal desires inside yourself. It’s because you don’t want to reject Satan. Really. And it would help you a lot in your struggles if you would see that. It’s because you don’t want to. You know when temper bursts out in you, that isn’t the power of Satan. That is you, yourself letting loose and you put yourself under Satan’s authority.
Now, what about the appearance of power such as bad temper for instance, that he seems to have? And you get one of those appearances of power in Acts 16:16-19. “As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by soothsaying. She followed Paul and us, crying, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.’” Which seemed to be a good prophecy because it was true but it didn’t come from the Holy Spirit and of course, the apostles knew that.
“And this she did for many days. But Paul was annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, ‘I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And it came out that very hour. But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the rulers.” So that was an appearance of power and it seemed that Satan was able to give to that girl a spirit of insight, discernment, of prophecy, and ability to soothsay. And I think many of us have seen appearances of Satan’s power.
Now loved ones, that’s all they are — because there is no power or authority itself that does not come from God. And God has planted in the universe great powers that anyone can misuse or abuse. That’s what Satan does. He has no ability to create power because he himself is under God’s control. You remember, he had to ask God, “Let me touch Job your servant and then you’ll see whether he blesses you or not.” And he had to go and ask God permission, and so he has to do with you.
God is a hedge round about you and he only allows Satan to do what God knows he has given you grace to resist. And so Satan is absolutely under God’s authority and the only thing he can do is misuse the powers that God has built into you and into the universe. For instance, nuclear power; you can use it to produce electricity or you can use it to destroy cities. You see that?
The power of self preservation which enables us to have children and to preserve the human race can be perverted a little and it becomes lust. The power and the urge of self defense is a good thing so that when you see a car coming you jump out of the way. Otherwise, we’d all be dead. And so the power of self defense is a good thing, but pervert it a little and it becomes self glorification and self deification over everybody else, domineering everybody else.
Don’t you see that there are powers even released by Calvary that a person can pervert? You know
there are lots of healings that take place apart from the name of Jesus. And of course it’s because everyone was put into Jesus and was remade there. And there is a power in faith. And things like Christian Science and other sects have many, many healings through faith in the power of faith. And it traces it back to the miracle that God worked in Jesus but no glory is given to Jesus for it. It’s just a perversion or a misuse of a beautiful power that God has given us. God has given us love, but pervert it a little and it becomes binding selfish human love that demands more than it gives.
So do you see that all Satan can do is pervert the powers that God has built into the universe? And loved ones, all power in the universe comes from God. And so when you have that wild temper of yours it is a perversion of a good power and energy that God has given you, a good strength that you have for reacting against evil and for opposing it. But Satan lies and gets you to pervert it a little and it becomes a destructive power. (cid:9)
So it’s important for you to see this if you think, “Well now, aren’t there at times things that look like Satanic power?” Always, they’re perversions of a power that actually Satan cannot control because he did not create it. What is his power or his authority then? Really, it’s surprisingly limited and it’s stated clearly in John 8:44 by Jesus. It is very limited, loved ones.
John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” And if you are in any way under Satan’s thrall it is because you have been deceived by his lies. All Satan can do is lie to you. Lie to you, “God does not love you because you’re not good enough. Christ’s death does not apply to you because you’re not applying it in the right way. You have no power to change your own life; you’re going to be like this for the rest of your days.”
Satan lies like that. Then, he institutionalizes the lies in people like B.F. Skinner in philosophers who teach that we are machines and that if you’re born of certain parents and in a certain environment you cannot change, it’s impossible to change. He takes a thing like genetic engineering and he spreads the lie even further and gives the impression that you can be made in a certain way and can never be changed. And Satan lies to us to steal from us all peace in God. That’s one of the things he does with your emotions. He lies about the state of your emotions.
Could I point out to you that your emotions and mine are closely tied to our bodies. Do you see that? I have several friends who, when they’re embarrassed, they blush. And why do they? Well, because the emotions are tied to the whole blood circulation system and it can just release blood in a moment in the cheeks and they blush. Many of us, if we’re scared, or frightened, or we’re nervous it seems as if we could drink three gallons of water and we still wouldn’t get rid of the dryness in our mouth because the emotions control the secretion glands that release saliva. And so you can see your emotions and your body are very closely tied together.
Now, that works two ways of course. Your emotions affect your body but your body also affects your emotions. So there are a thousand times when you’re weary, and tired, and worn out and your emotions are affected and you feel just worn out, tired, kind of depressed, and Satan says, “You’re depressed because you’re not in Jesus.” Loved ones, it’s just a downright lie. Your emotions have nothing to do with whether you’re in Jesus or not. That’s not where you dwell in Jesus, in your emotions. Your emotions are part of your soul and your soul has no direct connection with Jesus at all except through your spirit, where Jesus dwells.
Your emotions can be doing all kinds of things but that doesn’t say a thing about what is happening in your spirit. What happens in there is due to your faith. Jesus dwells in you by faith and faith is belief plus obedience. But Satan gets you into a state where your body is wearing out your emotions and then he lies to you and says, “There, do you feel any joy? Now, you don’t — so that’s because there’s something wrong. There’s sin in your life, or you’re offending Jesus, or you never knew him.”
This applies in particular, I feel, for loved ones like Jane and others who are really fighting some sicknesses. Satan loves to get in on some physical situation that you have that is constantly bothering you, and constantly affects your emotions and suggests to you, “Now, you see you’re not expressing the joy, or the exhilaration of a child of God.” Well loved ones, that could well be because you don’t dwell in Jesus in your emotions you dwell in Jesus in your spirit by faith — that is belief plus obedience. Now you may say to me, “But isn’t it God’s will that our spirits should grow so strong that they’re able to control our emotions?” Yes, but many of us are not yet at that stage and so it’s wise to see that your emotions are still affected by your body.
Another way your emotions can be affected is this. Why have you found yourself on your feet yelling like a mad man or a mad woman at a football match? Well, you know why, because everybody around you is doing it. And there’s a great communal soul that develops. All our little souls are very sensitive to each other and so we’re sensitive to what everybody else is feeling and our emotions are especially easily moved by somebody else’s emotions.
Now if you say to me, “Is that God’s will?” No, that’s not his ideal will. His ideal will is that your emotions would be governed by your spirit independent of everybody else but many of us are not yet at that stage. And so we go into an office where there’s a general feeling of depression. Everybody feels, “It’s Monday morning. I’ve been shoveling snow off the roof all weekend. I’m fed up with this.” And we go into that office situation and our emotions hit bottom too. And then Satan gets in and says, “Rejoice in the Lord always, eh?” And I wish you’d just say, “You are the father of lies. My emotions might not be so hot today but I know I am in Jesus by faith and I rejoice in my spirit today whatever my emotions are doing.” And as you do that of course, your emotions themselves are affected.
But do you see, loved ones, that Satan’s job is to lie to you about the things that are happening in your emotions. Some of you come into the same difficulty with your mind, because Satan is able to insert little thoughts into your mind, or outside things can insert little thoughts. And so a little thought crosses your mind and Satan jumps in and says, “That came from you. Can you be a Christian and think that kind of thought?” Well you know, it’s time you stop following him by the nose right round wherever he wants you to and it’s time you said to him, “Look, that isn’t my thought. I didn’t think of it a second second. The first second was yours, the second second was mine and I didn’t think of it the second second.” But if you don’t do that, Satan is able to put any thought into your mind and immediately bring false condemnation to you.
Now loved ones, you need to see that those things are true and of course, so much more with the body. Don’t get all worked up if the cold has got you down and that kind of thing. I’m with you, that it is God’s will that the power that raised Jesus from the dead will give life also to our immortal bodies and that’s where we’ll eventually get, about three years from now, in these evening studies, how God’s spirit changes our bodies.
But at the moment many of us are not in that situation so don’t get down about it. See that it is by faith, “Lord, I dwell in you by faith.” And you need to stay there and hold your position in Jesus, and that’s the key to it — because the fact is that any authority that Satan has was destroyed by Jesus on Calvary. Jesus has put every enemy under his feet including death and Satan is under Jesus’ feet and has been destroyed and there is no authority or power that he can exercise over you.
Just one last thing, loved ones. Satan can get you to look at circumstances and he can try to use circumstances and events to block what Jesus wants to do through you. Now do you see that? He has control over other things. That’s why I’m very skeptical of this business, “Well, I got a flat tire so I know the Lord wanted me to go into this door, into this house.” It’s tricky stuff you know. God isn’t going around putting nails in your tires and it’s more than likely that things that come from events or circumstances are under the control of the prince of this world and of the circumstances of this world.
And maybe I agree with you that often God confirms direction that he gives you through giving you some little flow of his Spirit in the way events turnout but you should never depend on events for your primary guidance. You should always get it from God’s Spirit within you and then use events as confirmation. Though often, what you find is Satan wants to oppose what God wants you to do. So he opposes you with circumstances over which he has control because he has control over other people.
Now, the worst thing that you can do is to say, “The Lord mustn’t want me to do this.” Or, to back off and say, “Oh, I’m against too much here.” The Bible never tells you, you have to fight Satan yourself. The Bible indicates that you have to say, “The Lord rebuke you.” And that it’s Jesus that will fight Satan. All you have to do is resist that lie that he is able to stymie the thing that God wants you to do.
In other words, what you have to do is “stand and having done all to stand”. (Ephesians 6:13) So when God gives you guidance on an issue like the parents and standing against a divorce between them or arguments, or conflicts in the home, or standing against trouble or dishonestly in your business — when Satan moves against you don’t dream of stepping back for a minute. Step right into it in faith; stand. That’s what the Bible says; not back off, not get scared, not start questioning yourself. That’s the only power Satan has over you, to get you to question and to lie to you that you’re being steamrollered here.
No, just move on against it in faith. “Lord, I know that you guided me this way and I stand against you Satan in Jesus’ name. And Lord Jesus I trust you to open these out.” And he will do the same for you as he did at the Red Sea. He will open the Red Sea and you’ll get across. He will do the same for you as he did with the children of Israel and the wilderness when they had no bread. He will supply the manna. He will do the same for you as he did for Elijah when he had the altar covered with water and God sent fire down upon it.
God will be faithful. He will build you up, he will defend you, he will protect you, he will supply the power to destroy those circumstances if one little pilgrim will stand against Satan. That’s all it needs. Loved ones, one little word will fell him because he has no authority except that of lies and the truth is there is only one power in this world and that is God’s. All other powers are bluff powers and they are less than his power. So of course, even if you had a number of powers in the universe it doesn’t matter how many powers you have, what counts is the biggest power and God is that power. And loved ones, all it requires from you and me is the exercise of our little will in
Jesus’ name. So praise God. Are there any questions?
Question from Audience:
When you’re totally submitted to Christ do you still have problems with the inner struggle?
Response from Pastor O’Neill:
For instance, when you really accept the place that God has given to all of us in Jesus, that means, “Lord Jesus, you treated these Roman soldiers with absolute love even though they were whipping you and cursing you. Now, that means you were ready for them to do whatever they wanted to you if it was for your Father’s glory. Now Lord, I’m willing for that. I’m willing for my mother to unfairly and unjustly criticize me. I’m willing for my boss to unfairly and wrongly accuse me of doing something that I didn’t do. I’m willing for anything for your glory. I’m willing and content for that.” And then you’re at last free, of course, for the Holy Spirit to get you to speak to your mother in a calm voice, or speak to the boss in a calm voice but you’re delivered from the self’s rights.
The Holy Spirit has really destroyed the power of self and its desires to stand up for its own rights and it is possible to live only for God’s rights. And so it is possible to respond in all those situations with the power and the love of Jesus. So it is possible to be freed from anger. And I think a lot of us read all these books about tricky ways to control anger. That’s not it, that’s repression and suppression, and manipulation. Victory is being delivered from anger so that the anger doesn’t rise inside you in your heart. That’s deliverance and that’s what God does through the power of his Holy Spirit for anyone who is willing to be crucified with Christ.
Now, where I do agree with you is what I shared about Satan inserting thoughts. In other words, they’re not evil thoughts but they’re thoughts of evil. He inserts a tempting thought into your mind, or he inserts from somebody else a feeling of hostility. Now, that can be in you for a second. The moment your will deals with that it’s gone and that’s one way of finding out, you know, “If my will can deal with it in a moment then it’s from Satan. If my will has a big struggle than I better get back to the cross and find out if there’s something I haven’t died to that God wants me to.”
You know, love, I would if I could back off from this to make so many people here a wee bit more content, I would. But, I thank God that he did a work in me fifteen years ago that just changed my life and I know you can have total victory. I know it. See, you can be free from inner conflict; then I found for the first time I met outer conflict. So outer conflict is there and that’s the thrill of the battle.
Question from Audience:
There is a lot of glib talk about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and about full surrender and we need to see that this is a deep place to come into with Jesus and it is not come into lightly in one service. It may be one service after weeks and months of getting yourself sorted out but it is a deep thing.
Reply from Pastor O’Neill:
Rather than me try to give a shorthand version maybe I could say that I have a little tract, a miserable little thing, but it is called “Free to Live Through Death to Self”. I’ve tried to outline how God brought me into victory, just the four steps that might be of help to some of you. It’s down in the bookshop. Far better books, for instance, Andrew Murray “Absolute Surrender” or “The Normal Christian Life” by Watchman Nee.
All Jim is anxious to emphasize is that loved ones it does really take a deep dealing with Jesus. You know, you have to count the costs, you have to decide what you’re worth and then you have to decide, are you prepared to give all that into the control of another person? And so it is a deep thing and for me it affected certainly all my hopes for the future and all my hopes for the present. And it does really mean coming to a place, “Lord Jesus is I willing to be absolutely identified with you?” And that’s a deep thing. And it’s when a person is absolutely willing to do that, that Jesus’ Spirit sweetly flows in and displaces self and then it’s a clean, what a feeling of cleanness, you know. It is. It is a feeling of cleanness and a feeling of victory and a feeling of freedom.
Question from Audience:
The Bible says that Jesus got angry and frustrated when he cleared the moneylenders from the temple. So are those emotions wrong?
Response from Pastor O’Neill:
Well you know brother I always take issue with “frustrated” but that’s your word rather than the New Testament. But it seems to me brother, that there is a misconception among us that probably because so few of us have really died to love of self, there is a misconception in us of what divine love is. And divine love is of course, a desire to bring everybody into the same closeness to his Father as Jesus himself experienced. So it’s being willing to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and want the very best for them that you know.
So divine love is not a mamsy-pamsy, weak and watery kind of thing that just lets anything go and just lies back and lets everybody do what they want. Divine love has strong purpose in it and of course Jesus was faced in that situation with not simply them failing to love his Father but with an absolutely turning his Father’s house into a place where they made money easily out of the poor people because that’s what was happening.
I mean, they were making an arrangement with the priests whereby you had to buy the bird or a cow that you sacrificed. You had to buy it there at the temple. And of course, they not only sold them at ridiculous prices and sold all kinds of blemished beasts that they got cheaply but they actually made money out of the money that they changed for the worshipers that came to sacrifice. And so Jesus saw people making his Father’s house a den of thieves and brother he sensed, there was only one reaction, there was no possibility of going up and saying, “Now listen do you think this is fair?” Or, “You shouldn’t do this.” He had to declare, “This is not right. This cannot be tolerated by my Father.” And he had to express the wrath of God against it.
So it seems to me brother that there is in the Bible an injunction that you have to be angry and sin not. Now, it’s interesting that that’s the only passion like that that the Bible talks about in those terms — implying of course, that there is a controlled reaction against wrong on God’s behalf that is right and that is wrath. It is a controlled reaction against wrong on God’s behalf. But
anger is an uncontrolled bursting out on behalf of self and so there’s a real distinction between the two. So brother I would say anger is selfish and is uncontrolled. Wrath is unselfish and it’s controlled and there is a place for it.
Question from Audience:
Lots of people say like the famous black comedian, “the devil made me do it.” And they always blame everything on the devil instead of on carnality and self. Can you not be fairly certain than when there’s self condemnation it is Satan that is doing it?
Response from Pastor O’Neill:
I’d agree with you completely except that I know that there’s a real semantic problem there because many of us would have difficulty telling the difference between self condemnation and conviction of the Holy Spirit. And so I think you have to be very clear that the difference between self condemnation and the conviction of the Holy Spirit is that self condemnation is vague and general. It’s a general feeling, you’re not what you should be, you’re not the kind of person that God wants you to be. It’s vague, you can’t get your finger on anything, you know. It’s kind of a general discontentment with yourself, a general feeling, “Oh, I’m no use.”
Whereas the conviction of the Holy Spirit is like that, “Stop speaking to your friend sarcastically.” Puts the finger right on something that you’re able to deal with. It brings an immediate ability to deal with an issue and to repent of it and to change your life. And I would say that’s maybe a better way; that self condemnation is always vague and general. Satan always tries to get you generally to feel discontent with yourself where conviction of the Holy Spirit is specific and particular.