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									   Staples
Baptist Church
       Pastor
  John C Browning
        Sermon for:

      February 1, 2009

          TITLE:
Why the Devil Goes to Church?
                     *** Left Blank For Notes ***




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Why the Devil Goes to Church
Based on studies by Brian Atwood

Mark 1:21-1:28

Read Text:

Every time Jesus met someone demon-possessed He kicked the demons out!
This case is unusual because of where it took place - in the very house of
God!

Why in the world would a man possessed by demons even be interested in
going to the house of God?

Why would the devil want to go to church?

Today we’re going to talk about that and what we can do to chase him off.

Let’s Pray:

Why would the devil want to go to church?

1. Because the devil has always been religious.

Satan and his demons are even rather orthodox in some of their beliefs. A.
W. Tozer said, "The devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil
still."

Of course it’s not just what you believe that matters.

James 2:18,19 - But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show
me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You
believe there is one God. Good! EVEN THE DEMONS BELIEVE THAT -
and shudder.

The devil is monotheistic. He knows there’s only one God. Problem is, he
doesn’t worship God. When he shows up at church it isn’t for true worship
but rather for false worship.




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Satan’s religion is false religion but it is religion nonetheless. He doesn’t
even mind if we show up for worship - just as long as its false worship.

He loves to see folks go to church to talk about other worshippers. He loves
to see us go to uplift our own goodness. He loves it when we are
preoccupied with other things - like who hurt our feelings recently, and what
so and so thinks about us. He loves to hear our critical comments about the
worship leaders and the pastor’s preaching.

Illustration:
A story was told of a trip to Washington D.C. They went on a tour of the
Library of Congress. They decided to go on the tour. When up walked a lady
with a limp and a hunchback - her hair was disheveled and she spoke with
almost a slur. She said to them, “I’m your tour guide.” Her tour reflected
her appearance, as she stumbled through facts and actually quit the tour
half way through - telling them to just follow the tour in front of her. The
author said “My friend and I stood there dumbfounded and just laughing.”
Here she had a wonderful building to show off - and she gave the worst tour
they had ever had - making it boring.

The story of this tour guide makes me feel guilty when I think about myself.
Here I have the most exciting message ever made - God becoming man and
saving the world from an eternity in hell! Yet sometimes I give these tours
with droopy eyes. I don’t always know my material as well as I could. I
wonder what God thinks of my tours of His beautiful Word! Amazing!

And how about your tours? What kind of a message do you send to your
family? To fellow members? To visitors? Do you wake up on a Sunday
morning and say to your children, “we are going to go and listen to God’s
Word!” Or do you say, “come on! Hurry up! We’ve got to get to church!” do
you come into worship with an eager attitude to listen, or a exhausted look
that says, “I hope I can make it through.” I wonder how amazed God is when
he looks at us during a worship service. As he sees your eyes fall half asleep,
I wonder what he is thinking. As he watches your eyes glance at your watch
- to see how close to 11:30 it is, I wonder what he is thinking. As he listens
to your brain think off to this afternoon’s activities - are you amazing him?
When I was in high school I fell sound asleep during a sermon, sitting on the
front row - and then I had the gall to tell the pastor after the service, “nice
sermon.” He laughed. So did God.



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Here we have the greatest news in the world - that determines our eternal
destiny - the Word of GOD HIMSELF - and we act like it is boring.
Amazing.

The devil loves it when we don’t put our hearts into praising God. He likes
seeing us just going through the motions. He can stand anything but worship
of God in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

The devil is opposed to Christianity but he isn’t opposed to churchianity.

Illustration:
Arthur Pink wrote about how some people do not worship: They bring their
bodies to the house of prayer but not their souls. They worship with their
mouths but not in spirit and in truth. They are sticklers for early morning
communion with God but they take no thought about keeping their hearts
with all diligence. They boast of their orthodoxy but disregard the precepts
of Christ. Multitudes of professing Christians abstain from external acts of
violence, yet hesitate not to rob their neighbors of a good name by spreading
evil reports against them. They contribute regularly to the church but shrink
not from misrepresenting their goods and cheating their customers
persuading themselves that business is business. They have more regard for
the laws of man than those of God for his fear is not before their eyes.

The demons know who Jesus is. The one in the synagogue did. He believed
in the Incarnation of Christ - that he was both God and man at the same time.

The demon clearly identified Christ’s humanity by calling Him "Jesus of
Nazareth". But he also identified Christ’s deity by calling Him "the Holy
One of God". (verse 24)

The church must surely be on guard against false doctrine. But the danger
we are sometimes less aware of is false worship. We must always guard
against dead religion.

We cannot afford to become complacent and nonchalant about our worship
of God! We should consistently re-evaluate why we worship and how we
worship.




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The Word says concerning dead worship by dead churches and believers:
"having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with
them." (2 Timothy 3:5)

2. The devil goes to church because he’s looking for prey.

Notice how the plural pronouns indicate just how closely the demon was
identified with the man through whom he was speaking.

"What do you want with US Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy
US?" (verse 24)

This may not have been a case of multiple demon possession. It may have
been an instance of one demon making his host a puppet. The "us" was the
demon and his host.

Illustration:
Before I discovered that my cell phone had a lock screen button I would
often accidentally dial the last number in my cell phone’s registry. The
biggest problem was that I never realized that it had happened. I would go
on with normal life and my cell phone would be on for an extended period of
time without my knowing that it was on. When I would discover that it was
on… either when I picked it up to make a call or when the person on the
other end would hang up, and call me back to laugh at me, I would have this
strange fear overcome me. What did I say, when I didn’t know that someone
else was listening? Did I gossip? Did I say something evil? Did I make a
joke that I would not want the person on the other end to know about? Well
that it is how it is with the Holy Spirit all the time! It’s like your cell phone
has accidentally called God and you didn’t know it. Would you live your live
differently if every conversation and ever thought you ever had was being
accidentally broadcast across the cell phone in your pocket to your Pastor?
Well it is not being broadcast to your Pastor, but your every thought and the
ear of God hears every word!

We as Christians are often Satan’s best weapon against each other. It is
stated in the several songs and sermons that “The greatest cause of atheism
today is Christians who profess Him with their mouths and yet deny Him
with their lives.”




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However, Satan’s ultimate goal is to have control. He can possess those who
don’t have the Holy Spirit within.

He can’t possess those in tune with Christ, but he does want to manipulate us
and hinder our work for God and the growth of our faith.

Remember what Jesus said to Simon Peter? "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked
to sift you as wheat." (Luke 22:31)

Simon thought he would be able to go through all the trials with Jesus
without cracking. Though his faith didn’t fail completely, he miserably
flunked a major test. He disavowed all knowledge of Jesus when Jesus was
being falsely accused and beaten.

Peter was given another chance and he learned from his mistake, but we
need to learn from it also. Satan asked the same with Job, and he asks the
same with us. Satan is out to sift us. God offers us the strength to endure, but
we have to seek, knock and accept.

That’s why Peter would later write in one of his letters to the churches this
admonition: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls
around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)

If you think the devil doesn’t do some of his prowling in church you haven’t
been around long. Satan even has control of the pulpits in some churches.

Listen to what the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15:

"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as
apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an
angel of light. It is not surprising then, if his servants masquerade as
servants of righteousness. Their end will be what they deserve."

3. The devil goes to church because he’s seeking worship.

The devil wants to be worshipped as if he were God.

Isaiah 14:12-14 - "How have you fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of
the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the
nations! You said in your heart, ’I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my

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throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of assembly, on the
utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the
clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’"

Remember what the devil said to Jesus? "All this I will give you, if you will
bow down and worship me." (Matthew 4:9)

Satan worship will characterize the Great Tribulation. (Rev. 9:20) Satan will
even resurrect the beast and kill everyone who doesn’t worship him. (Rev.
13:15)

Satan will be able to accomplish for a short while what he has longed for all
along.

But until that day comes the true follower of Christ is involved in a struggle.
Our great struggle is not with paying our bills or staying healthy. Our
greatest struggle is a spiritual one.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,
against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against
the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12)

Forget the war on terror for now, even though Satan is behind it. Let’s focus
on the spiritual war that exists to hinder the work of God.

Let’s not be so naive as to neglect the fact that we war with the devil even
when we come to church!

Let’s Pray:




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